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 Seventies & Eighties Made-For-TV Movies - P

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PACKIN' IT IN
1983
100 min.
Richard Benjamin, Paula Prentiss, Tony Roberts, Kenneth McMillan, Andrea Marcovicci, Molly Ringwald. Directed by Jud
Taylor.
Benjamin and Prentiss's first TV-movie together is a routine comedy about an urban couple who pack themselves and their
children off to the boondocks for the simpler, safer life... with predictable results. Average.

PANACHE
1976
78 min.
Rene Auberjonois, David Healy, Charles Frank, Charles Seibert, Amy Irving, John Doucette, Joseph Ruskin. Directed by
Gary Nelson.
A lavishly-produced swashbuckler send-up, mixing romance, swordplay, political treachery and pratfalls in 17th century
France. The title serves as the name of the hero and the spirit of the movie. An unheralded dandy. Above average.

PANIC IN ECHO PARK
1977
78 min.
Dorian Harewood, Robin Gammell, Catlin Adams, Ramon Bieri, Movita, Tamu. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey.
Determined physician Harewood fights hospital authority and city government to trace the cause of an apparent epidemic.
He's street-wise, the film's predictable. Average.

PAPER DOLLS
1982
100 min.
Joan Hackett, Jennifer Warren, Joan Collins, Daryl Hannah, Alexandra Paul, Marc Singer, Barry Primus, Craig T. Nelson.
Directed by Edward Zwick.
Behind the scenes in the glamorous -- and competitive -- world of teenage models. The older women -- Hackett, Warren,
and Collins -- are the ones to watch here. Later a series. Average.

THE PARADE
1984
100 min.
Michael Learned, Frederic Forrest, Rosanna Arquette, Maxwell Caulfield, James Olson, Geraldine Page. Directed by Peter
H. Hunt.
Three generations of women find their lives in turmoil when the husband of one comes home seeking revenge after seven
years in prison, as the town prepares for its July 4th parade. N. Richard Nash's compact story and teleplay revive
pleasant memories of his writings during TV's Golden Age. Above average.

THE PARADISE CONNECTION
1979
100 min.
Buddy Ebsen, Bonnie Ebse, John Colicos, Marj Dusay, Brian Kerwin. Directed by Michael Preece.
In this pilot to a post-BARNABY JONES project, Ebsen (who also produced it) is a Chicago lawyer who goes to Hawaii in
search of his estranged son who, he learns, is involved in drug smuggling. Average.

PAROLE
1982
100 min.
James Naughton, Lori Cardille, Mark Soper, Ted Ross, Barbara Meek, Brent Jennings. Directed by Michael Tuchner.
A dedicated Boston parole officer and his young charges populate this conventional pilot. Edward Hume's script nearly
gets it over the hurdle, but one must settle instead for the Police's Sting singing Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released"
at crucial points in the plot. Average.

THE PATRICIA NEAL STORY
1981
100 min.
Anthony Page, Glenda Jackson, Dirk Bogarde, Mildred Dunnock, Ken Kercheval, Jane Morrow, John Reilly. Directed by
Anthony Harvey.
Splendid performances by the two leads in their American TV-movie debuts and Dunnock playing herself give added
distinction to this dramatized account of Neal's recovery from a near-fatal stroke with the aid of author husband Roald
Dahl. Sensitively adapted by playwright Robert Anderson from Barry Farrell's book PAT AND ROALD. Above average.

THE PEOPLE VS. JEAN HARRIS
1981
150 min.
Ellen Burstyn, Martin Balsam, Richard Dysart, Peter Coyote, Priscilla Morrill, Sarah Marshall, Millie Slavin
(narrator). Directed by George Schaefer.
The murder trial of private-school headmistress Jean Harris, convicted of the slaying of her lover, SCARSDALE DIET
author Dr. Herman Tarnower, was recreated in record time for a movie (TV or otherwise), premiering five weeks after the
fact. Burstyn won an Emmy Award nomination as Best Actress. Shot on videotape. Above average.

A PERFECT MATCH
1980
100 min.
Linda Kelsey, Michael Brandon, Charles Durning, Colleen Dewhurst, Lisa Lucas, Bonnie Bartlett. Directed by Mel Damski.
John Sayles wrote this drama about a mother stricken with a mysterious illness who must locate the daughter she gave up
for adaption as a teenager. Average.

