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The setting is West Virginia, 1943, and Maggie Gresham (Kathy Baker), housewife and mother of two kids, is unhappy with her verbally and physically abusive husband, Pink (Bill Smitrovich). He is the ruthless foreman at the... more »
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A well-paced and highly underated romantic thriller!
Dave | Tennessee United States | 05/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Shopping at the dvd bargain bin of my local Walmart I came across this movie which I'd never heard of. I bought it because #1 after reading about the plot it looked like a great romantic thriller and #2 I'm a big fan of Peter Weller (I've watched "Robocop" dozens of times since childhood!). I was very surprised at how entertaining the movie was and as usual I'm glad I totally disregarded Leonard Maltin's review. The movie was filmed in 1985 (not to be confused with the 1977 made-for-tv movie of same name) and was the directorial debut of writer/producer David Saperstein, who has since become just as forgotten as this movie.
The setting is West Virginia, 1943, and Maggie Gresham (Kathy Baker), housewife and mother of two kids, is unhappy with her verbally and physically abusive husband, Pink (Bill Smitrovich). He is the ruthless foreman at the local mill and when Baston Morris (Peter Weller), a drifter, comes to him looking for a job Pink insults him and refuses to hire him. The next day Pink's murdered body is found by Maggie who is then terrified. Her house is in an isolated location surrounded by a dense forest where a deadly pack of wild dogs roam at will, and now she also has to worry about a murderer roaming in the woods.
Baston Morris shows up at her front door and pretends to be still looking for a job from Maggie's husband. Maggie reluctantly trusts him but the next thing she knows he's pointing a revolver at her and he tells her the grisly story of how he murdered her evil husband with an axe. She's now forced to let him stay in her home while her two children are staying with her older brother (who happens to be a minister) Sheb (John Glover). For the next few days the two must learn to cope with their unpleasant situation while dealing with the wild dogs in the forest as well as sherriffs who begin questioning her about her husband's mysterious "disappearance".
Finally, Baston tells Maggie that the reason he murdered her husband was because Pink had an affair with Baston's wife and then killed her and her two children, leaving Baston without a family (plus the police suspected Baston of the murder). The more Maggie and Baston talk the more they realize that they need one another after the hard lives they've both had. Maggie and Baston are slowly drawn together romantically but after their one night of passion their relationship comes crashing to a tragic end, and Maggie finally learns the disturbing truth about the man she had fallen in love with.
"A Killing Affair" was based on the novel _Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday_ by Robert Houston and has a wonderful score composed by the great John Barry (the same one responsible for the beautiful music in "Dances With Wolves"), and the cinematography was superb. Peter Weller gave an extraordinary performance and Kathy Baker was likewise awesome. The movie is rated "R" for brief nudity, mild violence, and a few curse words, but I think "PG-13" would've been a more appropriate rating (especially when compared to the movies nowadays). Anyway, this memorable movie is a hidden gem that you'll be sure to enjoy."
THREE INTENSE DAYS.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 10/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Based on Robert Houston's potent novel: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday", this film: A KILLING AFFAIR relates of Maggie Grisham (Kathy Baker) who finds herself espaliered to a man who has just killed her husband, and who then takes shelter with her from his pursuers, in her rural West Virginia home which is nestled in a jungle of trees and brush, surrounded by packs of feral dogs. Obviously not terribly pleased with the interloper, Baston Morris, played pungently by Peter Weller, Maggie is inexorably drawn physically to him, partially since her late husband, Pink (Bill Smitrovich) was not faithful to her and was widely recognized before his demise as a man of inferior character who preyed upon the wives of those he supervised at the mill where he was foreman. From flashbacks, we discover that the wife and children of Morris were slain shortly before the death of Pink Grisham, and that the fugitive believes that the foreman was their murderer to avoid becoming entangled with the family as Morris' wife had decided to leave him for his boss and this, therefore, is why Morris had killed him: an act of retribution. The substance of the narrative becomes an attempt to determine if Morris is what he claims to be, a wronged man bent upon revenge, or something either better or worse, and Maggie is increasingly swallowed by her curious dilemma of finding herself possibly in love with her husband's killer who may, in fact, be a madman. There is a baroque quality to this work, with an appropriate thematic score electronically organized by John Barry, and a goodly amount of symbolism borrowed from the novel, as adapted by director David Saperstein, especially relating to the river which borders the Grisham property and which serves also as a cinematic boundary. Although an entry at the AFI Festival in Los Angeles, the film has been sadly neglected since; its almost balladic nature is strengthened by the fine editing of Patrick McMahon, the production design of John Jay Moore, and the costumes of Elizabeth Seley, with the latter pair accurately reprising the scenario's 1943 setting. Weller performs nicely in a role which allows for dramatic development and Baker is convincing as a mother and sudden widow who is unexpectedly exposed to circumstances and emotions of which she has no experience, and the action is most effective when these two are alone together; the remainder of the players are well cast, with only John Glover, as Maggie's brother, lacking his customary steam in his portrayal.