Reviews written by registered user
|48 reviews in total|
It is very difficult to describe the true effect of this particular
television program. It is far better to understand that one had to be
curled up on a sofa, legs tucked under you, with a bag of potato chips
or popcorn and a soft drink nearby.
One has to also envisage that the room lights were incandescent, and the heavy baroque furniture and lamp shades (very few had ceiling lights back then) cast shadows over the room.
The show opens with the faces of terribly frightening people looking out at you from a black & white television screen, with an image nowhere as clear as the one we have become used to today.
Now the announcer's voice intones the opening of the show: "What are these people waiting for? They are all waiting for....the... Unexpected!"
No, the 30 minute mini dramas on average never lived up in intensity to the famous opening, but from time to time they came across with one or two that stuck with you..right into your bedtime dreams. Like someone being buried alive, or a vindictive spouse coming back from the grave, or someone on the edge of going to the electric chair for a crime they did not commit.
The show was presented in a 30 minute time frame (with the occasional commercial) and it had to be done reasonably well. No, they weren't as yet up to the quality of the as yet to come - Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but for the time and audience, for the most part, they were entertaining.
Still, . all in all, considering the crap offered to us on cable or satellite television today ... it was not bad!
It took me a moment or so before I could remember this film - and then
it came to me. At the time this film came out, I was 20 years old and
living in a hotel on 44th Street, just off Broadway in New York City.
Right around the corner, playing in a movie theater (located just below
the then famous "Camels" smoking man display) was this film.
Outside they had hooked up a series of telephones near the lobby entrance, so that you could talk (pre-recorded) to a "Call Girl." The voice you heard was that of actress Anne Francis as the film's central character.
At the time I thought it was quite hokey and, at first, didn't spend my scarce funds on the film. But some days later a friend treated me to the film, and I was quite surprised and very impressed.
This was a damn good film for its time. The theme was hardly ever touched upon in films in those days. In fact, in most, at best hinted at briefly in the dialog.
This film, however, was well scripted and laid the subject bare with well written dialog. In my opinion, had it been produced some two or so decades later, Ms. Francic would have been deservedly nominated for an Academy Award.
With no disrespect meant to the first commentator, something is
definitely wrong here! First of all, I remember this show as being
quite intriguing when I was age 14, which would have been in 1954.
In New York City where I lived, the show usually came on about 8:00 pm, right after the news which we watched on CBS with Douglas Edwards. After it was over, we switched to another network to see this show.
Secondly, I remember the show as having 'more' than 4 episodes and, thirdly, I remember the show having changed time venues in relationship to its scripts.
Why am I so certain of this? Because I remember the Major going behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany, being led by an undercover German citizen. And while they are traveling on foot toward their destination, at a roadblock, a staff car containing Adolph Hitler stops for a moment, and the major actually reaches for a hidden gun. His German companion then stops him and says, "No, even I cannot allow that!"
Just to check myself and recollection, I called an old childhood friend in Pennsylvania who is now a TV producer. He was also incredibly fond of this show: which he had to watch in my home in and as his parents couldn't afford a TV set.
His recollection is the same as mine. He too remembers the show's time venue changing mid run. And he too remembers more than 4 episodes. However, being that he is in the business, he comments that it is highly unlikely that any production company would have made only 4 shows, as it would be expensively foolish - even at that time.
He points out that even the studio that made the "Rocky Jones Space Ranger" TV series in 1954, produced 39 episodes before abandoning the project in the same year.
That said, I personally think the earlier episodes that dealt with the end of WW ll were better! And they must be out there somewhere.
One reviewer here wrote that this film was a poor excursion for the
lead actor, Rod Taylor. I do honestly believe it to be one of his best
comedy outings in his career. True, the film does lag a bit about two
thirds of the way through, but its premise is solid.
One simply has to regard the film in the light of the the times it represents; which is the social environment of the late 1940's to the mid 1970's when the Cold War eventually ended. And one has to have some sense of how the Cold War era was, in itself, an exercise in the futility of bringing a major war to an end on a slow boil.
Therefore, I regard such claims as it not being humorous, or a lame attempt at such, being the inability of someone too young to have experienced the times.
Keep in mind that my generation (born in 1939) participated in 'take-cover' drills in our elementary classrooms, as serious protection from a nuclear bomb blast.
When given the signal, we kids were instructed to dive under our classroom desks, and to cover our heads with our hands until the all clear was given.
In reality, if the bomb was indeed dropped anywhere nearby, all 'take -cover would have accomplished was to yield - all gone! Yes, it was taken seriously by just about everyone.
Knowing this, it is easily understood why actual spy agencies on our side, and behind the Iron Curtain countries actually generated such extremes as history reveals of this era - as serious exercises.
Knowing this, simply sit back, relax your serious muscles, expose your humor muscles and enjoy this delightful film in the vein it was intended.
First of all, even with a scant few trivial character actions that were
a tad bit questionable, this film is absolutely - EXCELLENT! How can I
say that? Well my wife and I usually get through our bag of popcorn
within the first quarter of a film. This time, however, when the film
ended we had almost a half bag left - uneaten.
