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|Seventies & Eighties Made-For-TV Movies - J|
JACOBO TIMERMAN: PRISONER WITHOUT A NAME, CELL WITHOUT A NUMBER 1983 100 min. Roy Scheider, Liv Ullman, Sam Robads, David Cryer, Michael Pearlman, Zach Galligan. Directed by Linda Yellen. Disappointing dramatization of the real-life experiences of the activist Argentine newspaper publisher who was unjustly imprisoned and then tortured for several years. Given the story and talent involved, this should have been a powerhouse, but the lead actors were miscast, and the script was apparently changed in mid-production (writer Budd Schulberg removed his name from the credits in favor of a pseudonym). Results are surprisingly boring. Below average. Retitled: PRISONER WITHOUT A NAME, CELL WITHOUT A NUMBER. JACQUELINE BOUVIER KENNEDY 1981 150 min. Jaclyn Smith, James Franciscus, Rod Taylor, Stephen Elliott, Claudine Nevins, Donald Moffat. Directed by Stephen Gethers. Writer-director Gethers' lengthy valentine to Jackio O. from age five through finishing school and newspaper work to JFK's assassination. Taylor's flamboyant Blackjack Bouvier portrayal is a welcome break in the tedium. Average. JACQUELINE SUSANN'S VALLEY OF THE DOLLS 1981 240 min. Catherine Hicks, Lisa Hartman, Veronica Hamel, David Birney, Jean Simmons, James Coburn, Gary Collins, Bert Convy, Britt Ekland, Carol Lawrence, Camilla Sparv, Denise Nicholas Hill, Steve Inwood. Directed by Walter Grauman. Updating of the best-seller, "with characters and material created by Miss Susann which she omitted from the published novel." Slickly made romantic drama is empty-headedly entertaining, and thus superior to the 1967 theatrical version. Originally shown in two parts. Average. JANE DOE 1983 100 min. Karen Valentine, William Devane, Eva Marie Saint, David Huffman, Stephen Miller, Jackson Davies, Anthony Holland. Directed by Ivan Nagy. Engaging suspense thriller about an amnesiac found buried alive who is being stalked by a killer trying to finish her off. Above average. JANE EYRE 1971 110 min. George C. Scott, Susannah York, Ian Bannen, Jack Hawkins, Rachel Kempson, Jean Marsh, Nyree Dawn Porter. Directed by Delbert Mann. Sumptuous Gothic settings and Scott's great performance highlight this pleasant if somewhat uninspired retelling of the Bronte classic. Above average. JARRETT 1973 78 min. Glenn Ford, Anthony Quayle, Forrest Tucker, Laraine Stephens, Yvonne Craig, Richard Anderson. Directed by Barry Shear. Pedestrian pilot with Ford as an erudite investigator specializing in fine arts cases, here on the trail of rare Biblical scrolls also coveted by urbane villain Quayle. Average. THE JAYNE MANSFIELD STORY 1980 100 min. Loni Anderson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Raymond Buktenica, Kathleen Lloyd, G.D. Spradlin, Dave Shelley. Directed by Dick Lowry. Stunning Loni is merely OK as Jayne in this factually questionable biopic of the platinum blonde sex queen of the '50s, who according to this version would let nothing stand in her way of become the next Marilyn Monroe. With the exception of Mickey Hargitay (played by iron-pumping Schwarzenegger), all characters have fictitious names. Average. Also known as JAYNE MANSFIELD: A SYMBOL OF THE 50's. JEALOUSY 1984 100 min. Angie Dickinson, Paul Michael Glaser, David Carradine, Richard Mulligan, Bo Svenson, France Nyen. Directed by Jeffrey Bloom. Angie gets a workout in three separate stories about the effects of that proverbial green-eyed monster. Best is number two, where she finds herself competing, with unusual results for her zillionaire husband Mulligan's affections. Number one isn't all that bad either -- and two out of three's a good average. Average. JENNIFER: A WOMAN'S STORY 1979 100 min. Elizabeth Montgomery, Bradford Dillman, Scott Hylands, James Booth, John Beal, Jobin Gammell, Doris Roberts, Kate Mulgrew. Directed by Guy Green. A wealthy ship tycoon's widow finds herself locked in a battle with boardroom associates who are trying to wrest the business from her. Based on the British TV series THE FOUNDATION. Average. THE JERICHO MILE 1979 100 min. Peter Strauss, Roger E. Mosley, Brian Dennehy, Billy Green Bush, Ed Lauter, Beverly