A pregnant white Southern girl and a black New York lawyer, both on the run in rural Texas, meet up in a boarded-up, abandoned house and realize they both need each other in order to ... See full summary »
'Two on a Bench' was a pleasant bit of froth: a made-for-TV movie directed by Jerry Paris in his usual workmanlike manner. The most notable fact about 'Two on a Bench' is that Patty Duke and John Astin met for the first time when they were cast in this movie; they married the following year.
The male lead in this movie is Ted Bessell, who seems to have been associated with every bland and middle-level project in American television during the 1960s and 70s. I'd read somewhere once that Bessell was a child prodigy who performed at Carnegie Hall when he was ten years old; somehow, the intelligence he manifested in his childhood never guided his adult career as an actor.
Here's the premise of this TV movie: American spymasters determine that a park bench in Boston is being used as a message drop by spies from behind the Iron Curtain. Because so many different people use the park bench, the spies who pick up and drop off the messages could be anyone. Eventually, the list is narrowed to two suspects: a free-spirited neurotic young woman (Duke) and a buttoned-down stockbroker (Bessell), both of whom (separately) eat lunch on the bench at regular intervals. The investigation causes them to 'meet cute', when government agent Brubaker gets the two of them into a room together ... announcing that one of them is a spy, and that the other one has a patriotic duty to help catch the guilty one. Naturally, Duke and Bessell glare at each other suspiciously.
SPOILERS COMING RIGHT NOW. The real spy is none other than John Astin, who plays Patty Duke's psychiatrist. Quite without her knowledge, he's been using her as a 'pigeon' to carry the secret messages. Astin is an actor whose work I consistently enjoy, yet he's uninteresting and bland in this poorly-written TV movie. I'll rate 'Two on a Bench' 2 points out of 10.
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