|Index||3 reviews in total|
Rita Moreno makes the last of three appearances on The Rockford Files
as the series slowly winds down. She was memorable in each one of them
as Rita Capkovic the prostitute who finally decides she's had enough
and who was Dennis Becker's snitch on the street.
She's full of hope with a new certificate from a beauty school, but gets a rude awakening when a posh Beverly Hills salon turns her down and not too gracefully. She should have taken Rocky's offer to set her up with a job in a salon in Santa Monica.
But that's nothing to the rude awakening she gets from Jerry Douglas her former pimp who won't let her leave the life. After that she seeks help from James Garner.
This is one of the more serious Rockford episodes, lot of pathos but damn few laughs of the cynical variety. Even more fascinating Stuart Margolin actually turns out to be a hero of sorts, though Angel will do the hero thing in his own fashion.
Douglas is a mean psychotic sort, but the attachment of Rita to Garner is quite touching. She doesn't realize she's transferring dependencies in her dealings with him, though everyone can see it, but Rockford.
Rita Capkovic is something special and Rita Moreno more so.
This is one of the last remaining episodes of this great series, and overall, I did enjoy it, although it wasn't as solid as it could have been. Rita Moreno makes her last appearance on the show as Rita, a former prostitute who's smitten with Jim, and once again she needs his help as her former pimp named Al roughs her up pretty bad when she decides to go straight. There's a real touching scene between Jim and Rita right after she gets beaten, and both give fine acting performances, especially Moreno, as he's holding her in the trailer. The story revolves around Rita trying to get a job in a beauty salon after graduating from a beauty school, but is having trouble finding takers; Al is dead set against this and still considers her his property. Rockford finds where Al is and that he's currently working out of a hotel lobby, and Angel goes undercover as a businessman looking for a little companionship, as Al sets him up with Rita; soon after, he and Rockford both get pistol whipped by Al in the room, and then Angel hits him with a chair, then Al accidentally shoots Rita in the shoulder and then the scene basically ends. I expected Rockford to lay a beating on this guy, especially the way Al treated Rita, but all we're left is to assume that Al got arrested shortly after, and that was a bit of a disappointment. It almost seems as if the episode was rushed to the conclusion, perhaps because the series was ending soon, but that was my biggest problem here. I still would recommend this episode to any Rockford fan, but the ending may leave you wanting more. There are more aspects of this particular show worth mentioning, especially several nice scenes with Rocky, many shots of the trailer on beautiful sunny days, another nice shot of Jim and Rocky getting ready to fish, a dinner party hosted by Dennis(donning both Yankees and Giants hats)and Peggy, and an excellent final shot of Jim and Rita walking on the beach on a beautiful day.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I freely admit that I do not care for the Rita Capkovic character, who
was OK in her first, maybe second episode, but has kind of worn out her
welcome here. This story had potential - but it needed to also really
be about Jim, and not just about Rita, a one-dimensional character if
there ever was one. The story is basically, "Rita falls for Jim, who
doesn't feel the same way." Yet, it's perfectly believable in theory
for this story to happen, because Jim DOES have feelings for her which
are obviously complicated by his general attraction to sad-sack,
underdog characters (why on earth does he remain friends with Angel?
That's why.) The scene where Jim finds Rita in the parking lot and
brings her back to his trailer is played in a very oddly intimate
manner, just on the edge IMHO of showing how Jim is actually attracted
to Rita for all the wrong reasons (thus giving her the wrong idea).
Which would be fascinating, except the script drops any and all
pretense of exploring why Jim is so friendly to Rita in the first
place: he just can't help feeling soft, maybe TOO soft, for mixed-up
Perhaps I am applying 21st century "serious TV drama" reasoning to what is, essentially, an easygoing show that doesn't take character exploration too seriously. But, I still think this episode needed to be far better written, it's too much about Rita (who is not that interesting a character). The scene on the beach at the end is honest and nice, but a shame the episode itself was just a bore and even a little cringeworthy (Rita throwing herself at Jim, Jim not noticing? Or in denial? Really?)
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