Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Crichton|
|Produced by||Martin Ransohoff|
|Screenplay by||Bill Phillips|
|Story by||Bill Phillips
|Music by||Henry Mancini|
|Cinematography||John A. Alonzo|
|Edited by||Glenn Farr|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Physical Evidence is a 1989 American crime thriller film directed by Michael Crichton (in his final film as a director), and stars Burt Reynolds, Theresa Russell and Ned Beatty. It follows an ex-police officer who is incriminated by the evidence, but insists on his innocence.
After parking his car and placing a "Happy Now?" sign around his neck, a man attempts to jump off a bridge to hang himself but finds extortionist Jake Farley lying under it. He grabs Jake's foot with the rope but discovers he is dead.
Meanwhile at the apartment, beleaguered ex-police officer Joe Paris wakes up with a splitting headache and blood on his shirt after a night of drinking and cannot recall events of the previous night. His fingerprints are discovered at a murder scene and he is arrested by detectives due to his history of violence. The agents assigned public defender Jenny Hudson to meet and defend Joe. Developing a physical attraction to each other and having records at the court, Joe and Jenny arrive at Farley's Bar & Lounge, where Joe meets Jake's brother Matt and leaves the bar with Jenny before escaping from the police in a chase.
Later that night, after Kyle and others leave, Jenny meets and converses with Deborah Quinn, whose husband Vincent left town and was killed at their house, which she connect with the death of Joe's wife two years before. Deborah also tells Jenny that she met with Farley to have Vincent killed and that Farley refuses to give the money back for her. Back at the apartment Jenny argues with Joe about the murder trial and asks for help but Joe forgets about Deborah and realizes that he is the prime suspect. The next day, after doing research on the computer, Joe goes to the pier and beats up Harry Norton and the gang to retrieve the car. The court reveals the past record that Jake was Kyle's father and the recording tape plays the voice that Joe demanding Farley for money and tapes.
As the case involving Tony Sklar and others progresses, James Nicks shoots two men in a car and one of the police. While Jenny stays upstairs, Joe chases James but is injured on the sidewalk. Jenny tells James that Sklar is absent. They fight until Jenny disarms the gun from James, grabs it and shoots him dead. Jenny happily reconciles with Joe who recovers himself.
- Burt Reynolds as Joe Paris
- Theresa Russell as Jenny Hudson
- Ned Beatty as James Nicks
- Kay Lenz as Deborah Quinn
- Ted McGinley as Kyle
- Tom O'Brien as Matt Farley
- Kenneth Welsh as Harry Norton
The film was distributed by Columbia Pictures between in the United States and Canada, with Rank Film Distributors handling foreign distribution. The film was produced by Martin Ransohoff who formed with Columbia, Rank Film Distributors and Vestron Video in 1986.
It was filmed in Boston, Massachusetts, and around Canada between Toronto and Montreal, and began production in September 1987. It was filmed under the working title Smoke. It is not a sequel to the 1985 film, Jagged Edge, which starred Glenn Close and Robert Loggia who declined their roles.
The character of Jennifer Hudson is changed to Jenny Hudson which is played by Theresa Russell.
The film was described by the Chicago Tribune as a "feeble thriller... the worst case of filmmaking-by-numbers, reflecting not an ounce of commitment or conviction". The Los Angeles Times called it "flat and remote... a thriller that doesn't thrill."