WHO IS JULIA? (TV movie)

10/26/1986. Sunday, 9 pm. 2 hours.
CBS.
Drama/Science fiction.
Code: WIJ 10/1986

PLOT

The world's first successful brain transplant. A medical team transplants the brain of a body-dead model into the body of a brain-dead housewife to the confusion of the surviving woman and the two husbands.

CREDITS

Writer: James S. Sadwith.
Director: Walter Grauman.

CAST

Mare Winningham as Mary Frances Beaudine/ Julia North
Jameson Parker as Don North
Jeffrey DeMunn as Dr. Matt Mathews
Jonathan Banks as Jack Beaudine, Mary Frances' husband. Listed 4th of 24.
Bert Remsen as Joseph Dineen
Mason Adams as Dr. Gordon

CHARACTER

Jack is a confused and simple guy from Texas that just wants his beloved wife back. He has a lot of anger against hospital, and Julia; he has the potential for violence. He is determined, keeps trying to convince ‘Mary Frances’ to come back to him. He is very sweet and gentle with his son.

COMMENTS

JB was clearly cast because they wanted an actor known for villains so the viewers would think Julia might be in danger from him at end of film. Despite its stupid premise, the film works very well; better than it should, mainly because of Mare Winningham’s strong performance that lets the film rise above soap opera. JB is very affecting as Jack, with very believable anger, confusion, and pain. Good scenes for JB include when he sees ‘Mary Frances’ in the hospital bed, when he meets Julia's husband, and the final heart-wrenching confrontation with Julia. There is also a beautiful pan up his body when he walks into the hospital

COSTUME

Western shirts, mechanics coveralls, jeans and boots, with a light brown leather jacket. His hair is a little on the long side, and left to curl.

CRITICS

"Though bizarre, it’s a fascinating premise... despite Winningham's good performance the story's flaws undermine its shaky plausibility, making it more of a curiosity." Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times, 10/26/1986, TV Times p.5.

"Romantic melodrama... her husband is a blue-collar mechanic (played by creepy Jonathan Banks)… The story proceeds along moderately intelligent lines, and the resolution of the piece is not what one would expect." Tom Shales, Washington Post, 10/25/1986, Style p.1.

" Meanwhile, the mechanic—who claims he has been ‘tricked’—intermittently skulks around, and finally persuades the woman… to visit their son… Later, actor Banks does get the most unintentionally perspicacious line of the piece: 'We never should have left Texas.' … little more than a surgical soap opera." Clifford Terry, Chicago Tribune, 10/24/1986, Tempo p.5.

(About JB) "Average man auto-mechanic... story looks and sounds reasonable... More interesting though is the husband of Mary Frances, Jack (Jonathan Banks), father of her small boy. Jack, though he knows she's not Mary Frances any longer, can't stay away. ...and Banks, as the discarded husband, registers well... notable dramatic confrontation occurs when Julia goes home with Mary Frances' husband and he finally realizes the truth. It's a tough scene, well-handled." Variety, 10/29/1986.

LINES

"My God, you mean to say you can take another person's brain and put it in Mary Frances's body and she can walk out of here and not be Mary Frances?"

"I'm just a grease monkey."

"All I want is Mary Frances."

"So what do we do now, we sit around and cry?"

"I say it before, I say it again, we shoulda never left Texas."

"Oh, lady, are you sure?"

SCREEN TIME

About 9 minutes in 13 scenes, throughout movie.

WORKED WITH

Mason Adams (LGS 2/1979; LG 11/1979; LGR 1/1981)
Jeffrey DeMunn (FRA 12/1982)
James Handy (WG 9/1987 episode 5)
Jameson Parker (SSM 3/1982; SSS 12/1982; SSF 10/1983)