APPOINTMENT FOR A KILLING
US, 1993, 100 minutes, Colour.
Markie Post, Corbin Bernsen, Kelsey Grammer.
Directed by William A. Graham.
Appointment for a Killing is an interesting telemovie, focusing on Corbin Bernsen as an unscrupulous dentist, murderous and enjoying his capacity for killing. However, he has a respectable practice as a dentist, a respectable wife and family.
The film shows Bernsen as a totally evil character, using an ex-criminal (Donald Swayze) and setting up schemes to murder people for their inheritance, having relationships with women and involving them in his crimes.
He confesses to his wife and she then speaks to the police. Kelsey Grammer has the role of the chief investigator.
The film is designed for popular TV entertainment audience but builds up a certain amount of suspense, disbelief at the behaviour of the central character, sympathy for the wife and her young son.
1. Interesting drama? Crime thriller? Portrait of relationships and tension?
2. The small-town setting? Homes, streets, the dentistry, police officers? Musical score? Audiences identifying with the places, characters?
3. The title and its irony? Stan as a serial killer, being careful, covering his tracks, the appointments with death?
4. The focus on Stan, his work as a dentist, his patients, his seeming kindness and helping financially? His relationship with his wife and son? The affair with Gloria, meeting her in the laundrette with her husband? The irony of his alleged charity work with prisoners? With Duke, taking him to his mother? His mother, her reading palms and telling the future, the cards? Her telling him that the laws did not apply to him? His grief at her death? The set-up and the killing of Gloria's in-laws, the brutality? The set-up of the murder of her husband? The setting of the bomb, the revelation of the other killings? His skill, enjoyment?
5. His wanting to reveal the truth to Joyce? Pretending that it wasn't the truth? The contacts with Gloria? Discussions with Duke? His greed, the money? Yet the contrast with his love for his son, his being found out by Joyce, the separation, yet his pursuing her, turning up for his son?
6. Joyce, living an ordinary life, loving her husband, caring for her son? Her friends? The discovery of the truth? Leaving? His telling her about the killing? Her fears, decision to ring the police? Her telling the truth, the checking out of her story? Her agreement to the microphones in the house? Her skill at leading him on, his boasting? Yet Stan's discovery of what she was doing? The dangers with the cat and the microphone? Her agreeing to be wired? The restaurant, his admitting the truth? Her future?
7. The son, at school, his relationship with his father, cared for by his mother? His future with the knowledge of the truth?
8. Duke, prison, friendship with Stan, helping him with the initial killings, making it seem like a robbery? The murder of Gloria's husband and the set-up?
9. Gloria, her love for Stan, participation in the scheme, pretending grief for her husband? Her callousness in his death? Her fears and her phoning Stan, Stan dominating her, pretending to strangle her?
10. The friends at the dentistry, their talking to Joyce?
11. Mc Nally, the squad investigating the case, listening to Joyce, checking out her story? Planting items in the paper and their effect on Stan? Wiring the house, the phone calls? The wiring of Joyce? The arrest?
12. A portrait of an evil man and the consequences on those associated with him? Police work and the demands made for the finding of the truth, for the arrest of the killer, that justice be done?