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Please note: I do not EVER put major spoilers in my reviews without marking them, but due to the stringent rules of imdb regarding these, I now mark all my reviews with the "May contain spoilers" notice.
Born to Be Bad (1950)
Fontaine gives a lesson in social-climbing.
In one of director Ray's earlier films, Fontaine portrays a young blonde woman whose polite and coy exterior masks a savagely ambitious and passionate core. Fontaine's uncle Vermilyea arranges for her to live with his secretary Leslie while she attends business college and she "just happens" to arrive one night early, in time for a party full of wealthy and appealing men. Though robust author Ryan immediately likes Fontaine, she actually has her sites set more on Leslie's rich fiancé Scott! As one can guess, the machinations kick in as Fontaine wrangles everyone around her as much as she can, but will she be happy when and if she ever gets what it is she's after? Fontaine is too old for the part she's playing, but her performance is interesting enough most of the time to get past that. She's saddled, especially through the early portion of the film, with a rather fluffy, unruly, bleached hairstyle that does her fewer favors than she probably imagined or intended. Her gowns by Hattie Carnegie are in most cases far less attractive, complimentary to her and striking than those of Leslie's, which were done by Michael Woulfe. Again, this was surely not the intention! Ryan is excellent throughout. He is given several saucy lines and delivers them effectively. He adds a liveliness to his part, along with the deep feeling, that is most welcome. Scott, an actor who excelled at shifty and slimy characters, is the more upright person here and does well, even eliciting some sympathy. One of the real surprises is Leslie, who offers up a pretty, lively and appealing presence despite the demands of the script, which calls for her to come off as a little bit dim. Just as her overall styling is superior to that of the other Joan, her hair is beautifully arranged throughout. She would soon leave the business to raise her family. Ferrer, in one of his earliest film roles, portrays a starving artist who is gossipy and spongy and could be read as gay, though it is never outright suggested, of course. There is a scene, however, in which he and Ryan are pictured so closely together and in such a way that it could almost be snapped, cropped and used in a suggestive Confidential article or something! Vermilyea, as Fontaine's somewhat knowing uncle, and Farmer, as her completely unknowing aunt, lend solid, sometimes amusing support. The film has a solid directional hand in it thanks to Ray and moves along nicely. While it isn't necessarily believable, it is usually entertaining. It is also, for 1950, pretty straightforward about the sexual relationships that are taking place. Ryan even uses the words "sex attraction" at one point. Fans of the stars ought to enjoy it quite a bit.
Genghis Khan (1965)
A kinder, gentler Genghis?
One of the world's most legendary conquerors gets a heroic sheen in this colorful and often inaccurate latter day epic. Sharif plays the title role, a young Mongol who watches his father die at the hands of his rival Boyd and is then burdened with a large yoke around his neck, thus rendering him incapable of much, if any, physical threat. One day, Boyd makes the mistake of taking the yoke off and from then on the two are locked in combat to the death. In this rendition of the story, Sharif is bent on a united tribe of Mongols, something Boyd is against, preferring his independence. Boyd would rather team with other leaders, such as Wallach, to stamp out Sharif. Meanwhile, Sharif aligns with and learns from the Chinese, though they do not wish to see him leave once he has aided them in their own struggles. Sharif is noble and driven and even, at times, tender, not qualities that are always associated with the name Genghis Khan, but which are intended here. Boyd is one-dimensionally nasty throughout. The character he is playing was, in real life, a one-time ally, but that is not explored. Rather the script plays up a longstanding enmity that can only be stopped by the death of one or both of them. Dorleac, with 1960s bangs, plays Sharif's devoted wife and support system. It's a mostly decorative role aside from a few feisty moments, but she fills it well enough. Savalas is billed high, but is given next to nothing to do in the somewhat crowded landscape. Wallach appears briefly, but is at least permitted to make some sort of impression. Hordern rather hams it up as Sharif's partially blind mentor while Strode, as his muscular aide, provides silent strength. Two notable actors appear in faux-Asian makeup, as was the custom of the day. Morley, as the Chinese Emperor, fares best despite his inappropriateness to the role. His ever-individual style adds texture and humor to the part. Mason, face fixed in a permanent grin and speaking in the most stereotypical manner imaginable, is less impressive. It's a performance that will likely offend those who lean towards the sensitive in cases like this. Almost worthless as a history lesson, the film does succeed in delivering a fairly grand adventure with terrific music, decent battle sequences and positively jaw-dropping scenery. Though a pat approach to the script and an overriding simplicity threaten to mar the movie irrevocably, for those who aren't too demanding, the finished product is entertaining. Look out for the amusing glimpse of a Chinese princess in which she is nude except for some artfully arranged bits of scenic bric-a-brac surrounding the screened window some men are looking through. The mainstream cinema was still just toying with various amounts of exposed flesh in this time period. Sadly, Dorleac would die within two years in a fiery car accident. Mason, Sharif and Boyd had previously appeared together in the superior, but not very successful, epic The Fall of the Roman Empire."
