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Movie(s) of the Week: Part 14

Mark Powers (James Franciscus) enjoys a game of roulette with Christina Wood (Jessica Walter) at the club

Mark Powers (James Franciscus) enjoys a game of roulette with Christina Wood (Jessica Walter) at the club

Secrets of Three Hungry Wives- 10-9-78

Everyone loves a good soap opera-ish movie, and this movie had not only the makings of a good soaper, but it also had people talking the next day.

Playboy Mark Powers (James Franciscus) rents a house from real estate agent Christina Wood in the upper class suburb of Middlegate. He's putting a business deal together and thinks he'll be there for about six months and from the get go, he makes a move on Christina.

At first she had a two second attraction to him, but when he asks her out, she declines and feels that there's just something off about him.

Friday nights are reserved for her and her friends to get together at the Middlegate Country Club where they have dinner and cocktails and the talk on this Friday night is how Mark was gunned down in his swanky penthouse in the city earlier that afternoon.

The movie is interwoven with flashbacks on the wives and their interactions with Mark.

Since Christina is the first to meet him, she tells him about the club and he shows up that night alone. Her friends send her to the bar and ask if he'd like to join them. Reluctantly, she asks and this time he turns her down, but he humors her and goes to the table where she introduces him to Karen and Bill McClure (Gretchen Corbett and Craig Stevens) and Harry and Lynn Briskin (John Reilly and Heather MacRae). The women are charmed by him and the men really don't look at him as a threat.

After work one day, Mark is waiting at Christina's for her, and has charmed her fifteen year old daughter Vicki (Eve Plumb) with tickets to a concert. While Vicki and Christina don't get along, she's mad that Mark is using his influence over the girl. He also asks her if she would be his hostess at a party that he's planning on throwing and she declines.

He tells her that he'll ask Karen and she tells him that since the party is on Friday night, the McClure's will be at the club. What Christina doesn't know is that Bill will be out of town and Karen has already accepted the offer of hostess duties.

With Mark standing over her, Karen calls Lynn to cancel for the night, telling her that she ran into an old friend and is planning on staying in the city and catch up. Of course Christina knows the real truth.

Before the party, Mark entices Karen into his lifestyle by taking her to an expensive lunch and he tells her that Christina had tried to seduce him and he wasn't interested and now she's running all over town badmouthing him.

At the party, one of Mark's friends, Willard Durrell (Norman Bartold) tells him that he wants to sleep with Karen. He says it can be arranged and after Mark sleeps with her, he sends her off with $500 and tells her that Durrell is going to pay her $600.

This begins a cycle for Karen in which Mark becomes her pimp and Bill asks where she spends her days and she comes up with a lot of excuses.

As Mark is destroying Karen's life, he sets his sight on Lynn and invites the Briskin's to his club for dinner. While Harry and Mark talk business, he sets Lynn up in the private casino with a credit line of $2000. As a gambler, her eyes light up as big as Christmas trees as tells him she's only going to play $100.

Having won a little bit at the roulette table, she goes back to the club and runs through the money. When the casino manager (Anthony Charnota) tells her there's no money left for her, he asks if she'll be sending a check to them to cover the loss.

Confused, she doesn't quite understand what he's asking and he tells her that she owes the money since she signed the credit slips.

When she tries to figure out what to do, Mark calls her and demands that she come to the house and he tells her that he's taken care of the debt, but he expects the money in a few days since he's leaving the country and wants everything settled before he leaves. She asks about the business deal, and finds out that it was just a ruse and had never planned on buying insurance from Harry.

Mark also has something of Christina's that he won't give up which also gets under Christina's skin and since all of the women have a motive to kill him, the police hone in on the killer, since she literally cracks under pressure and outs herself.

Rescuers try to save stranded motorists as the a local bridge begins to collapse

Rescuers try to save stranded motorists as the a local bridge begins to collapse

The Night the Bridge Fell Down- 2-28-1983

By the time this Irwin Allen disaster was shown, his career was pretty much over and since this movie was filmed it wasn't released until 1983- opposite the final episode of M*A*S*H which wasn't a good move.

In this Allen disaster, a group of people are trapped on a bridge that's slowly been crumbling and now in it's final hours engineer Cal Miller (James MacArthur) has to figure out how to save it.

With time against him, the bridge will trap a motley group of motorists, each with a reason to get to the other side.

Paul Warren (Leslie Nielsen) has been embezzling from his company along with his secretary Elaine (Barbara Rush). He's trying to get to the other side so that he can get his baby and take him to the doctor, since his wife has been neglecting him and Elaine wants him.

Terry Kelly (Eve Plumb) is engaged to Harvey Lewis (Richard Gilliland) and is having doubts since she's thinking of becoming a nun. Even though she's broken off the engagement, he's still pursuing her and on this night, she's taking recently adopted Judy (Colleen Davis) to her new home.

