ASSAULT AND MATRIMONY
US, 1987, 100 minutes, Colour.
Jill Eikenberry, Michael Tucker, John Hillerman, Michelle Phillips.
Directed by James Frawley.
Assault and Matrimony is a telemovie comedy about a marriage break-up, mutual-murder attempts, ultimate reconciliation after the violence has stirred up passion again. It is ironic, with fantasy touches. The stars are real life partners Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker (stars of L.A.Law for many seasons). They work well together.
John Hillerman is their neighbour. Michelle Phillips is a neighbour who is attracted by Tucker and the object of Eikenberry's suspicions. The film is played for laughs and relies on the energy and screen presence of the stars.
1. Entertaining marital comedy? American domestic life, failure of marriages, suspicions, violence and passion, reconciliation?
2. The world of affluence suburbia, the house and the suburban streets, the town? Audiences identifying with the characters and their situations? Musical score?
3. Comic and serious? The humour? The teaming of the stars, their working together, the title?
4. Sylvia, her snobbery, her demands on Edgar, her impatience? Bossing him about? His meekness, reactions, imagining her dead? the friendly neighbour, wanting to buy the house? Sylvia's jealousy of Madge and seeing Edgar with her? Her decision about the murder attempts, going to the court, in disguise (although recognised by Cyril)? Approaching the murderer, the contract? The various attempts at killing Edgar - and their failure? her blowing up Madge's house? The investigations, the discovery of Edgar's attempts, love? Reconciliation? Selling the house to Cyril and the fatal toast at the end?
5. Edgar, the little man, put upon, talking to himself, his wife making demands, the gardener and the neighbour with the leaves? Imagining Sylvia tortured and dying? The parties, discussion with Cyril about the house? Ideas in his head, the possibility of getting rid of Sylvia, the attempts, the comic touches, the failure? The battle of the sexes? The reconciliation, Cyril's proposal, the final toast?
6. Cyril as the suave neighbour, the party, discussions about selling the house, making money, the Caribbean? Telling Edgar about recognising Sylvia? The shooting? The observations of the goings on? The final proposal - and Sylvia's and Edgar's response?
7. Madge, her life, house, relationship with Edgar? Sharing interests? Object of Sylvia’s jealousy, the explosion in the house? The court scene, the murderer, Sylvia approaching him, his reactions?
8. The exaggerated comic touch - yet the highlighting of problems in wavering marriages, antagonisms and violence? Imagining what if?