The Eye web has another femme-skewing winner for its Sunday night telepic power slot. “Beauty,” a contemporized version of the familiar tale “Beauty and the Beast” throws out enough romance and spunk (in the character of Janine Turner), lush production values and tragedy to keep “Touched by an Angel’s” fans tuned in. The slick production may not be great art, but this “Beauty” is no beast.
Painter Alix Miller (Turner) and her painter dad, Alexander, (Hal Holbrook) form a kind of Wyeth family life. When wealthy Lee Crompton (Jamey Sheridan) commissions the elder Miller to paint his portrait, ailing Dad sends Alix up to the sprawling Crompton estate. After all, the Millers have been painting the Cromptons for generations.
At first, Lee begs off from meeting Alix, and then it’s revealed why: He suffers from a disfiguring disease, and is practically a hermit in his grand manse. Alix, of course, being a painter, must see beyond the surface and capture Lee’s true self.
Teleplay by Selma Thompson does a nice job of putting a ’90s edge on the tale, although in the fast-paced script Alix seems a tad too open-minded in accepting the outer and inner qualities of her “beast.” But why not? Sheridan’s Lee seems quite a catch despite his disfigurement, which isn’t all that horrific: He sports a long golden mane and leonine features that are hardly Elephant Man-like.
Turner and Sheridan exhibit a believable chemistry, and Jerry London’s pro direction keeps “Beauty” watchable, bobbing just above sugary melodrama.
Rest of tech credits are tops.