No, it wasn't disgust from anything depicted in the film, it was simply that the film grabbed our attention and virtually never let go.
Now, who am I? Well, I am a scientist and my wife is a British midwife. Yes, we are computer competent and that may be a key element. We are also in our sixties - that may also be another key element.
However, it is my opinion that most of the reviews written here (with the bare exception of the first one), were written by a generation that doesn't really know what terror is. They have been raised by so much simulated on screen violence and fake blood, that virtually nothing scares them anymore.
However again, as a technical consultant, I have traveled to over 30 countries and worked in some brutal and godforsaken areas and witnessed incredible brutality.
Trust me people, there are very scary things and situation in the real world and this film reveals, quite brilliantly, the rapid evolution of one of them within our own society.
For those of you who were not a "bit" frightened, what the hell film did you view?
This film was typical of the B-Movie fare of the late 1950's and early
1960's, spurred by the 1959 TV release of "The Untouchables."
The 1960 film, "The Rise and Fall of Jack Legs Diamond", and the 1961 film "Portrait of a Mobster" were better examples of how these films should and could be made well. B-movies, yes; but there's B and then there's - B made well.
The actor who portrays Pretty Boy Floyd, John Ericsons, was slated for better things, and the studios did try. He was indeed a good journeyman actor but, for some reason, simply did not have the matinée idol gene in him.
There is nothing spectacular going on in this film, but it does move and its easy watching. Its only only standout highlight worth mentioning is a, all too brief but great performance by the late "Munsters" actor, Al Lewis: look for it.
I ask you, how is it possible for people to frantically run around in
the desert, and somehow manage to keep their perfectly coiffed
hairstyles? Why don't they have sweat stains on their light colored
clothing? Why don't they get visibly dirty? And most of all, this is
the very first Science Fiction film where the heroes and local
authorities face an imminent threat that could go from local to
national, and they never even consider contacting the federal
government, or calling in the military.
Other than those few sticking points, the film was, overall, well acted, well written and well shot. And the special effects were above standard. In fact, scientifically, it even made sense on many points.
Broadcast on the Dumont Television Network between 1949-1952, and
almost forgotten by TV historians, what a wonderful early children's
television show this was. For certain, no family killers or Columbine
shooters were ever launched by the fare on this marvelous broadcast.
The host of the show was a cute and demure lady named, Pat Meikel, who looked somewhat like a schoolteacher. I'd love to know more about her, but there is little vintage television data on her or, surprisingly, her little gem of a show. The general concept of the show was so delightfully simple.
Miekle would skillfully draw in charcoal on an easel a character of her own invention (like the Good Witch Hazel, and the Spanish cavalier Juan Two Three), and then by uttering the same magic words each time - a-roo ba-roo, she'd summon them up. And through the early special effects available at the time, crude though they may have been by today's standards, they'd magically appear portrayed by real actors.
There were also many original teaching songs about morals, caring for the safety of others and racial prejudice which, unfortunately. I am longer able to remember the words to. But neither my much younger brother or me, both avid viewers of the show, ever forgot the impact of their meaning.
Where ever you are, Ms. Miekle, Bravo! You did a heck of a job and were the best and cleanest of inspirations for so many young minds of the time. Hopefully, we made you proud too.
Call it what you like, Red baiting, Communist fearing mania or whatever
(maybe a little bit of Mc Cartheyism),who cares. The show, however,
under the glib acting talents of star Barry Nelson was very watchable
and, most times, quite enjoyable - for the time.
Nelson portrayed wealthy man about town (then referred to as a playboy), Bart Adams, a carefree, booze loving womanizer who had a secret side. Adams was a freelance Communist hunter - hence the show's title, "The Hunter."
Through some sort of secret network (never fully explained in the series) he was able to ferret out agents for the Russian government working inside the U.S.A. And at times, the cheaply made show had Adams working, clandestinely, inside a Communist country.
Like with the Leslie Charteris character, Simon Templer (The Saint), Adams character had a signal tune that was whistled in the beginning credits of the show and after his triumphant success - even though you never saw him at the end - which was meant to state that he'd escaped his enemies.
That tune was "Are you sleeping, are you sleeping, brother John, brother John...." - followed by what was then referred to as a 'wolf whistle.' In its third season, for whatever reasons, Barry Nelson was either dropped from the show or left it voluntarily. He was replaced by actor Keith Larson and the show lost something vital. It ended at the beginning of that third season.
Long before the advent of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, there was "Tom
Corbett Space Cadet." And the camaraderie's of fiction characters that
we came to know and adsorb so well in "Star Trek" in 1966, was
successfully captured here first in the early 1950's.
Tom Corbett (Frankie Thomas), the wise cracking Roger (Jan Merlin) and the Venusian, Astro (??) . I didn't know of a single kid on my block or in my grade school who didn't use the character Roger's famous term - "Aw go blast your jets!" It was a great show for its time and, in many ways, ahead of its time.
Long live the crew of the Polaris!
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