Customer Reviews: A Killing in a Small Town (True Stories Collection TV Movie)
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on August 13, 2003
"Evidence Of Love" a.k.a "Killing In A Small Town" when it aired on CBS in the early 90's features an EMMY Award winning performance by Barbara Hershey (Beaches)The film is adapted from the book "Evidence Of Love" which is based on the true story of Candy Morrison who appeared to be an upstanding wife, mother and respected member of the community.
After an affair with her best friend's husband things spin out of control and Candy soon realizes the damage she has caused is irreversible. Confronted by her friend about the affair, their anger quickly becomes violent.
The film ends with a courtroom scene which has become all to familiar in made for TV movies. However, this film rises above such conventions with stellar performances by Hershey, Brian Dennehy and Hal Holbrook, a clever script by Cynthia Cidre and skilled direction by Stephen Gyllenhaal.
The DVD has no special features other that full screen presentation and scene selection. The picture quality is quite good and is beautifully packaged in a keep case coverbox.
This is feature film quality entertainment! Not your average made for TV movie!
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on February 23, 2000
I have never seen a made-for-television movie as riveting and powerful as this. Not only is the story, (based on real events) absolutely astounding, but the film offers a marvelous depiction of small town America in the bible belt and how very ordinary people can be led to do terrible things. Barbara Hershey's performance is one of the best I've ever seen by any actor anywhere. So finely nuanced and real. I will never, ever forget this film.
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on May 10, 2000
This is a brilliant version of the book "Evidence of Love," a true story about small-town repressions that lead to horrific circumstances. Brian Dennehy, Hal Holbrook, John Terry, and Lee Garlington are letter-perfect as the supporting cast. But you will never forget Barbara Hershey as the protagonist. Her performance is completely devastating, and it takes a subsequent viewing to appreciate just how flawless she is (she gets so deep into this character that you forget you're watching an actress). She won the Emmy and had this been a theatrical release (shoulda been, IMHO) she would have trotted home Oscar. One of the most exquisite performances ever filmed. She really delivers the goods, especially in the bone-rattling murder sequence.
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Based on a true story and a book called EVIDENCE OF LOVE, this tv movie is made remarkable by the Emmy-winning performance of Barbara Hershey. She is utterly magnificent in the role of a middle class housewife who brutally murders her ex-lover's wife in a self defensive rage. Hershey superbly captures the many nuances of this seemingly normal woman who commits a heinous deed. Her hypnosis sequence is brutally painful and she pulls out no stops in showing us the hidden rage.

Brian Dennehy is equally good as the lawyer who tries to get her out of her terrifying predicament.

The movie is impressively done and once again worthy most of all for Ms. Hershey's dynamic presence.
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on June 8, 2013
Fabulous acting by Barbara Hershey and Brian Dennehy. I had seen this movie years ago on pay t.v........and enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The horrifying thing's based on a true story. Watch it's a very good movie. Excellent viewing.
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on November 20, 2013
I watched this movie several times and for some reason the only thing I can remember is Barbara Hershey's weird accent (probably because I've read the book about 200 times - I'm on my third hard copy - and my remembrance of the book blocks out the movie). So I decided to watch it and pay attention.

As I said, Hershey's syrupy sweet accent and whatever she is trying to do (putting the lift at the end of her sentences as if she's always asking a question, or for verification or permission from whomever she's talking to) is off-putting and distracting. I think she was wrong for the part. I never forgot: that's Barbara Hershey.


The movie differs from the book in several ways: the name changes; Jackie Ponder, their minister, is totally left out (she probably wanted to be); and they have the murder happening in January 1980 instead of when it really happened, June 1980 (remember, Alisa just HAD to go to that swimming lesson with her OWN swimsuit?). Also, they left out the affair Candy had with another man, after Allan. When Allan takes Candy to lunch, he remarks that she's always up and has a good attitude. She replies that her family moved a lot since her father was in the Army, and she learned that you could not let people see you unconfident or afraid. That conversation did not take place. It's as though it's an excuse for the way she acted all the time, that she wasn't really that self-confident.

in the axe scene, it has Peggy swinging the axe right at Candy's head, and Candy moves out of the way just in time. I don't recall that in the book - I seem to remember the author noting that if Betty had really wanted to kill Candy, she would have actually hit her in the head, instead it seemed that she deliberately missed. Also Peggy said "Shhhh" when she was still standing up and Candy was arguing with her. In the book, the "shhh" was a sound that came out because Betty was in the process of dying (on the floor).