Halls of Anger (1970)
To Sir with Hate
A hot-button topic of the day, this conflict-filled drama concerns the effects of imposed busing of white students into an all-black school in order to diversify the enrollment. Lockhart plays a former basketball great who has escaped the ghetto to become a well-regarded teacher at a white school. One day, he is coerced into transferring to Lafayette High School, a black school downtown into which 200 white students are to be deposited. Alarmed parents use connections or other means to avoid this, meaning that only 60 of the white kids actually appear there on the first day of school. They are barely off the bus before reverse discrimination takes place and they are taunted and mocked. Resentments continue to build, thanks especially to one ringleader (Watson) who feels threatened by the presence of the new students and takes pains to make life difficult for them. Lockhart refuses to give up on Watson, despite his deplorable behavior and, for a time, is able to start to break through to him. However, Watson's anger over a friend's suspension and his dislike of Bridges, who wants to play basketball on the team, cause him to reignite his negativity. Lockhart gives a solid, smooth, amiable performance. He's idealistic, but not unbelievably so, and handles the material well. MacLachlan plays a fellow teacher who wants out of the almost prison-like school, but who warms to his line of thinking. Bridges does a fine job as a persecuted student. His final scene displays a remarkably fit physique. Watson seems to be bringing some degree of dimension to an outright villainous role. Other notable performances include Asner as the school's P.E. teacher, Reiner as a trouble-causing white student and Kleeb as a well meaning, but ineffectual teacher. While the script certainly points to the black kids as making a difficult situation worse, there are various good and bad folks on both sides. The situations presented do not tend to be outside of the realm of possibility (with the possible exception of a highly invasive act performed by some female students at the climax, though even that could taken place.) As is to be expected, there are many episodes and vignettes depicting the differences and problems of these kids, but often they are handled in a disarming, even amusing way, such as when Lockhart tries a new way to get illiterate youths interested in reading. The red tape and political machinations of the situation do not get ignored and the film doesn't try to pretend that there are any easy answers. Rather, it tries to show that everyone has to give a bit in order for everyone to get along. It also promotes the value of getting an education. A different take on the somewhat similar "To Sir With Love" in which black Sidney Poitier tried to make headway in a lower class, predominantly white school. Here, black Lockhart faces hostility from members of his own race who feel that he has sold out. Recent TCM airings have a curiously censored version, which sometimes removes the word "honky" and sometimes doesn't, along with varied allowance of the "n" word while some, but not all, cursing is dubbed out as well. The scene in the girls' locker room may have been pared down, too.
