It’s that time again: Four TV movies, two of them probably shown in 90-minute slots, two probably shown in two-hour slots. None terrible, none superb; highlights include Broderick Crawford as a homeless drunk, Lloyd Bridges as a corrupt detective; William Shatner (and his trained moustache!) as a corrupt city official; David Carradine as a sociopathic drugged-out hippie–and Sally Field as a runaway teen hippie who’s seen the light. Sort of.
Children of the Night, 1985, color, Robert Markowitz (dir.), Kathleen Quinlan, Nicholas Campbell, Mario Van Peebles. 1:33
The first problem with this movie on Disc 8 of this collection is on Disc 5: Hustling is a much better flick dealing with the same subculture. This time, though, instead of an investigative reporter and â€œpeople who really make money from prostitutionâ€ as a running plot, thereâ€™s a sociology grad student and â€œthe plight of teenage prostitutesâ€ as the running plot. Like the other disc, this oneâ€™s too dark (that is, underlit) for its own good and based on a true storyâ€”but not as well acted, a lead character whoâ€™s a lot harder to take, and generally not all that good. $0.75.
Maybe Iâ€™ll Come Home in the Spring, 1971, color, Joseph Sargent (dir.), Sally Field, David Carradine, Eleanor Parker, Jackie Cooper, Lane Bradbury. 1:14.
Sally Field as a runaway late-teen whoâ€™s come back to her wealthy suburban household after a year in a hippie commune of sorts. David Carradine (mostly in flashbacks) as her sociopathic hippie boyfriend. Eleanor Parker and Jackie Cooper as Suburban Parents from Hell, with a drink always in hand and just wanting to avoid any problemsâ€”and Lane Bradbury as the younger daughter doing pills and ready to run away. Messages about the dangers of meth, I think, and lots of Sally Field being Sally Field (which is not a bad thing by any means). David Carradine makes a great worthless jerk. $1.25.
Incident on a Dark Street, 1973, color, Buzz Kulik (dir.), James Olson, David Canary, Robert Pine, Richard Castellano, William Shatner, David Doyle, Kathleen Lloyd. 1:36.
If this wasnâ€™t a Crusading Young U.S. Attorneys episode, or a show within some series along those lines, it should have been. Strong TV-actor cast (if you can get past Bill Shatnerâ€™s silly moustacheâ€”hey, at least heâ€™s a corrupt official), lots of plot, actually better than it has any right to be. $1.25.
A Tattered Web, 1971, color, Paul Wendkos (dir.), Lloyd Bridges, Frank Converse, Sallie Shockley, Murray Hamilton, Broderick Crawford. 1:14.
Heroes and villains: Bridges runs the acting gamut from A to B in his role as a veteran police detective who tries to run his daughterâ€™s life, discovers his son-in-law is having an affair, accidentally kills the other woman, and sets out to frame a homeless drunk for the murder. The best performances are probably Murray Hamilton as the other police detectiveâ€”and Broderick Crawford as the homeless drunk. Frank Converse is serviceable as the son-in-law. $1.00
By the way: The resumption of more-or-less normal posting means that life goes on. It doesn’t mean that unresolved situations have been resolved or that I know much more than I did two weeks ago. Meanwhile, 20-30 minutes a day on the treadmill means old movies and TV movies to watch…