50-Movie All Stars Collection, Disc 4

Yes, it’s that time again: Four tv movies–and I’m afraid three of these four fit that label a little too well. As usual, when there’s a bracketed running time, that’s what’s actually on the disc–and it’s at least a minute different than what IMDB reports.

Love is Forever, 1983, color, Hall Bartlett (dir.), Michael Landon, Edward Woodward, Jürgen Prochnow, Laura Gemser, Priscilla Presley. 1:36 [1:31]

Based on the true story of John Everingham (Landon), a newsman in Laos accused of spying, imprisoned, and deported—who goes back across the river to rescue the native Laotian woman he loves. Good cast, reasonably well acted. Unfortunately, the color is odd (and sometimes fades to black and white), the sound isn’t always great, and there’s some damage as evidenced by five missing minutes. $0.75.

Betrayal, 1974, color, Gordon Hessler (dir.), Amanda Blake, Dick Haymes, Tisha Sterling. 1:14.

What a disappointment. I was really looking forward to this one, based on the sleeve blurb and cast: “The story follows the case of a woman who claims to have been forced into a sexual relationship with her psychiatrist, under the pretext of its therapeutic value. When the police try to investigate, they find their inquiries face many obstacles.” Leslie Ann Warren, Rip Torn, Richard Masur, Ron Silver. How can you go wrong: Any movie with Rip Torn and Leslie Ann Warren and Ron Silver must be worth watching!

Only one problem: That’s the 1978 TV movie Betrayal. The 1974 teleflick that’s actually on the disc is, despite Miss Kittie’s presence (as a tough middle-aged widow who hires a young woman as a companion—but the young woman’s part of a con-artist couple…), a disappointing mess. Some decent acting, but damaged and generally incoherent. I felt a little betrayed. $0.

Intimate Agony, 1983, color, Paul Wendkos (dir.), Anthony Geary, Judith Light, Mark Harmon, Arthur Hill, Robert Vaughn. 1:35.

Sure, it’s a TV-movie cast, but a good one—and Robert Vaughn is his villainous best as a real-estate speculator doing his best to make sure that Paradise Isle doesn’t get tagged as having Social Diseases while he’s trying to build and sell upscale condominiums. Anthony Geary is the hot young doctor who takes over Arthur Hill’s practice on the island for the summer, and finds himself dealing with a fair amount of genital herpes among the residents, and Vaughn (and colleagues) don’t want to hear about it. Nothing special, but not bad as disease-of-the-week movies go. $0.50

The Disappearance of Flight 412, 1974, color, Jud Taylor (dir.), Glenn Ford, Bradford Dillman, David Soul, Guy Stockwell, Greg Mullavy. 1:12.

How do you make a UFO movie without UFOs? In this case, three dots on a radar screen seem to do the job. A crew goes up to diagnose electrical anomalies in a radar setup; they get the three dots; fighter jets scramble—and disappear. Then the flight is diverted to “Digger Control,” where the men are “debriefed” for 18 hours—apparently to convince them that they want to say they didn’t see a thing. Deep, serious narration, Glenn Ford doing his best Glenn Ford impression, a solid cast. No action to speak of, lots of talk, and strong intimations of government suppression of UFO sightings. $0.75

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