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Television Reviews : Sans Ingrid and Cary, ‘Indiscreet’ Is Inept

Anyone who recalls Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Norman Krasna’s 1958 movie “Indiscreet” will wince over the TV remake, which airs tonight at 9 on Channels 2 and 8.

Krasna’s screenplay, based on his play “Kind Sir,” was a slight vehicle whose improbability did nothing to stand in the way of two powerhouse stars at the top of their form. The erotic refinement between Bergman and Grant was so stylized and subtle that they stood across from each other like sexual samurai whose deep assessments of each other were made mostly in silence. Bergman was a big, emotionally generous actress. There is no adjective that suits Cary Grant better than what his name itself conjures.

In the remake, written by Walter Lockwood and Sally Robinson, Lesley-Anne Down plays Anne Kingston, the internationally famous London-based actress; Robert Wagner plays Phillip Adams, the smooth American financier on a London diplomatic mission who, in the face of their imminent fling, tells her he’s married when he’s not.

The vapidity of both performances is magnified by come-hither camera shots that linger too long on their empty faces. In their first meeting, when Wagner is called on to crank up the charm, he smiles. Only his mouth moves; the rest of his face is frozen in a parody of suavity, and his voice is dead.

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Down has a little more flounce to the ounce, but the best she can do as a woman deceived is to fly into a deep snit.

Production values evoke the silky-bland noblesse oblige that has been canonized for TV by “Dynasty” and “Knots Landing.”


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