Air Date: September 19, 1972 (CBS Movie of the Week)
Production Companies: Bing Crosby Productions, Jerome L. Epstein Productions
Running Time: 74 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: Brian Clemens (screenplay, story), Tony Williamson (teleplay)
Directed by: Bernard L. Kowalski
Cast: Barbara Eden, Robert Vaughn, Stuart Whitman, Sydney Chaplin, Enrique Lucero, Larry Storch
If The Woman Hunter (1972) succeeds in anything, it’s in reminding us that Barbara Eden is a beautiful woman. What better way to demonstrate the fact than by placing her on an Acapulco beach! However, coming from the mind of Brian Clemens (prolific writer from The Avengers television series and creator of Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter), it’s more than a little lackluster.
The concept of a globetrotting jewel thief that may also be a murderer is compelling, but the story is landlocked in Acapulco, lovely as that may be. And it treads familiar TV movie ground when no one believes Dina Hunter (Eden) when she says that Paul Carter (Stuart Whitman) is out to get her next. There is a twist that works on paper, but the acting prior to it doesn’t lead you to believe it would go any other way.
The more I think about it, Eden is pretty good in her role. She’s recovering from an accident that continues to haunt her dreams and, although it’s never stated, is obviously not entirely happy in her marriage to Jerry Hunter (Robert Vaughan.) In a bizarre party scene, she unwinds on the dance floor with some moves that may be cathartic for her, but are unusual for her audience.
By the end, the jewel thief aspect of the plot turns out to be practically irrelevant, but murder is still a threat and Dina ends up in danger. The “action,” so to speak is kind of silly: a car chase between a dusty old sedan and, believe it or not, a Volkswagen Thing. Remember those? The tail end of the sequence, which is actually the very end of the movie, is kind of fun though, in a sadistic kind of way.
The director’s name should be familiar; you’ve seen it many weeks if you’ve been reading this series: Bernard Kowalski. I don’t know that I’ve mentioned before that soon after The Woman Hunter, he directed a theatrical favorite of mine, Sssssss. Neither one is a masterpiece, but they have mixed rewards. He’s certainly capable, but perhaps limited by the material he’s been given.
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch The Woman Hunter, as well as all the great movies from this series...