10 December 2020 | doorbomb62
Cheryl Ladd provides Deadly Care...
If you're in need of some entertaining medicine, you've come to the right hospital, er, program. Cheryl Ladd was a main fixture of Television back in the 1980s, and like her 'Charlie's Angels' co-stars, it took some work to get past the imagery and stigma of "Jiggle Show" and other Vampy connotations that followed them all around after the show ended. A few of them, such as Cheryl Ladd here, had great moments away from that, which have been sorely forgotten, or swept under the rug in the past 30 years. 'Deadly Care was a made-for-television picture which, like many TV Movies at the time, reached out beyond the typical fare of network cash-ins on bigger films, and/or extended pilots and series concepts.
In a straight forward, tells-it-like-it-s kind of way, 'Deadly Care' isn't as "Lifetime" as it sounds.. It's rather well done. An honest script by Lane Slate, and some great direction by Director David Anspaugh get this little movie on point. It's never a happy story by any means. We 're introduced to Cheryl Ladd as Annie Halloran, a top nurse who is already dependent on the cushioning balance that pills and barbiturates provide for the stressed out. Unfortunately, for her, life is very depressing, and like many encumbered by life's unfair inconveniences (stressful job, loss of a relative, loneliness et al) it's not too far a jump to the bottom. And that's exactly where our tragic Nurse Annie ends up in a very slow, heart shattering, emotionally painful decent.
Great performances are all around in this one. Cheryl Ladd proves to be a surely impressive actress at this point. Very melancholy, but in tact. She has a good grip on her character and she slides ever so ingloriously down the rabbit hole of the actors journey. This was a goods role, and she was a darn good choice. It's a shame this performance isn't recounted more often as Mrs. Ladd has maintained a streak of nostalgia for her 'Angel' days. Still, that also makes it all-the-more-exciting to run across, and still manage to be a topical subject today. Veteran 'Exorcist' actor Jason Miller supplies excellent support as a heart surgeon controlled by his profession. Early Brian De Palma alumni Jennifer Salt gets something too. She's the moral Compass to Cheryl Ladd, and she sets the scene effortlessly. Most notably though, is the great performance by character actress Belinda Balaski. Such a heartbreaking and concentrated scene, with which, the wonderful Ms. Balaski shatters our hearts like glass. A wonderful decision for casting.
Director Anspaugh makes some great set pieces in the hospital, and uses his narrative with sharp, clever technical skill as he builds the rest of the world around it. Clearly, aside from the anti-drug message that rang ad nauseam that time, there is care put into this for maximum engagement and complete sympathy on our parts. Its not an easy story to take so it's not always easy to tell it, but let humanity and compassion be your guide here. The film itself discusses various stages of life...and death. Perhaps it's one more thing to remember before we misuse our own advantages.