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Nova: Cold Case JFK (2013)
The Most Famous Cold Case That Never Went Cold
It's a complete investigation from square one of the assassination of JFK using every piece of evidence available from that dreadful day. They analyzed the gun, the bullets and the crime scene.
The Kennedy assassination is an extremely complicated case that has required decades of scientific development to solve. None of the conspiracy theories take into account shooting reconstruction or science. That's all based on speculation and imagination.
These NOVA scientists created a audio map of Dealey Plaza using laser technology. A reproduction of the two shots that hit President Kennedy and the Governor showed the damage that was done to the two men. The bullet trajectories lined up perfectly from the Texas School Book Depository window where Oswald built his sniper's nest. Conclusion? Oswald acted alone.
This documentary investigation also takes into account all the anomalies in the physical evidence. They're all explained.
As far as the conspiracy theories, they're up to you. you.
The Parts Are Greater Than the Whole
This film has an interesting background. It's the first filmed in Israel that was meant to be set elsewhere; i.e. the American West. Richard Boone was hoping to help the infant Israeli film industry with its birthing pains.
Each day of filming was beset with financial woes. At the end of every day Richard Boone, who was involved with production, had a meeting with the financiers. Somehow they managed to find enough money to complete the film. It holds together.
The script wasn't that great but Leslie Caron and Boone gave their best performances. The romance between the nun and the gunslinger made sense within the context of the story. It was refreshing to see Boone play a not-so-bad guy once more. The death of the hero rather than the heroine makes for an unexpected and poignant ending.
A word: Use caution if you're disturbed by graphic violence. In the theater version a man was emasculated in graphic and bloody detail. This scene has been edited from most versions of the film.
If you get a chance to see MADRON, don't pass it by. It's worthwhile for Richard Boone and Leslie Caron. They were brilliant.
The Richard Boone Show: The Fling (1963)
This One's An 11
Fascinating four character drama about a husband and wife and his temptation by an exotic creature who drifts into their tiny social circle. Katy (Bethel Leslie) is dependent upon Jim (Richard Boone) for her daily care and companionship and it's clear she is not a burden to her loving husband.
Jim and Katy Hensel live in the California desert for her health, so far off the grid they have no electricity. This radical lifestyle change was made for Katy's health. Specific reasons for Katy's illness aren't given. Were we to speculate at this point from her symptoms and the move they made to the dry desert and her mobility problems, she would seem to suffer from a combination of asthma and some form of Multiple Sclerosis.
Conversations make it clear that both Katy and Jim miss aspects of their lives left behind them, but only Jim has the ability to pursue his longing for what's been lost by their move to the desert. The object of Jim's desire, Florinda Kirty (Laura Devon), perfectly portrays a flighty young woman who may or may not be of light moral character.
Jim's life is further burdened by the presence of an old war buddy, Sailor (Henry Morgan), his driver from the Pacific theater. Sailor is a great admirer of Katy and Jim's relationship and feels greatly betrayed by Jim's attraction to Florinda.
Boone rates an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10 for this one. He's magnificent in the reading of the letter at the end.
The Kremlin Letter (1970)
Huston's Unpolished Diamond
An incredibly complicated plot requires one's full attention to comprehend this amazing film . It's full of human beings with all their human failings: greed, lust, terror, regret, rage and evil. The plot is thick with significant elements.
It's possible this film was too innovative for its time. The dialogue was unusual: the actor begins in Russian is dubbed over in their own voice into English. The finger-snapping code of the agents is peculiar and jarring. The sole gadget in the entire film is a listening device in a curtain rail. The photographic style also has a flavour of documentary style, and lacks glamour in its gritty style.
One imagines this as a realistic portrayal of post WWII espionage: less dependence on technology, and more on people. It took three viewings before the connections became apparent to this viewer. It's possible that unsophisticated 1970 audiences expecting another Jame Bond flick were unprepared for such a brilliant tour de force.
The film is worth watching for the dynamic performance from Richard Boone alone. He never puts a foot wrong as the folksy mentor of the new spy. The post WWII generation breaking in a new spy is hyper-realistic. Only the extreme torture is left to the imagination. It's no wonder the audience of 1970 was unable to take in this brilliant film. See it now for its star-studded performances. Richard Boone's acting, as always, is a treat in store. He never disappoints.
