Conrad's short story was very short, and deliberately unspecific in order to avoid lawsuits.
This 90-minute telecast features writer Stewart Stern's free variations on Conrad's story skeleton, filling out the narrative in a way that is wholly inadequate when compared to Michael Herr's Vietnam fantasy in "Apocalypse Now."
Roddy McDowell gets most of the screen time, and wears out his welcome quickly. The rest of the cast looks great on paper, but they're at far from their best and are pretty much wasted. Karloff completists will be frustrated by a brief appearance as Mr. Kurtz that is wholly lacking in power or magic. Overall, the studio-bound production strains to a poetic level that is more embarrassing than inspiring.
Sterling Hayden's introductions are stiff and uncomfortable, and the commercials included in the version I saw were far more engaging than the show itself.
Not one of Playhouse 90's better evenings.
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