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T.V. style movie that has a terrific Griffith and a improbably plot and a wacky air
Girl in the Empty Grave (1977)
There is one reason to see this filmthe performance of Andy Griffith. The plot is convoluted and a bit silly, the rest of the cast is purposely lightweight and even at times clownish, and the filming is routine. In fact, there is a quality not so different from television at the time, and Griffith was at this point known mostly for his 1960s t.v. show, the Andy Griffith Show. In fact, this movie is one of two based on a second t.v. series Griffith tried (and failed after two episodes) to launch in the 1970s.
But he's a great actor, and he sure feels comfortable as the country sheriff (that's includes all his famous t.v. roles). The movie here is peculiar because of its cheerful colorful homey feeling, even as they are dealing with a murder, and another, and then one that wasn't, etc. In that sense, it's almost a precursor to "Fargo." And you have to get into that cheerful irony to like it.
If Griffith is flawless and likable, the secondary characters are mostly really good, including an early role by the star of "Babe," James Cromwell. But one key actress, the woman of the title, takes t.v. acting too literally, and she's unconvincing just where an actress needs to be flawless in her lying and invention.
The plot involves so many preposterous propositions, it isn't quite worth even outlining. But its worth saying it's a weakness, because you want to follow all these cheerful lawmen doing their rural jobs. And if you do you'll raise an eyebrow or two. Or three, which is too bad.
Watch if for Griffith.
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