Sex, Passion, Betrayal, Murder — A true story of an unlikely serial killer — A brilliant biochemistry student who is also a prostitute. — A brutally bludgeoned body buried naked in the snow. — Thus begins Winter of Frozen Drea... more »ms, a sordid love story and a macabre web of blackmail, lust, and deceit. The Hoffman case was the first televised murder trial in US history.
The true-life story of Barbara Hoffman, is complex and contradictory in every sense as
she was both a brilliant biochemistry student at the University of Wisconsin and Madison s most notorious prostitute.
On a frigid, twenty-two below zero Christmas morning, Barbara Hoffman s [Thora Birch] distraught young fiancÚ, Jerry Davies [Brendan Sexton III] leads police investigators to a corpse, which only hours before, he had buried in a snow bank. Lead by Detective Lulling [Academy Award winner Keith Carradine], the police investigators uncover the naked and brutally bludgeoned body of Harry Berge. Davies desperately insists that he is not a murderer and that he and Hoffman are guilty only of burying the corpse of a stranger.
Shades of film noir blend with true crime, as Barbara Hoffman lives out her days in prison, refusing to give interviews or even go before the parole board.« less
Bought the dvd because of Thora Birch. Huge disappointment. I rated the movie a half star since it was that bad. It was boring and dragged along. I finally just fast forwarded the movie to the end since it never kept my interest. I would skip this one even for a rental since it is not worth your time.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Unfairly reviewed drama
R, your friendly neighborhood revie | 04/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's really unfortunate that Winter of Frozen Dreams will be, for the most part, overlooked. Most either seem to dismiss it as being fodder for the Lifetime Movie Network or are simply disappointed in its lack of nudity (much of the plot deals with prostitution). For what it is though (which is a very modestly-budgeted, straight to DVD release) this is a surprisingly good film. The filmmakers took an easily exploitable subject and managed not to sensationalize it which wouldve been the easy thing to do. Birch, along with the script, give depth to Barbara Hoffmann that someone might not see based on reading about the crimes she was charged of. There are genuinely tender moments between her and her victims in the movie. Hoffmann probably gave these men some of the happiest moments of their lives. Birch does a good job portaying this and Brendan Sexton as one of the victims is also impressive. If youre a fan of Thora Birch or can appreciate a low-key true-crime story, then you might want to check this one out."
One performance can't raise the mediocrity above average
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 05/05/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Before anyone gets too upset, yes I do understand the issues and trials it takes to make an independent film, especially on such a sad topic as a black widow killer. But this was a mess. One more quick thing, I notice people keep talking about her as a serial killer, but I though that took three murders, but anyway.
Barbara Hoffman gets played decently by Thora Birch and Keith Carradine comes in to save the film (and the day) as the lead detective that helped bring this case to a close. Realizing this takes place in the 1970s, I wish they would have at least removed the 2000-era commercial truck, removed the 1990s props, or at least told the dead bodies to stop breathing for one take (I kept yelling at the screen saying he isn't dead...run!)
The misplaced editing style of time jumping was poorly done, the sound was a train wreck, and my favorite actor of the film in Dean Winters had a minor role. But the cavalry was Mr. Carradine, and he is a joy to watch. If you skip the entire movie and just watch the special features interview with him, you will have not wasted a cent. The other features are mediocre, including a shorter behind the scenes, a "Behind the Headlines" snippet and an "About the Author" that both would make for a good intro to an American Justice episode, but little else.
I felt disappointed when it was over, and so much more could have been done, but there were constraints and limits."
Winter of Frozen Dreams Movie
Terry Griffith | Green Bay, Wisconsin | 05/29/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The acting in this movie was good. Keith Carradine and Thora Birch are experienced actors and did an admirable job despite a deplorable screenplay. I was in Madison when the "drama" for this play was unfolding. I have read the book. There is so much that could have been done with this story, but the movie never focuses on anything. It is like a movie version of Cliff's Notes." It "covers the bases," but never gets into the character's heads much, especially Birch's character, Barbara Hoffman. That is where the interest of this story lies. But again, all we see is a flat portrayl of a complex character. Again, the fault is in the screenplay and directing, not the acting."
Bindy Sue Fr°nkŘnschtein | under the rubble | 01/16/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I love Thora Birch (DARK CORNERS, THE HOLE). However, her talents are mostly wasted in WINTER OF FROZEN DREAMS. It starts out fine, w/ a murder and the ensuing cover-up. Unfortunately, things bog down in a big way, leaving Thora w/ little to do as the (rather bizarre) Barbara Hoffman. Keith Carradine's cop-near-retirement character isn't all that exciting, but then no one in this movie is very dynamic! I actually drifted into dreamland a few times, something I NEVER do when Ms. Birch is on screen! Alas, I re-watched it and found that I hadn't missed a thing... P.S.- Don't even get me started on the mega-whimp played by Brendan Sexton III! His character was so spineless I could barely watch him! Ugh..."