Jack Smight did some great directing, with his films No Way to Treat a Lady, Airport 1975 and Damnation Alley being favorites of the B&S About Movies household. Here, he’s working from a short story by Ray Bradbury* and delivers a quick and suspenseful reminder that in 1972, TV movies could really get under your skin.
Olivia De Havilland plays Laura Wynant, a wealthy former mental patient who has gone to the country to continue healing. That’d be easier if she didn’t keep hearing the pleas of a woman who has been buried alive on her property. Arthritis has robbed her hands of the ability to save the woman and as she brings others in to help her, her family starts to think that she is losing her control over her sanity again.
Beyond scoring De Havilland, Joseph Cotten and Walter Pidgeon show up.
This is a movie that builds and builds its suspense and doesn’t let up. I may have said it before this week — and certainly will again — but they don’t make them like this any more.
*Merwin Gerard wrote the screenplay. I’m a big fan of another TV movie he wrote, The Invasion of Carol Enders.
You can watch this on YouTube.