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Very Interesting Subject Matter - Very Bad Reporting
Hey folks, This is a very interesting show, but it is ruined with all the innuendo and open declarations of "cover-up" and other sinister accusations. Eisenhower is blamed several times for ordering the operation to be kept secret. Well, of course the operation was kept secret - it was a practice exercise just six weeks before the D-Day invasion.
Repeatedly during the show it is made to appear there were very sinister reasons for a discrepancy in the number of American soldiers and sailors killed in the exercise, and that just was not the case at all. One source reported some 600+ killed and another source later reported about 110 additional men killed. Later in the show, it was stated the 110 additional men who were reported killed in the exercise appeared to be a mistake - not some sinister plot.
As I stated earlier, this was an interesting show, but the whole "sinister hype" crap repeated throughout the show ruins what really is an important footnote to our D-Day preparations. Because of the interesting historical information, my initial thought was to rate this as five stars out of ten. After further consideration as to how much the sinister hype simply ruins the show, I decided a rating of two or three stars out of ten would be more appropriate.
By all means, watch the show just for its historical content, and try to ignore the all the sinister stuff thrown in by the producers. It is interesting to note that none of the actual veterans who were there made any part of it sinister. Yes, they were ordered to keep the exercise secret - especially considering the D-Day invasion was just weeks away. Of course the veterans reported their sadness at the loss of their comrades, but all of them recognized they were at war and the need for secrecy. It is a shame the producers of this show could not simply have told the story without adding all the phony drama about sinister plotting.
Best wishes, Dave Wile
Giv'a 24 Eina Ona (1955)
Great Subject But Not So Great Story
In over 60 years of watching American films, I had never heard of this 1955 film. When I recently read about this film and learned it was to be shown on Turner Classic Movies, I was looking forward to watching it for the first time. From my youth I have been interested in the establishment of the Israeli nation, so I was really expecting to find a great story in this film which was apparently the first film produced by Israel.
Sadly, the film simply does not tell a good story. It may seem unfair to compare this film to "Exodus" which was released in 1960, but "Exodus" really did tell a great story. This film contained four small vignettes within it where each vignette described a brief story about each of the four main characters. The four vignettes were not good stories on their own, and they did not come together to make a good story from the sum of their parts.
I know a lot of folks have expressed how good they thought this film was, but I have to wonder if many of these folks may sympathetic to the birth of Israel and thinking more with their hearts than their minds. I, too, have long been sympathetic with the birth of Israel, but this film simply did not do well at telling that story.
"Sword In The Desert" from 1949 tells a much better story about the refugees' struggle to enter Palestine, and "Exodus" tells a much better story which goes beyond that of "Sword In The Desert."
Too Many Stars For All To Shine Brightly
This is the first of four Desperado films from the late 1980s, and the series of four are really pretty good oaters for those of us who like the western flicks. While they may not be on the level of Lonesome Dove and Open Range, they are a lot more exciting than many of the oaters I used to enjoy as a youth.
Alex McArthur's Duell McCall is exciting to watch as the good "bad guy," and Lise Cutter as his love interest, Nora, is very credible as well as being most easy on the eyes. Nora is also a good shooter and does not leave it all to the guys. In this first of the series, there are a host of well known supporting actors in the cast including: Donald Moffat, Pernell Roberts, Yaphet Kotto, Dirk Blocker, Robert Vaughn, and even Gladys Knight.
My only complaint is this show probably had too many stars for them all to shine as brightly as one might have wished. In spite of that, the Desperado series is a fun one, and all four shows are fun to re-watch every few years.
Best wishes, Dave Wile
Desperado: The Outlaw Wars (1989)
A Good Western With Excitement
The four Desperado films from the late 1980s really are pretty good oaters, and they are a lot more exciting than many of the ones I enjoyed as a youth. Alex McArthur's Duell McCall is exciting to watch as the good "bad guy," and Richard Farnsworth is also always a safe bet to create a credible character. McCall's love interest, Nora (played by Lise Cutter), is here once again and, as ever, is very easy on the eyes.
