Hawkins: Season 1, Episode 1

Murder in Movieland (2 Oct. 1973)

TV Episode  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Crime
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 11 users  
Reviews: 1 user | 6 critic

Hawkins comes to Hollywood to defend a star's husband in a murder case. The man claims that he killed a playboy when he caught him trying to rape his daughter. But Hawkins doubts that he is telling him the full truth.

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Title: Murder in Movieland (02 Oct 1973)

Murder in Movieland (02 Oct 1973) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Debbie Lane
...
Jake Parkins
...
Sam Drummond
...
Lester De Ville
Maggie Wellman ...
Kate Parkins
Ben Hammer ...
Prosecutor
...
Assistant Manager
John Milton Kennedy ...
Judge (as John M. Kennedy)
Ray Buktenica ...
Doctor
Deb Newman ...
Waitress (as Deborah Newman)
Sari Price ...
Secretary
Michael Stearns ...
Detective Lieutenant
...
Sonny Bartlow (as Ernie Orsatti)
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Storyline

Hawkins comes to Hollywood to defend a star's husband in a murder case. The man claims that he killed a playboy when he caught him trying to rape his daughter. But Hawkins doubts that he is telling him the full truth.

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Drama | Mystery | Crime

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Release Date:

2 October 1973 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Tragic tale of Hollywood gay life
3 December 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Murder In Movieland finds Jimmy Stewart as country lawyer Billy Jim Hawkins in Tinseltown where Cameron Mitchell, the husband of former movie queen Sheree North is being held for murdering Ernie Orsatti the bisexual lover of North's daughter from a previous marriage Maggie Wellman. This is Mitchell's second marriage with North, he was her first and if convicted he'll be the only one that did not end in divorce.

The plot and characters are taken from many sources. Anyone who does not recognize the Johnny Stompanato murder from real life is not a fan of old Hollywood and Lana Turner. Coincidentally Turner played opposite Stewart in their salad days at MGM in Ziegfeld Girl. Kenneth Mars "self styled friend to the stars" is clearly Truman Capote. He's a hanger-on to certain celebrities and some do clearly attract a gay following as we know.

There is a much more tragic tale of Hollywood gay life in the solution. Lawyer, agent, and Hollywood powerbroker William Smithers is the eventual guilty party. He backed Orsatti, set him up in what looks like a gay condominium which he owns through some dummy corporations and got jealous when Orsatti started playing the field on both sides of the gender divide. Smithers for all his wealth and power just fell in love.

Smithers has as a manager of the building Thaao Penghlis who is also a gay stereotype. But during the course of the investigation for the defense by Strother Martin, Penghlis attacks him from behind and renders him unconscious when Martin uncovers some incriminating photographs. Smithers wants his privacy in the closet protected at all costs. Martin is in fact worried that he as a former deputy sheriff in West Virginia will get razzed when it comes out some gay took him out.

For all its weaknesses this Hawkins murder mystery is an early post Stonewall attempt at introducing gay characters even if it did lean on stereotypes. And William Smithers gets acting honors for this tragic role.


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