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Where the Truth Lies (2005) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Karen O'Connor tells the story about two distinct but related periods in her life. In 1972, she is an up-and-coming Los Angeles based journalist who has been given the lucrative assignment of convincing once successful comic Vince Collins, who is at the tail end of his career, to allow her to ghost write his memoirs. Most specifically, she has the task from her publishers of discovering the reason behind two issues in Vince's life from 1957: why he and his former on-stage partner Lanny Morris, who is still active and well known within the entertainment business, broke up their professional partnership shortly after they hosted a successful thirty-nine hour telethon for polio research in Miami, there not having been any indication of problems between the two before that; and how did the dead body of Maureen O'Flaherty end up in the water filled bathtub in Vince and Lanny's New Jersey hotel suite, the opening of that New Jersey hotel owned by mobster Sally Sanmarco which was Lanny and Vince's next gig after the telethon. Maureen, a college student, was working part-time as a room service waitress at the Miami Versailles Hotel where Vince and Lanny were staying during the telethon, she who had served the pair at the time. The last she was known to be seen was by the Miami hotel staff when Lanny and Vince were still staying there three days before the discovery of her body, with the official cause of death being accidental drowning as she had narcotics in her system. Neither Lanny or Vince was ever implicated in having anything to do with Maureen's death or even how she got from Miami to New Jersey coinciding with their own travels. Despite there perhaps being more well known writers who could do the job, the publishing company chose Karen as, known or unknown to Vince, she was the Miracle Child, a polio survivor who appeared on the 1957 telethon. During her research, Karen is unable to meet with Lanny, who, through his legal representatives, tells her that he is writing his own explosive tell-all book which will make her project meaningless. In Karen's search for the truth, things get complicated when she starts receiving from an anonymous source upcoming chapters from Lanny's memoirs which may purely be to throw her off the track from reality, and when she meets Lanny in the flesh, she not divulging to him who she really is.

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  • A female journalist tries to uncover the truth behind the breakup, years earlier, of a celebrated comedy team after the duo found a girl dead in their hotel room. Though both had airtight alibis and neither was accused, the incident put an end to their act.

  • Karen O'Connor, a young journalist known for her celebrity profiles, is consumed with discovering the truth behind a long-buried incident that affected the lives and careers of showbiz team Vince Collins and Lanny Morris.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • The film alternates between 1957 when Martin & Lewis-like comedy team Lanny Morris and Vince Collins are at the height of their success, and 1972 when journalist Karen O'Connor is determined to unravel the mystery of a young woman who was found dead in their hotel suite.

    Immediately after hosting a 39-hour-long polio telethon in a Miami television studio, Morris and Collins fly north to discuss opening the showroom in a new Las Vegas hotel constructed by mobster Sally Sanmarco. In their Atlantic City hotel suite, the body of college student Maureen O'Flaherty is found in a bathtub filled with water, but since both men were en route to the hotel at the time she was murdered, neither is thought to be connected to the crime. Shortly after, their partnership is dissolved.

    Fifteen years later, Karen who as a young polio survivor met the team at the telethon becomes part of a $1 million deal to ghostwrite Vince's autobiography, a project complicated by the fact she keeps receiving anonymously sent chapters from a book about the one-time duo Lanny himself has written. She first meets Lanny, accompanied by his faithful valet Reuben, on a transcontinental flight, during which she introduces herself as Bonnie Trout, the name of the best friend with whom she's trading apartments. The two meet for dinner at a Chinese restaurant and later become intimate in Lanny's hotel room. The next morning, Karen awakens to discover Lanny has checked out without saying goodbye.

    She later meets Vince and, using her own name, begins to interview him for the book. Complications arise when Vince invites her to dinner at his Los Angeles home and she learns Lanny will be joining them as well. She abruptly excuses herself but meets Lanny in the driveway. As the two are talking they are confronted by Vince, and Karen's masquerade is revealed.

    Vince agrees to continue to cooperate with the book, but he has an ulterior motive. Plying Karen with wine and drugs, he strips her completely naked and manipulates her into having sexual intercourse with an aspiring singer named Alice and photographs the two in compromising positions. He threatens to use them to humiliate Karen if he's displeased with what she writes but she turns the tables on him and, undaunted continues investigating until learning the truth - Vince was bisexual and after an unfortunate incident revealed this to Maureen. Lanny tried to bribe her to keep quiet, but Maureen wanted more than Lanny was willing to offer, so Reuben murdered her to cover it up. Vince later commits suicide, and Karen decides not to reveal the truth to Maureen's mother.

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