Directed by Robert Markowitz, “Children of the Night” is not, as you might suspect a film about wolves and Bela Lugosi but is instead a mid eighties TV movie starring
as a sociologist, trying to deal with the lives of teenaged prostitutes on the street as the subject matter for her big dissertation. However, she starts becoming emotionally involved with their plight and what started as an observational task becomes much more of her lie as she begins to provide a refuge in her own home for some of the unfortunate girls. Many of them react well to this and start themselves on a different path but the focus of the film shifts onto one of Quinlan’s Character’s more difficult charges, Valerie.
Quinlan plays Lois Lee, the originator of the story which is based upon her real life experiences as a sociologist and if her experiences with Valerie as portrayed in the film are anything like accurate, then she should be given some sort o award for extreme patience as well. Valerie is a whinging brat , full of her own misguided opinions and incredibly stubborn, refusing to listen to Lois and having to be rescued from the streets again and again. Personally, I’d have given up and it’s a testament to the original Lois that she did not.
It’s also a testament to Quinlan’s acting ability that she manages to never come across as too much of a “goody two shoes” in the movie, despite being saddled with some awful moralistic dialogue that wouldn’t seem out of place in an episode of “Star Trek”. However the fact that the film was adapted from a real life story helps to sustain these moments of doggerel based pretension and the cast are all experienced and sensitive enough to make the most of their roles, coming over as largely believable and certainly as interesting characters.
With most of the film set at night, there is good opportunity for the director of photography to make great use of half light and shadows, which he uses to tremendous dramatic effect, though the film is never over showy, allowing the true drama to dominate the screen above the cinematography. It’s comparatively low budget TV movie nature is apparent sometimes but never in a way that distracts from the storyline which is to the point, dramatic and polished. Worth watching if nothing else for Quinlan who is always excellent.
Director: Robert Markowitz
Cast: Kathleen Quinlan,Mario Van Peebles,Nicholas Campbell