Tuesday, January 22, 2019


Henry Winkler and Sissy Spacek
in Katherine

I remember really liking this off-beat TV movie about a radical named Katherine (Sissy Spacek) when I saw it in 1975, I wonder how I'll feel about it all these years later...

The film is told through a series of flashbacks and interviews of people that knew Katherine. This includes her rich parents (Art Carney, Jane Wyatt), her boyfriend (Henry Winkler) and her sister (Julie Kavner). Katherine is a rich girl who slowly becomes radicalized. It is based loosely on true events surrounding the life of Diana Oughton of The Weather Underground and the then hot news story about captured heiress Patty Hearst. It's tense and well told and doesn't venture too strongly into cliches. The performances are all good. Spacek is especially outstanding as the spoiled girl who begins to feel a higher calling.

It's also interesting that this film was made in 1975, much closer to the events it chronicles than many theatrical movies were able to do at the time.

A very worthy re-watch.

The cast:
Sissy Spacek-Was Spacek's major star turn in Badlands, Carrie or Coal Miner's Daughter? I'd certainly add Katherine to that list.

Henry Winkler-Henry is very well cast as the 60's radical, but his career was going the way of the Fonz and not the way of Abbie Hoffman type roles.

Art Carney-Art Carney was of course best know as Ed Norton in The Honeymoners. He won an unlikely Oscar the year (for Harry and Tonto) Katherine was aired.

Jane Wyatt-Best know as the mom in Father Knows Best and Spock's mom in Star Trek as well as Katherine's mom here. In real life, Jane was married (with three children) to the same man for sixty-five years!

Julie Kavner-Was known as Rhoda's sister at that time. Has been know as Marge Simpson's voice ever after.

The director/writer: Jeremy Kagan
Kagan's many other credits include the 1977 film Heroes, about a returning Vietnam vet and starring Henry Winkler.


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