Picks and Pans Review: Blind Witness

updated 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/27/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

ABC (Sun., Nov. 26, 9 P.M. ET)

B+

Victoria Principal calls to mind Audrey Hepburn in this diverting TV movie. As in Hepburn's 1967 thriller, Wait Until Dark, Principal plays a blind woman taking on a psycho. The link between the actresses is underscored by Principal's unbecoming cropped hairdo and the way she arches her neck like a vain swan throughout the film.

In Blind Witness, she's a spunky, independent lady, sightless since childhood, with a prince of a husband (Stephen Macht) and a great career as a personnel recruiter in Salt Lake City. Her dream life is shattered when her spouse is killed by an intruder. After the police drop the case, she remains determined to see justice served. As you might have guessed, she turns out to be an uncanny investigator despite—or in some cases because of—her handicap. The premise makes for some neat twists, such as Principal conducting a police lineup by touching each suspect in a disconcertingly intimate fashion.

In her most ambitious role to date, Principal handles the movements, mannerisms and reactions of a blind person quite convincingly. Paul Le Mat may be too wide-eyed and passive to make a plausible cop, but he's a chummy ally for the heroine nonetheless. Tim Choate strikes just the right note as the viperish killer.

With TV viewers, as with the bond market, whenever there is Principal, there is interest. In the case of this modest but well-executed suspense film, that interest is rewarded.

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