The Deliberate Stranger
|The Deliberate Stranger|
|Based on||The Deliberate Stranger|
by Richard W. Larsen
|Screenplay by||Hesper Anderson|
|Directed by||Marvin J. Chomsky|
|Theme music composer||Gil Mellé|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer||Malcolm Stuart|
|Producer||Marvin J. Chomsky|
|Cinematography||Michael D. Margulies|
|Running time||188 minutes|
|Production company||Lorimar Productions|
|Picture format||Color (Metrocolor)|
The Deliberate Stranger is a book about American serial killer Ted Bundy written by Seattle Times reporter Richard W. Larsen that was published in 1980. The book spawned a television miniseries of the same title, starring Mark Harmon as Bundy, that aired on NBC on May 4–5, 1986.
Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger was written by Seattle Times reporter Richard W. Larsen and published in 1980. Larsen covered politics for the Times and had interviewed Bundy in 1972, several years before he became a murder suspect, when Bundy worked as a volunteer for the re-election campaign of Gov. Daniel J. Evans and had been seen trailing the campaign of Evans' Democratic opponent with a video camera.
Larsen would go on to cover the "Ted" murders in 1974, when Bundy was first identified as a suspect in Seattle area homicides, and then cover the Ted Bundy story up until Bundy's execution in 1989. Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger was published in paperback in editions as late as 1990 but has since gone out of print.
The Deliberate Stranger was adapted into a two-part television movie originally broadcast on NBC on May 4 and 5, 1986. The film, based on Larsen's book, starred Mark Harmon as Bundy. Parts of the film were shot in Salt Lake City and at Utah State Prison as well as Farmington, Utah and Seattle, Washington.
The film omits Bundy's childhood, early life, and first six known victims (five murders and the first victim who survived), picking up the story with the murder of Georgann Hawkins and following Bundy's further crimes in Washington, Utah, Colorado and Florida. Frederic Forrest starred as Seattle detective Robert D. Keppel, and George Grizzard played reporter Larsen.
- Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy
- Frederic Forrest as Detective Bob Keppel
- George Grizzard as Richard Larsen
- Ben Masters as Detective Mike Fisher
- Glynnis O'Connor as Cas Richter
- M. Emmet Walsh as Detective Sam Davies
- John Ashton as Detective Roger Dunn
- Bonnie Bartlett as Louise Bundy
- Billy "Green" Bush as Officer Bradley
- Frederick Coffin as Jerry Thompson
- Deborah Goodrich as Martha Chambers
- Lawrence Pressman as Ken Wolverton
- Macon McCalman as Larsen's Editor
- Jeannetta Arnette as Barbara
- William Boyett as Aspen Detective
- Harry Northup as Tom Hargreaves
Broadcast technical difficulties
During the second part's broadcast, a few NBC affiliates (including WPXI channel 11 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and KPRC channel 2 Houston, Texas) were interrupted by a frozen scene and a static sound until placing their own technical difficulties tel-op graphics for less than 30 seconds before returning to its fixed program.
Bundy's lawyer Polly Nelson, in her book Defending the Devil, characterized the film as "stunningly accurate" and said it did not portray anything that was not proven to be factual. She singled out praise for Harmon's portrayal of Bundy, noting how Harmon reproduced Bundy's rigid posture and suspicious expression. According to Nelson, her client, still on death row when the program aired, showed no interest in seeing the film.
Ann Rule, who had known Bundy before the murders when they worked together on a suicide crisis hotline (Jeannetta Arnette played a character based on Rule), felt that Harmon's portrayal missed the insecurities that lurked under Bundy's confident facade. Harmon was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Bundy.
According to The New York Times, the two shows ranked seventeenth and sixth in the Nielsen ratings. Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times described it as "taut, suspenseful, scary".
- ^ O'Connor, John J. (2 May 1986). "TV WEEKEND; NETWORKS INTRODUCING NEW SHOWS". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- ^ D'Arc, James V. (2010). When Hollywood came to town: a history of moviemaking in Utah (1st ed.). Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith. ISBN 9781423605874.
- ^ "KPRC issued technical difficulties during second part". YouTube. 5 May 1986. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
- ^ "WPXI issued technical difficulties during second part". YouTube. 5 May 1986. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2020.
- ^ Nelson 1994, p. 68.
- ^ Nelson 1994, p. 66.
- ^ Rule 2000, p. 482.
- ^ Carter, Alan (31 August 1998). "Times Have Changed for Mark Harmon". New York Daily News – via Lakeland Ledger.
- ^ Harmetz, Aljean (7 October 1986). "2 MINI-SERIES TO LOOK AT SAME KILLING". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- ^ Rosenberg, Howard (3 May 1986). "Weekend Tv : 'Stranger': Cold Look At A Killer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 June 2014.
- Larsen, Richard W. (1980). Bundy: The Deliberate Stranger. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-089185-1.
- Nelson, Polly (1994). Defending the Devil: My Story as Ted Bundy's Last Lawyer. ISBN 0688108237.
- Rule, Ann (2000). The Stranger Beside Me. Thorndike Press. ISBN 9780786230020. ISBN 978-0-393-05029-5
- 1986 television films
- 1980 non-fiction books
- 1986 films
- 1980s crime drama films
- American biographical films
- American crime drama films
- American television miniseries
- American television films
- Films directed by Marvin J. Chomsky
- Films set in the 1970s
- Non-fiction books about Ted Bundy
- Crime films based on actual events
- Films scored by Gil Mellé
- Films about Ted Bundy
- Films shot in Utah
- Films shot in Washington (state)
- 1986 drama films
- 1980s American films