(US - 1982)
Written and directed by David Schmoeller. Cast: Morgan Fairchild, Andrew Stevens, Michael Sarrazin, Vince Edwards, Colleen Camp, Joanne Linville, Kevin Brophy, Wendy Smith Howard, Woodrow Parfrey, Betty Kean, Marii Mak. (R, 103 mins)
Released by Avco Embassy in January 1982, THE SEDUCTION was supposed to be the big-screen breakout for Morgan Fairchild, who was having a bit of a moment throughout 1981 thanks to NBC's FLAMINGO ROAD, which began as a 1980 TV-movie before being spun off into a series in January 1981. It premiered just a week before ABC's DYNASTY, with both being respective network responses to the phenomenal success CBS was having with DALLAS (than at its peak following the "Who Shot J.R.?" season) and its spinoff KNOTS LANDING. The first season of FLAMINGO ROAD was a ratings hit, and in a cast that included familiar faces like Howard Duff, Stella Stevens, Kevin McCarthy, Cristina Raines, John Beck, and Mark Harmon, it was Fairchild who got all of the hype and attention with her portrayal of scheming, bitchy Constance Weldon Carlyle, essentially FLAMINGO ROAD's answer to J.R. Ewing, the character-you-love-to-hate--in this case, a serial adulteress and the cuckolding wife of aspiring politician Field Carlyle (Harmon). Born in 1950, Fairchild had been paying her dues for some time, starting with an uncredited gig as Faye Dunaway's double and stand-in on the 1967 classic BONNIE AND CLYDE. She first got attention during a 1973-1977 stretch on the daytime soap SEARCH FOR TOMORROW and picked up supporting roles in made-for-TV movies and had some TV guest spots along the way (most notably trying to seduce Mork on MORK & MINDY), but with FLAMINGO ROAD, Fairchild was suddenly everywhere. However, DALLAS, KNOTS LANDING, and DYNASTY proved to be too much competition. Viewers soon lost interest in FLAMINGO ROAD and NBC canceled it after its second season, at the same time that the much-hyped THE SEDUCTION was failing to make Fairchild a movie star.
"In Love's Hiding Place" by Dionne Warwick). Edwards' character is ludicrous even by the standards of do-nothing movie cops, and is so preposterously useless that he probably could've been cut entirely with no damage being done to the narrative, and Derek sneaking into the TV station to put a secret message on Jamie's teleprompter causing her to have an on-air breakdown is a howler. The same goes for a scene where Jamie preps for her showdown with Derek by stripping nude and slinking into her bed by candlelight after luring Derek over (also, it's never really clear whether she knows Derek is her neighbor), only to have him enter her bedroom and pull back the sheets to reveal pillows, allowing her to sneak up on him from behind. Then why show her disrobing and getting into bed in the first place? I've seen plenty of pointless nudity throughout my movie-watching life but that's gotta be near the top. Again, Schmoeller knows what's important here.
PAPER DOLLS and spent a season on CBS' FALCON CREST before settling into TV-movies, miniseries (both NORTH AND SOUTHs), late '80s B-movies (RED-HEADED STRANGER, DEADLY ILLUSION, PHANTOM OF THE MALL: ERIC'S REVENGE), and Eurotrash (MIDNIGHT COP), recurring roles on popular TV shows (FRIENDS, CHUCK), self-deprecating cameos as herself (THE NAKED GUN 33 1/3: THE FINAL INSULT, HOLY MAN, WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY) and the world of DTV, eventually reuniting with Stevens on 1993's BODY CHEMISTRY 3: POINT OF SEDUCTION. Initially turning down THE SEDUCTION because he wanted top billing, Stevens later became synonymous with the DTV erotic thriller in the early-to-mid '90s with the NIGHT EYES franchise and several other pairings with Shannon Tweed. While THE SEDUCTION was not a success in theaters, it found a minor cult following throughout the '80s thanks to Fairchild remaining a recognizable celebrity and the film's constant airings on cable. It's just been resurrected on an extras-packed Blu-ray by Scream Factory (because physical media is dead), with a commentary track from Schmoeller (whose short film PLEASE KILL MR. KINSKI, chronicling his horrific ordeal trying to direct Klaus Kinski in 1986's CRAWLSPACE, is a must-see), and producers Irwin Yablans and Bruce Cohn Curtis, along with new interviews with Fairchild and Stevens. THE SEDUCTION is enjoyable 1982 trash all the way, and in retrospect, a film that had some minuscule degree of cultural relevancy with its stalking theme, as well as having a hand in setting the template for the types of exploitation thrillers that would provide Stevens with an unexpected new career direction a decade later.
|THE SEDUCTION opening in Toledo, OH on 2/26/1982|