The People (1972)

THE PEOPLE (1972)
TV-Movie

Article 3575 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-9-2011
Posting Date: 5-29-2011
Directed by John Korty
Featuring Kim Darby, William Shatner, Diane Varsi
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction drama

A schoolteacher goes to work at an isolated farm community where the residents are sullen and strange and children live joyless lives. As she tries to get her students to open up, she discovers that the people here have a great secret… and have powers that are definitely inhuman.

Of the many TV-Movies that served as unsold TV series pilots, this is one that I really wished had made it to a series. Of course, that is based on the hope that the scripts would retain the sensitivity and the sincerity of this TV-Movie. The story was based on a series of books by Zenna Henderson; I’ve not read any of them, but this movie has definitely piqued my interest. Pretty much every review gives away the basic premise, but I’ve decided not to give it away. Suffice it to say that the heart of the story lies in explaining the reasons for the sullenness and joylessness of the people and why they choose to live in isolation; the reasons are good ones, and the whole movie is quite moving. William Shatner is at his least hammy in this one, and though Kim Darby’s character as the teacher takes some getting used to, she ends up doing fine as well.

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