[box cover]

Murphy's Romance

There's plenty of sweetness to be found in Murphy's Romance, Martin Ritt's charming 1985 romantic comedy about two lonely adults who find love lurking right under their noses. Emma Moriarty (Sally Field) is a divorced mother seeking a new life in the picturesque small town of Eunice, Ariz., with her son (Corey Haim). Emma — a horse trainer who dreams of running her own ranch — soon strikes up a friendship with the eccentric Murphy Jones (James Garner, who received an Oscar nomination for his fine work here). However, just as romance seems destined, Emma's slimy ex-husband Bobby Jack (Brian Kerwin) reappears in her life, determined to reconcile with the woman and son he walked out on once before. This film isn't likely to "wow" anyone with its originality or execution — and the title effectively removes any suspense over which suitor will emerge the victor in the battle for Emma's affections — but the story and performances are amiable enough that such petty criticisms hardly matter. Murphy's Romance is presented in an acceptable anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) transfer (with a pan-and-scan version on the flip side), but the colors seem a tad muted; it appears that little or no color-correction was done for this VD release. Still, the image is light years ahead of the VHS edition. A good renter. Theatrical trailer, keep case.

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