|Index||5 reviews in total|
This is a solid Kraft entry featuring Clint Walker playing a man who
drives up a mountain, has his car break down, dumps it off the road,
walks a mile or so up to a tiny village, where he buys supplies, then
hikes on even higher to small cabin, where he doesn't want to be
disturbed. Walker is extremely unfriendly, though not hostile, shows no
desire to engage in small talk with his new neighbors; and he refuses
to divulge his reason for moving to his new home or what it is he plans
to do up there.
The locals are understandably suspicious of this stranger in town and begin to gossip and speculate about his reasons for being there. They even contact the local police so as to gain some information on him. As the story develops, this is one dysfunctional community. The general store owner exerts a strange control over his shy, insecure daughter, who's afraid to leave home and is apparently friendless. A local man, played by a young Robert Duvall, is interested in marrying her but she has a bad history with him going back to her teenage years. The minister acts as mediator, and on the side attempts to befriend the stranger up in the cabin and is told in no uncertain terms to leave the property.
Conflicts in this isolated community eventually involve the solitary newcomer who, as it turns out, is not such a bad fellow after all. He has, like the storekeeper's daughter, what we would now call issues, and as events unfold he bonds well with this young woman, who took a liking to him from the moment he arrived. The story is not particularly original, and I could see the resolution coming before the half-way point, as I suspect most seasoned viewers could. Yet generic as it is, it's a nicely developed episode, well acted by all. Clint Walker is highly effective as the quiet giant of a man who doesn't want to be disturbed. Mala Powers skillfully and sensitively portrays the young woman; while Jay C. Flippen, who looks ghastly here, like he's at death's door, is credible as her bully of a father.
I rate this episode as above average but not excellent. The writing is decent but far from brilliant, the directing, competent, the photography, outstanding. If this were a book I'd call it a good read; untaxing, satisfying, it accomplishes its modest goals nicely.
A stranger arrives in an old mining village, buys a lot of supplies, and heads for a closed mine, for which he has purchased the surrounding land. He is very private, and stirs up the locals by not saying much. The spinster daughter of the local store owner takes a shine to him, which leads to big trouble. An all-star cast including Clint Walker, Mala Powers, Jay C. Flippen and a young Robert Duvall makes this slightly creaky tale work just fine. Some of you will recognize George Chandler of "Lassie" fame as the local doctor. One might argue that this Kraft episode had some influence on 'First Blood," although the stranger here is not a military veteran.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Television director Alan Crossland, Jr.'s "Portrait of an Unknown Man"
qualifies as a first-rate but cookie-cutter mystery melodrama that
benefits from solid scripting, superb casting, and a general all around
brilliance that is rare. Clint Walker plays David Wolf, a tall,
tight-lipped, mountain of a man who prefers solitude over society.
Imagine Cheyenne without a six-shooter and a horse. Our hero does tote
a high-powered rifle. The first time we see him, Wolf is tooling along
in an ancient car that finally breaks down. Rather than have a tow
truck to haul it to a garage, Wolf removes anything of value and
tumbles it over the side of a mountain. No, the car doesn't explode,
but the plunge smashes it up horribly. I'd like to see somebody do this
in one of today's television shows. Imagine being on a hike yourself
and suddenly a late model car topples onto you. Whew! Anyway, Wolf
hitches up his backpack, grabs his rifle, and hikes away without a care
in the world. Clearly, Wolf is a man who can make it on his own with
much help. Later, in the program, we learn that the government ran
himself, his father, and his brother off their property in Montana.
Talk about social engineering! Wolf's brother entered the military, but
the military rejected Wolf. They couldn't find a shirt or shoes that
would fit me, he explains at one point.
