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23 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

This movie should be erased from existence.

1/10
Author: John (johnn@m-m-s.com)
8 December 1998

These comments are probably superfluous, since most viewers rated this a "one (awful)" -- as did I. Still I noticed 3 votes giving it a ten. Either they never saw the original or have confused this on with it. Yikes!

This made-for-TV monstrosity is the definitive case of why classic films should never be remade. Richard Chamberlain hams up his role to the point of unintentional laughs. But the unimaginative direction keeps the movie dull, so it doesn't work as camp, for those who like that sort of thing. It adds nothing new to the original story.

In the original, the movie was seen from the viewpoint of the children. The remake puts their horror secondary to the ridiculous performance of Richard Chamberlain's preacher.

To those who look favorably on this remake, please seek out the original at your video store. You will be in for a real treat.

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18 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Can't improve on perfection.

Author: Tresix from Chicago, Illinois
20 May 1999

This is further proof that good (no, GREAT) movies shouldn't be remade. Richard Chamberlain, good actor that he is, is not suited for this role. Robert Mitchum's Harry was cunning enough to hide this evil streak from Shelley Winter's Lylah until it was too late. Chamberlain's Harry is so high strung, it's a wonder that Dianne Wiest's Lylah isn't packing the kids up and running within five minutes of meeting him. Maybe this film, the made-for-TV versions of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE and IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE (remade as IT HAPPENED ONE CHRISTMAS) should stand as testament that you just CAN'T improve upon greatness no matter how hard you try.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It's a generational problem.......

4/10
Author: HappyHomebody63 from United States
13 April 2008

We LOVE Robert Mitchum, so any remake of his movies will have tough shoes to fill. I never even KNEW there was a remake until seeing it in a video store. It was, as most remakes, made by someone in a NEW generation w/o the ability to put the embodiment of the characters' responses to a "taboo-subject" story; one so delicately but INGENIOUSLY by Charles Lawton IN that era. It was BRILLIANTLY directed and acted; and that ability is now lost as NO subject seems to be taboo. Same thing with "Cape Fear" when remade. Despite the fact that it was Robert DeNiro, it STLL was missing something. About the comment? Tip? It's "Willa", not "Lylah"; and she was played by DIANA SCARWID in the remake - NOT Dianne Weist...perhaps you saw a different movie.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

OK, so it's not Laughton/Mitchum ......

6/10
Author: david david from norwich, uk
4 January 2006

I will begin by stating that the original of this film is one of my all time favourites so have no axe to grind against it. I watched this on TV out of pure curiosity fully expecting to become outraged by its very existence. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The team behind this have made no attempt to copy the original (wise decision) and have created a stand alone piece of work. Although hampered by an obvious lack of budget the film succeeds in creating a brooding atmosphere of violence and terror, especially in the rain washed opening. Chamberlain, despite looking as if he has been embalmed, gives us a sturdy portrayal of the preacher. Not as psychotic as Mitchum's but an evil, greedy man. The kids are OK too alhtough a little 'cute' at times. The ending is a bit of a let down but it didn't destroy what had gone on before. If you can put the original out of your mind you will be able to enjoy this for what it is. A solid workmanlike version of a rattling good yarn.

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