Once You Meet a Stranger

Once You Meet a Stranger (Wed.(25), 9-1l p.m., CBS)Filmed in Southern California by Michael Filerman Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producer, Michael Filerman; producer, Phil Parlow; co-producer, Tom Fortuna; director, Tommy Lee Wallace; writers, Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde, Wallace; TV story-adapter, Whitfield Cook; based on Strangers on a Train screenplay by Chandler, Ormonde, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith; camera, Steven Poster; editor, Paul Dixon; production designer, Leslie Parson; sound, Peter Bentley; music, Peter Manning Robinson; casting, Irene Mariano.Cast: Jacqueline Bisset, Theresa Russell, Robert Desiderio, Nick Mancuso, Matthew Thomas Carey, Andi Chapman, Peter Haskell, Arthur Taxier, Celeste Holm, Richard Doyle, Mimi Kennedy , Gretchen Wyler, Anne Gee Byrd, Sheila Kay, Mark Kelly, Mark McGrath, Hansford Rowe, Neil Vipond, Art Bonilla, Kathryn Dora Brown, Gregory Buckman, Daniel Chodod, Greg Collins, Brandy Jordan, Symba Smith, Nils Allen Stewart, Raymond D. Turner, Jennie Vaughn. Distaff take on Alfred Hitchcocks 1951 Strangers on a Train gives the admirable Jacqueline Bisset a shot at playing Sheila, a put-upon TV celeb, whos approached on an L.A.-Frisco choo-choo by pushy, rude traveler Margo, played twitchingly by Theresa Russell. Sheila should have flown.Margo unconvincingly entices Sheila into her compartment to dine and chat. Sheilas on her way to see her husband to finalize their divorce, while Margo chatters on about her wealthy, strict, horrific mother (handsomely played by Gretchen Wyler) , but doesnt mention the possibility of sending her back to that sanitarium.Margo talks about knocking off Sheilas uncooperative hubby, and states that Sheila should take care of mummy, thus each would have a sure alibi. Sheila doesnt take the idea seriously; however, Margo, sure shes onto something, kills Sheilas hubby in a disco. She demands her payback.Plot goes pretty much as before there was a 1969 remake of Strangers so thin nobody could see it but without the humor or suspense.Bisset doesnt always seem interested in her role, but when she is, shes a champ. Director Tommy Lee Wallace permits Russell a couple of slightly mad scenes that dont work. He conjures up little of the tension needed to carry the bizarre plan so ingeniously concocted by feature scripters Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde, working from Patricia Highsmiths book.Robert Desiderio serves well enough as Andy, Sheilas amiable, stable fella. A welcome Celeste Holm charms as his mother. Mimi Kennedy turns up as an unhelpful drunk on a train, but there isnt much even she can do with that one. Richard Doyle does a good job playing Margos tilted dad, and Peter Haskells all pro as a police captain.Whitfield Goods adaptation bravely and occasionally imaginatively tries to establish new tension and darker moods, and sometimes it finds a scary passage. But convictions missing, since Margos behavior is so overbearing right from the start. Perhaps the males (Farley Granger, Robert Walker in the feature version) are, after all, deadlier than the females.The geographics are sometimes puzzling. Sheilas husband is in Santa Mira (for the most part, filmed in Pasadena), and she stops off to see him on her way to San Francisco on a business deal. Margos flitting up and down the state, but how and when arent clear.Program does look good, and the vidpic has strong moments, such as Sheila prowling through Margos dark mansion, or Margo semi-threatening a party guest (Hansford Rowe). But the windup back at that disco is a botch.Production designer Leslie Parson uses interesting locales the Pasadena City Hall and its train station, the El Rey Theater on Wilshire Boulevard and, of course, Union Station and train interiors.Steven Posters lensing and Paul Dixons editing splendidly fill the bill, as does Peter Manning Robinsons score.Tony Scott

