A Promise to Keep China Beach has always evinced a certain fondness for melodrama, A Promise to Keep , headed up by China 's producer-director, John Sacret Young, and… A Promise to Keep China Beach has always evinced a certain fondness for melodrama, A Promise to Keep , headed up by China 's producer-director, John Sacret Young, and… 1990-10-01 Drama TV Movie Dana Delany Adam Arkin David Seaman William Russ NBC
TV Review

A Promise to Keep (1990)

EW's GRADE
C

Details Start Date: Oct 01, 1990; Genres: Drama, TV Movie; With: Dana Delany; Network: NBC

China Beach has always evinced a certain fondness for melodrama, A Promise to Keep, headed up by China's producer-director, John Sacret Young, and star, Dana Delany, positively wallows in it. The premise is a heartbreaker: Delany's sister-in-law (Mimi Kennedy) dies of cancer just days after the woman's husband was killed in a train accident. The couple's four children are then adopted by Delany and her husband, played by William Russ (Wiseguy, Capital News).

You can imagine the problems that arise: The young orphans are sad and angry and confused and quarrelsome; they fight with Delany's and Russ' three children, and let off steam with dangerous pranks like blowing up neighborhood mailboxes. The newly bursting household becomes a place of great tension. The new arrivals also put a strain on Delany's marriage. It's merciful that Delany and Russ are so good — so understated and yet adept at conveying all their conflicting emotions about this situation — because the script is solemn, obvious (Russ to Delany: ''I realized that when we took those kids in, our life couldn't be the same…You and the kids — that's my life''), and resolutely drippy. C

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Originally posted Sep 28, 1990 Published in issue #33 Sep 28, 1990 Order article reprints
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