TV Terror Guide: Reflections of Murder (1974)


Air Date: Nov. 24, 1974 (ABC)

Production Companies: Aaron Rosenberg/Charles Lederer Productions, ABC Circle Films

Running Time: 100 min.

Available on: YouTube

Written by: Carol Sobieski

From the novel Celle qui n'etait plus by Pierre Boileau & Thonas Narcejac

Directed by: John Badham

Cast: Tuesday Weld, Joan Hackett, Sam Waterston

Rating: 8 vintage televisions (out of 10)

 

It hasn’t been a very good week for my memory. Not only did I forget about the career of singer Jack Jones (click here to read my review of The Comeback), but I also didn’t realize that Reflections of Murder (1974) is a remake of Les Diabolique (1955.) That’s even after acknowledging the opening credit, “based on the novel Celle qui n'etait plus by Pierre Boileau & Thonas Narcejac.” (I must have been hung on the name Pierre Boileau, thinking it was Pierre Boulle (Planet of the Apes.) Even that is a revelation for me this morning as I write this. I didn’t know Pierre Boulle wrote Les Diabolique. He didn’t. Sigh.

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In a way, this is all a good thing because I wasn’t comparing Reflections of Murder to any other movie or story. In fact, I thought it was very good all on its own. Knowing it’s heritage now, it wasn’t just the story that raised it above typical 70’s TV-movie fare. It’s primarily that, directed by John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, Dracula, WarGames), Reflections of Murder doesn’t feel like a TV movie. Perhaps it was the quality of the version I watched on YouTube, but it looked and felt like a theatrical motion picture.

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The next best thing about it is the cast. Maybe it’s the quality of the characters leaking through, but Tuesday Weld as Vicky and John Hackett as Claire are terrific. The surprise for me, though, is Sam Waterston as Claire’s despicable husband, Michael. I recall neither seeing him play a bad guy nor looking as young as he did in 1974. He is physically attractive to me in ways he has never been prior to this. According to IMDb, this was his 18th film from a list of 96 (and growing) credits. It’s also fun to see a younger, dark-haired Michael Lerner.

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I must have been subconsciously thinking the story was familiar because the climax did not surprise me. I experienced more a feeling of excitement as if I had solved a mystery, rather than a feeling of disappointment because the outcome was predictable. In most cases, I’d be telling you to skip the remake and watch the original. However, Reflections of Murder, is instead a good companion to Les Diabolique. They’re both unique. In the context of the medium, this one differs from similar TV movies. To explain further would be to provide spoilers. As you watch it, don’t think “why,” but think “how.” The execution makes it more realistic and believable.

 

Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch Reflections of Murder as well as all the great movies from this series...

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