White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd

”I know this is Hollywood, but I still happen to find investigating the murder of any human being worth as much time and money as it takes.” So says an investigator for the Los Angeles district attorney in this TV movie about the 1935 death of real-life actress Thelma Todd (Loni Anderson). It’s a silly, portentous line in a silly, portentous movie.

White Hot grafts a hard-boiled-detective narrative onto the usual rise-and-fall-of-a-star plot, as the investigator (Pump Up the Volume‘s Scott Paulin) tries to prove that Todd’s death was the murder he suspects, not a suicide as officially ruled. In short blond hair and extremely tight dresses, Anderson breezes through the film as if she’d really rather not be around. This has the effect of making her seem the most intelligent and likable character in the movie. D

White Hot: The Mysterious Murder of Thelma Todd
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