#169 Dorothy Stratten trilogy: Star 80 (1983)

Released two years after the tragic incident, Star 80 is clearly more refined and superior one of the two feature movie made about the story of Dorothy Stratten.

This time around the ground work is well made and both Mariel Hemingway and Eric Roberts portray the characters faithfully. Hemingway has that innocent small town girl look and feel to her and Roberts gets much deeper to the Snider’s persona of a small time crook with his sickly fixation to make it big.

Roberts’ stellar performance encapsulates Snider not only as an unlikeable and possessive creep, but also as a man struggling with his sense or inferiority and there are many scenes you can’t help but to feel sorry for him, even knowing what he did in the end.

The tragic story of Dorothy Stratten, the playmate and a star on the rise deserved to be told the right way – and Star 80 does just that

#168 Dorothy Stratten trilogy: Death of a Centerfold (1981)

Dorothy Stratten was a waitress from a small town seduced by a small time hustler called Paul Snider who soon after starting dating started booking her some petty appearance deals. Snider then persuaded Dorothy to pose in nude photos and she was picked up by Playboy to be their centerfold and to his shock, the possessive and manipulative Snider soon found Dorothy, his sure meal ticket to the stars, drifting away from his clutches.

When the separation was finally confirmed, Snider invited Stratten to his home, shot her and then committed a suicide; she was only twenty at the time.

A rising star, Stratten’s death was a huge news story in the early 80s and spawned two movies depicting the tragedy.

First one of these is Death of a Centerfold, a TV-movie rushed out and released the same year. The production quality is fine for a TV-movie, but the story takes far too many liberties with the subject, changing names of the people involved and the actual events that took place. Both lead roles are strong, fine actors, but clearly miscasts for the movie.

It’s not entirely a lemon, but the movie could’ve been a lot better had they waited some more and done their home work on the subject before commencing filming.

A soap-opera take on the life of Dorothy Stratten pays no homage to the people involved and was clearly rushed out to cash quickly on the tragedy