Host: Lynette Walden.
DEAD-END FOR DELIA
Director, Phil Joanou. Writer, Scott Frank, based on a William Campbell Gault story. Camera, Declan Quinn; editor, Stan Salfas.
Cast: Gary Oldman, Gabrielle Anwar, Meg Tilly, Patrick Masset, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Paul Guilfoyle, Dan Heedaya, Thomas Kopache, Wayne Knight, Frank Taglia, John Putch, Alpheus Merchant, Jason Adams, Scott Weintraub.
I’LL BE WAITING
Director, Tom Hanks. Writer, C. Gaby Mitchell, based on a Raymond Chandler story. Camera, Emmanuel Lubezki; editor, David Siegel.
Cast: Bruno Kirby, Marg Helgenberger, Dan Hedaya, Jon Polito, Peter Scolari, Tom Hanks, Dick Miller.
THE QUIET ROOM
Director, Steven Soderbergh. Writer, Howard A. Rodman, based on a Jonathan Craig story. Camera, Declan Quinn; editor, Stan Salfas.
Cast: Joe Mantegna, Bonnie Bedelia, Vinessa Shaw, J.E. Freeman, Peter Gallagher, Genia Michaela, athy Kinney, Patrick Breen, Wayne Grace, Hank Stone, Norman Large.
Three half-hour dramas based on 1940s-type tough murder mysteries are adventurous programming. Of the three airing in August — there’ll be three more in September — one’s strong, another’s commercial, another’s overdone.
Programs, shown on succeeding Sundays, forsake black-and-white authenticity for color. Production designer Armin Ganz inventively uses L.A. sites.
Phil Joanou’s segment falls over itself in an effort to be a period piece. Up to its wide lapels in short whiskeys and tight-lipped men, stuck with stilted blocking, artsy “Dead-End for Delia” turns up DOA.
Gabrielle Anwar as the deceased Delia is a travesty of a temptress, and Joanou leaves the hapless Gary Oldman to contend with a deadpan straight role.
In “I’ll Be Waiting,” scripter C. Gaby Mitchell creates a sleek adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 tale. The period touches, including the use of the Ambassador Hotel, provide a mesmerizing look at the fictional L.A. underworld. Director Tom Hanks serves up strong drama with energy and flair.
His top-flight cast performs admirably. Marg Helgenberger shows how sophistication’s a year-in, year-out commodity. Bruno Kirby’s in top form as a hotel dick; Hanks appears briefly as a goateed menace.
“The Quiet Room,” Howard A. Rodman’s adaptation of a contrived 1952 Jonathan Craig story, is a good, commercial entry. Bonnie Bedelia turns in another of her strong interps as Joe Mantegna’s cop partner and Mantegna’s totally convincing. Director Steven Soderbergh keeps a sharp eye on mood and detail.