Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Dying Room Only
(1973) TVM ***
While crossing the desert in Arizona, Bob and Jean take a 100 mile detour so Jean can take pictures to send back to their daughter. After bickering about all the time this detour is costing them, Bob parks the car at an isolated, rundown, roadside café/inn so they can get a quick bite. The only people in the café are a surly cook and a hillbilly patron. Both are immediately hostile towards them but Bob and Jean are tired and decide to stay for a meal. After more bickering Jean excuses herself to go to the bathroom. When she returns her husband is nowhere to be found and the two men tell her that her husband was never in the café. After a futile search for Bob she places a frantic call to the police. Unfortunately the town’s bumbling sheriff would rather eat a hamburger than solve a crime.
Could I get a burger to go?
This was one of the better made-for-television films I watched this year. Based on a Richard Matheson short story, Dying Room Only is a taught, well-paced little thriller that echoes films like The Lady Vanishes and Flightplan. Cloris Leachman displays some first-rate acting chops and proves that she can do more than play Phyllis on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The conclusion is fully satisfying. Check it out on You Tube if you get a chance.