Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snowfire (1958)

The title character is a wild horse who is tamed by young Molly, the daughter of rancher Don Megowan (no relation).

Villains try to capture Snowfire for their own nefarious purposes, but Molly manages to outwit the bad guys. Filmed on location at Bryce Canyon, Utah, Snowfire was later re-edited into a 60-minute TV pilot.

Snowfire (1958)
Cast: Dorrell McGowan, Melody McGowan

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Murder Ordained (1987) TV Movie

A story of a minister who is unhappy in his marriage.

Murder Ordained (1987) TV Movie
Cast: JoBeth Williams, John Goodman, Kathy Bates, Keith Carradine, M. Emmet Walsh

Matter of Justice, A (1993) TV Movie

A naive young marine shocks his family when he returns home on leave accompanied by a worldly older woman whom he introduces as his wife. Patty Duke in one of her best, based on a true incident.

A Matter of Justice (1993) TV Movie
Cast: Alexandra Powers, Charles S. Dutton, Cole Hauser, Kyla Pratt, Martin Sheen, Patty Duke

Man Who Lived at the Ritz, The (1988) TV Movie

An American art student is trapped while visiting wartime Paris.

Staying at the fabulous Ritz hotel he chooses to ignore the turmoil and continue living the high-life for as long as possible. Great movie.

The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1988) TV Movie
Cast: David McCallum, Joss Ackland, Leslie Caron, Maryam d'Abo, Perry King

Key to Rebecca, The (1985) TV Movie

In 1985, "The Key to Rebecca" was adapted into a film, directed by David Hemmings and starring David Soul as Alex Wolff and Cliff Robertson as Maj. William Vandam. Filmed in Tunisia and shot as a two-part, four-hour TV movie, the first part of which aired on WPIX on April 29, 1985, with the second part airing on May 9, 1985. Produced by Taft Entertainment in association with Castle Comb Productions, it was later shown in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia and several other countries in which the novel had been popular. Nice locations, fair story.

The Key to Rebecca (1985) TV Movie
Cast: Cliff Robertson, David Soul, Lina Raymond, Robert Culp, Season Hubley

Jack the Ripper (1988) TV Movie

Based on the real life event, this film claims to have had access to top secret Home Office files and believe that their ending is the correct solution to the age old mystery. Interesting take on a true story.

Jack the Ripper (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Armand Assante, Jane Seymour, Michael Caine, Susan George

Internal Affairs (1988) TV Movie

The second TV-movie based on the works of detective novelist William Bayer. Richard Crenna, who first played NYPD detective Richard Janek in 1985's "Doubletake", is back, now as a functionary of Internal Affairs. He has been assigned to solve the murder of a woman who may have been the victim of a kinky serial killer who'd flourished in Saigon 12 years earlier. Meanwhile, Janek's ex-boss (Lee Richardson), now a jailbird, gives Janek the tip that several cops may be illegally selling guns. "Internal Affairs" was originally telecast in two parts in November of 1988. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Internal Affairs (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Dennis Boutsikaris, Kate Capshaw, Richard Crenna

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (1989) TV Movie

The made-for-TV "Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North" was heralded by the following ad copy: "Patriot. Zealot. Husband. Soldier. Honored. Accused." Add to that "Pedantic" and "Plodding" and you've summed up the film. Presented in two parts, the film traces the career of Oliver North (David Keith) from his years at the US Naval Academy, on to his tour of duty in Vietnam, and ending up with a post on the National Securities Council. Part Two of Guts and Glory covers the Iran-Contra affair, but is forced to leave the denouement open-ended, since North's guilt or innocence was still being deliberated when the film premiered on April 30 and May 2, 1989. The audience is permitted to draw its own conclusions, though Ollie North is no more warm and fuzzy on film than he was in real life. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North (1989) TV Movie
Cast: Annette O'Toole, Barnard Hughes, David Keith, Miguel Ferrer, Paul Dooley, Peter Boyle, Terry O'Quinn

Great Escape II, The: The Untold Story (1988) TV Movie

Allied prisoners tunnel out of a stalag, then return to avenge fellow escapees executed by the Nazis.