PERILOUS VOYAGE
1976
97 min.
Michael Parks, William Shatner, Michael Tolan, Louise Sorel, Victor Jory, Charles McGraw, Stuart Margolin. Directed by
William Graham.
A boat and its passengers held hostage by a revolutionary. Stereotyped characters, nothing in the script to make the
situation novel. Below average. Filmed in 1968.

PETER LUNDY AND THE MEDICINE HAT STALLION
1977
100 min.
Leif Garrett, Milo O'Shea, Mitch Ryan, Bibi Besch, Charles Tyner, John Anderson, John Quade. Directed by Michael
O'Herlihy.
A teenaged frontier lad becomes a rider for the Pony Express in the mid-1800s in this Disney-like adventure tale. Good
family entertainment. Above average.

THE PHANTOM OF HOLLYWOOD
1974
78 min.
Skye Aubrey, Jack Cassidy, Jackie Coogan, Broderick Crawford, Peter Haskell, John Ireland, Peter Lawford, Kent Taylor,
Corinne Calvet, Bill Williams. Directed by Gene Levitt.
A movie buff's dream: a masked monster goes on a rampage against those selling his home -- the MGM back lot. Silly but
watchable. Average.

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
1983
100 min.
Maximilian Schell, Jane Seymour, Michael York, Jeremy Kemp, Diana Quick. Directed by Robert Markowitz.
This sumptuous 80s version of the grand guignol classic is highlighted by Schell's scenery-chewing portrait of the
deranged Hungarian voice teacher who's not just another pretty face. Sherman Yellen's adaptation and Stan Wilson's
"Phantom" makeup aren't to be overlooked either. Above average.

THE PHOENIX
1981
74 min.
Judson Scott, E.G. Marshall, Fernando Allende, Shelley Smith, Darryl Anderson, Hersha Parady. Directed by Douglas
Hickox.
Banal pilot for the short-lived series about a godlike being with extraordinary powers, discovered in an ancient
sarcophagus and brought back to life, who must learn to cope with today's society. Below average.

A PIANO FOR MS. CIMINO
1982
100 min.
Bette Davis, Penny Fuller, Keenan Wynn, Alexa Kenin, George Hearn, Christopher Guest, Graham Jarvis. Directed by George
Schaefer.
A widow, diagnosed as senile by her doctor and declared incompetent by the courts, fights to regain control of her
estate and her life, with Bette Davis giving another postgraduate acting course (sometimes a smidge too obviously) to
her army of students and fans. John Gay wrote the sensitive script. Above average.

THE PIDGEON
1969
74 min.
Sammy Davis, Jr., Dorothy Malone, Pat Boone, Ricardo Montalban, Victoria Vetri. Directed by Earl Bellamy.
A private-eye is driven by events to help an old flame and her daughter to retrieve a diary and protect them from a
gang of criminals. Despite the efforts of the cast, a singularly uninvolving drama. Average.

PINE CANYON IS BURNING
1977
78 min.
Kent McCord, Diana Muldaur, Andrew Duggan, Richard Bakalyan, Megan McCord, Shane Sinutko. Directed by Chris Nyby III.
This family adventure film has McCord as a widowered fireman raising his two small children while operating a one-man
fire-rescue station. Below average.

PIONEER WOMAN
1973
78 min.
Joanna Pettet, William Shatner, David Janssen, Lance LeGault, Helen Hunt, Russell Baer. Directed by Buzz Kulik.
Frontier drama about the joys and hardships of homesteading in Wyoming circa 1867. The Old West from the woman's
viewpoint. Average.

PLAYING FOR TIME
1980
150 min.
Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Alexander, Maud Adams, Viveca Lindfors, Shirley Knight, Melanie Mayron, Maria Berenson, Verna
Bloom, Martha Schlamme, Marta Heflin. Directed by Daniel Mann.
Outstanding drama about Fania Fenelon, who survived Auschwitz by performing in a bizarre orchestra "playing for time"
while other inmates are marched to their death. Redgrave, as Fenelon, and Alexander, as the orchestra's leader, won
Emmy Awards for their performances (Knight also received a nomination). Arthur Miller's stunning teleplay earned him an
Emmy, and the film itself won as Outstanding Drama Special. Above average.

PLAYMATES
1972
73 min.
Alan Alda, Connie Stevens, Doug McClure, Barbara Feldon, Eileen Brennan, Tiger Williams, Severn Darden. Directed by
Theodore J. Flicker.
A chance meeting of divorced men (Alda and McClure) slowly precipitates a plan to check up on their ex-wives. Fairly
intelligent complications; the cast seems to be enjoying themselves. Above average.

