This attempt is foiled by her attorney (William Russ) and the state police. The second try is successful: Father and son go deep into hiding in Oregon and the search is on.
The mother-in-law — given a wicked turn by Anne Francis — has always been jealous of Lael and aids and abets her son. Finally, his g.f. gives up some info and Lael breaks the law to find a clue that leads to Mexico, where a cholera epidemic has decimated the child population and she finds Ace’s grave. Is it real or just a decoy?
Along the way, she and her lawyer become romantically involved almost by default, and she’s arrested after mistaking a kid playing Toto in a production of “The Wizard of Oz” for Ace.
Hartman-Black isn’t able to muster anything spectacular from her own acting bag, but the perf is pretty even-keeled, considering.
Ditto for director Paul Schneider — lots of ground is covered but there’s no dramatic oscillation. The most viewers will take away from Vivienne Radkoff’s script is a sentiment expressed by the attorney, who avoids divorces because “People aren’t nice to each other.”
But more confrontations between husband and wife and some glimpses of how the boy is being treated (or mistreated) might have heightened sympathy.
Tech-wise, Vancouver sets and scenery are nice, while not much in the Mexico scenes rings true.
And, incidentally, the title comes froma poster, not a milk carton.