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Evil in Clear River (1988)

TV Movie  -  Drama  -  11 January 1988 (USA)
6.5
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Pete Suvak is a loved and respected high school teacher and mayor of a small Canadian community. After concerned mother Kate McKinnon finds out that Suvak is teaching Nazism and "... See full summary »

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Title: Evil in Clear River (TV Movie 1988)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kate McKinnon
...
Glen McKinnon
...
Mark McKinnon
Gloria Carlin ...
Millie Wilhelm
...
Pete Suvak
Spencer Alston ...
Eric Jackson
...
John Grottenthaler (as Steven W. Anderson)
Jay Bernard ...
Reverend Henderson
James Berry ...
Martin Brady (as Jim Berry)
Charles Black ...
Court Clerk
Carolyn Croft ...
Anne McKinnon
Kimberly Cannaday ...
Cindy Peterson
Kirk Chambers ...
Jack Kean
...
Harry Van Pelt
Robert Conder ...
Coach Elston (as Robert N. Conder)
Edit

Storyline

Pete Suvak is a loved and respected high school teacher and mayor of a small Canadian community. After concerned mother Kate McKinnon finds out that Suvak is teaching Nazism and "Jew-bashing" to her son and others, she takes action to have him removed from the school. That doesn't help anything as he still has the community behind him. So the next step is to take Suvak to court. Written by Pat McCurry <ccgrad97@aol.com>

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Plot Keywords:

anti semitism | racism

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Drama

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Release Date:

11 January 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Danger en eaux troubles  »

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User Reviews

clear river gets polluted
31 October 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Made the same year as the similar Raquel Welch movie Scandal in a Small Town, Wagner is Kate McKinnon, a chain-smoking Western prairie farmwoman who discovers the town's history teacher Peter Suvak (Randy Quaid) of her son Mark (Thomas Wilson Brown) is a neo-Nazi revisionist, who teaches about a world Jewish conspiracy.

Wagner's level of emotionalism is improved by her pairing with Michael Flynn as Kate's husband Glen, who in two scenes holds her face and makes her more effective than usual. She also has to talk over the indignant yells of the crowd in a town meeting where she asks for a vote of no confidence in the mayor also Peter Suvak.

The teleplay by William Schmidt features the same incredibility of the teleplay in the Welch title, with the revisionist attracting the admiration of his pupils, who we are told `love his class'. The point being made is the detrimental effect on young minds - one person describes it as akin to being a child molester - but Quaid's manner isn't condusive to someone who is described as being a `born mesmeriser'. Kate says that the townfolk `wanna trust so badly they'll believe anything on face value', but this just reads as presenting them as gullible simple people. The treatment is an interesting variation on those with minority beliefs being persecuted - the persecuted ones being Kate and her family - though perhaps Peter using the Bible as evidence of anti-semitism is a bit much. Since Kate is female and instigates action which makes Peter suffer, it doesn't take long for the anti-semites to also reveal themselves as misogynists.

Schmidt provides some memorable dialogue. When the school principal tells Kate `I've looked around and haven't seen anyone wearing swastikas', she replies `Not on the outside'. Peter asks Kate `Why are you so convinced that there were evil little Nazis running around trying to kill poor innocent Jews?' she tells him `Because I see it in your eyes', and there is a contextual laugh when Mark yells to another teacher `Whatsa matter - Don't you believe in the Jewish conspiracy theory?' (the fact that he describes it as a theory and not fact is a goof from Schmidt).

Director Karen Arthur repeats staging in one scene, where first Peter hands out support material to the school board committee, then Kate does the same thing, and lawyers in a trial wear odd period gowns. However it is in trial speech that Quaid finally shows some lunacy, replacing his previous bland self-confidence.


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