There have been very few reviews of the four films, and the forum boards for them have also had little written there. There are always negative comments made about any film, but these are pretty good westerns, and I would think more folks would be finding and reporting the same message.
Best wishes, Dave Wile
This Really Is An Awful Film
Hey folks, Another review was titled, "2.5????? u've gotta be kidding." I might have asked the same question. I think 2.5 was overly generous.
I like films, and I usually tell folks the reason I like a film is because it is a good story. This simply is not a good story. I never heard of the film until I saw it was playing on one of the Encore or Starz channels the other night. When I saw Meg Foster's name, I decided to record it in spite of what the storyline stated. I figured anything with Meg Foster was worth a look.
Boy, was I wrong. It just ruined my memories of Meg Foster. There is nothing here about needing to suspend your disbelief for the story. There simply is no story here. This film's story would make comic books seem like true classic literature.
Best wishes, Dave Wile
Combat!: The Flying Machine (1966)
Keenan Wynn Is Truly A Star
While this episode may not be filled with a lot of shooting, Rick Jason and Kennan Wynn easily make a great show by playing off each other with great dialogue, timing, and character development. Of course the writer, Edward J. Lakso, should also be given his due for a good story and the fine dialogue he gave Jason and Wynn to perform so capably. The old worn out L4 observation plane also becomes an integral character in the show thanks to the way Jason and Wynn speak of it with almost human qualities. In his supporting role as the Frenchman Claude, Peter Brocco performs admirably. Brocco is no stranger to the Combat! series. In a 1964 episode he played another rural Frenchman in "The Long Walk."
Will Rogers' USA (1972)
James Whitmore Is Simply Great As Will Rogers
Mr. F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre has already written an excellent and most informative review of Whitmore's "Will Rogers' USA" performance. Mr. MacIntyre states the show "gives some measure of Whitmore's talents and stage presence, but it says almost nothing about Rogers as a person or as a performer," and to that statement I would add a few comments.
Whitmore's performance in this production certainly did showcase his talent and stage presence as did his performances in his other one man shows noted by Mr. MacIntyre. I would disagree a bit with Mr. MacIntyre's premise that this show "says almost nothing about Rogers as a person or as a performer." While the show is not intended to be a biographical documentary of Rogers, I think it does a very good job of spotlighting the "look and feel" of Rogers as a performer. I have seen Rogers on film and listened to him on his radio shows, and it seems to me that Whitmore's performance captured the Will Rogers I saw and heard in film and on radio. Like the other reviewer of this show, Mr. Gary Levine, I am more inclined to rate this show at the high end.
Best wishes, David Wile.
Robert Duvall's 1st Combat! Performance
Robert Duvall made three appearances on Combat! ("The Enemy" - 5 January 1965, "Cry For Help" - 20 December 1966, and "The Partisan" - 14 Mar 1967), they were all good performances, and they were all good shows. Rick Jason as Lt. Hanley, and Robert Duvall as Karl are the quintessential protagonist and antagonist of drama, but one might reasonably argue which character is the protagonist and which is the antagonist. While there are five other characters in the show, they are purely supportive to Jason and Duvall who are the focus of the drama. As the two characters parry back and forth for the upper hand in their struggle to kill or capture the enemy, Duvall chooses to retire from the fight rather than take a chance on harming the civilian nun. As Karl essentially surrenders to Hanley, he tells the Sister, "You will always remember, Sister, that on this day, and on this place, you have deprived my Fatherland of one of it's most resourceful soldiers." Instead of ending the story there, however, the writers have Karl deliver one more line to Hanley which adds a nice flavor to the ending: "But, perhaps not Lieutenant, eh? There is still a little way to go before I reach your POW compound, nein?" Karl smiles at Hanley as they turn and go on their way. The last scene takes place on the arched bridge so familiar on many of the Combat! shows that were filmed on the MGM Backlot #2.