A remake of the 1950 film noir, presumably attracted by the lure of that implacable opening in which the hero staggers into the precinct house to report a murder: his own. Morton and Jankel's version likes that enough to re-stage it in black and white, and to issue the hero, boozy, disillusioned Eng Lit prof Dexter Cornell (Quaid), with a bellyful of slow-acting poison which gives him a day or so to find his murderer. Aided by adoring student Sydney (Ryan), to whom he attaches himself (literally) with superglue, Cornell batters against an impenetrable nighttown of red herrings. After a welter of murders, suicides, adulteries, buried birthrights, and a struggle with a tar-pit, Cornell learns the real meaning of publish or die on the campus. Borrowings apart, the plot is a muddle, and further confused by the Max Headroom team's mania for angle shots and distortions. Quaid is miles better than his material.