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|360 reviews in total|
This televised version of a stage production is unlikely to supplant memories of the 1955 film version which Daniel Taradash so skillfully adapted to the CinemaScope screen but, judged on its own, it's a respectable take on a play that might almost be called an American classic. Casting and performance are all-important in this kind of venture and the results here are varied. Dana Hill makes a splendid Milly and Dick Van Patten couldn't be better as Howard. Conchata Ferrell at first doesn't seem quite right as Mrs. Potts but her larger-than-life personality soon wins out. Timothy Shelton is passable in the thankless role of Alan and Rue McClanahan has her moments as Mrs. Owens. On the other hand, Jennifer Jason Leigh can't quite bring off Madge and her semi-out-of-control hairdo is sometimes annoying. The weakness here is Michael Learned as Rosemary, the play's best part. Rosalind Russell was so much better. (The suggestion that she and Rue McClanahan should have traded parts is a good one.) As for Gregory Harrison, he doesn't quite capture the wounded little-boy-lost quality in Hal but he sure looks good with his shirt off.
Just 4 weeks after first exposing his chest on the "Chantay" episode,
Peter Brown again went shirtless -- though very briefly -- in
"Cornered." Once again he's sleeping in the back room of the Marshal's
office. There's no sheet or blanket over him and since he's
bare-chested and sleeping on his back, we get a look at his upper
torso. His sleep is troubled by a nightmare, however, and he wakens in
a panic and sits up before realizing the nightmare isn't real. And
Though this bit of beefcake is disappointingly brief, the "Cornered" episode is well above average, dealing with the standard western themes of gunfighters and revenge but in a way that makes the story seem fresh. Thanks for this goes to Richard Matheson, a prolific writer best known for his "Twilight Zone" episodes and such sci-fi novels as "The Shrinking Man" and "I Am Legend." Alas, fans of Peter Brown's physique had to wait more than a year for a third and final look at his best chest in an episode titled "No Contest."
While sleeping one night in the back room of the Marshal's office,
Peter Brown is awakened by the presence of Sharon Hugueny, a teenage
Indian girl whom he'd earlier befriended. Startled, Brown pushes back
the covers, revealing that he's sleeping bare-chested in a clean pair
of white-colored long underwear. Brown gently chides the love-struck
girl for her behavior but does not, as they say, take advantage of the
Finally, more than two years after the premier of "Lawman" and in the show's 85th episode, 24-year-old Peter Brown reveals his hairless chest, a chest heretofore hidden beneath long-sleeved, neatly-pressed shirts. What took so long? Other Warner Brothers westerns, such as "Cheyenne" and "Bronco," had actors who took off their shirts with pleasing regularity, but for some reason "Lawman" remained immune to this sort of "beefcake." In Peter Brown's case, this is especially puzzling since he had a torso which was easy on the eyes and since he had the potential to become one of those "heartthrobs" so dear to boy-crazy teenage girls. For whatever reason, however, the modesty continued. Brown appeared shirtless in only two more episodes: "Cornered" and "No Contest." All three of these brief bare-chest scenes occurred at night inside the Marshal's office, when Brown was aroused from his bed. In "Cornered" he wakens alone from a nightmare and in "No Contest" he's awakened by a visiting male friend. Sharon Hugueny is thus the only female to get a look at his bare chest and despite the possibilities, this scene is not played for romance. In fact, during the entire run of "Lawman," Brown is never presented as a serious object of true romantic attention. Strange.
One week later, in episode 86, John Russell finally did his only full-fledged "beefcake" scene in "Lawman" when he strips off his shirt to engage in a bare-knuckle boxing match.
Warners briefly tried to promote Sharon Hugueny by casting her as one of Troy Donahue's girlfriends in "Parrish" but her career never took off. Incidentally, the Indian man to whom she's been promised in "Chantay" is played by Dean Fredericks, soon to achieve his 15-minutes of fame by going blond and playing Steve Canyon in the short-lived TV series based on the comic strip.
Ah, the loneliness of a movie without a single review. This Italian swashbuckler, though minor, doesn't deserve such a fate. It tells, in efficient though undistinguished fashion, a familiar tale of an evil nobleman, ensconced in a castle, who oppresses the local population. Though threatened by a revolt and worried by the spread of a plague, the nobleman spends much of his time arranging a financially-advantageous marriage between his beautiful but defiant ward and his foppish, violence-avoiding stepson. Complicating matters is the arrival of a masked swordsman, half-Zorro, half-Robin Hood, who threatens the nobleman even as he charms the beautiful ward. There are no surprises here but things move briskly and the sets and costumes are easy on the eyes. There's even a brief torture scene inside a dungeon for those who like bare-chested-male-bondage.
