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And the Sea Will Tell

And the Sea Will Tell

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And the Sea Will Tell  Two couples–one wealthy and married, the other an ex-con and his hippie girlfriend– separately set sail for a remote South Pacific island, each hoping to play “Adam and Eve” in paradise. Instead of getting away from it all, they take it with them– their pasts and prejudices, and the petty battles over status and material goods that arise from different social classes. Upon lovely Palmyra Island, two couples do arrive, but in 3 months time only one will leave alive. For the couple who get away, one of them has the extraordinary good luck to be defended in court by master attorney Vincent Bugliosi, prosecuting attorney of Charles Manson and author of the classic best selling book Helter Skelter.

STARS: Richard Crenna, Rachel Ward, Hart Bochner

179 min | Crime, Drama | 1991 | Color


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Unsolved true murder mystery/court drama will haunt you
An able cast and good direction do a creditable job in this film based on famed attorney Vincent Bugliosi's non-fiction book, which describes both the crime and the trial (he represented the defendants). But more than anything else, it's the story itself that will keep your eyes glued to the screen for three hours. Yuppie couple sail to an isolated mid-Pacific island. Later, so does a hippie couple. After that, the hippie couple are arrested in Honolulu in possession of the yuppies' boat and a weak story. Investigation does not turn up the yuppies, their bodies, or the hippies' boat. Some time later, back at the island, a box washes onshore that contains the bones of the yuppy woman. The details are too numerous and mystifying to list here! The "plot" may seem to meander and include many digressions -- but that's because it's from real life! Even at three hours (made for TV, two instalments) the film can't include all the baffling elements. (You really should get the paperback!) If you stick with it and pay close attention, you'll find it not only entertainment, but also a challenge: What really happened? Who did it? This puzzle will haunt you, keep popping back into your mind, long after the movie ends. (Get the book!!)

28 Years Later, I Finally Watched the TV Movie
I read the book a few years after it was published, but I just discovered that they had made this TV movie only recently. It was difficult to track down, but I got a copy. It was worth the time and effort and money.
The story of And the Sea Will Tell is completely fascinating. I read most of the long book on a long flight (I'd love to read it again, but no longer have my copy). The movie does a terrific job of telling this story from start to finish. I would suggest reading the book first.
There are a lot of TV movie screw-ups in the film bit they don't take away from such a great story. For example, when they first see land in Palmyra, there are mountains when the island is a tiny atoll just above sea level. And obviously, there was no diction coach on set to steer Rachael Ward through some American vowels. She had many moments revealing her English roots. Once again, the story survives.
P.S. There is no way the girlfriend was innocent. She should still be in prison. I would imagine that Bugliosi was doing her. It shows once again, if you have money in America, you can literally get away with murder.

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