In 1980, Wisconsin biochemistry student-turned-prostitute Barbara Hoffman became the first defendant in U.S. history to have their murder trial televised to the nation. Charged with killing her fiancé, Gerald Davies, as well as former client Harry Berge, Jr. (both men died of cyanide poisoning), Hoffman would be found guilty of the latter crime while being acquitted of Davies’ murder. She is currently serving a life sentence and no longer applies for parole.
Winter of Frozen Dreams – a 2009 independent crime drama based on Kurl Harter’s book of the same name – documents the Hoffman story beginning with the Christmas Day 1977 confession of Davies, who admitted to authorities that he and his fiancée had disposed of Berge’s body the previous night. The film follows the narrative of Hoffman manipulating both men – each whom had met the pretty masseuse at Jan’s Health Studio in Madison – convincing them to sign over their property and insurance policies before both would end up dead.
Thora Birch delivers a stoic performance in her starring role as the cool and intelligent Hoffman, along with a strong supporting cast including Brendan Sexton III (Davies) and Keith Carradine (Detective Lulling) of Dexter fame.
The Winter of Frozen Dreams DVD release includes extras such as a behind the scenes featurette and an interview with Carradine discussing his role as Lulling.
(Special thanks to Jenny Manocchio of Monterey Media)