I remember seeing this as a kid, and how much it resonated with me at the time. It is a tragic story, to be sure, and this movie is definitely one of those tearjerkers that plays on your emotions to get the point across. The music swells in just the right places--at all the perfect pivotal moments--thus pushing all the right emotional buttons to great effect. It's all very obvious, and undoubtedly designed to wrench every tear from your heart as the story unfolds. That's why it was the blockbuster hit that it was back in the day. Still...it is very effectively done, and beautifully acted by everyone in the cast--Marilyn Hassett in particular. Yes, it could have been more subtly rendered, but, still, it really does the job well if you can abide such sappiness. I sat through it again tonight, with a more astute eye for its interpretation of the story, and still felt that proverbial lump in my throat over and over, once again, even with the benefit of hindsight and clarity that age sometimes brings to one's esthetic.
I would still recommend this to anyone with a soft heart, and the capacity for imagining what could have been, under different circumstances. The Olivia Newton-John song, "Richard's Window"--a reference to the late Dick Buek--at the end of the movie--is the proverbial nail in the coffin. Watch it and weep. Is the emotion one feels for this tragic character who rises from the ashes any less meaningful in spite of all of the intended shmaltz? In my estimation, no. Sometimes this kind of movie is just a balm for the soul. It was like visiting an old friend seeing it again last night. I had some reservations about purchasing the On Demand dvr offered here, but aside from two hiccups in the movie toward the end, it played beautifully on my 31" television--in letterbox, as it should be seen.