There's a surprising lack of bars in the CBS Sunday-feature Martha Behind Bars. Not only in the fact that Martha's prison physically does not, in fact, have bars, but moreso that the vast majority of the movie occurs when Martha is outside of prison -- to be more specific, in a 2 hour movie including commercials, it takes just over an hour before she ever even drives to the jail. (When she finally does get there, they strip search her, real knee slapping stuff!!) Not that this is a problem, since in all reality, a movie about Martha's prison life would be almost entirely inaccurate--I mean, how can one provide a reasonable source?--On one hand, there's Martha who says it was one of the best experiences of her life, (granted, her stocks tripled while she was in jail), and on the other a fellow inmate, as a source, who according to the movie was quite manipulated by the Domestic Diva. All-in-all, perhaps the title selection was a bit sketchy, but it made me watch it!
Cybil Shepard reprises her role as the stiff-upper-lip, which is sometimes quite frightening. There is a scene near the beginning in which Martha is being interviewed by a reporter, and she recounts a story about her mansion, and literally, it's like they dubbed in MS's real voice. Spooky. [img]http://www.freewebs.com/taylorcolemiller1/marthabehindbars1.jpg[/img] Another surprising addition to this cast is Gale Harold (WHO!?) *ahem* Brian Kinney. Funnily enough, while his role as Peter Beconovic, Martha's straight? stockbroker, may seem quite the stretch--they may as well just call him Brian Kinney. Ambiguously gay secretary, massage parlor, homoeroticism much?! Guffaw!, it's good, ol' Brian Kinney.
When Martha is finally in jail, then begins the entertainment!--dirty shower floors, annoying cellmates, having to make her own food from nuts and berries she scavanged from the grounds...etc. Martha even becomes the leader of a Christmas Decorating group, and they get second place!
This movie is an example of a CBS movie gone right. It was deliciously cheesy in all the right ways, and when I found out that my inital recording of the show had only caught half (for some reason CBS does this weird thing where they start their feature films late?) I was DYING to know how Martha would handle the big house--no pun intended! (On a side note to CBS, for all future Martha sequels, you've got at least one viewer, but dangit, start it at the time you say you're going to!)
Okay, down to the dirty stuff: So why the hell, DID Martha have to go behind bars...I mean glass doors, in the first place? This movie does an excellent job of answering that question. Here's how it works:
Three people involved, Sam Waksall (CEO of Imclone, a company that makes medicine), Peter Beconovic (A stockbroker for Merrill Lynch, used to work with Sam, and went to school with Alexis, Martha's daughter), and Martha. All three have stock in a new drug called Erbitrux. One day, Sam decides to tell Peter that he has inside info that Eribtrux isn't going to be approved by the FDA--so it's going to be a big flop, and they're all going to lose their money! AHH! Even before anything happens, the stock-rate for Erbitrux had dropped, so Sam sells his shares, and Peter sells his shares. Then Peter, who is getting a massage somewhere, calls his secretary Doug Faneuil (who I think is gay and tells him to call Martha and suggest that perhaps she also sell her shares, since already the stock has gone down and Sam said the FDA was going to NIX Eribtrux. So Martha, who is on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, says that Doug can go ahead and sell her shares. She never talks to Peter, only his secretary, and the movie makes a big deal of how the secretary tells Martha that Peter is "in a meeting" and Martha continually wishes to speak with him, but he won't speak with her. Anyway, Martha sold her shares.
Maybe a week? later, investigators start asking questions--and Sam is arrested. UH OH! Peter and Martha start to get worried about being convicted of insider trading. So they come up with a lie that says Martha had told Peter a long time ago to sell her Imclone stock, if it ever fell below $60 a share. Well, it did.
So, that's what she told the court, when they began investigating her, that she had had that agreement with Peter, and that on that particular day she sold her stocks, she TALKED to Peter, and he told her to sell. That's two lies, and that's why Martha went to jail. Because she never had a prior arrangement, and because she talked to his secretary instead of Peter. Interesting, huh?
She was charged with four crimes: 2 counts of lying to federal investigators, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. The court found her guilty on all charges, and her judge, an independent woman, not unlike Martha, gave her the minimum sentence 5 months prison, 5 months house arrest. To this day, she maintains her innocence.
Ironically, Erbitrux was approved by the FDA, quite the slap in the face, don't you think!? Sam's jail sentence is 7 years, and Peter also served 5 months.moreless