Retro Television Reviews: The Seduction of Gina (dir by Jerrold Freedman)

Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Sundays, I will be reviewing the made-for-television movies that used to be a primetime mainstay.  Today’s film is 1984’s The Seduction of Gina.  It  can be viewed on Tubi!

Gina (played by Valerie Bertinelli) is bored.

She’s a 20 year-old newlywed who spends her days going to college and her nights sitting in a tiny apartment and waiting for her husband, David (Fredric Lehne), to come home.  David is an intern at a hospital.  He works the nightshift and, as a result, he’s usually exhausted and not particularly communicative.  Unlike her husband, Gina comes from a wealthy family and she’s due to inherit a good deal of money as soon as she turns 21.  However, David stubbornly refuses to use any of Gina’s money to make either of their lives better.  He gets angry when Gina even mentions the possibility.  He’s prepared to spend the next ten years living in a crummy apartment and working terrible hours.  Once he establishes himself as a doctor, he says that he and Gina can start to think about starting a family.  Are you getting the feeling that David has control issues?  Because that’s definitely the feeling that I got from him.

Bored and frustrated, Gina turns to gambling.  Who can blame her?  Not only is it a way to make some money and bring some excitement into her life but it’s also something that she’s really good at!  She starts out just putting bets on horse races.  (The owner of a nearby bodega is also a bookie.)  She uses the money to buy a new television set, which David totally freaks out about.  Soon, Gina is sneaking off to Lake Tahoe.  While David works at the hospital, Gina hits the blackjack table and spins the roulette wheel.  She even attracts the eye of Keith Sindell (Michael Brandon), a handsome lawyer who loans her money and obviously has an interest in her that goes beyond card games.  Every morning, she jumps in her car and rushes back to San Francisco, arriving at her apartment before David gets home and lying to David about what she’s been doing all night.

It starts out well but this wouldn’t be a TV movie if there wasn’t a bit of drama.  Unfortunately, Gina’s luck starts to change and she soon finds herself in debt.  The owner of that bodega is a lot less nice when he’s demanding his money.  And Keith might be willing to cheat on his wife with her but he still expects her to pay back the money that he’s given her.  The world of gambling turns out to be harsh and unforgiving.  Gina is forced to find ways to get the money.  If that means lying to her husband, her father (played by Ed Lauter), and her accountant, so be it.  She might even have to — gasp! — get a job as a cocktail waitress!

It’s obvious from the start that Gina is going to get into trouble, or at least it’s obvious to everyone but Gina.  And really, isn’t that the way life is sometimes?  Usually, the only person who can’t see the walls closing in is the person who is about to get crushed.  The Seduction of Gina is melodramatic and predictable but Valerie Bertinelli is likable in the role of Gina and the scenes in casino are enjoyably gaudy and a little bit sordid.  It’s an entertaining movie, a Lifetime film that came out before Lifetime.  The film’s message is not to gamble but The Seduction of Gina makes winning look like so much fun that it probably inspired more people to hit the casinos than to stay at home and balance the checkbook.  In the classic DeMille fashion, this film offers both sin and a hint of salvation but it understands that sin is more entertaining to watch.

One response to “Retro Television Reviews: The Seduction of Gina (dir by Jerrold Freedman)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 10/31/22 — 11/6/22 | Through the Shattered Lens

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.