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Mrs. Harris (2005)

TV-MA | | Drama | TV Movie 25 February 2006
Based on the sensational 1980s media event, famed cardiologist Herman Tarnower meets a particularly brutal end at the hands of his jilted lover, Jean Harris.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 6 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Herman Tarnower
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Pearl 'Billie' Schwartz - Tarnower's Sister
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Judge Leggett (as Lawrence O'Donnell Jr.)
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George Bolen
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Joel Arnou
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Marge Richey Jacobson
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Leslie Jacobson
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Henri
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Young David Harris
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Young Jimmy Harris
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Tarnower's Best Friend
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Tarnower Ex #1
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Tarnower's Ex #2
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Former Tarnower Steady
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Storyline

Fact-based story about Jean Harris (Annette Bening), a woman who was accused of murdering famed Scarsdale Diet Dr. Herman (Hi) Tarnower (Ben Kingsley) after being in a relationship with him for 14 years. Depicted as a womanizer, Dr. Tarnower had earlier asked Mrs. Harris, a divorced school teacher, to marry him. But when faced with upcoming nuptials, he backed out. The story depicts Mrs. Harris as a distraught and obsessive woman who may have been suffering from some mental illness and based on a note sent to the doctor, may have been suicidal at the time of the murder. She contended that Dr. Tarnower was shot while the two wrestled with a gun she was going to use to kill herself. Contains profanity and sexual situations, including implied masturbation. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Taglines:

She Loved Him, So She Shot Him.

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Drama

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TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

25 February 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Doamna Harris  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean Harris served her prison term at the Bedford Hills Correctional Institute. It still functions as a women's prison. In a strange coincidence, the name of the road that leads to the main gate is Harris Road. See more »

Quotes

Jean Harris: I realize that you are just a secretary and weren't as fortunate as I in graduating magna cum laude from Smith, but surely any well-read 10-year-old knows the meaning of the word "bizarre".
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Connections

Featured in The 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Put The Blame On Mame
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The diet doctor
26 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

The incident in which this HBO film is based upon, was fodder for the sensational press during the time it was front page news. Phyllis Nagy adapted the material for the screen, as well as directed. Ms. Nagy makes a point for not taking sides in the way this tale is presented. Jean Harris plays the most important part since, after all, she was the only one that lived to tell her story. How much of it is fiction, and how much it is true?, let the viewer arrive at his own conclusion.

The basic problem with this ambitious production is the casting of the two principal characters. Annette Benning, obviously acting on the text Ms. Nagy wrote, comes across as a silly woman. We don't get to see a dignified Jean Harris, or at least the woman one saw in pictures, and on the television news. Ms. Benning is a good actress, as she has proved herself in other films. Jean Harris, alas, is not one of the best roles she has played.

Ben Kingsley, the wonderful English actor, plays Dr. Herman Tarnower, the victim of Jean Harris' jealousy. Mr. Kingsley's take on this doctor is not convincing. His Dr. Tarnower comes across as a man who had a roving eye for attractive women of a certain class, which is what made him fall for Mrs. Harris, to begin with. According to Ms. Nagy, this doctor had an indecisive nature paying more attention to his mother when she bluntly questions why is he marrying the poor Mrs. Harris.

The opening credits show us how other women, at least in film noir, have dealt with men their own way. What Ms. Nagy's screen play does is to take the viewpoint that maybe Mrs. Harris didn't intend to kill Dr. Tarnower, at all, when the facts of the case tell us she fired a few shots during that fatal encounter.


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