Review: ‘Improper Channels’

Alan Arkin puts his hapless schnook characterization to good use in Improper Channels. It's a screwball comedy that starts slowly, shifts into overdrive, peters out a bit halfway through and then gets its second wind for a fast-paced, down-with-the-computer finish.

Alan Arkin puts his hapless schnook characterization to good use in Improper Channels. It’s a screwball comedy that starts slowly, shifts into overdrive, peters out a bit halfway through and then gets its second wind for a fast-paced, down-with-the-computer finish.

He’s an architect, separated from his writer spouse (Mariette Hartley) and precocious five-year-old daughter (Sarah Stevens). And one thing leads to another; the daughter is injured slightly in his camper and when taken to hospital she is thought to have been beaten by her father.

A domineering social worker (Monica Parker) has a computer expert call up all available information on Arkin and the daughter is bundled off by court order to an orphanage. Arkin and Hartley attempt to get her back.

Eric Till’s direction is surefire most of the time, though he’s let down by a script that wants to do too much. Pic was shot under the title of Proper Channels and was changed for reasons not explained.

Improper Channels

Canada

Production

Paragon. Director Eric Till; Producer Morrie Ruvinsky, Alfred Pariser; Screenplay Morrie Ruvinsky, Ian Sutherland, Adam Arkin; Camera Tony Richmond; Music Mickey Erbe, Maribeth Solomon; Art Director Minkey Dalton, Charles Dunlop

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Alan Arkin Mariette Hartley Sarah Stevens Monica Parker Harry Ditson
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