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Victims for Victims: The Theresa Saldana Story (1984)

The true story of the brutal attack on actress Theresa Saldana by an unbalanced fan. As a result of her ordeal and its aftermath, Saldana becomes involved in the victims' rights movement.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Herself
...
Fred Feliciano
Lelia Goldoni ...
Mrs. Saldana
...
Dr. Stein
...
Jane Bladow
Linda Carlson ...
Miriam Schneider
...
D.A. Mike Knight
Pierrino Mascarino ...
Mr. Saldana
Patricia McAneny ...
Dolly
Kate Charleson
Philip English ...
Arthur Jackson
Arva Holt
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Storyline

Before stalking was a well-known crime in North America, there was Theresa Saldana's story. A drifter from the U.K., Arthur Jackson, flies to the U.S. to seek Saldana out. His twisted mission: Jackson planned to murder Saldana, then request the death sentence for himself so he "could join her in paradise". The psychopathic Jackson confronts Saldana on the street in front of her home, and stabs her violently several times. No one comes to Theresa's aid except water deliveryman Jeff Fenn, who overpowers Jackson and gets the knife away from him. Jackson is arrested & charged with attempted murder...and Theresa Saldana tells her story of terror and survival as herself in this TV movie. Written by medic249a2

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Genres:

Biography | Drama

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Release Date:

12 November 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Victims for Victims  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

her nightmare begins
20 October 2003 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

One of the ironies of the attack on Theresa Saldana is that it gave her a starring role in a movie, in this made for TV biography, that she might otherwise may never have had.

Given the troubling genre of an actress playing herself (is this acting or being?), Saldana invests her "character" with admirable presence. Although director Karen Arthur never shows Theresa as conventionally attractive (she is often lit to resemble a vampire), her strange face looks different each time we see her, which adds more interest to the train wreck appeal of the situation. I could have done without the tiresome schematic of her wardrobe, where before the attack she is dressed in virginal colors, and on the day she wears a dark blue sailor suit, and her singing the song Prodigal Child is equally obvious. The whimpers Saldana makes after she is stabbed is almost parodied in the whimpers of a puppy she is given, however the silent acting she does in reaction to another hospitalised victim is most effective. She gets to be occasionally funny eg to her father "Your hair turned grey in two weeks and you tell me don't worry", but her climactic speech for her Victims for Victims support group lacks the control of a professional actress. One can defend this apparent amateurishness as being her personal reaction, whereby technique is abandoned, however it reads more as the limitations of her skill.

The treatment by Arthur Heinemann is weak in establishing the context of Saldana's career, which would helps balance the media attention she receives. She has a poster for Raging Bull in her house, and we are told she receives flowers and cards from directors and actors around the world when she is hospitalised, however before the attack we are shown that she still attends classes. The most intriguing character, the stabber Arthur Richard Jackson (Philip English) is only a cypher and a plot mechanism, and we get ludicrous touches like her husband being a counsellor who is distracted at work, who also chooses to fight Jackson at the crime scene, rather than go to the hospital with his wife. (Adrian Zmed's blah performance as Fred doesn't help). There are some cliches eg "It's not just the pain. It's what it's doing to her inside", a whorey idea of the nurse who hides her empathy behind bureaucratic control, but also a rationale explaination for Theresa's love of stuffed animals.

Although some of Arthur's setups are painfully bad, she does present the shocking indifference of people when Saldana is attacked in daylight (even given this occurs in Hollywood), an acceptable use of subjective camera, and the gothic horror of Theresa's injuries being photographed by the police, complete with her JonBenet kewpie hairstyle.


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