There's a pervasive homosexual undertone for many of the main characters. It is certainly there for the discerning viewer. This, too, could have had an effect on audiences and critics of 41 years ago when homophobia was omnipresent. This may be the sole role in his life in which Richard Boone portrayed a homosexual. Watch for the subtle hint in the distribution of the two-bedroom apartment's sleeping arrangements.
Red Skies of Montana (1952)
Time Travel Still Impossible
As time travel is yet impossible, this film was not based on the book, Fire, written by George R Stewart, as claimed by another reviewer. Since that book was published February 1, 1984, 3 years after Richard Boone's death from oral cancer, it would have been impossible to have filmed this book. The film was shot in 1952, long before the book was published.
The F/X are amazing for their time. There's no CGI and the flames are from burning trees and forest. It's remarkable no one was killed making this film. One wonders how much acreage was consumed during filming.
At the time it wasn't known that controlled fire was a healthy part of forest growth and management. Times have changed. All the Smokey Bear campaigns preventing forest fires caused a buildup of materials on forest floors and when forest fires occurred they were hotter and too destructive for the forests to survive.
The actors are better than the plot.
Hec Ramsey: Dead Heat (1974)
Dead Heat is Dead Fun
A fascinating forensic mystery to solve, some women's suffrage issues and a convicted bank robber keep Hec on his toes. This time the pretty lady isn't interested in Hec but her actions irritate and annoy him greatly. Sheree North and Richard Boone have great chemistry and it's a joy to watch them on screen.
The denizens of the town of New Prospect are introduced to ice cream and their varied reactions are a treat. The local production of ice cream gives Hec a hint which helps him solve the murder. Although Hec Ramsey came first, this plot reminds one of House, M.D.
Red herrings are liberally strewn through the plot and make things uber interesting. As usual, the Police Department of New Prospect seems to operate in spite of town politics. We learn that Hec's monthly salary is $100 plus minor expense money. In spite of this, he is an honest cop. A bribery attempt fails.
Indians and Rattlesnakes and Beefcake, Oh My!
Who in Hollywood today would be audacious enough to handle a live fanged venom-bearing rattlesnake? Richard Boone was an great actor and a brave man. Here he walks up to a venomous snake, a living rattlesnake hanging from a tree, grasps it in his bare hands and holds it over his head for the next two scenes. No living actor today would perform this heroic feat.
Another reviewer has already analysed the beefcake aspects of the episode. There's little to add except to be very grateful to Gene Roddenberry for the scene. Beefcake is always to be appreciated. This is one of only two occasions when he appeared shirtless in this series.
Paladin's horse comes to the rescue to get him out of this trouble. This is completely out of character for this Western hero. We never learn the name of any of Paladin's horses, which is right for his character. Paladin's the focus of every episode, not the horse he rides. According to the book, SILENT HOOFBEATS, this well-trained particular mount was called Curley.
Paladin doesn't sing or play the guitar or any other Western clichés. He rarely uses a rope to lasso anyone or anything (episode The Kid notwithstanding), so the help from this well-trained equine is a bit over the top.
The conflict over the gold is trite, but the snake and the stakeout make this well worth viewing. It's true people are greedy and filled with gold lust. The bit about Major Wilson trying to recall Paladin's name from West Point was amusing.
Paladin's Horse: Curley, a bay with front white stockings and a white face stripe.
Paladin's Gear: Black concha hat, black Western shirt open at the neck, black trousers, black holster with Colt. The spurs return and appear different in this episode.
Paladin Shoots: No one. He dropped Major Wilson accidentally. He doesn't count in the death toll.
Accidental Deaths: Major Wilson
Paladin's Total Kills: Manfred Holt, Jailbreak Team 3, Miguel Rojas, Strome's lackey, Mulrooney
Total Kills by Paladin: 7
Paladin Wounded: 0
Paladin Concussed: 0
The Biter Bit
Too many stereotypes to count in this one. The skin lodges in the town, the 'firewater' the giant feather war bonnet would never be worn on a fake raid, the Englishman wearing shorts in Montana, a woman running a ranch alone who can't wait for a man to arrive and take everything over, it goes on. The war dance around the keg was over the top, and wasn't it illegal to give whiskey to Indians? Absent the stereotypes the episode could have been enjoyable.
