×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC Monday Night at the Movies Black Widow Murders: The Blanche Taylor Moore Story

Elizabeth Montgomery is back in fighting form -- slim, smart and commanding centerstage -- as the real-life Blanche Taylor Moore, who killed a number of men with poison in the 1980s. Montgomery and director Alan Metzger turn Judith Paige Mitchell's script into an absorbing study of a determined woman who admits that, if she had money, there'd be no men in her life; her attempts to live by that code should give NBC a healthy boost in the sweeps derby.

With:
Cast: Elizabeth Montgomery, David Clennon, John M. Jackson, Grace Zabriskie, Bruce McGill, Mark Rolston, Guy Boyd, John Philbin, Phoebe Augustine, Matt Ryan, Katy Boyer, Tom Wood, Paul Collins, David Wells, Lisa Blake Richards, E.R. Davies, Henry Brown, Lynn Llewelyn, Stephen Root, Tim Halligan, Patricia Belcher , Heather Lind, Wendy Way, Peggy Mannix, E.E. Bell, Michael Chieffo, Rick Scarry , Douglas Roberts, Rick Hall, Erika Rosenzweig, Michael Shamus Wiles, Wynn Reichert, Walter Beery.

Elizabeth Montgomery is back in fighting form — slim, smart and commanding centerstage — as the real-life Blanche Taylor Moore, who killed a number of men with poison in the 1980s. Montgomery and director Alan Metzger turn Judith Paige Mitchell’s script into an absorbing study of a determined woman who admits that, if she had money, there’d be no men in her life; her attempts to live by that code should give NBC a healthy boost in the sweeps derby.

North Carolina widow Blanche Taylor, working as a checker in a supermarket, has been playing around for years with fellow worker Raymond Reid, who becomes ill about the time Blanche admits she’s getting weary of him.

Divorced with two sons, Reid goes downhill quickly, with Blanche right there feeding him potato soup and grabbing his power of attorney.

She’s met Rev. Dwight Moore, who tumbles for her, gives her money and asks her to marry him. And feels bad when he hears her “good friend” Reid has died.

She leads Moore on, feeds him a new recipe for potato salad, and watches him deteriorate.

It’s a simple tale of murders, but Mitchell has artfully arranged her teleplay: Blanche confides her feelings (though not her doings) to close chum Ethel (Grace Zabriskie); witnesses to the case, including Blanche herself, testify into the camera to fill in any gaps; and Blanche, talking with a psychiatrist, covers enough of the issues to give the doctor some insight into her character.

Montgomery’s back with a vengeance. Watching her tell off a store manager who’s womanized other clerks is an eyeful; seeing her shrewdly lead Reid or Moore on is a revelation; and one of the telefilm’s surprising twists turns out to be that Blanche isn’t a particularly bright woman–crafty, but not bright.

Settling the blame on Blanche’s father ties up her motivation in too neat a package; after all, who knows what Lady Macbeth’s pop did?

Other outstanding perfs include David Clennon’s loving Rev. Moore, John M. Jackson’s doting Reid and Zabriskie’s ailing Ethel. Guy Boyd’s sexual harassing store manager and Katy Boyer’s blond checker Lujane add more texture to the telefilm.

Program’s tech credits are superior, with Seth Flaum’s editing surehanded, Geoffrey Erb’s lensing topflight. Philip Dean Foreman’s design does a good job of setting up the presumed small-town North Carolina locales. David Michael Frank’s sympathetic score helps sustain the admirable mood.

NBC Monday Night at the Movies Black Widow Murders: The Blanche Taylor Moore Story

(Mon. (3), 9-11 p.m., NBC-TV)

Production: Filmed by Andrea Baynes Prods., Finnegan/Pinchuk Co. and Lorimar TV. Exec producers, Andrea Baynes, Judith Paige Mitchell; producers, Patricia Finnegan, Sheldon Pinchuk; co-producer, Dale Eunson; director, Alan Metzger; writer, Mitchell; based on book "Preacher's Girl" by Jim Schutze.

Crew: Camera, Geoffrey Erb; editor, Seth Flaum; production designer, Philip Dean Foreman; sound, Walt Martin; music, David Michael Frank.

Cast: Cast: Elizabeth Montgomery, David Clennon, John M. Jackson, Grace Zabriskie, Bruce McGill, Mark Rolston, Guy Boyd, John Philbin, Phoebe Augustine, Matt Ryan, Katy Boyer, Tom Wood, Paul Collins, David Wells, Lisa Blake Richards, E.R. Davies, Henry Brown, Lynn Llewelyn, Stephen Root, Tim Halligan, Patricia Belcher , Heather Lind, Wendy Way, Peggy Mannix, E.E. Bell, Michael Chieffo, Rick Scarry , Douglas Roberts, Rick Hall, Erika Rosenzweig, Michael Shamus Wiles, Wynn Reichert, Walter Beery.

More TV

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content