The Member of the Wedding

The Member of the Wedding (Wed. (29), 9-11 p.m., USA) Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Gideon Prods., Hallmark Entertainment and USA Pictures. Exec producer, Victoria Riskin; producer-writer, David W. Rintels; based on novel by Carson McCullers; director, Fielder Cook; camera, Eric Van Haren Noman; editor, Paul MaMastra; art director, Linwood Taylor; sound, Carl Rudisill; music, Laurence Rosenthal; "How Long is Loneliness," music, Rosenthal, lyrics, Dennis Spegel; sung by Willow Wray; production designer, Veronica Hadfield; casting, Amy Lieberman; North Carolina casting, Jo Doster. Cast: Alfre Woodard, Anna Paquin, Corey Dunn, Enrico Colantoni, Anne Tremko, Matt McGrath, Alfred Wiggins, Joanne Pankow, Jack Landry, Maggie Marshall, Andrew Stahl, Stephanie Griffin, James J. Pence Jr., Pat Hingle, Lou Criscuolo. Narrator: Maggie Marshall. Producer-writer David W. Rintels dusts off Carson McCullers' short, delicate 1946 novel about motherless 12-year-old tomboy Frankie (Anna Paquin) and her friends, housekeeper Berenice (Alfre Woodard) and Frankie's cousin, 6-year-old John Henry (Corey Dunn). McCullers' story has triumphantly withstood any inroads of time and history; this uneven production's another, if less subtle, way of looking at it. Rintels' teleplay opens the story to include parts of Frankie's downtown odyssey and moves the wedding to another burg. John Henry is diminished, too. Symmetry is replaced by a faster pace than either the 1950 play or the 1952 film, but it's a clear enough illustration of the novel. It's Georgia 1944, and Frankie, bursting with adolescence, leaps into sight at a carny cussing at some neighborhood club girls who've rejected her. Back home, in the well-worn kitchen with Berenice and John Henry, Frankie starts her talking of older brother Jarvis (Matt McGrath), a GI who is going to marry Janice Williams (Anne Tremko) next Saturday at Janice's home over in Winter Hill. Not only is Frankie for it, Frankie's piping up a dream that'll take her off with the newly marrieds forever. Her lonely "I" will be included within their "we," as novelist McCullers puts it. Director Fielder Cook doesn't miss a beat as Frankie dazzles herself with her fancies. Swept up in the far-flung fantasy, Frankie heads for town to tell strangers of what she's sure is her impending departure. Janice is overwhelmingly sweet to her, and Frankie thinks she's wonderful. In town Frankie meets a red-headed soldier (Jack Landris) at the Blue Moon Hotel barroom. And this soldier, having had plenty to drink, buys her a beer and asks for a date that night. The rest of the action between Frankie and the soldier should have been narrated, not dramatized: Visually the encounter doesn't wash. The kitchen sequences, short- circuited, have reduced John Henry's role. Woodard's reading of Berenice's recollections of her first husband is lovely. Though she's a friend on whom Frankie depends, Berenice has a different agenda --- she's less maternal, an attractive woman, kind, but brisk and sharp. There are insightful flashes: Frankie's warning about a pistol or the crushing moment when Frankie models the dress she's bought to wear to the wedding. Cook finds both the pathos and wry humor in such moments. The tender passage where Berenice comforts Frankie after a whirlwind tirade plays like a welcome calm after a storm, though Paquin does look awkward sitting on Woodard's lap. It's here that John Henry gathers in close, but his headache is what's troubling him, and that's about that for his impending illness. Telefilm misses the dramatic punch of Berenice regretting that she didn't comfort the ailing John Henry when she had a chance. Woodard, with an assured interpretation of her role as Rintels has written it, makes Berenice purposeful --- a buffer for the emerging Frankie. This Berenice is hipper, if not wiser, than the book's. Paquin works her tough part with her own distinct interp, but the nuances of Frankie turning into F. Jasmine are missing. What does work is Frankie forcing her way into the honeymoon auto. It's a painful sight, and it's Cook's most effective achievement in the disappointing vidaptation. Corey Dunn, making his thesping bow as John Henry, is pert but, with the shrinkage of the part, John Henry's abbreviated presence loses its poignancy. Enrico Colantoni's first rate as Frankie's jeweler father. And Pat Hingle is a welcome sight as a police officer rescuing Frankie from herself. Production designer Veronica Hadfield shows insight and flair in the kitchen, in the Blue Moon barroom and in the house where the marriage is performed. Peggy Farrell's costumes are superior, and Eric Van Haren Noman's camerawork glows. Paul LaMastra's editing intelligently propels the action, and Laurence Rosenthal's score is appropriate. --- Tony Scott

With:
Cast: Alfre Woodard, Anna Paquin, Corey Dunn, Enrico Colantoni, Anne Tremko, Matt McGrath, Alfred Wig-gins, Joanne Pankow, Jack Landry, Maggie Marshall, Andrew Stahl, Stephanie Griffin, James J. Pence Jr., Pat Hingle, Lou Criscuolo.

