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After the man she's been seeing turns out to be mentally (and
financially) unstable, Cathy aborts his baby and moves on with her
life. She eventually marries a political hopeful and once again finds
herself pregnant. While shopping for a crib, she sees her former flame,
Kenneth, working as a department store Santa. He spots her too, but the
real bad news for Cathy is that he notices she's carrying another
child. Bad news for her and her baby, but would Kenneth resort to
killing a child as vengeance for the death of his own?
Mark Robson (The Seventh Victim, Valley of the Dolls) directs this morbid little gem, a film with some rather potent subject matter, particularly for the time it was made. Melding the incredibly touchy subject of abortion with a psycho-suspense storyline, Robson crafts an effective film full of bizarre mood and situations. As Cathy becomes more and more guilty over what she did, we see how it works into her psyche, and images as simple as toys yapping on a table take on a rather perverse feeling that gets under the viewer's skin. Robson knows how to utilize such elements to their maximum effect, though never in an overly graphic manner. The use of subtlety and implied horror goes a long way here.
As Kenneth, Scott Hylands is one of the creepiest nutcases you'll see. He has the most unnerving eyes, and a rather blank glare that truly makes one feel uncomfortable. The scene where he learns of the abortion is downright chilling. He puts Cathy through some real psychological torment, one of the standout moments being a nasty surprise he leaves under her car. Carol White plays Cathy, and she's fine in the role, but I find her character to be quite unlikable due to her incessant bitchiness.
This is a great film, well acted, well directed... The climax is quite thrilling as well. This is not your typical psycho story, and it is really quite unique in it's storytelling. Disturbing and effective, I highly recommend this one.
A surprisingly potent and strangely disregarded psycho-stalker picture
marked by taut direction and capable performances, it is also benefited
by its lovely San Francisco location filming. The story is
uncomplicated, if somewhat derivative...girl aborts the child of her
estranged lover, remarries, and becomes pregnant again. The first
lover, now quite clearly a dangerously unbalanced nutcase, shows up to
settle the score.
A briskly paced little nail-biter which occasionally goes a wee bit over-the-top, DADDY'S GONE A-HUNTING is ripe for a much-deserved reinvestigation.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In my opinion, this is a much better film than some people on here are
giving it credit for. Young Brit Cathy Palmer (Carol White) has just
arrived stateside and is looking to make a fresh start in San
Francisco. Almost immediately upon arriving, she runs across handsome
Kenneth Daly (Scott Hylands), a charmer whose idea of making a good
first impression involves nailing her in the back of the head with a
snowball. Ken shows her around, takes her to dinner and uses his
connections to help her land a good job at an ad agency. Eventually,
the two are living together, but various red flags are making Cathy
question their relationship. Ken is immature, aimless, can't seem to
hold onto a job (and can't decide whether he wants to be an actor or a
photographer) and is cruel to her pet cat. Aside from that, she senses
there's something else not quite right about him. Fed up, Cathy decides
to end the relationship. One problem; she's pregnant. Her co-worker Meg
(Mala Powers) helps her arrange an abortion through gynecologist Dr.
Parkington (Dennis Patrick). Things go off without a hitch, except
Cathy decided to go through with the procedure without informing Ken.
After he slaps her across the face in a crowded restaurant, Cathy moves on with her life and wants to put the whole experience behind her. She meets and eventually marries Jack Byrnes (Paul Burke), a successful and wealthy lawyer who's well on his way to becoming a powerful (conservative) politician. Cathy becomes pregnant with Jack's child. Just when things are looking up for her, Ken comes back into the picture, a little unhinged and looking for revenge... He stalks her, blackmails her and weasels his way into her new home, kills the doctor who performed the abortion and otherwise makes her life a living hell. After she gives birth, he demands she kill her new baby to make up for the fact she "murdered" his. When this doesn't happen, he kidnaps the baby and tries to manipulate Cathy into killing it using various clever and sadistic methods than will startle even modern viewers.