Even the top-billed presence of the doomed-to-die-young Peter Lee Lawrence, plus lots of those eye-pleasing red coats once worn by Her Majesty's soldiers, can bring life to this tired "Northwest Frontier" drama. Most of the plot, such as it is, involves a band of these British soldiers wandering off from a fort on some kind of mission whose goals and purposes are never very clearly defined. There's conflict between the enlightened Lawrence and a narrow-minded, stick-to-the-rules superior who doesn't appreciate any aspect of the local culture, and there's a pretty girl thrown in there along the way, but it all just falls unto the "killing time" category. This makes "The Brigand of Kandahar: look like "Gunga Din!"
True, opening episodes in a series tend to be burdened by having to make a series of introductions. This one is no exception but the introduction of the main characters as well as several recurring settings is done reasonably well. The real problem lies in the story-line which begins with a hokey scene featuring a hooded figure chasing a pretty young women on a deserted highway and which then drifts into a tiresome discussion about which gun is which in a virtually identical pair. Fortunately for the series, the scripts got better, and also fortunately for the series, Barbara Hale was soon given a bit more to do than make coffee. As for the episode's title, the "redhead" is apparently described as "restless" only for reasons of alliteration, and how does a young woman on a waitress salary afford such a fine-looking apartment?
This good-looking and well-mounted film fortunately avoids the slightly
sub-standard look and feel of many such movies sponsored by religious
groups. Like virtually all films about Jesus, it has a crucifixion
scene and it's interesting to note how this scene compares to similar
scenes in the past.
Earlier Jesus movies showed him being nailed through the wrists, but revised thinking on this point has prompted recent movies to show Jesus being nailed through the wrists. Perhaps to please both points of view, "The Lamb of God" shows nails being hammered both through the palms AND then through the wrists. Unlike crucifixions in other Jesus movies, this one thankfully dispenses with those ropes which are merely there to help hold the actor's arms in place.
Earlier Jesus movies generally showed him accepting the pain of crucifixion without struggle or even murmur of complaint. In Joseph Breen's made-in-Spain Jesus movie from the late 1950s, for example, it takes 10 blows of the hammer to nail Jesus' left hand, 14 more for his right hand, 6 for his left foot and 7 for his right one. That's 37 agonizing blows from a hammer driving nails through his flesh but this Jesus lies there calmly, not squirming, not even saying "ouch." This approach has changed. It now seems okay to show Jesus reacting to his pain, even letting out a few cries. Jeremy Sisto, the star of the 1999 "Jesus," actually howls in agony and writhes in a most undignified manner as he's crucified. The Jesus in "The Lamb of God," however maintains a serene silence. His feet are not being shown nailed but this omission is not uncommon in Jesus movies.
As to whether Jesus should look frail and aesthetic or healthy and robust, "The Lamb of God" goes with the latter view. In fact, handsome Mark Deakins, who plays Jesus, might even be called a "hunk," though he has no hair on his chest. (Unless it was shaved off.) He does have hairy armpits, however, unlike Jeffrey Hunter in "King of Kings." In this film Jesus has no interplay with the two thieves and there's no scene of him being speared in the side.
The woes of a young couple addicted to cocaine and drifting through a
homeless existence in Chicago may not sound like an enticing piece of
entertainment. In fact, it threatens to be one of those earnest but
dreary "social problems" dramas you might go to only out of a vague
sense of obligation. And the title, "Animals," doesn't help matters.
Surprisingly, and pleasingly, "Animals" proves to be not only a movie that's "good for you" but also a movie which engrosses and entertains in an easy manner which seems deceptively effortless. Much of this credit goes to the two leads, David Dastmalchian and Kim Shaw, and to the script (by Dastmalchian) which shows us the various ways these two survive through guile and petty crime. You don't approve of what they do and you certainly don't envy their lives and yet they retain a likable quality and don't seem to be that far removed from our own selves.
Each of the supporting characters is well-cast and effective.
Those seeking a movie which veers from the usual multiplex offerings would be well-advised to consider "Animals."
The original "Voodoo Academy" heralded the emergence of a new, unique talent, but as the earlier reviewer from South Carolina indicated, this talent did not grow. David DeCoteau maintained a plateau for awhile and then began to slide. "2 Voodoo Academy" has him at about rock bottom. It has only 10 or maybe 15 minutes of anything resembling substance and the rest is simply padding. (And I don't mean the crotches of those boxer-briefs worn by a cast of young men who, in general, seem second rate, even by sheer pulchritude standards.) Seeing these lads take long, lingering, soap-less showers soon grows tiring, as does the footage of waves washing onto a beach. The result is a movie which will only appeal to those who find tedium erotic.
One of the show's better episodes. Tightly constructed, well focused, it only weakens toward the end with the unnecessary and unlikely addition of an extra character. Good use is made of two actors from Warner Brothers stable of TV stars -- John ("Lawman") Russell and Edd ("77 Sunset Strip") Byrnes -- and Will Wright is nothing short of perfect as the old desert rat. Though only about 64 years old at the time of this filming, he could easily pass for a man at least ten years older. The sense of a hot, arid landscape is well conveyed. Given this climate, one wonders why John Russell wasn't given an opportunity to take his shirt off at least once. Chests like that should not be kept hidden.
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