Review: ‘One Woman’s Courage’

Routine pic combines themes of woman-in-jeopardy and woman-whose-home-life-is-falling-apart. Story is pretty generic; biggest shock (at least to old-timers in audience) may be sight of Patty Duke cast as a grandmother.

Routine pic combines themes of woman-in-jeopardy and woman-whose-home-life-is-falling-apart. Story is pretty generic; biggest shock (at least to old-timers in audience) may be sight of Patty Duke cast as a grandmother.

Grace McKenna (Duke) is introduced as an alcoholic, whose marriage to PR man Craig (Dennis Farina) is on the edge. Driving home one night, Grace witnesses a mugging. Before long, killer Wallace Bremer — the standard Hollywood psychotic, played by Keith Szarabajka — is soon on her trail, terrorizing her in a number of inventive (if unlikely) settings.

In the meantime, her marriage crumbles entirely, just in time for her to catch the eye of conveniently single police Lt. Bill Lawson (James Farentino).

Character-building experiences empower Grace, who by fadeout is a better woman with all her problems solved.

Characters are cardboard, though well enough played. Margot Kidder has a virtual cameo as Grace’s best friend, and Jo Anderson shines briefly as seemingly omniscient defense attorney in court scenes that may be inspired by the Menendez trial.

This trial, incidentally, is deemed significant enough by somebody to be telecast on something called “Judicial TV,” perhaps the first reference to Court TV in a teledrama.

Also appearing are Debra Sharkey and Titus Welliver as Grace’s thankless daughter and son-in-law; and Geoffrey Blake as her good son, the artist just in from Italy.

Interesting aspect of John Steven Owen’s script is its depiction of religion as a part of Grace’s and Lawson’s everyday life, something one doesn’t see often on network TV.

One Woman's Courage

(Mon. (28), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

Production

Filmed in Southern California by Bonnie Raskin Prods. in association with NBC Prods. Executive producer, Bonnie Raskin; producer, Frank Fischer; director, Charles Robert Carner; script, John Steven Owen.

Crew

Camera, John R. Leonetti; editor, Jim McElroy; sound, Bill Teague; music, John M. Keane; production designer, John Myhre.

Cast

Cast: Patty Duke, James Farentino, Keith Szarabajka, Dennis Farina, Margot Kidder, Geoffrey Blake, Debra Sharkey, Titus Welliver, Jo Anderson, Hattie Winston, Mary Donnelly-Haskell, Sarah Freeman, Courtland Mead, Casey Biggs, Marjean Holden, Darrell Kunitomi, John Ducey, Steve Elkins, Jose Rey, William Fair, Carl Gilliard, Juan Riojas, Ed Cambridge, Angelina Estrada, George Fisher, Giannina Toaxen, Ren Hanami, Ronald R. Rondell Jr.
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