It doesn't show Candy wiping up the blood with towels, which she said she did in the book. She seems in a complete daze when she leaves the house, as though she has no idea what just happened or where she is - yet she has sense enough to drive straight to her house and change her clothes.

They changed the flip-flops she was wearing to actual blue tennis shoes (which she lied and said that she was wearing - she changed into those after the murder before she went back to church). Well, I guess she wouldn't be wearing flip flops in January with a winter coat. But who has vacation bible school and swimming lessons in January?

One thing I noticed was that after the first session (in the book, it was psychological testing) with the psychiatrist, her lawyer said something to the effect of "So she's not crazy?" And the doctor responded something to the effect of that if he thought she was a sociopath, he would have nothing to do with her. Since a sociopath is not "crazy" I wondered if he really had said that. I looked it up in the book, and he did say it. However, it wasn't prefaced with her attorney asking if she was crazy or not. It was a stand-alone remark. In my opinion, Candy does have many of the traits of a sociopath, but she probably knew to tell them what they wanted to hear.

The hypnotism scenes were sickening, will all of Hershey's silly babyish crying and whining. That looked very fake.

However, the movie subtly brings up these:
Candy wants everyone to like her, and she acts like little Miss Helpful, however, once she's arrested, the real Candy shows up. She refuses to let anyone to see her "upset" (weak or crying). She has a smirk and a disdainful attitude toward anyone in law enforcement (once she's arrested) or at the courthouse.

The hypnotist remarks on her saying that she is a good wife and mother, but how does cheating on her husband make her a good wife and mother? Candy responds, unashamed, that she isn't perfect. (This conversation did not happen in the book - the doctor did not ever criticize Candy).

And the only time Candy can come up with that she was as angry as she was while killing Betty, was when she was four years old and lost a race to a water pump with an older boy, which made her so angry, that she took the glass jar (that was to be filled up with water by the winner of the race) and broke it against the pump, which caused a shard of glass to cut her between the eyes. Her mother then takes her to the hospital (was it that bad of a cut?) where she screams and carries on, which embarrasses her mother. Her mother tells her "Shhh, what will all the people in the waiting room think?" Candy did not care what they thought, and she continued to, it's not as though she repressed her feelings. Tell her not to scream and she's going to anyway. She loses a race and completely loses her temper. She thinks Betty tells her "Shhh," well, kill Betty for that. Also, Betty was ordering her not to see Allan. How dare she?

Another Candy personality trait pointed out in this film is that she only becomes "ashamed" of something once she's caught.

The ending was also changed, showing Candy having a conscience and being disturbed by having killed Peggy (Betty Gore), even though the doctor tells her she had no choice - but it's as though she realizes she DID have a choice and killed her anyway. Which never happened in real life. She never saw Dr. Fason after the last session which I believe was before the trial. Perhaps they wanted to placate the viewers that there was some justice or lesson learned, but in reality Candy went on her merry way (but still angry that this had "happened" to her). She was more like the Candy on the stand, saying that she had anger toward Peggy (Betty) because she had caused her to lose everything and put her in that position (of having to kill her). Still just thinking of herself only. The lawyer reminds her that she and Allan had put Peggy in that position by having an affair and Candy grudgingly agrees.
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on June 28, 2015
Candy having an affair and cheating on her husband. Very bad thing to do! Candy having an affair with the husband of HER BEST FRIEND? Hello? Seriously, what could be worse!
I don't blame Peggy (the other man's wife ) for being upset and angry with her friend for her betrayal. Who could blame her for that? However, if what Candy says happened that morning at her friend's house is in fact the truth then Candy had the right to defend herself against her suddenly-gone-homicidal-nuts ax-waving friend!!!
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on July 19, 2009
This is an old back in the day movie great for a rainy day and you wont believe what happens... one of all time favs!!
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on June 6, 2013
The box was pretty beat up, but the vhs tape was in good shape. This is a true story about a horrendous axe crime in a Texas town. Barbara Hershey and Brian Dennehy are just fabulous in this rendition.
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on May 26, 2016
It's not as good as I remembered it. But that viewing was years ago and made for TV movies were actually good. This is a true story and audiences found it amazing that such a thing could really happen. It was an OMG moment imagining a woman committing this horrid crime. Brian Dennehy is a favorite of mine, so I think I've seen most, if not all, his movies. Most are excellent. This, all these years later, is okay, but not great. Barbara Hershey was a bit over the top. I didn't enjoy her performance. There are several really good Brian Dennehy movies out there. This one is okay, but not as good as most.
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