PLEASURE COVE
1979
100 min.
Tom Jones, Constance Forslund, Melody Anderson, Joan Hackett, Harry Guardino, Shelley Fabares, Jerry Lacy. Directed by
Bruce Bilson.
Busted pilot taking the LOVE BOAT multiplot premise and relocating it to a posh resort. Jones' acting debut. Average.

PLEASURE PALACE
1980
100 min.
Omar Sharif, Victoria Principal, J.D. Cannon, Gerald S. O'Laughlin, Jose Ferrer, Hope Lange, Alan King. Directed by
Walter Grauman.
A high-rolling lothario finds his reputation at stake when he comes to the aid of a lady casino owner in distress;
predictable teleplay by Blanche Hanalis. Average.

THE PLUTONIUM INCIDENT
1980
100 min.
Janet Margolin, Bo Hopkins, Joseph Campanella, Powers Boothe, Bibi Besch, Nicholas Pryor. Directed by Richard Michaels.
Suspense tale about a nuclear power plant accident, with Margolin, as an activist trying to stir employee awareness,
becoming the target of company harassment. Inspired, no doubt, by the Karen Silkwood story. Average.

THE POINT
1971
73 min.
Directed by Fred Wolf.
Engaging children's cartoon about a boy banished from his homeland because his head is rounded, not pointed like
everybody else's. Charming score by Harry Nilsson. The first network showing was narrated by Dustin Hoffman; his voice
was replaced for subsequent showings. Above average.

                                        

