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A despondent, lonely, and near-suicidal Chicago businessman and veteran WWII pilot is enticed to attend the 40th reunion of his old bombardment group in England. His recent professional and personal failures are briefly set aside as he and an unlikely companion travel to Fairborough and renew old memories. The romantic promise of rediscovered love is intruded upon by modern realities as the drama unfolds. Written by
The star power of Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr carry Reunion At Fairborough for the audiences watching HBO in 1985. Though this film is only a pale reflection of their previous work like Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, The Sundowners, and The Grass Is Greener, these two legends show the 1980s cable HBO viewers what being a screen legend is all about.
Mitchum plays a 60 something with little to look forward to having lost his job, made a failure at his two marriages, and with no prospects is looking toward a bleak future. He hears from Barry Morse who was a sergeant in his old Army Air Corps outfit and they're planning a reunion for the survivors where their base was, in Fairborough across the pond.
While there what better to do than look up an old wartime romance who is shop owner Deborah Kerr. Turns out they had a daughter whom he never knew about and a granddaughter as well. The daughter and her husband were killed in an automobile crash and Kerr has raised granddaughter Judi Trott who certainly was cast because of her red hair so like Kerr's famous scarlet tresses.
The film is Mitchum getting reacquainted with Kerr and getting to know the granddaughter he never knew he had. Trott is quite the radical, she's busy protesting the American air base nearby the old Army Air Corps field and the nuclear weapons there. Trott also doesn't like Americans as a rule, but she can't help liking Mitchum.
Red Buttons is in this film playing one of the enlisted men during war time who is now an alcoholic janitor. It's a wonderful performance of a man who was not blessed with the material success that Mitchum found so fleeting. Buttons really stands out in this film.
So do the old pros Mitchum and Kerr. The two liked and respected each other and it shows through in the work. It's not as good as their big screen films but I'll take them on any old screen.
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