A Kiss to Die for

Leisurely paced romantic thriller "A Kiss to Die For" turns in a surprise or two, thanks to a fine "Is she or isn't she" performance by Mimi Rogers.

Leisurely paced romantic thriller “A Kiss to Die For” turns in a surprise or two, thanks to a fine “Is she or isn’t she” performance by Mimi Rogers.

Ali Broussard (Rogers) is a decorator who encounters psychology prof William Tauber (Tim Matheson) on a train; by the time the Pullman enters a tunnel, the two are having a passionate physical encounter.

Tauber’s excuse is that he’s still trying to get over the death of his wife.

Concurrently, Det. Mike Stoller (William Forsythe) and his partner (Carlos Gomez) investigate a series of murders, possibly the work of a prostitute who calls herself “Bedroom Eyes.”

Well into the film, the possibility emerges that “Bedroom Eyes” and Ali are the same person. And if they aren’t, who is the murderer?

Deborah Dalton’s script and Leon Ichaso’s direction concentrate more on atmosphere than action, though there are a few fairly graphic sex and murder scenes.

Dialogue is occasionally rather literary –“Had you been gone a month, I might have done something desperate, or, perhaps, regrettable”– and once or twice tends to the overwrought: “If you feel that in order to be with me now, today, you have to tell me about yesterday, then tell me. Tell me what you have to tell me.”

But it’s all in line with the overall feeling.

The telling of the story is so effective that the solution — and, especially , the murderer’s cliched motivation — are a bit anticlimactic, not to mention protracted.

Performances are topnotch all-around, especially Forsythe as sandpaper-voiced , laconic gumshoe and Carroll Baker as the world-weary widow of a murder victim.

Costume designer Deena Appel’s black leather outfit for “Bedroom Eyes” deserves some kind of an award of its own.

A Kiss to Die for

(Mon. (6), 9-11 p.m., NBC)

  • Production: Filmed in Atlanta by the Polone Co. in association with Hearst Entertainment. Executive producer, Judith A. Polone; producer, Kimberly Myers; director, Leon Ichaso; script, Deborah Dalton.
  • Crew: Camera, Jeffrey Jur; editor, Gary Karr; production designer, Michael Helmy; sound, Steve Aaron; music, George S. Clinton.
  • Cast: Cast: Tim Matheson, Mimi Rogers, William Forsythe, Carlos Gomez, Carroll Baker, Roy Tatum, Eddie Billups, Tommy Creswell, Nina Jones, Chris Boyd, Susie Spear, Johnny Popwell, Challen Cates, J. Don Ferguson, Deborah Hobart, Shilla Benning, David Prather, Orestes Matacena, Elizabeth Omilani.