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All the Kind Strangers

USA 1974
produced by
Roger Lewis, Jerry Gross (executive) for Cinemation/ABC
directed by Burt Kennedy
starring Stacy Keach, Samantha Eggar, John Savage, Robby Benson, Arlene Farber, Tim Parkison, Patti Parkison, Brent Campbell, John Connell
written by Clyde Ware, music by Ronald Frangipane

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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All Jimmy Wheeler (Stacy Keach) wanted to do was to give 7 year old Gilbert (Tim Parkison) a ride home, especially since the kid lives in the middle of nowhere and is carrying a big bag of food. Once he arrives at Gilbert's house though, he meets his family made up of only his brothers and sisters, led by the eldest, Peter (John Savage), and the woman they call mom, Carol Anne (Samantha Eggar) seems to be held captive by the kids and guarded by their big dogs.

When Jimmy wants to leave, he has to realize his new car has broken down, and he has no choice but to spend the night at the kids' place. And soon, the kids start to call him pa and want to make him part of their family, just like they did with Carol Anne. Jimmy tries to make an escape with Carol Anne but is stopped by the kids' dogs. The next day, his car is gone, and he finds traces of it at the bottom of a nearby waterhole. Realizing that using force on the children leads to nothing, he tries to win their trust, and starts acting as their father, whila always planning another escape. Finally, one night he finds a way to trick the kids' dogs and make it almost off their property, but once again he is stopped by Peter and the other kids, who carry guns.

Jimmy and Carol Anne's remaining with the children is put to the vote, and the kids decide 4 to three that they should go - only Peter understands something else in goig than the other kids, and when he's about to shoot Jimmy and Carol Anne, the others arrive and stop him. And Jimmy convinces Peter it's best to put their whole case in the hands of the authorities ...

 

The premise of this made-for-TV-film - children forcing grown-ups to act as their parents - is just great in all its absurd glory, and for most of the time, All the Kind Strangers even delivers on its promise, even if some chase scenes seem disappointingly clichéd in the film's context. The real weak point though is its ending in which Stacy Keach's character almost starts preaching and John Savage's character is way too easily convinced by his empty words. Now this is one film that would have deserved a great finale, but even as it is it's totally watchable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD