One of My Wives is Missing tells the convoluted tale of Daniel and Elizabeth Corban, rich motherfuckers from Detroit, who are on their honeymoon in some fancy unpronounceable town in upstate New York when they have a fight and she storms off all butthurt and disappears. Daniel calls the cops, but they don’t take him seriously. Of course, they don’t take much of anything seriously, because there are only two cops in the town: some guy who doesn’t have enough sense to push the button that operates a walkie-talkie, and Jack Klugman.
Anyway, just as Klugman is starting to think Daniel Corban is nuts, a priest walks into the vacation house and announces that Elizabeth has sought his counsel and wants to come home. She comes swanning through the door all sexy and gravely voiced and Klugman’s eyes pop out of his head like that cartoon wolf from the 40s. Except that Daniel insists it’s not the real Elizabeth, but an impostor after her family money. When a nice old lady from the local charity, a hotel desk clerk, and a psychiatrist all confirm that it IS the real Elizabeth who has come back, then the detective is sure that Corban is nuts.
I’m nuts too, after watching One of My Wives is Missing. If you like suspense, this is the TV film for you, but I can’t stand suspense. It stresses me out! I have been so pissed off all evening waiting for this film to be over, and of course my kid wanted 42 things while I watched so it took me 4 hours to finish a 90 minute movie. You know those people who HAVE to have spoilers? Those people are me. There was even a study done about this a couple of years ago, and I swear it confirmed what I knew, that spoilers ease stress for some people, but I’ll be damned if I can find a link right now. So although this movie was very well done, I was going crazy the whole time because I couldn’t tell how it was going to end, which is no doubt a great recommendation for all of you normal moviegoers. At least the end was really ridiculous and over the top TV movie implausible, so it wasn’t a total loss.
One of My Wives is Missing is a well-constructed thriller, highly recommended for fans of biting your nails, especially theater style nail biting as this was obviously adapted from a play. It is also worth noting, from a cultural standpoint, that the reason the Corbans fought and separated might have been fine in 1976, but would have generated no sympathy for him in modern times: she left because he told her she had to quit her job as a racecar driver! This choice of occupation as a plot point tickles me for some reason. Remade at least once with Margot Kidder, Mike Farrell, and Elliot Gould as Vanishing Act.