Some people seem to think this film is pushing a certain agenda, and maybe it is to a degree. Oddly, some see it taking a Pro Life stance, while others see a Pro Choice stance, which is a testament to how well made the film actually is. Both sides of the abortion debate are touched on and they're covered in a realistic and matter-of-fact way thanks to the intriguing and non-preachy screenplay from horror master Larry Cohen (IT'S ALIVE) and Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (PRETTY POISON). When Cathy goes to get her abortion it's done secretly, but not in some grimy back alley like you usually see, but a brightly lit clinic by a respectable doctor. Cathy seems somewhat haunted by her decision and hesitant to tell the truth about it for fear of the social stigma surrounding her decision. She's also afraid of being thrown out by her politico husband, but her husband turns out to be completely supportive and non-judgmental about it when she's forced to reveal the truth. The only one coming down on her and labeling her a "murderer" is Ken himself, and he's out of his mind. Make what you want of that.
The film was made four years before the landmark Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision (in 1973), so the subject matter was probably quite risqué for the time. Some of the psychological torment Ken puts Cathy through is also pretty strong stuff for 1969, especially to people who hate seeing defenseless infants put in harm's way. Be forewarned that it's slow to get started, but when it finally picks up about half-an-hour in it's shocking, very suspenseful, somewhat horrific and even thought-provoking. In my opinion, it's good enough to deserve a decent DVD release from a respectable company and good enough to deserve a reevaluation from critics, mystery/thriller fans and horror film buffs. Many of its themes even pre-date the highly influential PLAY MISTY FOR ME (1971), which went on to influence such films as FATAL ATTACTION (1987) and BASIC INSTINCT (1992). If you can find it, I definitely recommend a watch.
Worthwhile B movie that fails to make the most of a good idea. And both
Play Misty for Me(71) and Fatal Attraction(87) reworked its premise and
plot. Mark Robson's direction is economical to a fault, and the film
needs more detail and development;it feels perfunctory and thin like a
made-for-TV film. And the supporting characters are cardboard.
The film has some effective scenes, generates interest and suspense, though the build-up is ultimately better than the payoff. Scott Hylands is very good and convincing but, Carol White is perhaps too stoic,and she doesn't garner much sympathy for her character. The rest of the cast goes through their paces without making an impression, except for an annoying housekeeper, and "Prissy",the cat. Ultimately, the subject matter and Scott Hylands' performance are what make it worthwhile. Hard to find film deserves a DVD release, hopefully with the trailer.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I hardly see how this qualifies as an endorsement of right-to-life
politics. Apart from very superficial charm, the father (Kenneth) has
no redeeming features whatsoever and, on top of that, he goes out of
his way to menace the baby Cathy has with her husband. In fact, early
in the picture (during the oh-so-mechanical exposition setting up the
"thriller" part of the movie), she seems reluctant to have the abortion
and willing to go home to London, presumably to have the baby there and
raise him/her with the help of family. It's only AFTER Kenneth learns
about the baby, proposes to Cathy, is rejected by her, slaps her across
the face in public and threatens to stalk both her and his child-to-be
that she decides to have the abortion, presumably to get Kenneth out of
her life once and for all. The abortion sequence itself doesn't show
much, but it's hardly glamorized as a "choice." If anything, the movie
makes it clear why many women have abortions because that "choice" is
the best one among a series of bad ones.
The abortion angle in the plot, however (pre Roe v. Wade), is one of the movie's few really interested angles (as well as the use of San Francisco as a backdrop).
The premise of the movie is simple enough..Cathy, a young, beautiful
girl arrives in America to find work, meets Kenneth, a handsome young
photographer, they fall in love, but it turns out the young man isn't
all he seems to be, and when she learns she's pregnant, she decides she
doesn't want him-or the baby and has an abortion, and he decides to
The setting is San Francisco, and the visuals are well played out in the city, along with a taut, tense script by Lorenzo Semple and Larry Cohen, with sure footed direction by Mark Robson, fresh off of his smash hit 'Valley of the Dolls' two years earlier. The cast includes Mala Powers as a sympathetic coworker of Cathy's who talks her into the abortion, Paul Burke (fresh off of his work as Lyon Burke in 'Valley') as Cathy's new husband, a senator wanna be, and of course, Scott Hylands, who as Kenneth, brings a creepiness to his role, but at the same time, you do feel for him as the spurned lover who wants revenge for the abortion that Cathy decides to get.
