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FOXFIRE LIGHT (director/writer: Allen Baron; screenwriter: novel by Janet Dailey; cinematographer: Thomas Ackerman; editor: Mike Pozen; music: Les Hooper; cast: Leslie Nielsen (Reese Morgan), Tippi Hedren (Elizabeth Morgan), Lara Parker (Joanna Morgan), Barry Van Dyke (Linc Wilder), Faye Grant (Rachel Parmelee), Burton Gilliam (Deke), John Steadman (Jesse); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Bill Dailey; Parade Video; 1982)

It starts off slowly, but gets better the longer it goes on.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Allen Baron (“Blast of Silence”)directs this colorful romantic soap opera set in the Ozark Mountains (filmed on location). It starts off slowly, but gets better the longer it goes on. Abetted by charming natural performances by most of the cast, but for a one-dimensional heavy one by the mother from hell Tippi Hedren. That her acting is shrill is no fault of the actress, but because of her poorly written part. It’s based on the best-selling novel byJanet Dailey. Neglected filmmaker Baron fails to duplicate his superior film noir in 1961, Blast of Silence, with his next melodrama picture that comes some 20 years later.

Pretty Joanna Morgan (Lara Parker) graduates from college, with aspirations to be a writer, and her possessive widow mother Elizabeth Morgan (Tippi Hedren) wants her to remain in Beverly Hills and take a position with social aspirations. Joanna freaks out at the phonies mom introduces her to at a house party and splits to stay a month with wealthy bachelor Uncle Reese (Leslie Nielsen), who every year takes a month off from his Beverly Hills business to vacation at his luxury Ozark Mountain retreat. Looking for peace and quiet, and a chance to figure out what she’s to do next without her overbearing mom’s interference, Joanna soon meets handsome Ozark cowboy Linc Wilder (Barry Van Dyke) and after a poor start they bond and become a couple. Meanwhile Reese falls for timid local shopkeeper Rachel Parmelee (Faye Grant) and she accepts his marriage proposal. Elizabeth always had a crush on her former husband’s brother, Reese, and makes a surprise visit to the Ozarks and tries to dissuade Rachel, with venomous comments, from going through with the marriage.

There’s fiddle playing, an explanation that the title is derived from the natural phenomenon of heat causing spontaneous combustion that results in a blue light, some hillbilly lore is passed on and it concludes, as expected, with a pleasing happy ending for the good characters who find romance in the mountains.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”