Something of a reaction to the anti-Communist propaganda films that Hollywood was then producing, Jigsaw stands up for those who resist Fascism -- but it does so no more artfully and only slightly less obviously than do the propaganda films that seem to have inspired it. This is a problem in and of itself, but many who are in sympathy with the film's point of view will gladly overlook this. What is more difficult to overlook is the extremely muddy screenplay, which is disjointed in the extreme. Things are not helped by as sloppy a job of editing as one is likely to see outside of a home movie, or by Fletcher Markle's by-the-book direction. Jigsaw does benefit from a good cast, with Franchot Tone very effective in the lead role, and excellent support from Jean Wallace, Marc Lawrence and Myron McCormick. The best performance, however, comes from the obscure Winifred Lenihan, who quietly works wonders with what she is given and leaves one wondering why she didn't make more films. Less effective is the parade of cameos by the likes of Henry Fonda, Marlene Dietrich, Burgess Meredith and John Garfield, which have the effect of pulling one totally out of the story.
by Craig Butler review