Beulah Land (1980)
Spawn of the Wind
Surely Margaret Mitchell's legendary tome "Gone With the Wind" is not the only book of its type, nor is the film version the only movie of that type. However, the book and the movie, both, are sterling examples of the subject matter, some might say untoppable. So iconic and legendary is the story of Scarlett O'Hara that anything coming after it suffers by comparison. So here is a miniseries based on two books concerning the trials of the Deep South during The Civil War that comes off as a sort of parallel universe "Gone With the Wind," except that instead of a selfish heroine, there's a deeply caring and noble one. Warren plays the pretty and forthright young wife of inept and immature plantation heir Rudd. Rudd's mother Lange knows that he will never be able to properly manage Beulah Land, but sees potential in Warren. When the war comes, and with it destruction, desolation and depression, it is Warren's core of strength that keeps things afloat. Meanwhile, she must deal with her selfish, philandering sister Baxter, snarling, confrontational overseer Shenar, withdrawn, mentally-bruised sister-in-law Stowe and various other troublesome relatives, slaves, Yankees and so on. Several decades of storyline are presented, sometimes skipping a few years at a time, as Warren's character goes from a young girl to a mature woman. Warren gives a sensitive, multifaceted performance in what is about as close as anyone (outside of Joanne Whalley-Kilmer in that ghastly mini-series "Scarlett") will ever get to portraying a role so close to that of Mitchell's heroine. The 6-hour (with commercials) project needed someone very appealing and heartfelt to keep it going and she more than fits the bill. A few of her many costars stand out as well. Johnson has an all-too-brief role as a lascivious bridegroom of Stowe's and wears some of TV's most eye-opening trousers in his first scene. Lange lends quiet authority and stature to her matriarchal role (she's almost unrecognizable at first in her red wigs.) Baxter has a bit of a field day with her snotty character and even gets to sort of reenact the big Atlanta hospital and perilous journey home scenes. Albert affectionately plays an elder uncle. Scott enjoys a late career turn as Warren's caring, if traditional, aunt. Shenar is appropriately nasty and threatening, if rather one-dimensional. Harewood plays Rudd's boyhood friend, a slave who would eventually live to see freedom. Along with the decent performances there are those that fall short. Of course the landscape is so full, after trying to squeeze the material of two novels into one film, that sometimes characters show up only long enough to be killed a few scenes later! Sarrazin doesn't add very much oomph or charisma to his role of a photographer who is smitten with Warren. Agutter seems rather wasted as a prostitute who manages to marry her way out of the brothel. A lot of the smaller roles are filled with people who have a lack of acting skill and presence. There's a feeling (some might say fairy tale-like) of racial harmony at Warren's plantation. Perhaps there were some places like that and on one hand it's pleasing to see, though it may possibly be sending out an incorrect notion. However, the film will never be shown again on television in an uncensored version due to its use of frank racial language from the antagonists of the piece, among others. At this point in time, Warren was, if not Queen of the Miniseries, then at least a princess and it's all geared as a showcase for her and her melodramatic gifts. On that level it succeeds. It's less successful as a depiction of the way things were in that place and time. In the 80s, it became a brief rage to film miniseries out of sprawling Civil War stories such as "The North and the South" and "The Blue and the Gray." Oh, and keep an eye out for the preposterously revealing portrait that Sarrazin paints of Warren! No way.
Play Misty for Me (1971)
Don't Mess with Jess!
Eastwood was not an actor who was going to be content toiling away in bit parts of B movies or as the star of a weekly television series, nor was he going to be content to simply remain a leading man when that success finally found him. He wanted to direct and with this film, he got the chance. Fortunately, the project was one that had potential for commercial success, being that it deals with suspense and sexual relationships, but his heretofore-untapped artfulness didn't hurt either. He plays a Carmel, California disc jockey who regularly hears from a female caller requesting to hear "Misty," a romantic standard. One evening, he meets the female caller (Walter) by "chance" and indulges in a no strings attached sexual liaison even though he's trying to work things out with his estranged girlfriend Mills. Before he knows it, Walter has attached herself to him like a barnacle and he can't get rid of her. This kicks off a series of disturbing events that include interference with his career, vandalism and even assault. No one seems to be able to contain Walter from her evil-doings and, in time, Eastwood ceases to be her only target. Eastwood does a decent enough job acting-wise, though he is not particularly suited to the part he's playing. His coup here is in helming his first motion picture with style and skill. Walter is a revelation. She has many moments involving quick changes from flirtatiousness to fury and handles them expertly. Some of her outbursts are hilariously inappropriate such as when she tells one of Eastwood's neighbors to "go screw yourself" or exclaims that Hervey, the mature business associate of Eastwood's "couldn't get laid in a lumber camp!" It's an electrifying, scary performance that made it a little difficult to completely trust her in later portrayals! Mills role is almost completely decorative, but she was a good one to pick in that department. Eastwood did make good use of her beautiful eyes, especially in one revelatory moment. Larch adds some nice texture to his role of police detective, McEachin plays a doobie-loving fellow DJ and Taylor has some fun as Eastwood's mouthy housekeeper. Frequent Eastwood director Siegel has a small role as a chummy bartender. The film's location is another character, with the shoreline of Carmel being paid striking tribute throughout. Two sequences have, at times, been accused of slowing down the pace. One is a love montage between Mills and Eastwood set to the song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." This is actually, though lengthy, a very evocative and well-handled sequence and a necessary one in establishing the relationship of the couple. The other is a digression to the annual Monterrey Pop Festival. This one, while an interesting time capsule of the moment, does slow down the momentum and is too taste-specific and distracting to be as long as it is, serving very little purpose dramatically. The once startling and fearsome plot devices of this film were later ripped off quite heavily in the bigger budgeted "Fatal Attraction" (as well as in various TV shows and other movies.) Glenn Close was also quite amazing in that film, but Walter certainly paved the way with her eye-opening work here. Thankfully, Walter chose to call in and request "Misty" or the film might have been titled, "Play The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face for Me!"