Todd. Directed by Michael Mann. A Folsom Prison lifer works at becoming the world's fastest runner and aims for a spot on the Olympic team. Offbeat, gritty, and thoughtful. Written by Mann and Patrick J. Nolan. Above average. THE JERK, TOO 1984 100 min. Mark Blankfield, Ray Walston, Stacey Nelkin, Thalmus Rasulala, Mabel King, Pat McCormick, Gwen Verdon, Jimmie Walker, Martin Mull, Lainie Kazan. Directed by Michael Schultz. Bumbling Navin Johnson leaves his adoptive parents, black sharecroppers, and goes on a cross-country odyssey to find his true love in producer Steve Martin's redo of his one- or two-joke 1979 movie, a crazy-quilt starring vehicle for stand-up comic Blankfield. Even as a TV pilot, it's a tepid affair. Below average. JIGSAW 1971 97 min. James Wainwright, Vera Miles, Richard Kiley, Andrew Duggan, Edmond O'Brien. Directed by William Graham. A cop specializing in missing-persons cases discovers he's been lured into a sophisticated cover-up scheme. Occasional tension, but it should have been far better. Pilot to a short-lived series; later retitled MAN ON THE MOVE. Average. JIMMY B. & ANDRE 1980 105 min. Alex Karras, Marge Sinclair, Eddie Barth, Curtis Yates, Susan Clark, Kay Armen. Directed by Guy Green. Drama based on the true-life story of Detroit restaurateur Jimmy Butsicaris and a black youngster whom he tried to adopt. Karras and Clark produced it, and she deftly steals it with occasional appearances as a hooker in a Harpo Marx wig. Average. JOHNNY, WE HARDLY KNEW YE 1977 100 min. Paul Rudd, Kevin Conway, Burgess Meredith, William Prince, Richard Venture, Tom Berenger, Kenneth McMillan, Shirley Rich, Joseph Bova. Directed by Gilbert Cates. Well-acted account of John F. Kennedy's first try for public office, based on the 1972 best-seller. Rudd tries but lacks JFK's charisma; Meredith's charm makes up for it as "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald. Average. THE JORDAN CHANCE 1978 100 min. Raymond Burr, Ted Shackleford, James Canning, Stella Stevens, John McIntire, Peter Haskell, Gerald McRaney, George DiCenzo. Directed by Jules Irving. Prominent attorney (and one-time con) heads a foundation to help those wrongly accused and unjustly convicted in this pilot to another lawyer series for Burr. Average. THE JUDGE AND JAKE WYLER 1972 100 min. Bette Davis, Doug McClure, Eric Braeden, James McEachin, Kent Smith, Joan Van Ark. Directed by David Lowell Rich. An eccentric judge (Davis) takes on a parolee as a detective partner in her new agency investigating the suspicious death of a businessman. For TV, good banter, convincing situations. Produced and co-written by Richard Levinson and William Link. Above average. JUDGE DEE AND THE MONASTERY MURDER 1974 100 min. Khigh Dhiegh, Mako, Soon-Taik Oh, Miiko Taka, Irene Tsu, James Hong, Keye Luke. Directed by Jeremy Kagan. Murder mystery with a definite twist: the detective is a seventh century Chinese sleuth. Based on Robert Van Gulick's Judge Dee mysteries; decidely offbeat and lavishly made. Script by Nicolas Meyer. Above average. JUST A LITTLE INCONVENIENCE 1977 100 min. Lee Majors, James Stacy, Barbara Hershey, Charles Coiffi, Jim Davis. Directed by Theodore J. Flicker. Vietnam veteran Majors attempts to rehabilitate his best friend who lost an arm and a leg during the war. Actor Stacy delivers an inspirational portrayal in a film close to the heart of producer Majors. But the script, co-written by Flicker, is unmoving. Average. JUST AN OLD SWEET SONG 1976 78 min. Cicely Tyson, Robert Hooks, Kevin Hooks, Eric Hooks, Beah Richards, Lincoln Kilpatrick, Edward Binns, Minnie Gentry. Directed by Robert Ellis Miller. Melvin Van Peebles' contemporary drama about a black family from Detroit whose two-week vacation in the South changes their lives. A lovingly acted family film. Above average. JUST ME AND YOU 1978 100 min. Louise Lasser, Charles Grodin, Julie Bovasso, Paul Fix, Michael Aldridge. Directed by John Erman. Comedy-drama about a cross country odyssey shared by a dizzy New York dame and a down-to-earth salesman. Lasser wrote this one, probably after overdosing on Judy Holliday movies, but it misfires. Average.
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