The Great Escape II: The Untold Story (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Andrew Bicknell, Anthony John Denison, Charles Haid, Christopher Reeve, Derek de Lint, Donald Pleasence, Ian McShane, Judd Hirsch, Michael Nader

Grass Roots (1992) TV Movie

This is the story of an attorney in the South who suddenly finds himself embroiled in politics, a particularly controversial murder trial and a public battle with a vindictive journalist - all at the same time. ~ Tana Hobart, All Movie Guide

Grass Roots (1992) TV Movie
Cast: Claude Akins, Corbin Bernsen, Henry Jones, Herb Edelman, Joanna Cassidy, Katherine Helmond, Mel Harris, Raymond Burr, Reginald VelJohnson

Glory! Glory! (1989) TV Movie

Two-part miniseries set in the world of TV evangelism, about a down-and-out rock singer who is hired by a church to improve ratings and donations. Sister Ruth is an immediate hit, and the Church of the Companions of Christ has never been so successful, but an investigative reporter challenges Ruth to the scrutiny of TV cameras. Church officials become worried that Sister Ruth's colorful past will be exposed.

Glory! Glory! (1989) TV Movie
Cast: Ellen Greene, James Whitmore, Richard Thomas

Fifth Missile, The (1986) TV Movie

The crew of a Polaris submarine, on a training mission simulating an attack on Russia, is stricken by toxic poisoning. One of the poison's effects is to make its victims hallucinate, and the sub's captain imagines that he has been given an order to actually attack Russia.

The Fifth Missile (1986) TV Movie
Cast: David Soul, Richard Roundtree, Robert Conrad, Sam Waterston, Yvette Mimieux

Fatal Vision (1984) TV Movie

Captain Jeff MacDonald, a renowned and an ambitious surgeon at Fort Bragg army base, appears to be a happily married father of two. When the MP enter MacDonald's house in response to his desperate emergency call they find him injured and his wife and daughters murdered. He reports a gang of drugged 'hippies' raided the house and attacked the family. As a massive search for the suspects yields no leads, investigators focus on some inconsistencies in MacDonald's account and he becomes their prime suspect. Excellent, based on a true story.

Fatal Vision (1984) TV Movie
Cast: Andy Griffith, Barry Newman, Eva Marie Saint, Gary Cole, Karl Malden, Mitch Ryan, Wendy Schaal

Emma: Queen of the South Seas (1988) TV Movie

The two-part TV movie "Emma: Queen of the South Seas" stars the incredibly lovely Barbara Carrera. The film is based on the true story of Samoan princess Emma Coe. Part One takes place in the 1860s, as teenaged Emma (Rebekah Elmaloglou) dreams of an exotic life beyond the confines of her hated convent school. In part two, the grown-up Emma (Carrera), now ensconced in Samoa, valiantly defends her country against British colonization. Hal Holbrook and Thaao Penghlis play the most significant men in Emma's life. Syndicated to independent TV outlets, "Emma: Queen of the South Seas" was first telecast the week of April 23-29, 1988. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Emma: Queen of the South Seas (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Barbara Carrera, E.G. Marshall, Hal Holbrook

Dress Gray (1986) TV Movie

When a first-classman's insignia is found on the riverbank near the drowned body of plebe David Hand, the specter of murder casts a shadow of scandal across the U.S. Grant Military Academy. General Hedges, the headmaster of the school, is determined to keep the beleaguered school out of the headlines and attempts to cover-up the likelihood of murder by wielding his considerable influence to pass it off as a simple drowning. This is done in spite of forensic reports that show, shortly before his death, David Hand participated in "consensual sexual relations" with another man. Letters from the dead boy, which the Army Intelligence Department "confiscates" from his sister's New York apartment, implicate Ry Slaight as the first-classman with whom David was in love. As General Hedges says, "You cannot have a murder without a murderer." He offers Slaight the opportunity to "go quietly" which means he would be washed out into the infantry and quickly bound for Vietnam. Professing his innocence in the matter, Slaight refuses the invitation at which point General Hedges threatens to court-martial him on a point of "honor." Enlisting the aid of Elizabeth Hand, the dead boy's sister, Slaight sets out to find the first-classman with whom her brother was involved -- the first- classman who killed her brother.