Basic Instinct 2 (2006)
Basically no one had the instinct to see it, nor should they.
Ms. Stone seems to have taken a page from Madonna's dismal failure "Body of Evidence" rather than to faithfully revisit her own concoction from the original film. This belated and besieged sequel to "Basic Instinct" has precious little to do with the first film in character, setting or sensibility, choosing instead to create a maze-like, senseless storyline with plenty of "shocking" language and a surprising lack of sex and nudity. Stone plays the infamous crime novelist Catherine Tramell, now established in London where she manages to drown one of her lovers within the opening moments of the movie. But was it intentional or just an unfortunate side affect of her soon-to-be-diagnosed "risk addiction?" And does anyone really care? She turns to a psychiatrist for help in conquering her demons, but he has at least as many issues as she does and, naturally, is involved with any number of people with whom Stone is also intimately acquainted. When some of them start popping up dead, the shrink (Morrisey) becomes as much of a suspect as Stone is, if not more. Mangy detective Thewlis tries to piece everything together while Morrisey's associate Rampling becomes entwined in the mess as well. Stone appears to have poured all of her attention into appearing as glacially beautiful as possible and in the bargain has not only forgotten the more conflicted and interesting character that made her famous, but has forgotten to perform at all! Countless shots of her in outré designer duds, spouting vulgarity or otherwise attempting to be stunning do not add up to much of anything. She comes off as a lewd mannequin without any identifiable qualities. Morrisey is saddled with a character so pliable and ignorant that he also lacks identifiability for the audience. Needless to say, he also lacks the star power that Michael Douglas brought to the first film. Someone involved should have realized that a character as provocative as Catherine Tramell works better as a supporting character rather than a lead, though the producers struggled all along to find ANY name actor willing to take the male part in this debacle. Who knows why Thewlis and Rampling are present. Thewlis already proved that he is willing to appear in anything when he worked on the deadly "Island of Dr. Moreau" with Marlon Brando and Val Kilmer, but Rampling typically knows better. At least they manage to emerge with their dignity intact. It's rather sickening to hear the late Jerry Goldsmith's amazing music applied to this idiotic movie (uncredited!!) The one thing the film has going for it is it's beautiful design. The costumes are striking, the cinematography is gorgeous and the sets are often stunning. London is presented in a captivating and eye-appealing way and the clothes are frequently selected to match the locations perfectly. Otherwise, this is a major waste of time and money that found practically no audience waiting for it at the theater. It was a notorious bomb.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
...and the movie grows on viewers.
Based on a tremendously detailed novel by Betty Smith in which she recounts her experiences growing up poor in the title borough, this beautifully realized film contains strong performances and direction. Garner plays the imaginative, but fiscally challenged, young girl who strives to make a difference with her life despite various hurdles. Her mother McGuire works on her hands and knees in their apartment building, trying to scrape together a few extra pennies to make ends meet. Her father Dunn is a singing waiter whose jobs are few and far between. He passes part of his time drinking away the family funds, desperately resigned to his fate yet dreaming of something better, if not for himself than for Garner. Donaldson plays Garner's eternally hungry younger brother while Blondell is McGuire's flirty, much-married sister. A person would have to look long and hard to locate a child performance (particularly a dramatic one) that equals or exceeds that of Garner here. Her face reflects all the hardships and the little triumphs with a radiance that is unforgettable. Not only is she not "cute" in the traditional Hollywood way, but she also avoids many of the mannered pitfalls that other kid actors might have slid into. It's a stunning piece of work and she was appropriately rewarded with a special Oscar. It's odd to see the usually erudite and refined McGuire using poor grammar and playing someone rather simple in her ambitions, but she acquits herself well. There's an earthiness and dignity in her performance that makes one sympathize with her plight, even when her character says and does things that are hard to accept. Dunn, a man who had his own set of personal issues away from the camera, emerged briefly from career oblivion to deliver a sensitive and poignant portrayal that won him an Oscar as well. His final moment on screen is memorably haunting. Adding some welcome spice, humor and even glamour to the proceedings is Blondell in a role so endearing and heartfelt it can't help but create new fans of her work out of any viewer. Nolan appears as a kindly local policeman. This had the potential of becoming an oppressive, downbeat story with depressing elements, but thanks to deft direction, wonderful performances and a solid script, it is instead an uplifting and inspiring story. The creators wisely allowed many amusing moments to shine amongst the darker aspects of the material. Among the memorable moments throughout are Garner and Donaldson planning to acquire a Christmas tree, Garner and her teacher Nelson discussing the fate of a small pie, Garner keeping McGuire company as McGuire endures a medical emergency and Blondell instructing Garner to check her school desk before leaving for graduation. One thing that does seem odd is that the family is so insistent upon keeping up with their insurance and yet, once it is needed, they don't seem to have been compensated accordingly (yet they later come off as being better off financially. But how?) Still, any quibble regarding small bits of the story are more than made up for in the end result. It's a special, evocative and compelling motion picture that anyone should see.
