Jigsaw (1949 film)

Jigsaw is a 1949 American film noir crime drama directed by Fletcher Markle starring Franchot Tone, Jean Wallace and Marc Lawrence. The feature was produced by the Danziger Brothers, Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger, from a screenplay by Vincent McConnor and Fletcher Markle, based on a story by John Roeburt.[2]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byFletcher Markle
Produced byEdward J. Danziger
Harry Lee Danziger
Screenplay byFletcher Markle
Vincent McConnor
Story byJohn Roeburt
StarringFranchot Tone
Jean Wallace
Marc Lawrence
Music byRobert W. Stringer
CinematographyDon Malkames
Edited byRobert Matthews
Tower Pictures
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • March 11, 1949 (1949-03-11) (United States)
  • May 28, 1949 (1949-05-28) (New York City)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Of note is that the film has cameo appearances by Marlene Dietrich, Henry Fonda, John Garfield, Burgess Meredith, Marsha Hunt, Doe Avedon, Everett Sloane, newspaper columnist Leonard Lyons, and the director Fletcher Markle.


The title refers to a jigsaw puzzle and the story begins with the murder of a print shop owner that is quickly labeled a suicide. But newspaper columnist Charlie Riggs is convinced that it was a murder related to a white neo-fascist organization called the Crusaders and imparts this suspicion to Assistant District Attorney Howard Malloy. He also publishes this opinion in his column. Then Riggs himself is murdered, inducing Malloy to launch an investigation into the Crusaders. Because the group appears to be getting backing from organized crime, Malloy looks there, soon receiving unsolicited help from a crime boss called Angel, who recommends him for the position of special prosecutor.

Later, with further help from a prominent judge's widow, Malloy is appointed. This is supposed to put him in the pocket of those behind the murders. But Malloy proceeds to investigate the artist who created the Crusaders recruiting poster. Seeing in the artist's studio a painting of an attractive night club singer, Malloy then proceeds to investigate her. This leads to a series of revelations regarding all of these characters and ends with more people dead and wounded in a fiery exchange at the end.



Critical response

When the film was released, The New York Times film critic, Bosley Crowther, panned the film, writing, "On the sole account of Jigsaw, which opened at the Mayfair on Saturday, Hollywood has no reason to look immediately and anxiously to its laurels ... It is sluggishly directed by Fletcher Markle, who also co-authored the script, and almost indifferently played, where good playing would do the most for it, by Franchot Tone in the principal role ... An irresistible temptation to get a few recognizable stars to play bit roles in the picture was accepted unfortunately. John Garfield is seen as a loafer, Henry Fonda as a waiter in a club, Burgess Meredith as a bartender, Marcia Hunt as a secretary and such. This tomfooling doesn't help the picture. It gives the whole thing a faintly prankish look."[3]


  1. Variety February 1949
  2. Jigsaw on IMDb.
  3. Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times, film review, May 30, 1949. Accessed: July 12, 2013.
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