Picks and Pans Review: Stolen Babies

updated 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

Lifetime (Thurs., March 25, 9 p.m. ET)

B

Lea Thompson plays a social worker in Memphis in 1947 who begins to suspect that a renowned local adoption agency may be engaged in illegal practices: taking away babies from indigent couples. Mary Tyler Moore gives a startlingly effective performance as the woman who runs that agency. With rimless glasses, clunky shoes, her hair fixed in rigid spinster's curls and her mouth set in a cruel red slash, Moore is as frightening a villainess as Margaret Hamilton was in The Wizard of Oz. Kathleen Quinlan has an engaging turn as a wealthy volunteer. I'll Fly Away's Sam Waterston appears in an uncredited cameo as Tennessee's Gov. Gordon Browning.

The story, based on actual events, is stiff and earnest. What makes the movie enjoyable is a fine cast and a much more credible evocation of the postwar era than is seen each week on ABC's Homefront.

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