Warren Beatty is a successful stand-up comedian. His character performs at all the popular nightclubs and always has a beautiful woman on his arm. He appears to have everything in the opening scenes, but we soon learn that the mob has hold of him. Not sure of how he's incurred the wrath of the mafia, Beatty aims to pay his debts and move on with his life. He quickly learns that it isn't that easy. Paranoia follows him as he runs away from the life he knows and takes on the identity of Mickey One. Mickey is eager to experience and seeks out the fame of his comedy career again, all while being terrified that the mafia will catch up to him and murder him.
Speaking of the film's kookiness, here's an odd little piece of trivia I uncovered while reading the original reviews of the film. (By the way, I felt better when I read that most reviewers were as confused about the plot as me.) In his first scene, there are close-ups of Franchot. I noticed what I thought was a dark scratch, stitch, or scar on the right side of his head (left side to viewer). As you are aware, I am a bit preoccupied with Franchot, so I wondered what was up with that. I found my answer in Dorothy Kilgallen's "The Voice of Broadway" column dated March 19, 1964:
"Franchot Tone will be a little late reporting to Chicago for his role with Warren Beatty in Mickey One. He tripped over his cat, got a black eye and had to have 10 stitches taken in his head."
(I've heard rumors that Franchot didn't have a cat and that the injury was caused by inebriation, but Franchot actually referred to having a cat in another context in another article around the same time.)
My favorite scene is shown in the screen captures below. This is when Franchot gives his big speech, telling Warren Beatty that the mob will control his entire life and that there is no escape or fix for it.
Mickey One is available on DVD on Amazon.