Tickle Me (1965)
...just not there.
The deadening treadmill of cookie-cutter Presley vehicles, foisted upon him by his "mentor" Col. Parker, continues here with both good and bad results. Presley plays a singing rodeo rider who finds himself working at a ranch where zaftig women go to peel away pounds. It's run by Adams, who has her sites set on him and is also home to exercise instructor Lane, who is more skeptical, at least at first. Presley's roomie is dim bulb fellow hand Mullaney while his chief antagonist is jealous swim instructor Faulkner (who sports one really awkward-looking and unappetizing set of swim trunks hoisted up practically to his chest!) Presley has to fend off the female guests of the ranch who are hungry not only for steak, but for him, while Lane searches in vain for a fortune her grandfather left behind in a nearby western ghost town. It all comes to a head in a protracted finale that seems more like a very bad episode of "Scooby Doo" than a piece of musical froth. Presley lopes through the film with varying degrees of interest, lip-synching to songs he had recorded months and years prior (a symptom of the low budget of the project), not that it stands out too much to the casual viewer. It's just that the songs bear virtually no relation to anything and there's not even a title tune. The script is preposterous, so Presley goes along for the ride as well as he can. Lane is almost legendary as one of The King's most attractive costars. Her body, even by today's standards, is unbelievable, so it's hard to imagine how jaw-dropping she must have seemed in '65. Her acting leaves quite a bit to be desired, but most male viewers will care very little! A Brit in real life, she provides a creditable American accent. Adams doesn't even try to mask her character's outright lust for Presley. She isn't given much to do at all beyond drooling over him, but she looks great doing it and does it with verve. Mullaney is annoying as would be expected from anyone being led through tired "3 Stooges" style schtick. (The films writers had worked with the comic trio previously.) Most of the rest of the cast are only shown is brief bits. At times it seems like the story to use a term loosely was cobbled together in order to take advantage of pre-existing sets left over from a prior movie and it's possible that that is what happened. Nonetheless, this was an inexplicable box office smash, placing the studio that backed it into the black and giving Presley (who was entitled to 50% of the profits) a hefty payday as well. At least it is colorful and attractive to the eye most of the time and undemanding (to say the least.) It's just a shame that someone as handsome and talented as Presley was unable or unwilling to be placed in projects that better displayed his charms while also paying tribute to them instead of bleeding them and his reputation dry.
XanaDO for some, Xanax required for others!
