Reviews written by registered user
|3 reviews in total|
Slow moving western adventure succeeds despite the glacial pace. Characters are well drawn, but don't have enough obstacles along the way to sustain interest. The film probably could have been cut 30 minutes. Beautiful Technicolor scenery is somewhat lost on the small screen (widescreen DVD). Glen Campbell makes a good film debut but seems mis-cast as a French ranger. As the second bill, he should have been given the more against-type "bad guy" role that Duvall had. Excellent, multi- dimensional performance by Kim Darby who holds her own in scenes with film veteran Wayne. The real bad guys aren't bad enough to suit me. I never felt that there was much conflict in the story. The stronger thread is the story of a young woman having to grow up quickly in a hostile world. Why was this film rated "M" in 1969? The very brief hanging scene? It would probably pass as a "G" today.
"Submerged" is an updated remake of Universal's "Airport 1977." Although this is a Paramount release, "Submerged" uses the same model work, stock footage, and many key plot points from "Airport 1977" including the same rescue sequence. This version sensibly takes some of the story outside of the plane crash--the fatal flaw of the original. There are some good action chase scenes and some lively explosions. There are some other interesting additions, such as shark-infested waters and a pregnant woman in labor. The plane decor is interesting -- including a old western-style saloon bar. Aside from Dennis Weaver as Stevens, the acting is pretty wooden and uninteresting. Overall, "Submerged" is midly entertaining, on par with a good made-for-TV movie.
Republic Pictures' five released VHS videos which represent eight
different episodes are, I hope, the first of a complete series
release. In recent years, "Streets" has been relegated to the
pre-dawn graveyard of Indie and cable television stations, edited
down to allow for more ghastly, no-budget local ads (trade
schools, lawyers, and the like). Nowadays, low self-esteem
broadcasters plaster their logos and moving promo messages
along the bottom of the as if the program is an interruption of their
commercials. So, what a treat to see these classic episodes
without all of these distractions.
Although popular enough to run for five seasons, it never received the credit it deserved -- none of the hype of a "Charlie's Angels," for example. It's too bad that Michael Douglas didn't stick with the show. His performances in "Streets" and "The China Syndrome" are among his best. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll consider returning to a follow-up "Streets" later in his career, taking the senior detective's role that Malden held in the original.
"Streets" always had tight scripts, good plotting, and interesting characters -- even if they pandered to stereotypes a little. Way ahead of its time, gay themes are treated with surprising tact and good taste. In the episode "Harem," guest star Rick Nelson plays a gay pimp for female prostitutes (a novel idea in and of itself). The word "gay" is never used, but Steve (Douglas) simply tells Mike (Malden) that, "he's not exactly what you'd call a ladies man."
The two-hour special "Thrill Killers," is perhaps the most interesting release. Patty Duke Astin plays a not-too-thinly disguised Patty Hearst (a headline story at that time) who takes a whole jury hostage and begins killing them one by one. It's a relief not to have to wait a week to see part two.
The least interesting of these releases is "Dead Air," starring Larry Hagman as a radio talk show host (reminiscent of Bill Balance's Feminine Forum, an innovative show at the time). The studio scenes are completely unrealistic and the killer can be guessed before the end of Act 1.
Unfortunately, none of these eight releases includes an episode from "Streets" most famous director, Richard Donner ("The Omen" and "Lethal Weapon" series.) Maybe they'll release some of his episodes on DVD with a director's commentary? Also missing is what I consider to be the best episode of the series, "Mask of Death," which has an amazing performance by John Davidson as a female impersonator.