Wednesday, 11 September 2013

ABC’s "A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR" (1993)

 

 

The TV adaptation of A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR by prolific author (even beyond the grave) Sidney Sheldon is produced by Aaron Spelling and stars two of the finest looking specimens to ever grace our small screen: Perry King and Lori Loughlin. Loughlin had been a permanent fixture on both THE EDGE OF NIGHT and FULL HOUSE on ABC for years. King had been strutting his stuff in TV movies and miniseries before settling in on NBC RIPTIDE. As for Spelling, well, his backlist speaks for himself: CHARLIE’S ANGELS, DYNASTY, MELROSE PLACE… Now, if you’re addicted to delicious trash like I am, you’d know from the get go that you are in for a treat with A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR. How can you not be with these long-standing folks at the helm?


It all begins with ladies man King bombing big time as a stand up comic  working the circuits. With what he’s got for material you would too. But when he sees opportunity knocking on his door in the form of a crippled Juliet Mills—a right-hand woman to a big agent—he does not just take it, he rams it for all it’s worth. And it pays off. Soon he moves up the ladder of success and ends up having his own television show. That’s where he meets good girl gone bad Loughlin (you know this because she now chews gum and wears heavy makeup), a bit-player, who plays the ingenue just so she can land him, and does she. This does not bode well with King’s super agent Christopher Plummer, an aging bachelor who secretly has the hots for King (who wouldn’t?). But when he gets his walking papers when Loughlin becomes King’s wife, he swears revenge on the girl.

 

Now that everything is as it should be, the couple is on cloud nine—until King has a heart attack from doing drugs, rendering him incapacitated permanently. Loughlin does her best taking care of him, but barely manages, especially when she sees an old beau whom she had been set to marry until his socialite mom came in the way. Things get even nuttier when King, now totally mute, starts talking to Loughlin in her mind, and it’s not to utter sweet nothings, believe me. Unable to deal with him any longer, she plans to finish him off, but he’s one step ahead as he throws his wheelchair-bound self right into the family pool. Now a widow, she sets out to sail off into the sunset with the man that got away. That’s when closeted Plummer resurfaces. He lures her rich fiancé into the ship’s theater to gleefully show him an old porno flick starring Loughlin. Plummer gets bashed up, Loughlin looses her man again, and it all ends up with her plunging fatally into the ocean after getting a siren’s call from her dead hubby.
 

 
Filmed in British Columbia, A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR is directed by Charles Jarrot, who’s also  responsible for the craziness that is THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT, another Sheldon’s adaptation. Clearly the man works well with the author since THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT is one of the best over-the-top films ever. Is A STRANGER IN THE MIRROR in the same league? You bet. But you may not dig it as much (as I do) since it is overall shoddier. Still, see this little gem when you get the chance as it has yet to reach the DVD market.
 


 

 
Until next post—Martin


 



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