50-Movie All Stars Collection, Disc 2

Yes, it’s that time again: this time, four TV movies, all worth watching.

Rehearsal for Murder, 1982, color, David Greene (dir.), Robert Preston, Lynn Redgrave, Patrick Macnee, Lawrence Pressman, Jeff Goldblum. 1:36 [1:40 jacket]

Remarkable cast, nicely-done staged mystery. The setup: Preston’s a playwright, Redgrave the star of his new show—and his fiancée, with the two to be married the day after opening night. Opening reviews are bad; everybody leaves the cast party at her place. Next thing we know, she’s an apparent suicide. A year later, Preston gathers the rest of the cast and the producer (that is, the money man) together to read some scenes from a new play—which turn out to be various scenarios as to how each of those gathered could have murdered her. Sure, the final plot twists are a bit implausible, but it’s all very well done. Very good to excellent print and sound.
Engrossing, satisfying. $1.50.

How Awful About Allan, 1970, color, Curtis Harrington (dir.), Anthony Perkins, Julie Harris, Joan Hackett. 1:13 [1:30 jacket]

Anthony Perkins in a movie about a son stricken by hysterical blindness when his father dies in a fire and his sister (his father’s favorite) is disfigured—and, after some time in a hospital, he’s only semi-hysterically semi-blind and comes home to his sister, who wears a plastic appliance to cover the scar. Anthony Perkins: what more need be said? It’s TV-movie quality, but not at all bad. (The 1:30 time is almost certainly the run time with commercials.) Very good to excellent print and sound. $1.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and “The Last of the Belles,” 1974, color, George Schaefer (dir.), Richard Chamberlain, Blythe Danner, Susan Sarandon. 1:38

Part fiction, part (apparently) nonfiction: F. Scott Fitzgerald copes with a failing marriage by writing a story that, sooner or later, is about him and his wife. (Well, that and drinking a lot.) Big cast, big scenery, well-played; interesting enough that, one day soon, I’ll read the story and read a little more about Fitzgerald himself. Very good to excellent print and sound. $2.

To All My Friends on Shore, 1972, color, Gilbert Cates (dir.), Bill Cosby (also exec. producer, music), Gloria Foster, Dennis Hines. 1:10 [1:30 jacket]

The jacket calls this “an uncharacteristically grim role”: True enough. Cosby as an airport luggage handler, odd-job hauler, and whatever else he can do to try to save up enough to buy and restore a decrepit old house and get his wife and kid out of the ghetto. The kid turns out to have sickle cell anemia, and Cosby’s character must deal with his always being a “tomorrow man” (that is, forsaking today for the promise of tomorrow, where his father was a “yesterday man,” always looking back on the way things were). Good to very good print, but dark, and I’m not that wild about Cosby’s scoring, but it’s a low-key, powerful TV movie in its own right. $1.

I have to say that all the dollar figures given here may be on the low side: With the probable exception of How Awful (just not my cup of hysteria), I’d probably watch all of these again. There was a video-audio synch problem with two of them, but that appears to be player-related: I can’t replicate it on my PC, and it went away as soon as I started the movie’s second or third day. Since I’m guessing few of you have $80 Apex 13″TV-DVD combos, don’t worry about it.

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