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

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Katherine Ross and Barry Bostwick
MURDER BY NATURAL CAUSES (1979 telefilm). Director: Robert Day.

Arthur Sinclair (Hal Holbrook) is a famous "mentalist" who claims psychic powers that may or may not be real. His younger wife, Alison (Katharine Ross), is having an affair with the struggling actor, Gil Weston (Barry Bostwick), and she urges him to help her carry out a plot to kill Arthur. Of course nothing runs smoothly, but there are other players in the drama who may have their own schemes at work ... Murder By Natural Causes has a typically twisty and satisfying plot by Richard Levinson and William Link, and boasts top performances by Holbook and Bostwick, who really score in a cat and mouse sequence inside Arthur's imposing mansion. Ross [Games] and Richard Anderson [The Night Strangler], who plays the Sinclairs' lawyer, are competent and effective but a cut below the other two. In addition to many other mystery scripts, Levinson and Link also wrote That Certain Summer, which also starred Holbrook.

Verdict: This pic won't make you "mental." ***.


angelman66 said...

Great cast...Holbrook elevates everything he is in, and I adore the handsome Bostwick and the beautiful Ross—an amazing actress who headlines one of my all time favorite films The Stepford Wives. If I run across this one, I will be sure to watch.
- C

William said...

That reminds me that I'm about due to look at "Stepford Wives" again -- she was quite good in that.