copyright 2005 by Pat Powers
As I've noted in other essays, the Lifetime Channel, and it's associated Lifetime Movie Network channel (hereafter referred to in the aggregate as simply "Lifetime") have been great sources of damsel in distress (DiD) scenes.
Whenever a man has been in the public eye as having Done A Woman Wrong, Lifetime has been right there to focus on his horribleness and her innocence. While it's true that many Lifetime movies deal with women who do bad things, or women who get in bad situations that aren't caused by men, the Bad Man/Good Woman meme has shown up often enough on Lifetime that even those who don't care for DiD scenes call Lifetime the Victim Network.
And yet there are some stories that are just BEGGING to be made into Lifetime movies, but which the Powers That Be have inexplicably missed. What's more, they're stories which we would DEARLY LOVE to see in production. They include:
This four and a half hankie weeper has it all -- forbidden romance, political intrigue and Women in Prison pathos. Susan MacDougal, an innocent if not particularly financially scrupulous young woman, takes a ride to the top when she and her husband hook up with a rising young couple, the Clintons of Little Rock. Did Bill Clinton's charisma overcome a young, impressionable, sexy Susan? She'll never tell, even when her relationship with Clinton becomes a political item, and she finds herself in the depraved clutches of the American Torquemada, Ken Starr. Paraded about before the media in heavy chains, forced to wear chains even in her cell, Susan refuses to crack and eventually becomes a source of shame and embarrassment, not to Clinton, but to the vile men who persecute her, earning her the title "Joan of Arkansas."
A beautiful young woman meets a mysterious and exciting man online. She is intrigued and thrilled by him -- he seems to be a wealthy and powerful man, and he has great powers of persuasion. She accepts his invitation to visit him, and is sent plane tickets to his city. A limousine picks her up and carries her to his huge mansion, where she discovers that her new employer is a bondage master, and if she's willing to accept the huge amounts of money he's willing to give her, she will become his wiling sex slave. She does, participating in many exciting, kinky bondage games with the other young, female "personal assistants" he has hired. They live in their own fantasy world in the mansion of bondage games. She secretly wants to leave the mansion and try to lead a normal life, but she can't, she's too overwhelmed by the life she is leading.
This really happened. The financier in question is one Marty Frankel, a Toronto financier who bilked unwitting investors out of billions. When the police raided his mansion, they found a number of leggy "personal assistants" many of whom said they initially encountered Frankel on the Internet and subsequently came into his employ to play sex and bondage games. Some of them were known to have traveled with him when he went on the run to Europe, presumably with some of those ill-gotten millions in hand. What a story of Forbidden Love and the naive young girl gone wrong!
The Judge was a strong man, and a fair man, devoting his considerable powers of intellect and his strong character to the law. But in his private chambers, he became another man, and she became another woman -- his personal slavegirl whom he tied and gagged while in the privacy of his chambers. While they were proper and formal in court, in his private chambers she writhed in his ropes while he timed her struggles.
But then came the fateful day when she found him TYING UP ANOTHER WOMAN!!! His WIFE!!! And she could not stand the thought that the special thing they had between them was not theirs alone, and so she filed suit against him, resulting in the trial of the century.
The Judge in this case is Judge Robert Hollman of Texas who was forced to resign from the bench because a female employee known only as "AH" alleged that he was forcing her to engage in tie-up games as a condition of employment. I don't have any idea of the merits of the lawsuit, it's one of those things that could have any number of explanations. But it certainly SINGS OUT for someone to explain it in a movie of the week, as do all of these stories.
The real question is, why hasn't anyone made any of these Grade A real-life stories into movies?