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The Stranger Within (1974)

An expectant mother begins acting strangely and doesn't know why. Gradually she starts to realize that her bizarre behavior is being controlled by her unborn baby.

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(teleplay), (short story)
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Ann Collins
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David Collins
...
Phyllis
...
Bob
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Dr. Edward Klein
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Storyline

An expectant mother begins acting strangely and doesn't know why. Gradually she starts to realize that her bizarre behavior is being controlled by her unborn baby.

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Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi

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1 October 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Trespass  »

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1.33 : 1
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Connections

References Rosemary's Baby (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
All The Ingredients of a Classic Movie. . . .
25 May 2006 | by (Salida, California, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

This movie has many things going for it. All the best ingredients are here: a great story with a fine cast and writers. I was amazed to find that nearly all of these actors--as well as the director and writer who created the story--were veterans of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone. I was lead to expect the finest in performing art from this movie.

Unfortunately, the acting in this movie is its most glaring weakness. Barbara Eden is probably miscast in the leading role. She captures all the moodiness and unpredictability that one would expect of a pregnant woman. The key to understanding what is happening to her character is the explanation of what happened to produce this strange pregnancy. All we get is her strange behavior and a few hints from the actors that point us in the right direction. Those hints, when provided by the actors themselves, are usually a bad sign. But even they are not as bad as the acting itself. Barbara Eden says too little in the leading role and the other actors compensate by overacting their parts--all presumably in an attempt to produce suspense. They would have done well to take a page from Rod Serling's school of acting: namely, that it is what is left unsaid and undone that holds the audience in suspense. The more words that are put in the actors' mouths, the more actions there are for them to perform, the more tedious and incredible the story seems.

This is nowhere better illustrated than in a scene where Barbara Eden's character is behaving especially irrationally. All of the other characters are behaving equally irrationally, and this only amplifies the confusion and suspense produced by Ms. Eden's character. David Doyle, who plays a hypnotist, shouts above the din, "Just let her act out what she feels compelled to do and maybe we can find out what's going on here!" Amen to that!! His is the voice of rationality in the picture.

Bad acting aside, on a positive note, "The Stranger Within" is a compelling story that seeing the movie compels me to read. The movie's and I'm sure the story's presentation hearken back to a time before special effects and sardonic humor: a time when much was left to the viewer's and reader's imagination. Imagination produces the most creative kind of viewing and reading. It's just too bad that in this case the director felt that he needed to supply so many details that were unnecessary to his purpose. A great concept here, but Mr. Serling would no doubt be disappointed.


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