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Robert Duvall stars as an ex-con named Barney Sonners in this
installment of "The Naked City". Sonners is trying to get his life
together. He's got a wife and kid and loves them. However, he's been
approached to help a group of hoods rob his place of business. He's no
dummy and contacts the cops--who capture the gang and put an end to
their plans. The problem now is that the gang knows who turned them in
and until they are incarcerated for good, Barney is nervous. It gets
even worse when he and his wife start getting threatening phone calls.
And, worse still when someone tries to kill his kid. Will Barney live
to testify against these creeps? And, just as important, who is making
these phone calls?
This is a particularly good show. Duvall's acting is quite nice and he makes for a very sympathetic character. Not action-packed, that's for sure but a nice portrait of a scared man who has finally had enough.
***SPOILERS*** Being in debt to the mob bartender Barney Sonners,
Robery Duvall,is given an offer that he can't refuse by gangster
Charley Breggs, Sandy Baron, to be the inside man at his place of work
Slate's Place in a robbery he and his boys are planning to pull off.
Reporting Breggs planned robbery to the police the cops arrest him and
his gang before they could rob the place. But with Breggs boss toy
manufacture Link Toland, Alfred Ryder, providing him with high priced
New York shyster lawyer Harold Lowenson, Murray Matheson, he and his
boys are out on the street on bail in less then 24 hours. Which isn't
good new for Barney and his wife Penny, Barbara Loden, and the couple's
new born child!
It's now up to Barney to stay alive and testify against Breggs before he and his gang get to both him and is wife and children. While doing that Braney has to come up with the rent money to pay his landlord before he and his family are thrown out on the street. The police do give Barney 24 hour around the clock police protection but for some strange or better yet stupid reason don't pay his rent which is a lot cheaper and in fact would do more to protect him, besides his family members, so he can stay alive long enough to testify!
**SPOILERS*** It these very strange and threatening phone calls that really starts to get under Barney's nerves and has his wife Penny and the kids check out to her mom's place in the suburbs leaving him all on his own. It's almost by accident that Barney finds out who's making the threatening phone calls and he's non other then Link Toland who was supposed to have lost his voice in a car accident. After Barney disarmed the cop Det. Adam Flint,Paul Burke, who was protecting him he goes to not only see Toland but blow his brains out with it.
With the gun pointed to Toland's head Barney gets second thoughts of whacking the guy in knowing by doing that he's no better then he is. As well as ending up behind bars and leaving his wife and family out on their own without him being around to protect them. That while having to protect himself from the convicts in the lock-up, prison, who'll be out to ice or get him for being a rat fink against one of their own.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode tugs at my heart every time I watch it. We have an
ordinary guy, Barney Sonners, trying to do the right thing. Recruited
to help in a robbery, he goes to the police, he agrees to testify in
court even though he is being threatened by the perpetrators, and even
when those around him get too frightened to continue with him, he is
determined to do the right thing. This decent guy finds out that no
good deed goes unpunished.
Robert Duvall is the heart of this episode, with a natural, ordinary-guy persona that doesn't look like he's acting. He makes you care about this guy who works in a bar and loves his family and really doesn't have much else going for him. Watch him play with the baby and his son, or the glowing look in his eyes as he drinks in the last view of his wife, and you see the heartbreak. He and Adam Flint are well-matched as philosophers: Adam in his collegiate style, and Barney in ordinary words and simple courage. Great episode!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What a hot episode-- one of the best. The story is almost secondary. The sparks generated by Paul Burke and Robert Duvall are incredible. There was a scene in the bar where Jesse White is slicing the citrus fruit and we have Duvall behind the counter with Burke on the other side. Some of the looks exchanged were exciting. Then we had the scene with them in the car riding alongside the bus. Before Duvall decides to let his wife go, Burke is telling Duvall the contents of her goodbye letter. As he says things like 'tell him I love him,' he looks over at Duvall in the passenger seat and it's as if Burke is the one saying this first-person to Duvall. Then we have the night time scene where Duvall takes the gun while Burke is sleeping on the couch. Burke wakes up and that has to be the hottest, most sexually charged look back and forth between two men on an American television series I have ever seen. The exchange ends with Duvall leading Burke into the bedroom with the gun-- so erotic. I got the feeling that these men may have had sex away from the set. There was so much undeniable attraction going on and longing. Burke would have been the top and Duvall the bottom.
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