Dress Gray (1986) TV Movie
Cast: Alec Baldwin, Hal Holbrook, Lane Smith, Lloyd Bridges

Doubletake (1985) TV Movie

Two corpses are found in different locations with their heads severed and exchanged. Frank Janek is called on to head the team of detectives investigating. Meanwhile, Janek is trying to find out why an old friend and colleague committed suicide, which eventually leads to a romantic situation with photographer Caroline Wallace and the discovery of some major corruption among his superiors, all of which has little or nothing to do with the murder story.

Doubletake (1985) TV Movie
Cast: Beverly D'Angelo, Richard Crenna, Vincent Baggetta

Deliberate Stranger, The (1986) TV Movie

Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a law student and where other girls disappear. It takes the cooperation of a number of police forces to work efficiently on this case. Soon, but not soon enough, the police eliminate endless possibilities and close in on him. Bundy is tried in the media and his good-boy attitude brings him sympathy but also the hatred of many. Very good TV movie, there is a good rundown on wikipedia.

The Deliberate Stranger (1986) TV Movie
Cast: Frederic Forrest, Glynnis O'Connor, M. Emmet Walsh, Mark Harmon

Day the Bubble Burst, The (1982) TV Movie

A fictionalized account of how the 1929 stock market crash hurt the elite and the struggling, and the forces that may have caused the crash.

The Day the Bubble Burst (1982) TV Movie
Cast: Audra Lindley, Bill Macy, Dana Elcar, David Ogden Stiers, Donna Pescow, Franklin Cover, Laurette Spang, Richard Crenna, Robert Hays, Robert Vaughn, Rue McClanahan

Brotherhood of the Rose (1989) TV Movie

Romulus and Remus are two CIA agents, their direct instructor is John Elliott.

Based on a novel by David Morrell and filmed entirely in New Zealand, this terrific film is unabashedly old-fashioned escapist espionage fare. Peter Strauss and David Morse play polar-opposite CIA agents, code names Romulus and Remus. Their superior-and father figure-is crusty CIA official Robert Mitchum. Though Romulus and Remus are devoted to Mitchum, he is only concerned with the greater good of the service-a philosophy that has become despotic over the years. Now Mitchum has determined that Romulus is expendable. Escaping from CIA assassins, Romulus and Remus stumble into a vast rule-the-world conspiracy called The Brotherhood of the Rose. Also starring Connie Sellecca, James B. Sikking, M. Emmet Walsh, and Veronica Hamel.

Brotherhood of the Rose (1989) TV Movie
Cast: Peter Strauss, Robert Mitchum, Connie Sellecca, David Morse, James Sikking, M. Emmet Walsh, James Hong

Dadah Is Death (1988) TV Movie

On 9/12/83 two Australians were arrested at Penang Airport in Malaysia carrying 179 grams of heroin.

Great TV movie, immersive Fred Karlin score.