A practical joker plays 'jokes' that are more cruel than amusing. Alix Talton (Felicia Carson) was a former Miss Georgia, but she lacks any sort of southern accent. She sounds more Midwestern twangy. Paladin's relationship with the English gentleman is the most interesting bit of this one.
Paladin's Horse: Einstein. (Bay with front white stockings and a white face stripe.)
Paladin's Gear: Black Conchita hat, black Western shirt open at the neck, black trousers, black holster with Colt. The spurs are back in this episode.
Paladin Shoots: No one.
Paladin's Total Kills: Manfred Holt, Jailbreak Team 3, Miguel Rojas, Strome's lackey, Mulrooney
Total Kills by Paladin: 7
Typhoid? Cholera? Death on a dark horse? No, it's Paladin!
Typhoid isn't spread from person-to-person, it spreads via contaminated water from infected stools and bad septic fields. All the fears of the people in the town were completely unfounded. This discovery was made in 1854 by John Snow, but it took 30 years to be accepted and another 50-75 years for public health developments to solve the problem of clean drinking water and sewage treatment facilities. Of course this doesn't apply to Third World countries where cholera still exists and kills. Rehydration therapy solves most of the problems that come with typhoid and cholera these days.
Other reviewers have complained that Grant Withers as Mulrooney failed to provide the required menace in his part. This writer recalls clearly the demonisation of people suffering from such recent plagues as HIV and AIDS who were homosexual were considered to deserve their dreadful fate. How does Mulrooney differ from them? Withers showed quite enough menace in his role as a demagogue.
Today's headlines are full of foolish rhetoric from those who fail to keep church and state separate. Combining the two are always a bad idea. Here's why: if the two are combined, which version of church are we going to use, yours or mine? I'll fight to the death to keep the church I grew up in out of politics and the state. Possibly you feel a similar way about some other arm of organised religion. Isn't it better to keep politics and religion separated for those precise reasons? It seems clear that Mr Mulrooney had an agenda: he wanted Clara Benson for his wife. When she refused and her baby fell ill, that was enough to drive her from the wagon train society and abandon her two day's ride from the nearest settlement. That was a fate worse than death. Had not Paladin ventured by Mrs Benson and her child would have perished for sure, from lack of water if nothing else.
Richard Boone as Paladin flexes his massive acting muscles against the wrong-headed townsfolk, forcing them to see how wrong they are in their actions. One of them saves Paladin's life.
Paladin falls to a microorganism in the end, poor sod. Of course, he considers himself fortunate.
Paladin's Horse: Bay with front white stockings and a white face stripe. From now on this horse will be referred to as Einstein for reasons which will later become clear.
Paladin's Gear: Black concha hat, black Western shirt open at the neck, black trousers, black holster with Colt. The spurs are back in this episode.
Paladin Shoots: Mulrooney, who was going to shoot Paladin in the back Deaths: 1, Mulrooney Paladin's Total Kills: Manfred Holt, Jailbreak Team 3, Miguel Rojas, Strome's lackey, Mulrooney Total Kills: 7
Whatever You Do, Don't Mention The War, or, A Simple Detective Story
This episode confirms Paladin's West Point background. In the opening scene, Paladin read an advertisement requesting assistance specifically targeted at his talents. He accepts the assignment and investigates a woman purported to have been a dance hall madam.
During filming of the laundry scenes there were visitors on the set. There were only 4 silver dollar props which Paladin gave to LuLu and which she dropped into her cleavage. Peggy Rea, the actress, later told the story of how she had trouble retrieving the props from her brassiere. Richard Boone helped her fish them out. The visitors were shocked and appalled by this view of Hollywood and television.
Paladin's Horse: Bay with front white stockings and a white face stripe.
Paladin's Gear: Ruffled shirt with striped suit, bow tie, formal white evening suit with vest, black concha hat, black Western shirt open at the neck, black trousers, black holster with Colt, a single shot derringer. The spurs are back in this episode.
Paladin Shoots: No one.
Deaths: 0 Paladin's Total Kills: Manfred Holt, Jailbreak Team 3, Miguel Rojas, Strome's lackey Total Kills: 6