Wine and murder
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 01/29/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Mary Higgins Clark's novels have spawned several TV movies, ranging from schmaltzy to solid. "A Crime of Passion" is solidly in the middle, with a solid whodunnit set in sumptuous luxury, but an unintentionally funny ending.
Wine heiress Frederica Dumay (Cynthia Gibb) is devastated when her business partner's longtime wife drowns after a party. But she's even more upset when the partner, Thomas Shipman (Tom Butler) immediately takes up with a sultry, golddigging Frenchwoman, Arabella (Alexandra Kamp-Groeneveld), who is young enough to be his daughter.
The disagreement threatens to tear the company apart -- until Arabella is murdered. Thomas is the obvious suspect for both deaths, but Freddy knows that he can't be guilty. Yet someone killed those women, and Freddy soon finds that the killer may be very close to her -- especially when her husband's suspicious past comes to light.
"A Crime of Passion" is a pretty spectacle -- lots of sumptuous mansions, candlelit seductions, beautiful woods and much quaffing of wine. And courtesy of many red herrings, there's some genuine confusion over whether Allen is a villain or not.
As a sumptous spectacle, it's lots of fun, especially when the nasty golddigger is sashaying around the place, making threats and grabbing at the "Mick Jagger of fermentation." While she's on, it's pure trashy fun. But it loses luster once she leaves, especially since the identity of the murderer is quite obvious, as is the motive.
Cynthia Gibb turns in a decent performance as a pampered wine heiress who gets a nasty shock, and Gordon Currie has a nicely elusive turn as her might-or-might-not-be-a-golddigger hubby. The sour note is the actor playing the murderer, who acts like a villainous William Shatner on ecstacy.
"A Crime of Passion" is a visually appealing, fluffy movie, so long as you don't expect much in the way of actual mystery."
MURDER IN WINE COUNTRY
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 07/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This entry in the PAX TV Mary Higgins Clark series is a fairly entertaining whodunit. The pace is a little slow and Jennifer Clement's over the top performance as the loyal maid borders on parody, but it's story of the murder of a wine magnate's wife is intriguing and there are a few surprises along the way. Cynthia Gibb is effectively plucky as Freddie, the wine heiress, and Sebastian Spence is well cast as her old flame. Gordon Currie is a little too "prissy" as her husband, and the aforementioned Clements is so demented that it's like watching an old Bette Davis movie. But I enjoy a good mystery and this one managed to be entertaining."