Once You Meet a Stranger (Wed.(25), 9-1l p.m., CBS)Filmed in Southern California by Michael Filerman Prods. and Warner Bros. TV. Executive producer, Michael Filerman; producer, Phil Parlow; co-producer, Tom Fortuna; director, Tommy Lee Wallace; writers, Raymond Chandler, Czenzi Ormonde, Wallace; TV story-adapter, Whitfield Cook; based on Strangers on a Train screenplay by Chandler, Ormonde, from the novel by Patricia Highsmith; camera, Steven Poster; editor, Paul Dixon; production designer, Leslie Parson; sound, Peter Bentley; music, Peter Manning Robinson; casting, Irene Mariano.Cast: Jacqueline Bisset, Theresa Russell, Robert Desiderio, Nick Mancuso, Matthew Thomas Carey, Andi Chapman, Peter Haskell, Arthur Taxier, Celeste Holm, Richard Doyle, Mimi Kennedy , Gretchen Wyler, Anne Gee Byrd, Sheila Kay, Mark Kelly, Mark McGrath, Hansford Rowe, Neil Vipond, Art Bonilla, Kathryn Dora Brown, Gregory Buckman, Daniel Chodod, Greg Collins, Brandy Jordan, Symba Smith, Nils Allen Stewart, Raymond D. Turner, Jennie Vaughn. Distaff take on Alfred Hitchcocks 1951 Strangers on a Train gives the admirable Jacqueline Bisset a shot at playing Sheila, a put-upon TV celeb, whos approached on an L.A.-Frisco choo-choo by pushy, rude traveler Margo, played twitchingly by Theresa Russell. Sheila should have flown.Margo unconvincingly entices Sheila into her compartment to dine and chat. Sheilas on her way to see her husband to finalize their divorce, while Margo chatters on about her wealthy, strict, horrific mother (handsomely played by Gretchen Wyler) , but doesnt mention the possibility of sending her back to that sanitarium.Margo talks about knocking off Sheilas uncooperative hubby, and states that Sheila should take care of mummy, thus each would have a sure alibi. Sheila doesnt take the idea seriously; however, Margo, sure shes onto something, kills Sheilas hubby in a disco. She demands her payback.Plot goes pretty much as before there was a 1969 remake of Strangers so thin nobody could see it but without the humor or suspense.Bisset doesnt always seem interested in her role, but when she is, shes a champ. Director Tommy Lee Wallace permits Russell a couple of slightly mad scenes that dont work. He conjures up little of the tension needed to carry the bizarre plan so ingeniously concocted by feature scripters Raymond Chandler and Czenzi Ormonde, working from Patricia Highsmiths book.Robert Desiderio serves well enough as Andy, Sheilas amiable, stable fella. A welcome Celeste Holm charms as his mother. Mimi Kennedy turns up as an unhelpful drunk on a train, but there isnt much even she can do with that one. Richard Doyle does a good job playing Margos tilted dad, and Peter Haskells all pro as a police captain.Whitfield Goods adaptation bravely and occasionally imaginatively tries to establish new tension and darker moods, and sometimes it finds a scary passage. But convictions missing, since Margos behavior is so overbearing right from the start. Perhaps the males (Farley Granger, Robert Walker in the feature version) are, after all, deadlier than the females.The geographics are sometimes puzzling. Sheilas husband is in Santa Mira (for the most part, filmed in Pasadena), and she stops off to see him on her way to San Francisco on a business deal. Margos flitting up and down the state, but how and when arent clear.Program does look good, and the vidpic has strong moments, such as Sheila prowling through Margos dark mansion, or Margo semi-threatening a party guest (Hansford Rowe). But the windup back at that disco is a botch.Production designer Leslie Parson uses interesting locales the Pasadena City Hall and its train station, the El Rey Theater on Wilshire Boulevard and, of course, Union Station and train interiors.Steven Posters lensing and Paul Dixons editing splendidly fill the bill, as does Peter Manning Robinsons score.Tony Scott

Once You Meet a Stranger

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