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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Aspen (1977)

After the body of a 15 year old girl is found brutally beaten and mutilated in the resort town of Aspen, a drifter (Perry King) is arrested for her rape and murder. A rising young lawyer (Sam Elliott) takes on his case but everything seems to be working against him and it will take nearly 8 years for justice to be served. Directed by Douglas Heyes, the film is ostensibly adapted from the novel ASPEN by Bert Hirschfield but in actuality it uses only the title. The film is based THE ADVERSARY by Bart Spicer although both books are credited as the source material. At 4 1/2 hours, this is an overlong soap opera. If it had stuck with the actual murder case and the trial and the years of appeals, it would have made for a compelling piece of drama. Unfortunately, it's padded out with subplots about land developers as well as an uninteresting romantic triangle involving Elliott, Jessica Harper and Roger Davis that only serve to detract. Also, is there a duller piece of white bread actor than Perry King? Fortunately, Elliott who is at the center of the story is a strong presence. The acting ranges from good to barely adequate. The large cast includes Anthony Franciosa, Gene Barry, Michelle Phillips, Joseph Cotten, John Houseman, Martine Beswick, Bo Hopkins and William Prince. 

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