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"One Special Night"

Julie Andrews and James Garner sparkle again.


Hanky-panky between Mary Poppins and Jim Rockford will seem unlikely only to those of you with short memories. It happens roughly every eighteen years. In 1964, Julie Andrews and James Garner co-starred in The Americanization of Emily. In 1982, they would do it again in Victor/Victoria. And just in time for the millennium, they're back once more in One Special Night (Sunday, November 28; 9 to 11 p.m.; CBS), a trifle slower and more than a trifle thicker, but still game. Skip this at your own peril. Not for nothing do they play some Ella Fitzgerald.

So Julie is a pediatric cardiologist who likes to visit the hospital and sit in the room where her husband died several years before. So James runs a construction business and has been spending a lot of time in the same hospital, where his fast-fading wife has gone crazy from three heart attacks and Alzheimer's. So one night before Thanksgiving, in the middle of a blizzard, Julie offers him a ride in a sports car that promptly finds a snowdrift, after which they spend a talkative night in an abandoned cabin and then miss connections the following Sunday for a breakfast of chocolate-chip pancakes. But by the time Christmas Eve rolls around . . .

I omit Patricia Charbonneau and Stacy Grant, who play Jim's loving daughters, as well as a subplot involving an unfaithful husband, except to say that Julie, as Jim suggests, will end up delivering the special child she couldn't have. So, too, do Nancy Silvers and Roger Young deliver, as screenwriter and director. They get us to the clinch we need. And if there isn't a tear in our eye when we finally arrive, we should probably give up on ourselves.


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