Child Under a Leaf

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 10/26/02 04:02:53

"History hasn't been kind to this dreary romantic 'thriller'."
1 stars (Total Crap)

A woman in a crappy marriage (Dyan Cannon) decides to have an affair with a young artist. When they fall in love, only her care for the well being of her child can stop her from leaving her abusive husband, but what will the sudden death of that child do to her marriage – and her affair? This 1974 low budget romance is one of those ‘inspired by Love Story’ flicks that contain about eight minutes of actual dialogue and a good eighty other minutes of lingering close-ups (which in Dyan Cannon’s case is not always a good thing), lengthy long shots and romantic muzak.

As with most cheapo love stories of the early 70’s, the male cast couldn’t be less proficient in the acting area. Joe Campanella, playing the evil husband, has all the nastiness of Bob and Doug McKenzie mixed in with the bloodlust of Kermit the Frog. True to form, his career took him to turns in the soaps Days of Our Lives, Dallas and The Bold and The Beautiful, which is probably the best place for his brand of pseudo-evil.

The ‘artist on the side’, played by French Canadian actor Donald Pilon, says absolutely nothing well, which isn’t as bad as it may seem since he doesn’t have any actual lines most of the time. In fact, nobody says a damn word for the vast majority of this film, and nor do they actually do a hell of a lot, when suddenly, in the last ten minutes, the whole thing blows up and turns into Romeo and Juliet – 70’s style.

Writer/Director George Bloomfield would not go on to bigger and better things in Hollywood after this film was released, but he did keep working – in television. His earlier films include such underrated classics of the 50’s as Ground Handling of Aircraft, Part 2: Winter Operations and Teamwork in Farm Research. More recently, as director of TV series’ such as Fraggle Rock, SCTV, Due South, La Femme Nikita and most recently Doc, he’s undoubtedly learned something about using words to keep his characters and the audience awake.

With no complex plot, no action and no dialogue, there are not a whole lot of reasons beyond the occasional glimpse of a naked Dyan Cannon to rent or buy Child Under a Leaf. It’s at best a slow diversion, at worst just plain slow.

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