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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hart To Hart (1979)

When his best friend (Paul Napier) dies under mysterious circumstances, the wealthy CEO (Robert Wagner) of a major corporation goes undercover to a health spa run by two rather shady doctors (Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall) where his friend was being treated. Directed by screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz (DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER) from a screenplay by Sidney Sheldon (EASTER PARADE). Back in the day, the networks would do TV movies for potential series and if the movie did well, the networks would greenlight the series. This was the feature length movie which served as a "pilot" for the series HART TO HART. If today it looks like an extended episode of the show, it still stands on its own as a pleasant diversion. It's an updated variation on THE THIN MAN with the Harts (Stefanie Powers is Mrs. Hart) as a modern day Nick and Nora Charles. They're rich, lead glamorous lives, banter sarcasms back and forth and have a circle of friends who are constantly being murdered. Wagner was never a major film star, not really but he came into his own on TV (this would be his third series) where his Cary Grant lite persona fit in very well and he and Powers have a nice chemistry. With Natalie Wood (the current Mrs. Wagner), Jill St. John (the future Mrs. Wagner), Lionel Stander and Michael Lerner. 

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