The Member of the Wedding (Wed. (29), 9-11 p.m., USA) Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Gideon Prods., Hallmark Entertainment and USA Pictures. Exec producer, Victoria Riskin; producer-writer, David W. Rintels; based on novel by Carson McCullers; director, Fielder Cook; camera, Eric Van Haren Noman; editor, Paul MaMastra; art director, Linwood Taylor; sound, Carl Rudisill; music, Laurence Rosenthal; “How Long is Loneliness,” music, Rosenthal, lyrics, Dennis Spegel; sung by Willow Wray; production designer, Veronica Hadfield; casting, Amy Lieberman; North Carolina casting, Jo Doster. Cast: Alfre Woodard, Anna Paquin, Corey Dunn, Enrico Colantoni, Anne Tremko, Matt McGrath, Alfred Wiggins, Joanne Pankow, Jack Landry, Maggie Marshall, Andrew Stahl, Stephanie Griffin, James J. Pence Jr., Pat Hingle, Lou Criscuolo. Narrator: Maggie Marshall. Producer-writer David W. Rintels dusts off Carson McCullers’ short, delicate 1946 novel about motherless 12-year-old tomboy Frankie (Anna Paquin) and her friends, housekeeper Berenice (Alfre Woodard) and Frankie’s cousin, 6-year-old John Henry (Corey Dunn). McCullers’ story has triumphantly withstood any inroads of time and history; this uneven production’s another, if less subtle, way of looking at it. Rintels’ teleplay opens the story to include parts of Frankie’s downtown odyssey and moves the wedding to another burg. John Henry is diminished, too. Symmetry is replaced by a faster pace than either the 1950 play or the 1952 film, but it’s a clear enough illustration of the novel. It’s Georgia 1944, and Frankie, bursting with adolescence, leaps into sight at a carny cussing at some neighborhood club girls who’ve rejected her. Back home, in the well-worn kitchen with Berenice and John Henry, Frankie starts her talking of older brother Jarvis (Matt McGrath), a GI who is going to marry Janice Williams (Anne Tremko) next Saturday at Janice’s home over in Winter Hill. Not only is Frankie for it, Frankie’s piping up a dream that’ll take her off with the newly marrieds forever. Her lonely “I” will be included within their “we,” as novelist McCullers puts it. Director Fielder Cook doesn’t miss a beat as Frankie dazzles herself with her fancies. Swept up in the far-flung fantasy, Frankie heads for town to tell strangers of what she’s sure is her impending departure. Janice is overwhelmingly sweet to her, and Frankie thinks she’s wonderful. In town Frankie meets a red-headed soldier (Jack Landris) at the Blue Moon Hotel barroom. And this soldier, having had plenty to drink, buys her a beer and asks for a date that night. The rest of the action between Frankie and the soldier should have been narrated, not dramatized: Visually the encounter doesn’t wash. The kitchen sequences, short- circuited, have reduced John Henry’s role. Woodard’s reading of Berenice’s recollections of her first husband is lovely. Though she’s a friend on whom Frankie depends, Berenice has a different agenda — she’s less maternal, an attractive woman, kind, but brisk and sharp. There are insightful flashes: Frankie’s warning about a pistol or the crushing moment when Frankie models the dress she’s bought to wear to the wedding. Cook finds both the pathos and wry humor in such moments. The tender passage where Berenice comforts Frankie after a whirlwind tirade plays like a welcome calm after a storm, though Paquin does look awkward sitting on Woodard’s lap. It’s here that John Henry gathers in close, but his headache is what’s troubling him, and that’s about that for his impending illness. Telefilm misses the dramatic punch of Berenice regretting that she didn’t comfort the ailing John Henry when she had a chance. Woodard, with an assured interpretation of her role as Rintels has written it, makes Berenice purposeful — a buffer for the emerging Frankie. This Berenice is hipper, if not wiser, than the book’s. Paquin works her tough part with her own distinct interp, but the nuances of Frankie turning into F. Jasmine are missing. What does work is Frankie forcing her way into the honeymoon auto. It’s a painful sight, and it’s Cook’s most effective achievement in the disappointing vidaptation. Corey Dunn, making his thesping bow as John Henry, is pert but, with the shrinkage of the part, John Henry’s abbreviated presence loses its poignancy. Enrico Colantoni’s first rate as Frankie’s jeweler father. And Pat Hingle is a welcome sight as a police officer rescuing Frankie from herself. Production designer Veronica Hadfield shows insight and flair in the kitchen, in the Blue Moon barroom and in the house where the marriage is performed. Peggy Farrell’s costumes are superior, and Eric Van Haren Noman’s camerawork glows. Paul LaMastra’s editing intelligently propels the action, and Laurence Rosenthal’s score is appropriate. — Tony Scott

The Member of the Wedding

Wed. (29), 9-11 p.m., USA

Production: Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Gideon Prods., Hallmark Entertainment and USA Pictures. Exec producer, Victoria Riskin; producer-writer, David W. Rintels; based on novel by Carson McCullers; director, Fielder Cook;

Crew: Camera, Eric Van Haren Noman; editor, Paul MaMastra; art director, Linwood Taylor; sound, Carl Rudisill; music, Laurence Rosenthal; "How Long is Loneliness," music, Rosenthal, lyrics, Dennis Spegel; sung by Willow Wray; production designer, Veronica Hadfield; casting, Amy Lieberman; North Carolina casting, Jo Doster.

Cast: Cast: Alfre Woodard, Anna Paquin, Corey Dunn, Enrico Colantoni, Anne Tremko, Matt McGrath, Alfred Wig-gins, Joanne Pankow, Jack Landry, Maggie Marshall, Andrew Stahl, Stephanie Griffin, James J. Pence Jr., Pat Hingle, Lou Criscuolo.Narrator: Maggie Marshall.

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