Picks and Pans Review: A Killer in the Family

updated 10/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 10/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (9-11 p.m. ET)

In a role that recalls his 1955 thriller The Night of the Hunter, Robert Mitchum is a convicted murderer and a family man of the weirdest kind. Based on an incident in Arizona in 1978, the TV movie begins with a family picnic—behind the walls at the Arizona State Prison. Mitchum tells his two youngest sons that he will be killed by another inmate if he remains in prison. The two teenagers are aided by their reluctant older brother, a law student, in executing an escape, which includes Pop's pal, Stuart Margolin. Freed from prison, the father betrays his sons' faith when he calmly slaughters an entire family for its car. A long way from Pug in The Winds of War, Mitchum is chilling. As the three sons, Lance Kerwin, Eric Stoltz and James Spader skillfully manage their transformation from trusting to desperate. This is a frightening story of random violence—and misplaced love.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 31

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