Dadah Is Death (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Fred Karlin, Hugo Weaving, John Polson, Julie Christie, Kerry Armstrong, Robin Ramsay, Sarah Jessica Parker, Shapoor Batliwalla, Victor Banerjee

Bluegrass (1988) TV Movie

Two-part TV movie that resurrected virtually every "racetrack" cliche known to man. Widowed Cheryl Ladd heads to Kentucky to start up a horse farm. Her wicked neighbor is Wayne Rogers who seeks Ladd's downfall. Faithful farm manager Brian Kerwin won't let Rogers stand in the way of Ladd's dream. Anthony Andrews hangs around as a Harlequin romance-style Irish rake with a dark secret. And what would a horse-farm movie be without Mickey Rooney? Part One of "Bluegrass" raised a stir upon its February 28, 1988 debut, with a brief shot of horses mating. But it was the foaling sequence in Part Two that really made the headlines. All tangled plotlines knot together in the second half of "Bluegrass". Part Two, first telecast on Leap Year day in 1988, Ladd literally bets the ranch on the Kentucky Derby, while mysterious Irish stranger Anthony Andrews reveals his (gasp!) terrible secret. One of the film's highlights was the genuine birth of a foal. The poor animal looked so shaky that the network issued an official statement insisting that the newborn horse survived. When the truth came out (the foal didn't make it), the producers were heartily condemned by animal activist groups -which may be why all current films bear the closing disclaimer about no animals being injured during shooting. "Bluegrass" was directed by Simon Wincer, who later helmed the epic miniseries "Lonesome Dove". ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Bluegrass (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Anthony Andrews, Brian Kerwin, Cheryl Ladd, Diane Ladd, Judith-Marie Bergan, Kieran Mulroney, Mickey Rooney, Shawnee Smith, Wayne Rogers

Body of Evidence (1988) TV Movie

Originally telecast the same evening as "A Father's Revenge" and "The Murder of Mary Phagan": January 24, 1988, which may well stand as one of the bloodiest evenings in TV history. The setting for "Body of Evidence" is a small cloistered Massachusetts town. When a serial killer begins decimating the female population, police inspector Tony Lo Bianco and forensic pathologist Barry Bostwick conduct an investigation. Only Bostwick's new wife Margot Kidder suspects that it is her seemingly benign husband who may be the murderer - and she's slower on the uptake than the viewers. Though set in New England, "Body of Evidence" was filmed in Calgary. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Body of Evidence (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Barry Bostwick, Margot Kidder

Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife (1987) TV Movie

Fashion designer Marian falls in love and marries attorney Edward. Her idyllic romance and marriage are shattered when she learns that Edward is the son of a powerful and feared mafia family. Edward's family begins to impose its illegal and dangerous activities upon Marian and her friends. When her best friend is murdered after confronting Edward's family, she wants out and begins to fight against the family's ominous power and reach. Corny but cool.

Blood Vows: The Story of a Mafia Wife (1987) TV Movie
Cast: Joe Penny, Melissa Gilbert

Blue Yonder, The (1985) TV Movie

Disney-esque charmer about a modern day youngster, obsessed with aviation as his daredevil grandfather had been, and determined to go back in time with the old-timer next door, ex-partner of the boy's granddad, to stop the long ago flyers' daring attempt to be the first across the Atlantic during the roaring '20s - a flight that cost him his life. Peter Coyote as the flyer, Art Carney as the aged, tale-spinning neighbor, and Huckleberry Fox as the boy who travels to 1927 in a time machine gave writer/director Mark Rosman's story, commissioned by The Disney Channel, the aura Uncle Walt would have loved. "The Blue Yonder" was retitled "Time Flyer" when it made its network debut on "The Disney Sunday Movie" in February 1986.

The Blue Yonder (1985) TV Movie
Cast: Art Carney, Huckleberry Fox, Peter Coyote

Blood & Orchids (1986) TV Movie

Four young Hawaiian men find Hester Murdoch on the beach naked, beaten and near death. When Hester's politically influential mother finds out what really happened, she fears a scandal and forces her daughter to blame her rescuers for the assault.

Blood & Orchids (1986) TV Movie
Cast: Kris Kristofferson, Madeleine Stowe, Sean Young

Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial (1996) (TV)

Documentary detailing the events surrounding the hearings held by the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1940s and 1950s to investigate alleged Communist infiltration in Hollywood. Uses interviews, archival footage and clips from Hollywood films.

