The Pyx Montréal Police Detective Sergeant Jim Henderson is the lead investigator into the death of a scantily-clad young woman found outside an apartment building, the initial belief being that she was pushed from the unoccupied twentieth floor penthouse balcony. Henderson’s partner, Detective Sergeant Pierre Paquette, recognizes her as a prostitute, who they eventually will learn has the working name Elizabeth Lucy, a junkie and one of Meg Latimer’s girls. In questioning Meg and another one of her girls, Laura, Henderson and Paquette will also learn that Elizabeth was a non-practicing Catholic, much like Henderson himself, despite the fact that a crucifix on a chain was around her neck and pyx tightly clutched in her hand when she was discovered. The story of Henderson and Paquette investigating the murder, which gets them and their associates into mortal danger the further they get into the investigation, is interwoven with the story of how Elizabeth ended up dead outside that apartment …
An Intelligent Thriller
The Pyx Karen Black shines as Elizabeth Lucy, a heroin-addicted prostitute, in one of her finest roles from this under-rated and little-seen French-Canadian effort, filmed in Montreal. She also composed and sang three haunting songs which appear on the film’s soundtrack. Christopher Plummer is also first rate as the policeman investigating her mysterious death; with somber overtones and a feeling of dread, the film, the film alternates between flashbacks and current time. Highly recommended, for those who like intelligence and thoughtfulness in their thrillers; they will not be disappointed with this one. The supporting cast is all equally proficient, and effective in their roles, especially Yvette Brind Amour as Meg the Madam. The grim and despairing world of heroin usage is presented unflinchingly as well in a hard-hitting way. The beautiful city of Montreal is presented in several time shots as well; to me, at any rate, one of THE very best and over-looked films of the early 1970’s.
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