22 October 2000 | Kelt Smith
See MARY ASTOR As The Biggest Mother Of All !!!
Lacking the better cast and production of the original, RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE is only a mediocre movie. In this sequel, Allison MacKenzie (CAROL LYNLEY) has written a novel about the citizens of her hometown, many of whom are less than thrilled. While Allison is in New York finalizing the publication of her work she falls for married publisher Lewis Jackman (JEFF CHANDLER). Back home,Allison's stepfather school principal Mike Rossi (ROBERT STERLING) is being threatened with removal from his post by schoolboard trustee Roberta Carter (MARY ASTOR) if he dares to stock Allison's book in the high school library. Roberta is also busy trying to destroy her son Ted's (BRETT HALSEY) marriage to his new bride Raffaella (A pre THUNDERBALL LUCIANNA PALUZZI). An additional concern for Roberta is keeping the town incest rape victim Selena (TUESDAY WELD), who is also the centerpiece of Allison's novel, away from son Ted. The characters of Allison and her mother Constance (ELEANOR PARKER) were the mainstays in the original. Here they become almost secondary when you watch MARY ASTOR wipe the floor with everyone in this film. Nobody can stare you down like ASTOR ! Nor can anyone in this movie match her subtle gestures or command. Telling his mother that his bride is a nice girl after she has insinuated differently, ASTOR adds, "Maybe it's the way she dresses." LYNLEY is over dramatic after her first 20 minutes. CHANDLER comes across as a dullard. WELD holds her own fairly well, except for an over the top semi flashback scene with new ski instructor boyfriend Nils (GUNNAR HELSTROM), where she proceeds to get hysterical and belt him with a fireplace poker. Veteran PARKER doesn't have much to work with here, but does admirably. PALUZZI is beautiful, but no match for sparring partner ASTOR. Sometimes you're better off not seeing what became of your favorite characters.