A young woman in colonial New Zealand (played by Jodie Foster, post-Taxi Driver pre-Oscars) flees an orphanage to find herself trapped in an arranged marriage to an older businessman (fellow US actor John Lithgow). Voyeurism, hypnotism and dodgy doctoring feature in the thriller from US director Michael Laughlin, from a screenplay by Jerzy Skolimowski. Mesmerized was made in NZ as an international co-production with RKO during the 80s tax break era. It was released in the US as My Letter to George in 1986. Laughlin also shot cult horror Dead Kids (1981) in NZ.
I don't like contemporary, eccentric, modern — call them what you will — movies. I believe in the rules for a genre picture. I like to improvise and put my own personal touches and twists to them so I can play the melodies a little differently. But I always stick to the ground rules.– Director Michael Laughlin, interviewed by Alan Jones for Starburst magazine, Issue 66, February 1984, p34