Picks and Pans Review: Resting Place

updated 04/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/28/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS (Sun., April 27, 9 p.m. ET)

C-

Moviemakers are Frankensteins, trying to create life. Sometimes, they fail because they leave out some intangible that makes you believe their characters live and breathe. That's the problem with Resting Place. The plot is thick with possibility: A dead Vietnam hero is brought home for burial, but he's black and the town won't let his body rest in the white cemetery. John Lithgow, playing an Army "survivor assistance officer," tries to help but also uncovers a strange conspiracy surrounding the soldier's death. Resting Place wants to be a subtle morality play on racism. But it fails because its characters—Lithgow, Morgan Freeman and C.C.H. Pounder as the soldier's parents and Frances Sternhagen as a white friend of the family-all stay as stiff as the corpse they're fighting over. The dialogue and direction don't let them breathe. And the two story lines—the cemetery battle and the conspiracy—don't fit together.

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