The Secret Passion of Robert Clayton (1992)

TV Movie   |  R   |    |  Drama

The Secret Passion of Robert Clayton (1992) Poster

A criminal lawyer and his promoter son, who no longer understand each other well, face each other in the case of a beautiful woman.


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31 August 2003 | rmax304823
Honour rooted in dishonour
TV Guide described this as a story of a man and his father loving the same girl during a trial. I figured, well, it's 75% courtroom drama with 25% romance thrown in to break up the monotony. But TV Guide has it right. It was more about love than law.

You see, Robert Clayton Jr. had a crush on Kathy all through high school. But then she married someone else and moved away. Now, ten years later she is back and, oh, absence has only made the heart grow fonder, and the vibrations become synchronous. Her hubby is something of a dull bulb and into domination as well, and he gets mixed up in the baseball-bat murder of a party girl of more than usually loose morals. OMG, the blood! Meanwhile, when he's out doing something or other, his wife Kathy and her former boyfriend, Robert Jr., now the DA, throw themselves at one another, tear off each other's hampering outer garments, and roll around like two wart hogs in heat. Not to worry, though, there's no nudity.

It also developes that -- I hope you're ready for this -- it also developes that Kathy is sleeping with Robert Sr., whom she has, as he describes it, turned into "a horny old man." Soul clap its hands and sing! Kathy's brutish hubby is brought to trial for the baseball bat murder, but Robert Jr. dismisses charges against him because -- well, I certainly don't want to spoil this. It would be like telling you about the final seasonal episode of an afternoon soaper. Anyway, that's the love story/mystery. The courtrooms scenes are perfunctory by any standards and take only a few minutes of screen time to get rid of.

This movie seems to know the meaning of "marital privilege" and "cui bono", but it doesn't know the meaning of the word "originality." There isn't a single shot, word, movement, or musical note that's in the slightest bit innovative. John Mahoney as the goaty old man, and the guy who plays the judge, are the only two actors who are believable. Scott Valentine, as Robert Jr., is at his best when he stands stock still and stares at someone else. He blinks his eyes about twice during the film. Kathy is scrumptious looking but her wispy Southern accent, hinting at oestrus, ought to raise warning flags every time she speaks. The whole plot collapses in upon itself at the end, as if done in by its own boredom.

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Release Date:

3 June 1992



Country of Origin


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