Dee (Char Fontane) is a pawn in her boyfriend Johnny Pyle's (Dezi Arnaz, Jr.) bank robbery. She's clueless that when they stopped earlier in the day at the bank that he actually robbed it. They're heading to the airport and Acapulco, where she thinks that they're going to get married, but he plans on ditching her.

After an All Points Bulletin was issued for Johnny, Harvey sees the car and chases it onto the bridge causing a pile up. At that point the bridge shakes and starts to crumble.

Once the shaking stops, Miller has to figure out a way to get everyone off of the bridge, while Johnny ultimately takes everyone hostage. He wants off first and wants to make sure that he can get to Mexico. Dee is upset when she learns that she was being used all along.

Since it's too dangerous to climb down the side of the bridge, Miller and the fire department set up the Breeches buoy and a few are able to be rescued this way.

But, this is an Irwin Allen movie and you really don't know what to expect and with all of his made for television movies, expect the flashbacks.

Tough cop Richard Beck (Richard Crenna) has the tables turned when he's a victim of sexual assualt

Tough cop Richard Beck (Richard Crenna) has the tables turned when he's a victim of sexual assualt

The Rape of Richard Beck- (aka Deadly Justice) 5-27-1985

Within the first few minutes of this movie, you're definitely going to hate rogue cop Richard Beck (Richard Crenna) since he is always putting people in danger. Ultimately, you won't care for him.

As another shift in Seattle ends, Beck and his partner Blastig (George Dzundza) are driving when Blastig says that all he wants to do is go home, but Beck has other things on his mind. Since he's a rogue cop, he wants to go looking for trouble and Blastig isn't in the mood for it. He tells Beck that he only has a few more months left until he can get is pension and doesn't want to jeopardize it. Beck doesn't seem to care and as luck would have it, he spots trouble.

With his blood rushing through his veins, he pulls over and tells Blastig to stay in the car since he can handle what's going on.

While he doesn't diffuse the situation, he starts to escalate it as the others runaway. Blastig gets out of the car and is able to take control of the situation, while Beck threatens the original assailant.

Since it's still early in the night, he goes over to his ex-wife Caroline's (Frances Lee McCain) house where he quietly opens up the French doors as she goes to the front door. He sneaks up behind her and after a quick argument, he goes to see their kids, Joey and Kristi (Jonas Marlow and Betsy Baker).

He plans to take Joey fishing on the upcoming Saturday and tells Kristi that he'll be at her dance recital on Tuesday night. Caroline forbids the fishing as she leaves on a date with her American Lit professor, but before leaving, she agrees to letting Joey go fishing.

Having been called to a homicide the next day, Beck tells rookie Eric Gibbs (Mark Dickison) his philosophy on crime and while they investigate, senior officers have placed bets on how long Gibbs will be able to handle the scene. He outdoes Beck, but before Beck leaves he locks him in the meat locker along with the body.

At the station, Beck goes into the Sex Crimes Division and finds Barbara McKee (Meredith Baxter Birney) questioning an elderly woman who has been raped. Beck makes jokes about the woman and makes a deal with Sgt. Wally Rydell (Jason Bernard) about getting a warrant for one of their suspects, Weatherspoon (James Goodwin Rice) since he has information regarding the suspect in the murder.

With warrant in hand, Beck gets the information that he needs and then he and Gibbs track down Bozer (Gregory Wagrowski).

Rydell wants to know where Weatherspoon is and he tells him that he must have skipped town.

Due to his laissez-faire attitude, Lt. Hugo (Cotter Smith) assigns Beck to the Sex Crimes Division and has to encounter a naked woman in a phone booth (Mara Scott Wood) and takes her to the emergency room.

Barbara is upset that Beck is in the room as Dr. Greenberg (Stanley Kamel) examines her. Beck and Barbara get into a heated argument, and while uncomfortable, he pretty much blows her off as he waits for evidence.

When Saturday rolls around, he and Joey join Chappy (Pat Hingle) on his boat. This is a pretty dynamic scene since three generations of Beck men are together and you can see how they are grooming Joey to be a "man's man."

After Beck takes Joey home (late) Caroline is upset and on his way home, Beck decides to do a little rogueing and comes upon a drug deal.

He follows the suspects into the Underground Tours and when he's caught by Sonny (M.C. Gainey) and Ray (Nicholas Worth) he's assaulted first and then raped by both men. They steal his car and gun and the police are called since there was a witness to the violence.

At the hospital, Dr. Greenberg performs the rape examination and while sitting in a wheelchair outside, Barbara walks by but doesn't say anything to him. She's confused and when she sees Blastig, her confusion is more apparent.

Beck calls in sick following the attack and Caroline calls him since he missed the recital. She knows that something is up, and doesn't believe that he has a touch of the flu.

While he pretends to believe that this didn't happen to him, his girlfriend, Anita (Joanna Kerns) makes advances toward him and he finally lets go of the anger he has all the while an inch away of physically abusing her.

Since he's on leave, he has to face the act of rape and also has to accept the fact that he's a victim while trying to put his life back in order.

This is a very powerful film directed by Karen Arthur and the role earned Crenna an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Beck.

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