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Third Degree Burn (1989)

TV Movie  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller  -  28 May 1989 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 301 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

Scott Weston is a private investigator who is supposedly hired by a rich businessman to determine whether or not his beautiful wife is fooling around behind his back. During the course of ... See full summary »

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Title: Third Degree Burn (TV Movie 1989)

Third Degree Burn (TV Movie 1989) on IMDb 5.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Scott Weston
...
Anne Scholes
...
Clay Reynolds
...
Julie Cartwright (as C.C.H. Pounder)
Mary Armstrong ...
Anita Stevens (as Mary J. Armstrong)
...
Lomax
Manny Castro ...
Cantina Musician (as Manny Castro and the Playboys)
George Catalano ...
Del Routh
Michael Chapman ...
Dan Rourke
David Paul Cutler ...
Rental Car Rep
Robert Daly ...
Hotel Waiter
Tom Hammond ...
Rental Car Driver
Gus Levin ...
Seattle Waiter
William Marquez ...
Gutierrez
Joe Mays ...
Frank Gaudy
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Storyline

Scott Weston is a private investigator who is supposedly hired by a rich businessman to determine whether or not his beautiful wife is fooling around behind his back. During the course of his investigation Weston begins his own steamy affair with the wife. The husband then turns up dead and Weston becomes a prime suspect. Did he do it? Has he been set up? Or is he the victim of a third degree burn? Written by Les MacDonald <mcmac@mb.sympatico.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

28 May 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

3rd Degree Burn  »

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User Reviews

 
Private eye Treat Williams falls in love with Virginia Madsen, the married woman he's following
9 May 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Third Degree Burn" is accurately classed as a neonoir by other reviewers, and also as not bad at all, even though its plot is derivative, it's a bit slow in developing the story, and experienced viewers will guess much of the plot before it's revealed.

I wonder why this movie doesn't appear on lists of neonoirs. Maybe it's because as an HBO film, it falls below the usual theatrical release radar. I suspect quite a few more noirs like this are lurking there too.

If it's on the predictable side, what are its attractions? Mostly the acting, the actors, and the fact that one cannot actually be entirely sure about the plot. The editing is swift and the supporting roles are filled out better than usual. In particular, three supporting roles stand out. There is the detective pal of Treat Williams played by CCH Pounder. You can't help but like her intelligence and loyalty. There are Treat's irritating lawyer and also his blustering detective boss, names unknown.

Williams is well cast as in "Prince of the City". He projects an interesting combination of traits. He is something of a bent straight arrow who gets into water over his head, through nothing more than being a normal, although not innocent, human being who happens to encounter more shark-like people around him. He starts the film off by almost being caught playing around with a police detective's wife and then he does get identified because he leaves his credit card behind. This results in antagonism of his former co-workers on the detective squad when his troubles mount up. He has big debts and his former brother-in-law lawyer finds him a job working for Richard Masur, a reliable character actor. Masur wants him to check up on his wife, sexy Virginia Madsen. The camera likes Ms. Madsen. If for no other reason, this movie is eminently watchable because of Madsen's being in it. She's an actress who can project anything from innocence to deviousness in the Stanwyck vein. She would appear the following year in "The Hot Spot" with Don Johnson, and that one is a terrific neonoir.

Williams will find himself in a heap of trouble. There will be echoes of some well known classic noirs in this plot. The artistic presentation, however, is quite standard, not going out of its way to use the cinematography, set design or much of anything else to complement the story. Instead, much of it occurs in bright sunshine, as if to say that people can act up just as badly in sunlight as in shadows.


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