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THE POLICE STORY 1973 100 min. Vic Morrow, Chuck Connors, Diane Baker, Edward Asner, Harry Guardino, Ralph Meeker, Ina Balin, Diane Hull, Barbara Rhoades. Directed by William Graham. A long-defiant criminal vows defiance, Cop La Frieda (Morrow) vows capture. The Joseph Wambaugh-based script includes interesting station atmosphere, department hassles. OK job, with Morrow solid as usual; clever direction. The hit series followed. Above average. POLICEWOMAN CENTERFOLD 1983 100 min. Melody Anderson, Ed Marinaro, Donna Pescow, Bert Ramsen, David Spielberg, Michael LeClair, Greg Monaghan. Directed by Reza Badiyi. A lady cop does a nude layout for a girlie magazine and finds her job on the line and her personal life in turmoil. Exploitative trash based on a true story of a Springfield, Ohio, cop who appeared in PLAYBOY. Below average. POOR DEVIL 1972 100 min. Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Klugman, Christopher Lee, Gino Conforti, Adam West, Madlyn Rhue. Directed by Robert Scheerer. Silly mixture of farce and low-I.Q. drama as a lowly assistant in Hell dreams of a chance to earn his stripes on Earth. Crazy cast, with Lee alternately playing straight and for laughs as Lucifer. Average. POPE JOHN PAUL II 1984 150 min. Albert Finney, Michael Crompton, Johnathan Newth, Nigel Hawthorne, Brian Cox, Caroline Bliss, John McEnery, Ronald Pickup, Lee Montague. Directed by Herbert Wise. Finney's American TV acting debut allows h im to add another memorable portrait to his diverse gallery of colorful, full-bodied portrayals. His charismatic Karol Wojtyla is a reverential tour-de-force, covering the Pontiff's adult life from an adversary of Nazism and Communism in Poland to his installation as Pope in 1978. Script by Christopher Knopf. Above average. PORTRAIT OF A REBEL: THE REMARKABLE MRS. SANGER 1980 96 min. Bonnie Franklin, David Dukes, Richard Johnson, Frances Lee McCain, Milo O'Shea, Albert Salmi, William Windom, Yvonne Wilder. Directed by Virgil W. Vogel. Unremarkable biopic about the controversial WW1-era women's right crusader, who pioneered the country's first birth-control clinic. Script by Blanche Hanalis. Average. PORTRAIT OF A SHOWGIRL 1982 100 min. Lesley Ann Warren, Rita Moreno, Dianne Kay, Tony Curtis, Barry Primus, Kenneth Gilman, Howard Morris. Directed by Steven H. Stern. The predictable life and times of a Vegas dancer. Moreno glitters as a world-weary chorus line gypsy. Average. PORTRAIT OF AN ESCORT 1980 100 min. Susan Anspach, Tony Bill, Cyd Charisse, Kevin McCarthy, Edie Adams, Mary Frann, Gretchen Wyler, Todd Susman. Directed by Steven Hilliard Stern. A divorcee takes a night job with a professional dating service to make ends meet and causes tongues to wag. Average. POWDERKEG 1970 100 min. Rod Taylor, Dennis Cole, Michael Ansara, Fernando Lamas, Luciana Paluzzi, Tisha Sterling. Directed by Douglas Heyes. Tongue-in-cheek adventure set in 1914; two trouble-shooters are hired to retrieve a hijacked train. Great action ruined by sloppy direction. Average; pilot for the TV series THE BEARCATS. POWER 1980 200 min. Joe Don Baker, Karen Black, Howard da Silva, Ralph Bellamy, Red Buttons, Brian Keith, Jo Van Fleet, Victor Jory, Paul Stewart, Scott Brady. Directed by Barry Shear and Virgil Vogel. An influential labor leader's rise to power from the docks of Chicago during the Depression. A big cast populates this sprawling saga written by Ernest Tidyman that's actually the thinly disguised story of Jimmy Hoffa. Above average. THE POWER WITHIN 1979 78 min. Art Hindle, Edward Binns, Eric Braeden, Susan Sullivan, David Hedison, Richard Sargent. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. A barnstorming pilot is struck by lightning, acquires mystical powers, and is menaced by enemy agents who want his secret. A silly attempt to grab THE INCREDIBLE HULK's audience. Below average. PRAY TV 1982 100 min. John Ritter, Ned Beatty, Richard Kiley, Madolyn Smith, Louise Latham, Jonathan Price, Michael Currie, Lois Areno. Directed by Robert Markowitz. Newly ordained idealistic minister Ritter becomes involved with dynamic TV evangelist Beatty. Lane Slate's potentially incisive look at the power born of TV celebrity appears to have been tempered (and tampered with?) by the network before the film's initial airing. Average. PRESCRIPTION: MURDER 1967 99 min. Peter Falk, Gene Barry, Katherine Justice, William Windom, Nina Foch, Anthony James, Virginia Gregg. Directed by Richard Irving. Doc Fleming (Barry) thinks he's committed a fool-proof murder of his wife, so at first he humors the efforts of a seemingly slow-witted police lieutenant (Falk) to check his alibi. An interesting debut of Falk's Columbo character with an excellent cast and subplots. Adapted by Richard Levinson and William Link form their Broadway play (with Thomas Mitchell as Columbo). Above average. Followed by RANSOM FOR A DEAD MAN. THE PRESIDENT'S MISTRESS 1978 100 min. Beau Bridges, Susan Blanchard, Karen Grassle, Larry Hagman, Joel Fabiani, Don Porter. