The Stranger Within (1974)

THE STRANGER WITHIN (1974)
TV-Movie
Article 3434 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-29-2010
Posting Date: 1-8-2011
Directed by Lee Philips
Featuring Barbara Eden, George Grizzard, Joyce Van Patten
Country: USA
What it is: Mysterious pregnancy movie

Ann Collins is pregnant, but her husband David has had a vasectomy and cannot be the father. Ann wishes to keep the child despite the fact that her last attempt to have one ended tragically. When Ann’s personality begins to change radically, the question as to the child’s real parentage becomes critical…

I was really impressed with the opening scenes of this movie; there seemed to be an impressive amount of intelligence and honesty in the script’s portrayal of a marriage in crisis, and the performances by both George Grizzard and Barbara Eden are outstanding. It was making for such an interesting human drama that I was almost disappointed when the shifts in the wife’s personality manifest themselves, and the sudden sicknesses and healings point to an otherworldly origin for the child. The reason the shift from drama to fantastically-themed mystery disappointed me is that it made the movie far less complex; I could think of two explanations for the child’s origin, and one of them turned out to be right, and that doesn’t really make for much of a mystery. The movie is a bit too long for the story as well; the middle of the movie gets bogged down in scenes that constantly reiterate the wife’s odd behavior. I mean, just how often does the movie need to establish that she’s putting way to much salt on all of her food. Still, since the beginning of the movie made us care for the characters, we remain involved during the second half, and though the ending isn’t a surprise, it’s still acceptable. All in all, this is a very good TV-Movie.

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