TV TUESDAYS: Sybil (rare 16mm screening!)

Rare 16mm print! Sally Field crawls the walls in this monumental TV miniseries paean to the nuthouse blues. Winner of a 1977 Emmy for her role as thirteen split personalities trapped inside a single mousy graduate student, Field is fantastic as she navigates between such disparate selves as a prim ‘n proper snooty girl, a suicidal freak preaching the end of the world, and even a regressed infant! As if on the verge of shattering into a hundred thousand pieces at any moment, Field’s white-knuckle, center-stage role switching is equally underplayed and overplayed at turns on a dime, leaving the viewer in constant steamy anticipation of what might creep around the corner next. And, from the whole shebang’s very first frames, director Daniel Petrie’s deliberate and wonderfully discordant notes — including some awesomely unnerving childhood flashbacks — will raise your shackles and keep you hooked throughout Sybil’s compulsively watchable three-hour running time. Co-starring Brad Davis (Midnight Express) as Field’s all-smiles, Godspell-reject boyfriend, this boob tube classic is a real ripper.
Dir. Daniel Petrie, 1976, 16mm, 187 min.

Watch Cinefamily’s original trailer for “Sybil”!