Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Michael Ironside questions a suspect

MURDER IN SPACE (1985 telefilm). Director: Steven Hilliard Stern.

An international crew is assembled for several months on board a space lab where political intrigue and mixed-up personal relationships are taking a toll. Things get worse when one of the women, Olga, is found murdered -- and she was two months pregnant, meaning her husband back in the USSR couldn't possibly be the father. Suspects include Guy (Timothy Webber), who's having an affair with Domenica (Alberta Watson), and Kurt (Tom Butler), who's having an affair with David (Scot Denton), and even the captain, Neal Braddock (Michael Ironside of Scanners), who's keeping some secrets. More murders follow, with such people on the ground as Dr. MacAllister (Wilford Brimley) and Alexander Rostov (Martin Balsam) worrying about their respective countries' representatives and more. Murder in Space has an intriguing premise and location, but while it holds the attention the solution isn't that satisfying or believable. The cast is quite good for the most part, although the usually intense Ironside seems bored through most of the movie and gives a boring, uninvolved performance, as does Brimley [The China Syndrome], who doesn't really seem to be an actor. Balsam is excellent, as usual, and Nerene Virgin and Wendy Crewson score, respectively, as Dr. Leigh and David's wife, Irene.

Verdict: Comes very close but ultimately misses despite definite entertainment value. **1/2.

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