Blacklist: Hollywood on Trial (1996) (TV)
Host: Alec Baldwin

Birth of the Beatles (1979)

Supposedly the Beatles tried to stop this film but it's not that bad considering they were casting for lookalikes rather than acting ability. Filmed in Liverpool, it follows the birth of the Beatles from their beginnings in Liverpool then to Hamburg and finally to America. A large focus of the film is on the days in Hamburg and Stu Sutcliffe. Pete Best was a technical consultant and the music is by the noted tribute band, "Rain". This is the only Beatle biopic made while John Lennon was alive.

Birth of the Beatles (1979)
Cast: Stephen MacKenna, Rod Culbertson, Ray Ashcroft, Ryan Michael, David Wilkinson, John Neville, Brian Jameson

Bigfoot (1987) TV Movie

A family goes to the mountains for a few days, and there they meet... Bigfoot!

Two young campers are confronted by a tribe of eight-foot ape-like creatures which have been the subject of many legends. After their first shock they discover that a ruthless hunter is determined to capture and exploit them. The kids enlist the aid of an anthropologist to save the creatures from harm.

Fun movie for kids but starring two Hollywood heavyweights for the adult viewers.

Bigfoot (1987) TV Movie
Cast: Colleen Dewhurst, Timothy Brown, Lucy Butler, Candace Cameron Bure, Jerry Chambers, Dianne Wiest

Between Two Women (1986) TV Movie

This story focuses on the changing relationship between two women, a mother and her daughter-in-law, over a 14 year span. The first (Colleen Dewhurst) is a domineering, self righteous and flamboyant former opera star who has alienated her son (Michael Nouri), a self-centered artist. His wife (Farrah Fawcett) is a bright school teacher, who has trouble dealing with either of the two. The film looks at the first meeting of the two women before the marriage and moves forward in time with the mother-in-law interfering in the couple's marriage to the point of causing a separation. However, 14 years after the initial meeting, the mother has a devastating stroke and it is the daughter-in-law who steps in to help her and strives to give her the courage to survive. The film is about the wasted time that exists with many human relationships. A beautiful movie, compassionate with a full story arc.

Between Two Women (1986) TV Movie
Cast: Colleen Dewhurst, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Nouri

Betty Ford Story, The (1987) TV Movie


Published: March 2, 1987

''The Betty Ford Story,'' on ABC tonight at 9, is one of those sui-generis television presentations that command attention more for their subject matter than their artistic merit. As a portrait of alcohol and prescription-drug addiction, the film is carefully subdued and, despite its messy subject, insistently tasteful. But as a glimpse into the private life of a former and very much admired First Lady of the United States, ''The Betty Ford Story'' is genuinely compelling and an unusual profile in courage. Holding it together, powerfully yet sensitively, is the performance of Gena Rowlands in the title role.

Based on Mrs. Ford's 1978 autobiography and on subsequent interviews with the Ford family, Karen Hall's script limits the television scenario to the last chapter of the book. The film opens in 1978 as Mrs. Ford enters the alcoholic rehabilitation center of a naval medical center in California. Shaken and wary, she still insists that she does not have a drinking problem. The scene returns to 1974, a time when Betty Ford was urging Vice President Gerald Ford (Josef Sommer) to retire from politics, only to be frustrated by the unfolding Watergate scandal. After Richard Nixon's resignation, Gerald Ford would be President and his family would be pushed further into the public glare. During the next four years, Mrs. Ford, already taking ''so many pills for so many aches,'' would sink gradually into serious addiction.

Along with Robert Papazian, David L. Wolper (''Roots'') is an executive producer. His son, Mark Wolper, is the producer. And the distinguished television veteran David Greene (''Friendly Fire,'' ''Fatal Vision'') is the director.

Care has clearly been taken. The underlying candor is modulated with an understandable respect for the woman concerned. Passing references are made to her earlier years, especially to her dancing ambitions. She obviously is a wife who has trouble adapting to the fact that, because of his career, her husband is required to devote enormous time away from home. When Mr. Ford decides to run for the Presidency in 1976, his wife complains: ''What am I going to do? Ask you not to run? You wouldn't bow out and you know it.''