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey. A government courier is caught in a conspiracy after learning his murdered sister was the President's mistress as well as a Soviet spy. Average. THE PRESIDENT'S PLANE IS MISSING 1971 100 min. Buddy Ebsen, Peter Graves, Arthur Kennedy, Rip Torn, Louise Sorel, Raymond Massey, James Wainwright, Mercedes McCambridge, Dabney Coleman, Joseph Campanella. Directed by Daryl Duke. Adapation of Robert Sterling's novel depicts the second-by-second crisis concerning an international plot to overthrow the U.S. government. An impressive cast cannot obsure the faulty narrative and direction. Average. THE PRIDE OF JESSE HALLUM 1981 100 min. Johnny Cash, Brenda Vaccaro, Ben Marley, Eli Wallach, Guy Boyd, Chrystal Smith. Directed by Gary Nelson. Cash plays a man who is forced to battle with his illiteracy. Suzanne Clauser wrote the story, and Cash the music, which he and wife June Carter Cash sing. Average. THE PRIEST KILLER 1971 100 min. Raymond Burr, George Kennedy, Don Galloway, Don Mitchell, Louise Latham, Anthony Zerbe, Peter Brocco. Directed by Richard A. Colla. Sleuthing priest Kennedy and police chief Ironside combine forces in search for a motive for a series of murders of Catholic priests. Second pilot to Kennedy's short-lived SARGE series. Average. PRIME SUSPECT 1982 100 min. Mike Farrell, Teri Garr, Veronical Cartwright, Lane Smith, Barry Corbin, James Sloyan, Charles Aidman. Directed by Noel Black. Following a TV investigative reporter's overzealousness, a law-abiding citizen becomes the prime suspect in a young girl's murder. The closeness of ABSENCE OF MALICE seems more than coincidental. Average. THE PRINCESS AND THE CABBIE 1981 100 min. Valerie Bertinelli, Robert Desiderio, Cynthia Harris, Peter Donat, Shelley Long, Ellen Geer. Directed by Glenn Jordan. A rich young girl encounters a feisty, self-taught cab driver, and love blossoms. Below average. PRINCESS DAISY 1983 200 min. Merete Van Kamp, Lindsay Wagner, Paul Michael Glaser, Robert Urich, Claudia Cardinale, Rupert Everett, Sada Thompson, Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach, Stacy Keach. Directed by Waris Hussein. Judith Krantz's best-selling poor-little-rich-girl novel in all its trashy glory, bolstered by Keach, dashing as her Russian Prince dad, and Cardinale, sleek as her cultured French companion (and her father's mistress). Originally shown in two parts. Average. PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE 1983 90 min. Richard Hatch, Kay Lenz, John Saxon, Dawn Abraham, Peter O'Farrell, Ray Charleson. Directed by Tery Marcel. A sadistic warlord on a hostile planet keeps two space travelers, accidentally hurled into the future, on their toes. Made for cable-TV. Average. A PRIVATE BATTLE 1980 100 min. Jack Warden, Anne Jackson, David Stockton, Rachel Kelly, Walter Cronkite, Rebecca Schull. Directed by Robert Lewis. John Gay's affecting drama, lovingly played by Warden and Jackson, based on the story by writer Cornelius (THE LONGEST DAY) Ryan's struggle against cancer. Above average. PROBE 1972 97 min. Hugh O'Brian, Elke Sommer, John Gielgud, Burgess Meredith, Angel Tompkins, Lilia Skala, Kent Smith, Byron Chung. Directed by Russ Mayberry. Good Leslie Stevens thriller about the theft of a fabulous jewel collection has a nifty gimmick: detective O'Brian has a tiny bug implanted in him, allowing what he sees and hears sent back to a control center (and letting them transmit helpful advice ). Look quickly for Jaclyn Smith. Pilot for the series SEARCH (this film's subsequent title). Average. PROMISE HIM ANYTHING 1974 78 min. Eddie Albert, Frederic Forrest, Meg Foster, William Schallert, Tom Ewell, Aldo Ray, Steven Keats. Directed by Edward Parone. Comedy tracing the tangled romantic web of a young man who sues his computer date for breach of promise. Sprightly performed fluff. Average. THE PROMISE OF LOVE 1980 96 min. Valerie Bertinelli, Jameson Parker, Andy Romano, Joanna Miles, David James Carroll, Craig T. Nelson. Directed by Don Taylor. Undistinguished melodrama about a young bride who tries to rebuild her life when her Marine husband is killed in Vietnam. Below average. PROTOTYPE 1983 100 min. Christopher Plummer, David Morse, Frances Sternhagen, James Sutorius, Stephen Elliott, Arthur Hill. Directed by David Greene. Richard Levinson and William Link's ingenious updating of the Frankenstein legend has Nobel Prize-winning scientist Plummer developing the first humanoid, then stealing him from the Pentagon's clutches, fearing they plan on reprogramming "it" for a destructive mission. Above average. PSYCHIATRIST: GOD BLESS THE CHILDREN 1970 100 min. Roy Thinnes, Peter Duel, Luther Adler, John Rubinstein, Joy Bang, Norman Alden, Barry Brown. Directed by Daryl Duke. Entertaining drama showcases new group therapy techniques applied to young patients; stagy dialogue, fiery performances. Above average. Retitled: CHILDREN OF THE LOTUS EATER. PURSUIT 1972 73 min. Ben Gazzara, E.G. Marshall, William Windom, Joseph Wiseman, Jim McMullan, Martin Sheen. Directed by Michael Crichton. An extremist aching for confrontation in a convention city threatens mass destruction with deadly government nerve gas. Based on the novel by John Lange (Michael Crichton); fair tension and OK dialog as agent Graves (Gazzara) must outwit his adversary at his own game. Above average. PUZZLE 1978 90 min. James Franciscus, Wendy Hughes, Sir Robert Helpmann, Peter Gwynne, Gerald Kennedy, Kerry McGuire. Directed by Gordon Hessler. A muddled melodrama involving a faded tennis ace, his ex-wife who is seeking his help in finding a cache of gold bars her recently departed second husband had embezzled, and a probable murder. Australian production; average.

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