Jagged Edge is a 1985 murder mystery film.
8 out of 10 stars. This film is now 35 years old and has held up very well.
Heiress Page Forrester is murdered in her vacation home north of San Francisco. BITCH is written in her blood on the wall above her bed and she is killed with a serrated hunting knife (serrated means it has a jagged edge). Her husband Jack is found beaten unconscious outside the house. Their maid is also found dead inside. Which begs the question–why didn’t the killer kill him too?
Jack inherits everything, hundreds of millions of dollars as well as her shares in the San Francisco Times newspaper where he is President and has been for 15 years. The paper is what made Page’s family rich. The janitor at the country club where Jack is a member remembers seeing a serrated hunting knife in Jack’s locker, locker 122. So Jack is arrested by order of District Attorney Tom Crasney.
Jack immediately goes to the law firm that represents the paper and asks for an attorney to represent him. Only one of their lawyers has ever tried a criminal case, Teddy Barnes, a single mother of two. So he begs Teddy to take his case. Teddy used to be a prosecutor under Crasney. They tried the case of Henry Stiles and after the conviction, Teddy discovered Crasney had hidden evidence that proved Stiles innocence. She didn’t tell anyone, for fear of losing her license to practice law. Stiles killed himself in prison. So she quit criminal law. That knowledge of Crasney’s dishonesty, combined with Jack’s good looks and charm, are the reason Teddy takes the case.
The first thing Teddy does is bring on her old private investigator Sam. Then she has Jack take a lie detector test which he passes with flying colors. She has a shrink examine him and declare him normal. So even though Sam thinks Jack killed Page, Teddy doesn’t. She believes him.
Sam discovers that Crasney has a secret witness he didn’t divulge, Virginia Howell, Page’s best friend. She claims Page was getting divorced. Teddy is also getting letters typed on an old 1942 Corona typewriter with a raised t saying that Jack is innocent and giving her clues to find the identity of the real killer. They all point to Santa Cruz.
Eventually Teddy ends up falling for Jack and they sleep together. But Teddy takes Crasney’s case and rips it apart witness by witness:
- Crasney calls Page’s brother who lists all that Jack inherited with Page’s death. If Jack had simply divorced Page he wouldn’t have gotten a penny, but with her death he is suddenly a millionaire. Teddy asks him if Page was ever unhappy. He says no. Was Page ever unhappy with the way Jack ran the newspaper? He says no. Then she asks, do you think Jack killed her? He says God no.
- Crasney calls Virginia Howell, Page’s best friend. In fact, she wasn’t. Page broke off contact with Virginia six months ago when she started stalking Jack. She sent him letters trying to entice him into having an affair with her then called him at work 8 times a day.
- Crasney calls Eileen Avery who had an affair with Jack two years ago for six months. Jack told her he couldn’t divorce Page because he’d lose everything.
- Crasney calls Bobby Slade, a tennis pro at the country club and Page’s lover. He says Page told him Jack wouldn’t care that she had a lover because Jack had one too. Jack’s gift was using people. He uses the horses at their vacation home as foreplay to seduce women. And Teddy realizes that’s how he seduced her too. Sam gives her dirt on Bobby. He was a prostitute while he was a tennis pro in Santa Cruz at the country club there. So Teddy asks him if Page ever paid him. He says no. Then she asks if he ever tied Page up. He gets angry and calls her a bitch.
When it’s Teddy’s turn to present her case, she calls Duane Bendix, a member of the country club with locker 222. He had a serrated hunting knife in his locker that’s the one the janitor saw. After the day in court, Bobby is waiting near her car and threatens her.
The next letter Teddy gets from the 42 Corona says talk to Julie Jensen in Santa Cruz. Sam discovers a girl was attacked there in the same way as Page and at the time Bobby was the country club tennis pro and Julie was a member. DA Crasney pulled Julie’s police report and demands to know how Teddy knew about her. So he is questioned about withholding and destroying evidence pertaining to a crime he’s prosecuting which is illegal and grounds for being disbarred.
Jack is found innocent and at the press conference, Teddy tells the press about the Henry Stiles case and how Crasney withheld evidence proving Stiles’ innocence. She goes to Jack’s house and they celebrate with sex. In the morning she changes the linens on the bed and finds the 1942 Corona typewriter with the raised t in the linen cupboard behind the linens. She wraps it up and takes it home. When Jack calls her, she tells him she knows he killed Page.
He tells her he loves her and he’s on his way over. She says no, hangs up, and calls Sam. When Sam comes on the phone, she changes her mind and tells him it’s just been a long day. He heads over to her house anyway and arrives right after a masked man tries to kill Teddy. Teddy has a gun under her pillow and kills the man then she removes his mask just as Sam walks in. It’s Jack.
8 out of 10 stars. Still a pretty good thriller.