In addition to suffering from arthritis, Mrs. Ford discovers she has breast cancer and has to undergo a mastectomy. Later, she will have to cope with two assassination attempts on her husband. Worn out by the demands of campaigning in yet another election, she finally begins retreating more into her own silent, alcohol-supported world. Her family is stunned to find merely human the woman they had always taken for granted as the gracious and unshakeable center of their world. Accepting that something has gone terribly wrong, they gather as a group and, with professional help in what is called an intervention process, bluntly insist that she seek help.

There are no ''Lost Weekend'' horrors in this depiction of an alcoholic. Mrs. Ford becomes noticeably haggard-looking and grows testy about criticism. We see her momentarily being clumsy or nodding off discreetly at public functions. But the more embarrassing incidents take place off camera. Her children talk of finding her passed out, or of her chipping a tooth in a fall. There is no doubt, however, about the seriousness of her problem, and when Mr. Ford does face the fact, the scene is tremendously moving as Ms. Rowlands, back to the camera, simply breaks into piercingly painful sobbing.

At the end of the film, Betty Ford appears herself, delivering a ''message of hope'' to those who may have similar problems and advising them to call Alcoholics Anonymous or the National Council on Alcoholism. Mrs. Ford, Gerald Ford and their family deserve unstinting respect for their courage, decency and exemplary concern for others.

The Betty Ford Story (1987) TV Movie
Cast: Gena Rowlands, Josef Sommer, Nan Woods, Concetta Tomei, Jack Radar, Joan McMurtrey, Kenneth Tigar, Laura Leigh Hughes, Daniel McDonald, Brian McNamara, Bradley Whitford, Michael Greene, Stanley Grover

Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (1988) TV Movie

The singular life of Beryl Markham - renowned aviatrix, author and adventurer - is depicted.

Raised by her father in colonial East Africa, Beryl hunted with the Maasai, bred thoroughbred horses, romanced Denys Finch-Hatton and defied constraining social rules. Based upon her own memoir 'West With the Night'.

Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Brian Cox, Claire Bloom, Frederic Forrest, Jack Thompson, James Fox, John Rubinstein, Joseph Mydell, Nicola Pagett, Peter Bowles, Rupert Frazer, Stefanie Powers

Battles: The Murder That Wouldn't Die (1980) TV Movie

Former Los Angeles police lieutenant Bill Battles is hired by Hawaii State University to not only become head of the campus police, but assistant coach in charge of special teams for the school's football team. However, a few days after he arrives, his brother Allan dies in a suspicious car accident. Bill then finds out that his brother was working on a forty year old murder mystery. With the aid of Allan's daughter Shelby, her quarterback boyfriend Deacon and the team's kicker, a hustler named Tuliosis, Bill continues his brother's investigation. However, Bill and his team might just become the killer's next victims. Unsold William Conrad pilot movie.

Battles: The Murder That Wouldn't Die (1980) TV Movie
Cast: William Conrad

Monday, February 16, 2009

Banyon (1971) TV Movie

Banyon is an A-number-one detective yarn set (very accurately) in the 1930s. Robert Forster, emulating John Garfield in virtually every scene, plays private eye Miles C. Banyon. Right now he's in dutch because a beautiful young woman has been found murdered--and Banyon's gun was the murder weapon. This state of affairs plunges the detective into a maelstrom of deceit and double-cross involving (among many elements) a Winchell-style radio commentator (Jose Ferrer), a paroled big-time gangster, a scar-faced assassin, and a Nazi Bund camp. Once he solves the main mystery, Banyon is faced with the unhappy Maltese Falcon task of exposing a close friend as a murderer. First telecast March 15, 1971, Banyon spawned a brief TV series one year later, with Robert Forster still in the lead. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Banyon (1971) TV Movie
Cast: Anjanette Comer, Darren McGavin, Herb Edelman, Hermione Gingold, José Ferrer, Robert Forster