The only weak link in this movie is Carol White as Cathy. Beautiful as the young Brit who arrives to seek work and becomes involved in a nightmare, is harsh, childish, and for most of the movie, a total bitch. You never feel how Paul Burke's character fell for her, suddenly they are wedded, and there is very little passion between them in their scenes. She comes across shrill, completely obnoxious, and downright hateful. You wonder if she really wanted to have a baby in the first place with the way she acts. For the most part, this movie is a fine addition to the 'damsel in distress' genre, but having a heroine that is more sympathetic might have worked much better.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I haven't seen this movie in years. It is rarely shown on cable. I was just a kid when I fist saw this movie. And even then I got the message. A very scary one. A young woman goes out with the Scott Hyland character. She soon finds out that he is not Mr Wonderful and in matter of fact he is a nut. She finds she is pregnant and she obtains a abortion. She moves on with her life and marries Paul Burke and she gets pregnant. The ex finds out about it and decides to kill everyone who has anything to do with her abortion and is after her to kill the baby she is carrying. This movie must of been the poster movie for the right to life movement, but it is scary. The message is do not have a abortion because in the end people are going to pay for it in a bad way. Well the message should of been watch out for psychopathic boyfriends and use birth control. I don't know what I would do if I was in her position but whatever I did I would hope people would not get killed over it. I loved this movie, even though it does political undertones. It is scary because I can see something like that really happening. Scott Hylands was excellent, he scared me. I just wish this movie would come out on DVD.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie could have been made today; it withstands the test of time. It's about a man who wants to take revenge on a woman who aborted their child. The movie is also about the hypocrisy of the woman who is living a lie, trying to conceal a past which includes illicit sex, pregnancy, and abortion, the latter so that she could get end the relationship with the guy who wants the baby and wants to marry her. After she dumps him she marries a local up and coming politician and gets pregnant and this time gives birth. The movie is about how the first guy cleverly re-injects himself into her life through her husband and then plots to get her to kill her own baby which to him is perfectly logical because if she could kill his baby, then why not her husband's? Of course, problems ensue as the tension between the guy and the woman becomes obvious and soon she has to confess her past to her husband and the husband is loving and supportive and it's just a matter of time before the guy gets his just deserts, which is quick and violent. The movie's premise works because the guy does have cause to be angry and the story is set before Roe v. Wade, when getting an abortion was (and still is) a serious matter, not only morally but legally, and when the right of a woman to control her reproductive options was not yet fully established as a matter of law. Hence she really had no one to turn to with which to discuss her issues, especially the police, since abortion was a criminal act. As for the guy, he has no one to turn to for support either, knowing what his ex-girl friend had done. This movie dramatizes why the decision to have an an abortion has to be treated entirely as a medical matter. The alternative, to treat it as a criminal matter, just creates more problems, especially in the area of conflict resolution. Carol White gives a powerful performance as the woman and Scott Hyland's performance is compelling as the guy whose mind becomes twisted by righteous indignation, with tragic consequences.
The one and only time I saw this movie was with my mother and younger sister at a Drive In theater on Cape Cod when I was ten years old. That was forty years ago, yet the movie made such an impression on us that night, that I've never forgotten it. For years I tried to find it or see it again without success, and then once more made a search last night. At last, here it is, being talked about at least! The sense of creepy fierce tension, coupled with the child like theme song is what I remember most, aside from the closeness and talking that it inspired afterward in my little family as we drove back to our campground. If impressions that last for decades count, this movie is certainly worth tracking down, and I, for one, look forward to seeing it again!
It would've been better if the character,'catherine' had been more
I apologize,but I was rooting for 'ken' to get away with it all. The story is different,though.A boyfriend terrorizing his ex-girlfriend because she aborted his child...it really could've been done better.
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