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Richard C. Sarafian
Somewhat Less Distinguished Elizabeth Montgomery Film
Elizabeth Montgomery is married to Bradford Dillman with two children, but not happily. They haven't communicated for a while. It seems they started a fiberglass company in constructing sailboats and the like, but, when she started having children, she kept to home and he became used to that and wanted her to stay a stay-at-home wife and mom. But now that the kids are a little older, she is getting bored with home life and wants back in the company business. (She is a major stockholder.) Another stockholder is a foundation he formed with committee members/chairmen. But he is against her coming back to work. As the movie opens, we also see that his allegiance to her has not been solid, as he has been having an affair with Kate Mulgrew. In fact, he has asked her to marry him. But he suffers a heart attack while with Kate and using drugs. From there, his health deteriorates and Elizabeth tries to get her foot back in the corporate door, fighting against the tough committee members. Such is the premise of this TV-movie, which was incidentally written as a pilot for a new TV series. I saw this almost twenty years and didn't remember much about it. At first recollection and viewing of it, it seems less distinctive of Elizabeth Montgomery's TV films. Elizabeth's not a victim of violence, and she's not a baddie herself. In that respect, this is a lot more tame and perhaps makes less of an impact on the viewer and their memory of it. But this is a story of a woman trying to become her own woman, dealing with men who have the "wife at home and in the kitchen" mentality. The real meaty and most entertaining part of the movie is in the second half, as her tough side comes out against the men working against her, although they are also trying to protect her from learning about her husband's affair. Ms. Montgomery declined in the TV series aspect of this project. I don't know if this was ever picked up or not, but if it was, based on her decision to continue, I would be very surprised. Despite the fact she was very much a hot commodity and in demand as (she was known as) the "Queen of the TV Movies," this film doesn't have the "it" quality as a TV hit or have enough material to provide for a long series. Its less showy qualities would probably not have many followers and the key audience of wives and "Bewitched" fans may not be a lover of its corporate machinations, despite the likable quotient of the lead star, who I have read had one of the highest of her time. Frankly, if this had been picked up and she agreed, I feel it would have been cancelled in a year or two, at most, as TV is very fickle. Also, it's incredible to think that this rather average yet ambitious pilot would be a TV series on the strength of its lead actress. People who like Ms. Montgomery will be kinder to this film, but it is very card-board in its characters and presentation. If you come across this on TV, which I doubt, unless a local channel has a late-night show on the weekends in the major cities, or maybe on this site or Youtube, this is a curiosity piece at best in the TV movie career of Elizabeth Montgomery.
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