Baby M (1988) TV Movie

Mary Beth Whitehead, the genetic mother, was artificially inseminated with William Stern's sperm, becoming surrogate mother of the child. Despite what was stated in the surrogacy contract, Mr. Stern's wife, Elizabeth, was not infertile, but rather she had multiple sclerosis and was concerned about potential health implications of carrying a child.
Mary Beth Whitehead later wrote a book about her experience. Additionally, an Emmy-award winning 1988 television movie about the case was featured, starring Jobeth Williams as Whitehead.

Baby M (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Bruce Weitz, Dabney Coleman, JoBeth Williams, John Shea, Robin Strasser

Ann Jillian Story, The (1988) TV Movie

Published: Monday, January 4, 1988

ANN JILLIAN has kept a tight rein on "The Ann Jillian Story," the television movie on NBC at 9 this evening. A year or more of skirmishing took place before Ms. Jillian settled on a teleplay by Audrey Davis Levin. Corey Allen is the director. And Ms. Jillian plays herself. The result is admirable in some ways, puzzling in others.

The film focuses on two key events in Ms. Jillian's life: her marriage to Andy Murcia, a Chicago policeman who eventually became her manager; and her battle with breast cancer, for which she had a double mastectomy in 1985. Ms. Jillian is obviously a determined woman. Since her widely publicized operation, she has returned to performing and is active in various cancer prevention programs.

The puzzling part of "The Ann Jillian Story" has to do with the performer's career. We see her in the first scenes as a kind of show-business gypsy, traveling wherever a song-and-dance gig can be found. But she is not, apparently, your ordinary chorine. She stays in luxury hotels, even when she is down to her last couple of dollars and eating nothing but pizza. When she finally sings for Sergeant Murcia, played by Tony Lo Bianco in what looks like an homage to Tony Danza, Ms. Jillian appears to be a kind of nightclub chanteuse, in the manner of Hildegard or Edith Piaf.

Later, she gets her big break in both the road and Broadway productions of 1979's "Sugar Babies," starring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller, who aren't even mentioned here. The show was, of course, an exuberant tribute to the irrepressible vulgarity of vaudeville and Ms. Jillian's success stemmed as much from her statuesque figure as from her ability to sing and dance. Not long after, however, she would quite capably play the lead in television's "Mae West Story." But that movie, another celebration of pop vulgarity, isn't mentioned here either. Instead, we get, at appropriate intervals, Ms. Jillian as elegant singing star. The casual viewer is likely to come away with the impression that she was the 1980's answer to Barbra Streisand.

Otherwise, "The Ann Jillian Story" fits neatly into the special television genre specializing in uplift and inspiration. The courtship of Ann and Andy is sometimes a bit stormy but always cute. They scream a lot but are clearly meant for each other. And she has other supports, most notably her Roman Catholic religion and her Lithuanian family. Her mother is especially protective, warning Andy that he had better be good to her baby. Giving the film an extra fillip, Mom is played by Viveca Lindfors, who makes sure she steals every scene in her immediate vicinity.

The subject of breast cancer is treated with admirable candor, from the initial discovery of suspicious lumps to the painful postoperative adjustments. Warmly, even ferociously supported by husband and family, Ms. Jillian survives the ordeal admirably. But there is another element in her recovery - her driving ambition. Fearing the loss of a job, she tells her doctors that she must get back to work 11 days after the cancer operation. She tells her television bosses, "Don't let me go to surgery without knowing that I have work to come back to." A good deal of the same determination can be sensed in the way she has shaped this film. In any event, she looks healthy and glamorous and turns in a remarkably gritty performance.

A version of this review appeared in print on Monday, January 4, 1988, on section C page 18 of the New York edition.

