Anyway, the show is almost completely worthless. Good for a laugh, maybe, and every so often the producers will hire some remotely competent actress to play a scantily-clad demon and slink around, but that's pretty much about all it has going for it. The show tries to be all things to all people and winds up being nothing. Avoid it.
Not having been to high school for a few years, I can't really say if the portrayal of the student body is accurate or not (I was in high school when "Room 222" came out, and while it was generally a good show, the students were nothing like any high school kids I ever knew), but I doubt it. The students in this school seem to be obsessed with nothing but sex--ah well, I guess some things never change.
Interesting show, pretty well acted, cleverly written. And, of course, it has Sharon Leal. 'Nuff said.
While low-budget doesn't necessarily mean low quality, in this case it applies. The film's cheapness shows through in practically every frame, and there's not much Mantee or Rush can do about that. With all of the film's many faults, though, there are two that it can't overcome--an incoherent script with holes you can drive a truck through, and an hysterically awful performance by comic Jan Murray. Murray plays a Nazi scientist trying to revive the Third Reich and take over the world from a wheelchair. His "research" for the part must have consisted of watching dozens of old silent movies, as his performance is a virtual carbon copy of the stereotypical nostril-flaring, eye-rolling, teeth-gnashing, hand-flailing ham acting from a cheap melodrama of 1915. After a while you find yourself yelling at the screen, "For God's sake, shut up!" It's almost as bad as watching a Madonna movie.
If you're a fan of Paul Mantee (who did such a great job in 1964's "Robinson Crusoe on Mars") or Richard Rush ("The Stunt Man") or just want to stare open-mouthed at the gorgeous Eileen O'Neil, then go ahead and rent this movie. But do yourself a favour--turn the sound off.
Rossen's script is awful (besides the numerous and annoying historical errors, the dialogue is just plain laughable), most of the cast appears to have just woken up from a deep sleep (only Peter Cushing and Frederic March give anything even resembling a performance; Claire Bloom just stands around and looks gorgeous, which she does very well). Richard Burton seems to want to give one, and at times you can see the beginning of a spark, but it appears that he either is reined in or just gives up, which is a shame. Also, for a spectacle, the "action" scenes are pathetic. There's no urgency in them, you don't get any sense of the fanaticism and dedication that carried the Macedonian army to world conquest; it looks like a bunch of extras (in this case, the Spanish army) standing around waiting to get paid and not wanting to work real hard for it. UA obviously had money to spend on this film; they should have hired a top second-unit director like Yakima Canutt or Andrew Marton to do the action scenes and they would have turned out much, much better.
All in all, considering the talent involved, this film is a major disappointment. It moves like molasses, and doesn't reflect well on Rossen, Burton, or anyone else involved with it. Too bad. To paraphrase another movie, "It coulda been a contender."
I actually like Irene Dunne, and always thought that Melvyn Douglas was in the same league with William Powell when it came to glib, sophisticated comedy, so I was all set to enjoy this one. But about a quarter of the way through it, I found myself asking, "When is this thing going to get funny?" The subject matter--how the reactionary, repressive mentality of a clique of small-town religious zealots stifles any kind of individual creativity at all--is more suited to a drama than a comedy, and I think this film would have actually worked better as a drama with some comedy thrown in, which both Dunne and Douglas were more than capable of, than just as a comedy alone, which it really isn't. There are a few amusing moments in it, but not nearly enough to be classified as a "screwball" comedy. Thurston Hall is his usual amusing, blustery self, and Spring Byington is good as the town's two-faced gossip, but that's about it. Dunne and Douglas try hard, but they're just not given much to work with.
I know that a lot of people think this film is on a par with "Nothing Sacred", "My Man Godfrey" or "Twentieth Century," but I just can't see it.
There are several major problems with this film. First, the script. It's simplistic, overwrought, overheated, preachy and loaded with phony dramatics. Second, there's the sttitude. While most films on this subject pretty much inexcusably ignored women at the expense of men, this one does just the opposite, which is just as inexcusable. There's no real chemistry between Dana Delaney and Powers Boothe, who plays her husband. The rest of the cast is weak, too, and the performances range from adequate to junior high school level. The movie also, for some reason, LOOKS cheap. It has that cheesy look to it that a lot of spaghetti westerns had in the '60s. The whole production looks rushed, like they were running out of money and had to get it done on time.
There's a good story to be told here, but the people who made this movie haven't the slightest idea of how to go about it. Avoid this one.
The film is as slow as molasses, the photography is so dark at times you can barely see anything, the sound is tinny, and the acting is very much of the "old school" type--a lot of flaring nostrils, arched eyebrows, etc. William Penn was a fascinating man, and his life story could make a good movie, but this one isn't it.