Games is a 1967 psychological thriller, directed by Curtis Harrington and starring Katharine Ross, James Caan, and Simone Signoret.
Paul (James Caan) and Jennifer (Katharine Ross) are a pair of wealthy but blasÃ© Upper East Side New York socialites with an attitude sometimes accompanying the overprivileged: a propensity to amuse themselves in a bizarre, chic, and upscale fashion, in this case playing socialite games for their peers, and occasionally revealing what appears to be a playfully sadistic streak.
Lisa (Simone Signoret), an older woman from Germany, arrives at their door one day selling cosmetics; the couple invite her in, and when the conversation reveals that Lisa is believed to have psychic abilities, Paul and Jennifer ask her to arrange some "games" for their amusement. Lisa proceeds to set up several situations of simulated domestic discord that the couple can react to.
The plot turns deadly when an acquaintance is accidentally killed during a so-called "game." Paul has to go to enormous lengths to conceal any evidence. He fears being blackmailed by Lisa, whose psychic activities continue and intensify during her stay. Ultimately, at the request of Paul, Lisa leaves, for the welfare of an ever more anxious Jennifer.
In the end, after a tense confrontation between Jennifer and the supposedly murdered man, Jennifer actually does shoot and kill him, at which point Paul walks in and calmly calls the police to report that his wife has committed murder. It is revealed that the events of the film were orchestrated by Paul and Lisa in order to trick Jennifer into killing someone, so that Paul could get her fortune. The murdered man had been in on the "game," but was double-crossed. Paul and Lisa share a celebratory drink as Paul pays Lisa her ten-percent cut and they prepare to go their separate ways. But it turns out that Lisa has poisoned Paul's drink. After Paul collapses and dies, Lisa takes the briefcase containing all of the money, leaves the house, and walks down the street, ending the film.
Director Curtis Harrington wrote the role of Lisa with Marlene Dietrich in mind to play the part.
The film was released theatrically in the United States by Universal Pictures in September 1967.
The film was given a belated VHS release by Gaiam, Inc. in 1995 and Universal Home Video in 2000. Both versions are currently out of print.
The film was released on DVD in the Spain by Universal Studios. This release presents the film widescreen. In the 4th quarter of 2011 the film was released as part of Universal's Vault Series on DVD-R. This release is anamorphic 2:35:1.
- "Games" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Games" at AllMovie