The Ann Jillian Story (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Ann Jillian, Tony Lo Bianco, Viveca Lindfors

Angel in My Pocket (1969)

A homespun minister (Andy Griffith) and his family move to a small town where he tries to win the support and trust of his new congregation. A wonderful family movie.

This is a Family Film Festival production and the very special in-studio guest is 1955 Miss America, Lee Meriwether.

Angel in My Pocket (1969)
Cast: Andy Griffith, Jerry Van Dyke, Kay Medford, Lee Meriwether, Henry Jones, Edgar Buchanan, Gary Collins, Jack Dodson, Margaret Hamilton, Bob Hastings

Ambush Murders, The (1982) TV Movie

The fact-based TV movie "The Ambush Murders" was adapted from a book by Ben Bradlee Jr.

The Ambush Murders (1982) TV Movie
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Amy Madigan, Cleavant Derricks, Clinton Derricks, Dorian Harewood, James Brolin, Louis Giambalvo, Marc Alaimo, Teddy Wilson

Alfie Darling (1975)

Alfie returns, up to his old womanizing ways, until he meets his match in sophisticated magazine editor Abby. His pursuit is complicated by his encounter with Norma and the fact that a jealous husband won't let him forget about his time with his wife Fay. Great follow up to the original and superstar Rula Lenska is just fabulous!

Alfie Darling (1975)
Cast: Alan Price, Jill Townsend, Joan Collins, Minah Bird, Paul Copley, Rula Lenska

Aaron's Way: The Harvest (1988) TV Movie

Aaron's son is killed in a car accident as he and his girlfriend are expecting their first child.

Aaron's Way: The Harvest (1988) TV Movie
Cast: Belinda Montgomery, Jessica Walter, Kathleen York, Merlin Olsen, Samantha Mathis

Merlin Olsen died a couple days ago. He was openly acknowledged as a great man and an avid humanitarian. No one didn't like Merlin Olsen. To me he was even more, he was a personal hero. The Los Angeles Rams were my childhood favorite football team. From 1970 forward until their departure in 1993, I was a "Number 1" fan. I no longer follow the NFL, and the Rams of old are a distant memory. But I will always be a "Number 1" fan of the great Merlin Olsen. RIP.

Year in the Life, A (1986) TV Mini-series

This show, "A Year in the Life" was a 1986 miniseries and a one hour dramatic series which ran on NBC during the 1987-1988 television season.

The series began as a three-part miniseries which was first broadcast in December 1986. As suggested by the title, the miniseries followed the various members of the Gardner family of Seattle during the course of one year. The major event of that year was the sudden and unexpected death of wife and mother Ruth Gardner (Eva Marie Saint). Great stuff, very engrossing with early look at some stars of today.

A Year in the Life (1986) TV Mini-series
Cast: Adam Arkin, Amanda Peterson, David Oliver, Diana Muldaur, Dirk Blocker, Eva Marie Saint, Jayne Atkinson, Richard Kiley, Sarah Jessica Parker, Scott Paulin, Trey Ames

Cry for Help, A: The Tracey Thurman Story (1989) TV Movie

Tracey Thurman was a real-life Connecticut housewife who, throughout her marriage, suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of her husband. The beatings culminate in a single bloody night when Buck Thurman stabs his estranged wife 13 times. She survives--barely--and Buck is arrested. Having failed to get proper protection from the local police force, Tracey successfully sued the officers in 1989. The long-range result was the Thurman Law, which called for mandatory arrests in wife-beating cases in Connecticut and several other states. Nancy McKeon, who plays Tracey Thurman in A Cry for Help, starred in the film in the hope that it would prevent Buck Thurman's early release from prison. A Cry For Help: The Tracy Thurman Story first aired on October 2, 1989; Thurman was scheduled for release in 1991. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story (1989) TV Movie
Cast: Bruce Weitz, Burton Collins, Dale Midkiff, David Ciminello, David Wohl, Graham Jarvis, Nancy McKeon, Philip Baker Hall, Priscilla Pointer, Seth Isler