Winter Kills is a 1979 satirical black comedy thriller film written and directed by William Richert, based on the novel of the same name by Richard Condon.
A black comedy fictionalising the assassination conspiracy of President John F. Kennedy, its all-star cast includes Jeff Bridges, John Huston, Anthony Perkins, Eli Wallach, Richard Boone, Toshirō Mifune, Sterling Hayden, Dorothy Malone, Belinda Bauer, Ralph Meeker, Elizabeth Taylor, Berry Berenson and Susan Walden.
On February 22, 1960, President of the United States Timothy Kegan is shot and killed by a sniper during a visit to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A subsequent federal investigation named the sole perpetrator to be a lone gunman named Willie Arnold, who is murdered by nightclub owner Joe Diamond before he can stand trial.
19 years later, Nick Kegan, half-brother of Timothy and heir to the wealthy Kegan dynasty, is on his father’s oil tanker when a helicopter lands carrying Keifetz, a family associate, and a heavily-bandaged man named Arthur Fletcher. Carried into sick bay, Fletcher tells an orderly that in 1960 he and another gunman were hired by a man named Casper Jr. to assassinate President Kegan, with Arnold set up as a patsy. Fletcher claims to have stashed the rifle used in the assassination in room 903 of the Engleson Building in Philadelphia. Before Nick can question him any further, Fletcher dies of his injuries.
In this movie, director William Richert uses the JFK assassination as fodder for this excellent dark comedy which mixes real life with cynical satire and has many laugh out loud moments. It’s also worth noting that shady dealings and a murdered producer almost led to this movie never being made.
Conspiracies within conspiracies… Who knows?