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James Earl Jones
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A woman is convinced by her lover to poison her cruel husband, a rich businessman. However, she becomes terrified when she finds the lover dead as well. A sinister PI, who's investigating her husband's disappearance, contacts her.
A man, Mark Powers is killed, clearly a woman was with him. the police investigate and they talk to his secretary who tells them that Powers has been spending time with three women whom he refers to as the Hungry Wives and a couple of envelopes which had the names of two of them on them are missing. When word of his death reaches the women, they all recall how Powers came into their lives. And how they discover how Machiavellian he is, and he threatens them, which gives any of them motive to kill him. Written by
Admittedly, this movie is something of a guilty pleasure. It was bad beyond words, but for some reason, I enjoyed it.
The movie starts with the police finding the dead body of millionaire playboy, Mark Powers (James Franciscus). He's been shot, and it is now up to the police to find out who did it. The investigation centers on three married women with whom Mark had affairs. Karen (Gretchen Corbett) is a bored housewife whom Mark basically pimps out to equally bored businessmen after sleeping with her himself. Mark uses this information to blackmail Gretchen. Lynn (Heather MacRae) can't be seduced, but when Mark discovers she likes to gamble, he turns her fondness into an addiction which costs her thousands of dollars, and also gives him something to hold over her as well. Part way through the movie, Mark tells a friend that the main reason he is toying with these women is to get to their friend, Christina (Jessica Walter) with whom he would like to have an affair. When that doesn't work either, he seduces Christina's teenage daughter, Vicki (Eve Plumb), and rather enjoys letting Christina walk in on them. Fortunately for almost all involved, Mark's death frees them from his blackmail, and while all have good motives for wanting Mark gone, the identity of the real culprit comes as a bit of a surprise...
Intriguing premise, but poorly executed in a way that a lot of TV movies were in the late seventies. It was as if they sacrificed good storytelling in the hopes of being hip, and ended up with neither. In the end, the movie just comes off as silly.
It was a good cast, for the most part, so it's a bit surprising that the movie didn't turn out a little better. Franciscus shed his good guy image, and played an immoral slime ball with great skill. Corbett and MacRae did okay with their roles. Plumb was annoyingly bratty, and didn't seem to have grown much after her stint on the Brady Bunch. Walter gives her usual skilled performance, this time as a woman whose concern for her daughter is unflappable, no matter what the personal cost.
Yes, it was a bad movie. But it was a surprisingly entertaining one, nonetheless.
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