Picks and Pans Review: Carolina Skeletons

updated 09/30/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/30/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Mon., Sept. 30, 9 P.M. ET)


Returning to his tiny hometown after the Vietnam War, a Green Beret (Louis Gossett Jr.) promises his dying mother that he will clear the name of his brother, a 14-year-old executed three decades before on trumped-up murder charges.

He's helped by the sheriff (Bruce Dern), whose lawman father (G.D. Spradlin) was part of the cover-up.

The movie is an anesthetizing adaptation of David Stout's Edgar Award-winning mystery. You know you're in trouble when a character alone in a room reads aloud from old newspaper accounts to advance the plot.

While Gossett never gives up the ghost, he's handicapped by the movie's maundering mood and always seems weighed down, as if he's acting in soaking wet clothing.

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