Robert Guy Barrows conjures up a mysterious man like Wolf and sends him into a small town where people are meddlesome and crave gossip. Wolf's reticence about himself and his goals puzzles the citizens, especially a storekeeper, Hugh Ramsey (Bruce J. Flippen of "The Hellfighters"), and a local, Harvey Farnsworth (Robert Duval of "The Godfather") until they believe the worst about the man. Harvey finds it suspicious that Wolf pays for everything with $100 dollar bills. The citizens don't understand why he doesn't share his life's story with them. He phones Sheriff Willard (House Peters Jr. ) to find out if he is a fugitive from justice. Willard warns Harvey to leave well enough alone. Barrows develops the plot piecemeal, parceling out a little here and a little there just to whet our appetite. Since this is a 50-minute episode where everything must be tied up in a nice, neat knot, neither Crossland nor Barrows wear out their welcome. Again, the less that the townspeople know about David Wolf, the worst they think of him as their minds run rampant with curiosity. Curiosity to the point of Harvey sneaking up a lofty mountain to where Wolfe lives with several No Trespassing signs posted. Later, a friendly shepherd, Juan Vallejo (Rico Alaniz of "The Magnificent Seven") tries to take advantage of Wolfe because he is curious about the big fella, too. Wolfe makes it abundantly clear to Vallejo that he wants him to leave. Indeed, he fires his rifle twice at the sky before he convinces the Hispanic to vamos. At Hugh's store, Vallejo tells them that Wolf firing on him without provocation, but the local minister, Reverend Larsen (Ron Foster of "Cage of Evil") and Hugh's repressed adult daughter, Ellen Ramsey (Mala Powers of "Tammy and the Bachelor") discover that Vallejo has stretched the truth without taking in account the relevance of the No Trespassing signs. Hugh is on the verge of complaining to the sheriff when Vallejo decides not to complain.
While the townspeople wonder about Wolfe, a sordid little soap opera is being played out. Sneaky Hugh is up to something else. He wants to marry Ellen, but she wants nothing to do with him. This three-way relationship between father, daughter, and Harvey could have been the subject for a stand-alone movie. Ellen and Harvey have history, and Hugh dismisses that history. He wants her to marry Harvey. Harvey proves himself a real lout before the show concludes. Mind you, the payoff is no showstopper, but the suspense that builds up to it sizzles. "Portrait of an Unknown Man" is diamond in the rough, with Bruce J. Flippen taking top honors as a genuine S.O.B. of a father while Duval rivals him as a worthless, no-account cretin. Walker is subdued as usual but his presence is felt even when he is off-screen.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a bizarre episode of "Kraft Suspense Theatre" because it wasn't
suspenseful in the least! It wasn't exactly terrible but I kept
Clint Walker plays a stranger who wanders into a hick town in the middle of no where. He's not very talkative or friendly and soon this small town full of idiots begin imagining all sorts of things about him. When folks later approach him at his mine, there are lots of signs telling everyone to get lost and he is not hospitable- -and the idiots start imagining the worst. In the end, he turns out to be friendly and some guy shoots a woman for no apparent reason.
To me, this is like a mystery where the mystery is simply non- existent. You assume Walker's character doesn't like people--which is all there is to this very disappointing show. A bit of a waste of talent.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***SPOILERS*** Coming into town to buy some supply and a mule to fix up
his property that he had just persuaded big and strapping, without as
much as a gram of fat on him, David Wolfe, Clint Walker,is treated with
both fear and suspicion by the local townspeople. Shaking off the
uncalled for and intrusive remarks at him from the what seems like the
terrified local yokels Wolfe just goes on with his business in fixing
up his house high atop on the mountain that he now calls home.
It's later that Ellen Ramsey, Mala Powers, the daughter of the what seems like head man in town Hugh Ramsey, Jay C. Flippen, seems to take a shin for the big guy who's gentlemanly like manor towards her is something that Ellen, who we later find out is a man hater, never encountered before. This drives her wannabe boyfriend Harvey Farnsworth, Robert Duvall, batty since he's planning to, without her knowledge, marry Ellen. Ellen for her part want's really nothing to do with Harvey since when she was a little girl he, at age 14, tried to force himself on her. This has left Ellen a mental cripple when it comes to her having any kinds of relationships with members of the opposite sex.
Yet it's Ellen's father Hugh who at times, with his crazed and piercing blue eyes, looks like he's an escapee from the Pilgrim State Mental Institution whats her to marry Harvey since he's the only eligible man in town. As for big David Wolfe he's the kind of guy that just want's to live and let live but it's Ellen's strange attraction towards him that in the end drives him to do things that he'd rather not. Like take on the entire town of unstable and emotionally challenged, in not being able to mind their own business, mountain men in order to save Ellen from being forced to do what she's in fact not willing to: Marry the man the she hates like poison , with her pop's consent, Harvey Farnsworth!
Clint Walker who makes that other famous Clint spaghetti western and Dirty Harry star Clint Eastwood look like Mickey Rooney in comparison is playing here what he's in almost every movie and TV show he stars in: The epitome of the strong and silent type. Despite all the fear and animosity towards him no one in town would as much as dare to pick a fight with the big guy knowing that he can break them in two without as much as breaking into a sweat in him doing it. Wolfe in the end realizes that it's more trouble, for him as well as the townspeople, then it's worth in him staying there and he takes the first ride, the sheriff's car, out of town hoping against hope that the next place he chooses to make his home would be far more friendly and hospitable towards him.
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