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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Even though its a pleasure seeing Lauren Bacall back in action in a
detective film, stretching this story into a two parter killed the pace
of both these episodes. It would have made a much better story if
they'd managed to keep it to one.
Bacall puts in fine performance though, tough, sassy and sexy in a hard boiled way. The scene where she joins Garner in conning some information out of a florist is reminiscent of one of her old scenes with Bogie. Even though she's four years older than Garner (and sorry to say, looks it) they still have a lot of chemistry together.
As an added bonus, Jim's hapless bodyguard friend Charlie Mantel ("Maverick" veteran Leo Gordon) apparently has recovered from the last time Rockford hired him to guard his blind psychiatrist girlfriend--just in time to get beat up and sent back to the hospital again. It's a wonderful running joke that only devoted fans of the series would even pick up.
Picking up where the first part left off, the man who tried to kill
Lauren Bacall is killed himself falling from a terrace quite
accidentally. Accident it may be, but it doesn't stop Lt.Chapman from
trying to pin a homicide on Jim Rockford. The influence of society lady
and princess Dana Wynter frustrates him no end.
Through some Rockford type conning aided and abetted by Lauren Bacall, Garner learns the deceased was a connected guy to mobster Carmine Caridi. Garner gets a mob like warning, but later in he and Bacall find Caridi dead while shadowing him. In fact they see him die quite violently from a poison.
In the end we find out just who and why someone wants Lauren Bacall dead. It is a motive that is incredibly bizarre, but think about the famous Raymond Chandler novel Farewell My Lovely and why someone wants poor dumb Moose Malloy dead. Something along the same lines.
More than most you want to see Lauren Bacall come back as for more episodes. She and Wynter make some more indelible characters that The Rockford Files gave for its viewers.
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