The Curator of Schlock #283 by Jeff Shuster

Someone I Touched

Syphilis ain’t that bad. 

Week Four of ABC Movie of the Week is here, and boy did I make a mistake. You see the trouble with doing a theme month is that it sounds great, but then you need to find a movie each week that fills that theme and then you hunt around Amazon Prime to find ABC Movies of the Week, but you realize that not many of these movies survived. There was one ABC Movie of the Week that starred George Kennedy getting attacked by a feral skunk.

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I would have liked to see that movie, but instead I’m stuck this week with a cautionary tale on VD.

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1975’s Someone I Touched from director Lou Antonio is a cautionary tale on venereal disease (I said as much in the last paragraph–I was filled with so much hope back then). The movie begins with Andrew Robinson playing a guy named Frank Berlin and it appears that he’s stalking a teenage girl named Carrie (Glynnis O’Connor). I think this because Andrew Robinson played Scorpio in Dirty Harry and I associate his face with that of a violent psychopath, but it turns out that he’s one of the good guys in this movie. Really, that says everything about this specimen of schlock you need to know. Read on at your peril.

Frank Berlin works for County Health and he informs Carrie that she has stage 1 syphilis. Nothing to worry about since it’s treatable, but Frank will need a list of everyone she’s had sexual intercourse with in the last four months. Carrie’s response is, “Oh wow.”

Next we’re introduced to Laura Hyatt (Cloris Leachman), a career woman who works for a publisher of children’s books. She’s happily married to Sam Hyatt (James Olson) who works in an office building. Or maybe he builds office buildings. I think there was a scene with him at a construction site. Really this movie devoured most of my soul and much of my memory. Sam and Laura are expecting their first child, but unbeknownst to Sam, he has syphilis. He gets a visit from Frank Berlin after Carrie told him that he was one of the men she had a one-night stand with.

Frank tells Sam that if he has syphilis, he’ll have to inform Laura. Sam says something to the effect of Laura having a fragile mind and not being able to handle the stress of such information.

Uh huh.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering if Carrie was under the legal age of consent.

So Sam finds out he has syphilis. He tells Laura that she might have contracted syphilis. Laura gets tested and bingo, she has syphilis. And she’s pregnant!

What about the baby?

This is a bad scene!

But not as bad as the scene when Carrie tries getting some comfort from her mom by informing her that she has syphilis. Then Carrie’s mother keeps slapping her in the face. I know it was the 70s, but dear readers I can’t take the drama!

While Laura initially recoiled at the news that Sam gave her syphilis, it turns out that she’s the one who gave syphilis to Sam.

Turns out she had an affair with her boss.

Anyway, don’t worry. The baby is going to be fine.

Sigh.

Don’t let Someone I Touched ever touch you, take it from your Curator of Schlock.

Oh, look at that. It turns out Steven Spielberg’s Duel was an ABC Movie of the Week. I could have been watching Duel!

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I’m going to cry now.


Jeffrey Shuster 1

Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.