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Home Fires Burning

CANNES--This adaptation of Chris Ceraso's play, though shot on location in Pocahontas, Va., still smacks of the theater. Though it packs an undeniable emotional punch, pic comes across as overwritten and contrived as a cinema experience.

With:
Glory ... Karen Allen Mark Harnish ... Raymond J. Barry Clifford Harnish ... Michael Dolan Martha Harnish ... Tess Harper April Cavanaugh ... Gillian Anderson

CANNES–This adaptation of Chris Ceraso’s play, though shot on location in Pocahontas, Va., still smacks of the theater. Though it packs an undeniable emotional punch, pic comes across as overwritten and contrived as a cinema experience.

The theme is an important one: The resurgence of grassroots fascism is a worldwide phenomenon, and Ceraso and adaptor/director L.A. Puopolo depict the disturbing trend in forceful terms.

Twenty-two-year-old Cliford Harnish (Michael Dolan) returns home after a long time away. He discovers that his mother, Martha (Tess Harper), lonely and frustrated, has taken to the bottle; and that his father, Mark (Raymond J. Barry) has taken up with another woman, Glory (Karen Allen).

Pausing to dally with childhood sweetheart April (newcomer Gillian Anderson in an attractive debut), the deply right-wing Clifford, who has been involved in both Klan and Nazi organizations during his time away, comes on to Glory in her home and threatens violence against her unless she ends the relationship with his father.

Dolan makes the good-looking, all-American Clifford a genuinely scary character and the rest of the cast deliver strong performances also.

Pic’s resolution comes as an anticlimax, since the audience has been lead to anticipate an act of cathartic violence that never occurs. This will limit the pic’s appeal somewhat, though it will make absorbing home-screen viewing.

Film is technically fine except for the very obvious intrusion of sound boom visible in a couple of shots.

Home Fires Burning

(Drama--Color)

Production: A William B. O'Boyle presentation of a White Deer/L.A. Puopolo production. Intl. sales: Overseas Film Group. Produced and directed by Puopolo. Co-producer, O'Boyle. Screenplay, Puopolo, Chris Ceraso, based on Ceraso's play.

Crew: Camera (color), J. Michael McClary; editor, Lesley Topping; music, Herb Pilhofer; production design, Mike Moran; sound, Mike Tromer; line producer, Christian Verges; associate producer/production manager/assistant director, Matthew Carlisle; casting, Deborah Brown. Reviewed at Cannes Film Fest (Market), May 12, 1992. Running time: 103 minutes.

With: Glory ... Karen Allen Mark Harnish ... Raymond J. Barry Clifford Harnish ... Michael Dolan Martha Harnish ... Tess Harper April Cavanaugh ... Gillian Anderson

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