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|14 reviews in total|
I was all of thirteen when I saw this Playhouse 90 presentation. The details escape me now, though I recall that it was chilling and scary. It still leaves an impression over a half a century later. Not sure if in this era it was presented live or whether it was done on video tape, which would have been fairly new then. It was done at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, so it might have been on tape. I recall it had the same ominous feeling as the motion picture "Fail Safe," a theatrical release about the Cold War done just a few years later in 1964, and filmed at a studio in New York City, paradoxically. My ranking compares this show to TV of that era, and it would likely stand up dramatically today, even though dated technically. Shows like this are why TV's Golden Era is called the Golden Era. In retrospect, there were only a handful of this caliber.
I saw this made-for-TV film when it aired in the sixties. I was twenty
at the time, and while the details escape me, it conveyed enough
paranoia and creepiness to sustain a strong impression of the film for
nearly fifty years now. It's basically about two people who want to
leave "an organization" and discover it's a tenacious entanglement. The
film also holds as a metaphor for anyone who has worked in business or
government and felt trapped by their involvement.
Also lasting for nearly fifty years is my memory of being on the edge of my seat with the twists and turns of the plot. On a video web site, I found a trailer for the film that must have run as a promo for its airing on television. They filmed on location in the New York City area, which gives it a sense of gritty realism. Highly recommended if you come across it.
There's something that's just so amiable and adventurous about this
documentary about a doctor from the state of Vermont who wanted to be
the first to drive an automobile from the West to the East Coast. He's
an amateur who buys his own vehicle and personally funds most of his
other expenses as well. He's challenged by a team sponsored by an auto
Somehow, Ken Burns finds just the right mix of archival and location footage to make it all a grand and very real adventure, an accomplishment given the limited resources with which he had to work.
And then there's Bud, the dog who accompanied them, and for whom they fitted his own pair of driving goggles.
"The Defenders" realistically portrayed issues of the day, often in a
court room setting. They produced the show in New York City with, if
memory serves, location exteriors. The court room scenes were well
written and directed, usually the high point of each program.
At its best, the acting could be very good indeed. E.G. Marshall and Robert Reed worked well together as father and son attorneys. Their roles in this series provided them with career high points. The guest stars added further strength to the show.
As a teenager then, I thought it was a cutting edge show. It would probably be dated if viewed today, since it was filmed mostly in black and white (though the last season might have been color), and production values were different then. One of the best shows of its era, it should be released on DVD, but probably won't be because of onerous residuals obligations.
I was a grad student at the University of Oregon in the early seventies
when Steve Prefontaine made his mark as a runner there. This film
captures his life and times reasonably well, and Jared Leto's
performance does a good job portraying the Steve Prefontaine the
general public like me knew, though Leto has more of a
preppy/Abercrombie & Fitch appearance than the somewhat craggier
Prefontaine. Those who knew him then personally can make a better,
further assessment. Despite the limitations of its budget (for example,
they shot the film in 16mm--Super16 actually), it's one of the better
sports films made and should have had a stronger theatrical run. If
memory serves, the release also had a woefully limited marketing
An athletic apparel store in Boston has a glass case which displays one of Steve Prefontaine's running singlets. It made me pause to see it there, an inanimate object which once clothed someone so highly animated. This film does a decent job of bringing life to that persona.
One of the first TV shows I remember was "Mr. Peepers." I saw it between the ages of five and eight. The details of the program escape me, save for mental images of Wally Cox, Tony Randall, and Marion Lorne, and for some reason, the quirky theme song which I can still hum. I also recall the impression that it was good-natured and that my parents really liked the show. The kinescopes (16mm films of live TV taken off a picture tube)have evidently deteriorated badly. That's sad, because I'd love to see those. If you do run across them, resurrected, they're worth seeing.
In the late eighties, I saw The Tripods on WGBH in Boston, the Public TV station there. They broadcast parts one and two. The British production company never made the third and final part, so the story just ends unresolved. Never-the-less, it's a terrific adventure for young people based on a series of books. The production values and slower pacing may date it somewhat compared to later standards. Still, the characters are appealing. The special effects are convincing enough to make the Tripods ominous, and there's a surprisingly well sustained dramatic tension that keeps the episodes going. There's a good mix of studio and location photography. The series has now been issued on DVD in the U.S.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Bob Mizer photographed handsome young men for "physical culture"
magazines that appealed to gay men when little other literature for
The narrative part of the film about Mizer's life and activities seems two-dimensional in its production and dramatic values--perhaps intentional stylistically. It shows Mizer in his photography studio with his models, whom he found as they literally stepped off the bus from across the country--young men who were new to Los Angeles. In fact, most of the film was shot in a studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia: Canadian sources provided some of the funding.
The documentary footage provides interviews with people from the larger California health and fitness culture, like Jack La Lanne, the pioneer health and exercise guru. Born in 1914, he was still active at the time of the film. Along with others, like Joe D'Allesandro, a model and actor (discovered first by Mizer and brought to greater fame by Andy Warhol), the interviews offer an interesting counterpoint to the narrative that seems stronger than the dramatic part of the film. The different segments are linked by a mixed chorus of singers using a style popular in fifties commercials.
On a professional level, Mizer was a meticulous artist who took great care with his photography, creating a new genre. Perhaps later films will explore this in depth.
The most striking thing to me about AHDN is the youthful spontaneity of
the Beatles and their fans. The Beatles seem to be at such ease
portraying themselves in the film. They WERE themselves in the film.
The director, Richard Lester, easily blends performances of their songs
in a plot that serves to string them together, that plot also having a
quirky, sometimes rickety, yet purposeful life of its own. The dialog
can have an appealing, off-handed humor.
This film has wonderful, surprising moments. In one scene, Ringo, who has abandoned a TV studio rehearsal to walk around London, meets a boy of twelve or thirteen by a river. They chat a bit, and then the boy leaves him and runs down an embankment to join his mates as they skip stones on the water. You get the impression that, with all their fame, the Beatles might have enjoyed that simple luxury as well.
This eloquent, simple film makes a remarkably clear statement about a
teenager and his father. Though a theatrical release, it has a
"made-for-TV" quality. We can attribute this to the director, John
Frankenheimer, who learned his craft in the early days of live
television in New York City. Indeed, he directed the teleplay on which
the film is based, "Deal a Blow," on the CBS drama series "Climax."
"Young Stranger" represents his Hollywood debut. After a hiatus of four
years, during which he would do more television, he returned to direct
"The Young Savages" with Burt Lancaster and, a year after that, "All
Fall Down" with Warren Beatty and Angela Lansbury.
The casting is competent with James Daly and Kim Hunter (particularly good) playing the parents of the title character performed by James MacArthur (his first theatrical film) who played the same role in the television version which was his first appearance on the small screen. Look for James Gregory and Whit Bissell in supporting roles.
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