The "true story" of John Smith and his disappearing wives, and how the perseverance of the daughter and sister of his second wife Fran finally brought the story together and broke at least a part of the case.
After Fran Smith disappears one day in mysterious circumstances, Fran's daughter Deanna and Fran's sister, Sherrie endlessly search for her with enduring hope. The most likely suspect in Fran's disappearance is her husband John, but without a body, neither Deanna or Sherrie can prove that murder, much less a crime, has even been committed. With the support of Sherrie, Deanna embarks on an eleven-year search to trace John's past, eventually uncovering a 25 year-old case of a missing person that involved John's first wife, who too, disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Using this lead, Deanna and Sherrie must use all their evidence to bring John to justice. Written by
This made-for-TV thriller, not mystery (because you know right away who the killer is), doesn't quite make it all work, but is still worth a look. The script by sometimes actor Walter Klenhard, which he based on a true account entitled "My Sister Is Missing" by Sherrie Davis, could stand a little more wit and wisdom and the direction by Michael Scott would benefit from more suspense and excitement. Otherwise, the story is an intriguing one, made more so by the fact that it actually happened. The ironic title adds to the film's appeal.
John Smith (Adam Arkin), what a name for a cold-blooded sociopath, has wives that keep disappearing. The latest is Fran (Susan Hogan) whom he marries after a brief courtship. Fran leaves a note that she is terminating the relationship and not coming back but fails to inform her family. Her daughter, Deanna Whelen (Kelli Williams), and her sister, Sherrie Davis (Amy Madigan), know that something evil has happened to their loved one and are determined to find out exactly what. John behaves strangely to say the least. That he has been forsaken seems to consume his entire psyche. Deanna and Sherrie pretend to be supportive of him, to gain his confidence in order to get evidence for the police. The local police do all they can to help but without a body or something substantive they are unable to charge John. The FBI eventually gets involved as more is uncovered about John's previous life. A key figure turns out to be John's brother, Michael (Bill Marchant), who has been in his older brother's shadow all his life. How John is ultimately brought to justice is the crux of the film.
The talented actor, Adam Arkin, son of the also talented actor Alan Arkin, makes a creepy, scary psycho, with his slow, methodical speech pattern which exudes the essence of the demons lurking inside this seemingly mild-mannered engineer. Bill Marchant as his slow-witted younger brother turns in an effective and believable performance. An actress who has been overlooked by movie moguls for years, Amy Madigan, plays the crucial role of Fran's indefatigable sister to perfection. The rest of the cast is above average for a routine made-for-TV film.
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