Puzzle of a Downfall Child

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Puzzle of a Downfall Child
Puzzle of a Downfall Child.jpg
Original film poster
Directed by Jerry Schatzberg
Produced by John Foreman
Screenplay by Adrian Joyce
Story by Jerry Schatzberg
Adrian Joyce
Starring Faye Dunaway
Barry Morse
Viveca Lindfors
Roy Scheider
Barry Primus
Ruth Jackson
John Heffernan
Sydney Walker
Music by Michael Small
Cinematography Adam Holender
Edited by Evan Lottman
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release dates
  • December 16, 1970 (1970-12-16)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Puzzle of a Downfall Child is a 1970 film drama directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Faye Dunaway, Barry Morse, Viveca Lindfors, Roy Scheider and Barry Primus.


A beautiful but disturbed young woman lives alone at a beach cottage, reliving her past, a life of delusions and lies.

Lou Andreas Sand (Dunaway) is a former fashion model whose life has gone into a downward spiral including drug use and a nervous breakdown. She tells an acquaintance, Aaron Reinhardt (Primus), her story for a film he is planning on her, but the details do not ring true.

Lou evidently had a lover who abused her and a penchant for sex with strange men. Along the way, she became engaged to marry Mark (Scheider), an ad executive, but apparently jilted him on the day of their wedding, leading to her descent into drugs and an attempted suicide.


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