Infamous for barely recouping its cost at the box office upon release, this gaudy fantasy-musical could not exactly be described as good, but is nonetheless eye-catching and contains some bouncy and enjoyable songs. Beck plays a struggling artist, mired in a nowhere job reproducing record album covers. Skating (yes
) to his rescue is Newton John, a muse sent to Earth in order to help him realize his potential. Meanwhile, one of her former objects of affection during a prior stint on Earth, Kelly, has a chance to have his own dreams fulfilled. Beck and Kelly pair up in order to create the ultimate nightclub, a 40s meets 80s showplace with a built-in skating floor. That's pretty much it as far as plot goes. Beck, taking over a role originally intended for Andy Gibb, isn't really at home in this milieu. He's trying, but the material is frequently substandard and he doesn't exactly soar in his few moments involving dance movement. Newton John is exceedingly lovely to look at and her voice is terrific, though she is basically playing a flavorless mannequin much of the time. Diction was never her strongest suit when singing, so the DVD's closed-captioning comes in handy, especially during some less familiar songs at the end. Her beauty transcends some really vomitous Little Roller Rink on the Prairie outfits before the finale where she is allowed a variety of fun looks. Kelly ought to be more embarrassed then he is to be found here, though it is undeniably great to see him still moving with aplomb through several dance sequences. Despite the overwhelming tackiness, he still had it (and even put some skates on, himself, briefly!) These three comprise most of the cast, though there are some sequences in Beck's workplace that are so poorly written and pitifully acted that they are excruciating. (These elements were wisely eliminated from the later Broadway musical adaptation.) Veteran actors Hyde-White and Brown vocally portray Zeus and Hera in one scene. There's a lot of neon special effects work and even an animated sequence by Don Bluth (in which the female looks NOTHING like ONJ, though the male resembles Beck!) The music, half provided by Newton John's pal John Farrar and half by Electric Light Orchestra, is alternately lovely and invigorating, though the energetic, heavily-synthesized numbers are frequently paired with some preposterous dance moves (more like displays than dances!) At the time of filming, nothing was hotter than roller-skating, so that was featured rather heavily. This lends an inherent campiness to the project now, apart from all the other aspects such as the clothing, sets and music. The film contains, perhaps, the most annoying scene change wipes in the history of cinema. The soundtrack was a smash success and it's the songs and the wacky visuals that give the film its entertainment value. The plot doesn't hold up (it was cobbled together during filming!) For example, Beck is a frustrated artist, but his fulfilled dream has nothing to do with drawing or painting. The ending with he leads hardly makes sense, either, based on what's come before. Still, it's a garish, goofy good time for those in the mood. Look quickly in several of the dance sequences for alternately overemphatic and blank-faced Lattanzi, who would soon marry Newton John and father her child Chloe.
Panic in Year Zero! (1962)
Even after a nuclear holocaust, Dad gets to smoke after dinner while Mom does the dishes in her sweater and capri pants...
On what promises to be just another family camping trip, Milland and Hagen, with their teenage children Avalon and Mitchel, set out bright and early one morning with their pull-along camper and head for the mountains of California. Before reaching their destination, they hear rumbling from the sky and see a massive mushroom cloud over the area of their home. In order to check on grandma, they begin driving back(!), but soon realize that everyone else is driving away from the explosion and so they decide to retreat to the mountains as they'd originally planned. Milland strays from the main drag in order to take advantage of uniformed storekeepers who won't be gouging prices on things like food, gas and weaponry. Eventually, they set up housekeeping in a cave until they can determine whether it's safe to go back home. In the meantime, societal order has begun to break down and there are a few dastardly types who may complicate matters. Milland (who also directed, one of five films he helmed) is quite autocratic as the father. He predicts that people will begin to act irrationally and illegally and doesn't waste too much time joining in, truth be told! However, he does always attempt to pay for the things he takes at least. Hagen mostly gets to fret and fuss about everything, though she does have one moment of minor action with a gun. The script keeps forcing her to say things like "It's all right" over and over. Avalon is reasonably appealing, though it's hard to buy him as Milland's offspring! Mitchel is a thorough annoyance from her first frame till practically her last. Freeman shows up fairly late in the game as the bedraggled victim of repeated gang rape. Fortunately, within a day of being discovered, she has flawless bouffant hair and heavy eye makeup in place, business as usual. Who needs electricity? Bakalyan plays a thug who threatens Milland & Co. more than once along with his two buddies. Garland is a shop owner who can't catch a break. The film is clearly a low budget AI time-killer, but Milland manages to infuse it with a certain amount of dramatic tension and decent visuals for the most part. It's not afraid to fess up to some ugly truths regarding the scenario either. The pace tends to be pretty good overall. One debit would include certain parts of the script, which either feature repetitive dialogue or preposterous situations such as having Milland announce that they are going to stick to their moral standards by shaving, even though he's already committed any number of crimes! Also, the loud, jazzy score by Les Baxter is a matter of taste. Then there's the way that the principals keep running into each other as if they're in a sandbox even though the story takes place all along a major highway, through various towns and in the mountains! Sadly, the viewer never gets a shot of "the women" getting jostled around as they ride IN the trailer during some dicey moments. Oh, and don't miss petite Avalon carrying a 10-point buck on his shoulders (which morphs into a stuffed animal at some point!) Despite the differences in plot points, there is similarity between this film and "Hot Rods to Hell." This isn't necessarily a good movie, but it's rarely boring and alternately amusing (unintentionally) and engrossing.