On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that...
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An abused battered wife has had enough of husband beating up on her. Everywhere she turns for help, there's not much anyone will do. After he rapes her one night, she sets the bed on fire with him in it asleep.
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On the 19th of May 1983 Diane Downs stops at the McKenzie-Williamette-Hospital and cries for help. She is wounded on her arm and her three children are also wounded seriously. She says that a stranger shot at them but the investigation of detective Welch bring out that Diane is a liar. Written by
When Diane brings a pizza over to her mailman friend Matt Jensen's house, she asks him if he likes mushrooms on his pizza while holding the pizza out to him. He says yes. But the pizza has no mushrooms on it, it is clearly plain. See more »
[after delivering a telling argument against Diane's version of the story]
A child, Shauna, was killed. A little girl who isn't here anymore. For what? For Diane Down's warped sense of values. Robbie won't walk, Karen won't have the use of her arm the way it was.
[His voice wavers]
These children will *never* be the same.
[Begins to erupt in rage]
And look, Diane Downs-! For once, you're not going to lie your way out of this situation, it just doesn't cut it! You're a murderer! A cold-blooded, ...
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Farrah's Powerhouse Performance makes this one work...
Farrah Fawcett's Emmy-nominated performance is the centerpiece of SMALL SACRIFICES, a riveting, ABC mini-series based on the true story of Diane Downs, a cold-blooded woman who was sent to jail for murdering two of her three children. This teleplay presents Downs as the lonely, divorced working mother of three who appears on the outside to be a devoted and loving mother but as no qualms about putting her own needs first when the opportunity presents itself. While working at a post office, Diane begins a romance with one of her co-workers, Lew Lewiston (Ryan O'Neal)and things are going well until Diane learns that Lew doesn't like kids and has no desire to be a stepfather so Diane decides to kill her children. Fortunately, her daughter, somehow survives the brutal shooting and is taken into protective custody not only to protect her from further harm by her mother but to use her to help build a case to convict her mother. Fawcett gives the performance of her career...an icy, heartless bitch who shouts of her innocence throughout the proceedings, even though all evidence points to her and has the nerve to be baffled by the fact that her daughter wants nothing to do with her. O'Neal's role here is more in the way of stunt casting as he was Fawcett's real life romance at the time and is wasted in a thankless role, but there are two solid performances from John Shea and Gordon Clapp as the two police detectives caught in the deadly cat and mouse game of trying to slip Diane up in order to nail her for this horrendous crime. Despite it's almost three-hour length, I found this movie fascinating from start to finish, thanks primarily to a powerhouse performance from Farrah Fawcett who got the role of her career and ran with it.
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