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The High Price of Passion (1986)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama | TV Movie 30 November 1986
A college professor becomes obsessed with a prostitute.



(teleplay), (book)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Williams Douglas
Robin Benedict
Sean McCann ...
John Benedict
Terry Tweed ...
Robin Benedict
Richard Monette ...
David B. Nichols ...
Samantha Langevin ...
Carolyn Dunn ...
Rhonda Benedict
James Bearden ...
Det. Merrill
Cec Linder ...


The true story of a Tufts University professor who became obsessed with a prostitute named Robin. He goes to great lengths to keep her in his life; getting her a job at the university that she isn't qualified for; and embezzling funds. Eventually Robin decides to give up prostitution and she wants the professor to leave her alone. His obsession then leads to murder. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cena zauroczenia  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Excellent Performance By Richard Crenna in Fact Based Drama
13 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The High Price of Passion" is made for TV Movie (debuting Nov 30, 1986 on NBC) based on the real life crime story of a middle aged Tuft's University Professor who loses his job and eventually lands in jail when his relationship with a young prostitute grows to obsession and leads to murder. Emmy Winner Richard Crenna plays Professor William Douglas and Karen Young co stars as the object of his obsession, Robin Benedict.

The movie, adapted by Mel Frohman based on a book about the murder by author Russell M Glitman (credit NY Times for info) is mostly told in flashbacks through the eyes of Douglas following his arrest for Robin's murder. Moving back and forth between Robin's struggles with her parents over her lifestyle choices and Douglas' growing interest in her, this film weaves a tail of a man who is completely unfulfilled in his personal life despite tremendous success and recognition in his professional life. Crenna's performance is highly engaging, giving sense early on that Douglas has some underlying character flaws hidden by his relentless work habits, you feel early on that Douglas is needy, missing something, that connection, that fulfillment, in his personal life, but it's a slow ride between Douglas becoming smitten with Robin and the first signs that his crush has morphed into something darker. Crenna illuminates this perfectly, convincingly portraying a character who at one point is completely naive, fumbling, seemingly caring & romantic, while seething underneath the surface with much darker emotions borne out of loneliness and an apparent lack of self confidence away from the classroom or the research lab. For her part Young portrays Robin not as a callous user or manipulative but as conflicted, somewhat lacking in self confidence herself (attempts at school and work in graphic design haven't gone well previously), leading to her choice of profession. Young's Robin deeply cares for her parents and siblings (though she doesn't want them to know about her profession) and in the beginning seems genuinely attracted, at least as a friend, to Douglas.

The supporting cast is solid although outside of Robin's parents (Sean McCann as her father & Terry Tweed as the mom) they aren't given much to do as the film is heavy on scenes depicting the turns in the Douglas-Robin relationship (Tweed also had a smaller role in the Frank Janek film "Murder Times Seven" which also starred Richard Crenna). Crenna really carries the workload here but he is more than up to the task, in fact this mat have been one of his best performances in his long career (coming at career peak for him, just after his critically acclaimed turns in the motion pictures "Body Heat" & "The Flamingo Kid" and after winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Leading Actor in "The Rape Of Richard Beck" as well as the star of his seven film run in the Frank Janek series of Made For TV Movies from 1985-94, as well as his co starring role in the blockbuster "Rambo" films).

The film does not however offer any excuses for Douglas' ultimate final crime, though Crenna's performance is good enough to make you feel sorry at times for Douglas the movie doesn't portray him as a victim in any way. The film is kinder in it's treatment of Robin who is shown in a sympathetic light despite her obvious misguided career choices.

If you can find a copy of this film watch it, you will be highly entertained. As a side note, according to the NY Times, Tuft's University wasn't thrilled when the film debuted on NBC as the location of the school is portrayed as being in Boston near the red light district. Despite some threats of litigation nothing came of it.

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