|Index||4 reviews in total|
A Dr. Loveless episode...set at Christmas...directed by Mark ("On
Golden Pond" & "The Cowboys") Rydell? Sure sounds like it couldn't
miss. Unfortunately, all these promising elements were not quite in
proper alignment when it came time to make "The Night Of The Whirring
Death". Granting the up-until-then mute Voltaire a voice was pointless,
and only served to remove a layer of mystery from this character's
intimidating presence. The opening sequence in which a pile of money is
stolen from a Scrooge-like misanthrope takes way too long to set up,
Still, "...Whirring Death" does succeed in the action department with a well-staged fight between West and a group of bodyguards and the foiling of an assassination plot is quite exciting, too. Plus, you gotta' love the little wind-up time bombs.
Shoulda' been outstanding, but this one does at least have a few saving graces.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Night Of The Whirring Death' was the first 'Dr.Loveless' episode
not to be written by John Kneubuhl. His replacements are Jackson Gillis
and Leigh Chapman. Once again, the evil cherub and his giant henchman
'Voltaire' ( Richard Kiel ) have escaped from jail, and are up to no
good. The Treasury of California is almost bankrupt, and local
businesspeople, such as Scrooge-like money-lender 'Jeremiah Ratch' (
Norman Fell ), are approached to give financial help. Jim and Arte
visit his office at Christmas-time, finding a gang of children singing
Carols in the street. One hands Ratch a toy. But he is no ordinary
child - he is Dr.Loveless. The toy is far from ordinary either - it is
a bomb! Loveless steals the satchel containing five million dollars,
and Arte gives chase, only to be decked by Voltaire. In a foreshadowing
of the 1979 Bond movie 'Moonraker' ( in which Kiel played 'Jaws' ),
Voltaire speaks! It is also the last time we see the character.
An injured Jim is taken to the house of 'Priscilla' ( Pamela Austin ), an 'Angel Of Charity'. Loveless has made his new headquarters in a toy shop. To stop California ( which he believes he owns ) from getting back on its feet, he is using booby-trapped toys. The next target is model train buff 'John Crane' ( Val Avery )...
I do not know why but this episode is a let-down after the superb Kneubuhl-scripted instalments. Perhaps the main problem is a scene in which Arte poses as an Italian tenor while visiting a house of ill repute owned by 'Bessie Bowen' ( Barbara Nichols ). It is not particularly amusing and goes on forever. Great climax in the shop though, with Jim using a large toy wheel to prevent an assassination attempt.
Maybe it's just me but I found this entire episode just dreadful. From the laborious "Dickens-esque" opening that featured the future Mr. Roper in fake beard seemingly awaiting to go on stage to play Scrooge, to the sickening sweet Priscilla (volunteer social worker) whose father was a toymaker but has no clue as to what's going on even though she lives above the toy store. Voltaire, who has been mute to this point, suddenly can speak and Loveless doing his usual song and dance routine on a toy carousel, not to be outdone by Artemus who also decides to sing in this episode. It's never explained how Loveless and Voltaire can continuously break out of prison. I think this was the fourth time the did just that this season. Just bad.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While one of the weaker Loveless episodes, this one has plenty of
entertainment for West fans. Dr. Loveless is after California again but
this time he really gets into it. There is a long elaborate opening
sequence where there are children & Loveless planting a bomb to try &
kill a scrooge like miser who is trying to give West money for relay to
the State of California which is in default.
There is another elaborate sequence involving toy trains. In a twist, Loveless with Voltaire & a pretty blonde assisting, is not actually killing these people but taking them hostage & holding them in a toy store. Jessie White plays the beleaguered Gov of California trying to avoid default by having several eccentrics bail him out. Trouble is thanks to Loveless he is just running out of rich people.
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