Picking up the pieces (spoilers)
This is a compelling story about a middle-aged man's spiral into alcoholic psychosis, and as such, it's a bit hard to separate what's real from what's imagined. The fact that my Media VHS version is apparently missing scenes complicates it further.
A couple scenarios here:
1) Harry killed his wife, Maggie, and buried her on the beach early in the film. The hitchhiker was real, abandoned her baby, who died, then fled in Maggie's clothing. By association, Harry thinks he killed the hitchhiker.
B) Maggie really went to California, came back pregnant, but Harry imagined her as a hitchhiker whom he later killed.
Any other ideas? Has anyone seen a complete version of this film or read the novel?
Regardless, excellent performance by Peter Finch in an early role as a man who is mad as hell and can't take it anymore. Shelley Winters totally chews up the scenery (and that turkey) before her early departure. 8/10 stars.