The Last Ferry Home (1992)
Character Name: Bill Turner
Reviewed by Joyce Kavitsky (Kavitsky1@verizon.net)
Christopher Reeve stars in this short television drama written by Ralph Lombreglia about a troubled architect who returns to his family home on Martha's Vineyard. The film was part of a series of 47 minute short films done for Family Works that premiered on January 6, 1992, exactly one year after Bump In The Night premiered on CBS. For Reeve, this film was the first of many projects to come out for him in 1992. It also includes the talents of Roxanne Hart (Chicago Hope) and Billy L. Sullivan (Couples).
The film centers around Bill Turner (Reeve), a husband and father who is fustrated by the increasing demands of his job as a Boston architect. He is not fully connecting with his wife, Sally (Hart), and his teenage son, Danny (Sullivan). His aging father is seriously ill. Bill has reached a crossroads in life where a decision must be made whether to sell his family's farm to pay his father's hospital bill or to keep it and run it himself. It is a decision that will change his family forever.
My favorite parts of this short film are when Reeve as Bill is with the boy who plays his son. One funny father and son scene is the basketball scene when Danny, who is having the creation of the sport explained to him by his father who says that peach baskets were first used as basketball hoops, asks what they used as a basketball and Bill replies simply "A pumpkin" then backs up to his car and pulls out a real basketball for he and his son to shoot hoops with and play around. Another favorite scene of mine is when Danny is having a hard time getting the engine to catch on a tractor in a field of the farm. Bill says annoyed, "Stop foolin' around" when he can't get it started then when he too can't get it started the engine makes the same noise for him as it did for Danny. My other favorite scene is when Danny is stuck in a big tree holding on for dear life when the ladder he used to climb on tips over and falls to the ground. This scene reminds me of Superman when the cat is stuck in the tree and Superman safely brings it down. This time Bill abruptly ends a climatic car phone conversation with his boss to run over and put the ladder back in place to help his son safely swing himself back to the ladder and climb down.
The film was made in 1991 on location at Woods Hole in Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority and Martha's Vineyard Hospital. The film's music was by Ray Loring. It was produced by Lisa Schmid and Fred Barzyk. The film could be considered rare since it has never been released on home video. The drama dealt with a family that is faced with stressful decisions. Ironically, one of the causes of the stress involved insurance, something Reeve now feels passionate about. The introduction before this film said, "In the 1990s there is a renewed focus on home and old fashioned traditions. Most family experts agree that while people do not want to live in the past, they are seeking enduring values and updating traditions." A real life childhood picture of Reeve and his brother Benjamin was also shown in the film. In a public service announcement at the end of the film, Reeve said on behalf of Family Works: "Stressful decisions. The kind that families have to make everyday in The Last Ferry Home. If your family could use some help with stress or the decisions call Family Service America at 1-(800)-221-2681."
Christopher Reeve (Bill Turner)
Josef Sommer (Sam Turner)
Roxanne Hart (Sally Turner)
Lois Smith (Anne Turner)
Billy L. Sullivan (Danny Turner)
Mako (Ben Chang)
Chris Wilder (Howie Saunders)
Claire Winston (Receptionist)
Jesse Moore (Doctor)
Laura Malo (Louise Johnson)
John Fidre (Farm Worker)
Charles Greenaway (Boy)
Everett Poole (Himself)
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