Francesa Kinsolving, a very pregnant widow whose husband was recently killed in action in Vietnam, travels to visit her late husband's mother in a snowy Minnesota town only to get snowed in...
See full summary »
From the Pullizer Prize winning play by Paul Zindel, this is the story of Beatrice Hunsdorfer and her daughters, Ruth and Matilda. A middle-aged widowed eccentric, Beatrice is looking for ... See full summary »
Francesa Kinsolving, a very pregnant widow whose husband was recently killed in action in Vietnam, travels to visit her late husband's mother in a snowy Minnesota town only to get snowed in during a fierce blizzard where she's forced to wait it out only to slowly uncover some terrible dark secrets that Mrs. Kinsolving has been hiding, one of them is her psychotic other son, a recent escapee from a lunatic asylum, who is shacked up in the basement of the house.Written by
Filmed at the Congdon Mansion in Duluth, MN. After the murder of mansion owner and prominent heiress Elisabeth Congdon in 1977, a movie theatre in Duluth revived the movie at midnight showings (much to the chagrin of the Congdon family). See more »
The closing credits roll down instead of up. See more »
Patty Duke is lovely and appealing as Francesca Kinsolving, a very pregnant young woman whose husband Matthew was killed in Vietnam. She makes the journey from L.A. to snowbound Minnesota, where the Kinsolving family homestead is. She's hoping to make some sort of connection with Matthews' mother, about whom he spoke so highly. But when she gets to the estate, the mother (Rosemary Murphy) turns out to be an odd duck, and a forbidding character. What's more, this woman has a daughter, Kathleen (the memorable Sian Barbara Allen), who has her own problems. Francesca realizes that she's not welcome there, but becomes a prisoner anyway when bad weather prevents her from leaving.
It's understandable that people might think that this was a made-for-TV affair, but in truth it *did* play in theatres. The director is Lamont Johnson, who had lots of television credits, but did a couple of theatrical features as well. He gives this decent story (script by Jo Heims, based on the novel by Naomi A. Hintze) some respectable suspense, and utilizes the real life Glensheen Historic Estate to great effect. The wintry atmosphere also helps a lot. Refreshingly, although Hintzes' tale has some twists to it, it's not overly complicated, and it's surprisingly absorbing, doing a good job of keeping the viewers' attention.
Another heavy asset is Dukes' character. She's vulnerable, but she's not a dummy, and realizes early on that she would be better off leaving if possible. You do sympathize with her and feel a certain suspicion towards Mrs. Kinsolving, who is played with effective frostiness by Ms. Murphy. Allen likewise does a very creditable job. Richard "John-Boy Walton" Thomas has fun with his cocky and creepy character, who's not given a proper introduction until well into the picture. And Robert Redford lookalike Dennis Rucker is likable in his small part as friendly bus driver Red Cooper.
The music by Gil Melle is on occasion a little unusual, but it works. And the cinematography by Jack A. Marta is excellent.
Only the conclusion fails to be particularly satisfying.
Seven out of 10.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this