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1/18/66 "This'll Kill You", 7 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kimble is working for and has befriended a former comedian who now runs a laundry, (Mickey Rooney). Mickey is actually in what we would now call witness protection after testifying against some mob people, who would not like to pay him back the hard way. Rooney's dream is to get back his wife, (Nita Talbot). She seems to have the same goal but then sells him out for the money they never had.

Rooney could be quite an actor when he wanted to be one and he plays this character like a violin. Talbot is perfect as his dream girl who turns out to be a nightmare. Philip Pine is the scout for the hit man. (Does he ever play a good guy?) Kimble is mostly on the sidelines here but suddenly seems like Iago when he warns his friend- just before he has to leave- to try to avoid the impending tragedy.

The title comes from Rooney's former profession: he was a comic who was playing the wrong joint at the wrong time, as well as from the inevitable result of that coincidence.

1/18/63 "A Gift for a Warrior", 7 October 2015

And suddenly Buz is back! All is well! Or is it? Most accounts say that this is an episode recorded earlier, before they went back to the Midwest that was still unseen when the hepatitis returned. I'm still unsure about this, considering that the previous episodes in Missouri and Tennessee maintained the connection of Buz with the series, that this episode began a series of episodes that take place from California to Texas and that Robert Duval plays a Buz-like character in the next episode.

The boys are headed to Tijuana for a good time when they encounter a German sailor who has jumped ship, (there's quarantine due to a possible epidemic which somehow disappears from the plot). He's searching for his father who, as a GI, impregnated his mother in post-war Germany and then went home. The father now owns a ranch on the boarder and employs migrant workers, a combination of Asians and Mexicans and now a German is added to the mix- along with Todd and Buz, who are concerned about the young man, especially when they find a gun in his knapsack, and decide to tag along.

The German is played by Lars Passgård, a Swedish actors whose career was almost entirely in that country's cinema. In fact, he's just been in Ingmar Bergman's film "Through a Glass Darkly. His only other encounter with Hollywood seems to have been a role in the film "The Prize", about the competition for the Nobel Prizes, which came out this same year. I guess he stayed in town to do this one role and then went home. He is suitably intense here, as you can see from the picture that heads this page.

The father, (James Whitmore), has finally decided to marry: a young wife who reminds the sailor of a picture of his mother. It turns out that's why he's marrying her. The ending is perhaps more melodramatic than it needs to be. It might actually contain the last images of George Maharis as Buz Murdock, making it even more poignant. They were certainly the last images the audience saw, at last until reruns and DVDs.

1/11/66 "Wife Killer", 3 October 2015

This is a key episode in the saga of "The Fugitive". A reporter, (Janis Rule) takes a picture of some suspects being held for a heinous crime and one of them is the one armed man Kimble remembers seeing. Kimble shows up- and so does Gerard. The one-armed man, (we find out his name is Fred Johnson) bolts and Kimble, aided by the reporter, goes after him. There's an accident and Kimble and the reporter rescue Johnson and hold up in an out-of-season camp with some first aid facilities. Kimble has to use all his medical skills to try to save Johnson so he can get him to confess.

At one point he asks him if he killed his wife and Johnson nods his head. Kimble almost collapses in emotion. He's reached his goal but beholds the killer of his wife and the cause of all his problems. But Johnson could wake up and deny it: he needs something in writing. When both Kimble and Johnson are asleep, the reporter fakes a Johnson's signature on a confession as the police close in so she can get a story. For a time Kimble thinks he'll be a free man but holds back from turning himself in after the police have Johnson. Then he calls Gerard and finds out that he's still a fugitive.

1/11/63 "You Can't Pick Cotton In Tahiti", 3 October 2015

Richard Basehart plays a Hollywood type, (I assume he's a composer since his expertise seems to be music), who fakes his suicide to get away from an environment he's tired of. We next see him on a bus in Tennessee, pulling into a small town where Todd is working in a cotton gin. (Why didn't he stay in the cushy job he had in the last episode?) Basehart, ("Julian Roebuck") tries his charm on a young lady who is the fiancé of Todd's buddy at the gin.

Roebuck becomes fascinated with the folk music of the area, pointing out that many great composers have been influenced by it. Somehow he's not without funds and buys a tape recorder and goes around recording people singing, including the young lady, (played by Jena Engstrom). Todd isn't sure that Roebuck really admires these people or is making fun of them for his own pleasure. Neither are the townspeople, especially when he puts poor Jena in front of an audience when she really can't sing. Eventually he proposes marriage but does he really mean that?

I agree with the other reviewers that the real reason to watch this one is Basehardt, who does a good job with a con man who may be conning himself.

There's another phone conversation with Buz, with Maharis still in the credits. Again, there is no evidence of a role Buz would have played in this story.

1/4/66 "Not With a Whimper", 30 September 2015

I first encountered The Fugitive on A& E in the early 90's. This was an episode I remembered vividly years later. It almost reminded me of "Goldfinger", which was the biggest James Bond movie of the time. An old mentor of Kimble's is now a crusader against pollution, (which obviously was already becoming an issue at this date). He himself is dying and Kimble comes to see him. There's a similarity to the premiere episode of the second season, "Man in a Chariot" in that the old man, (a lawyer in that case) is strongly on Kimble's side but his loyal aide, (here played by Audrey Christie) , feels he is a threat to her boss and would just as soon see him leave- by any means.

The suspenseful ending comes when the old man, (Lawrence Naismith), has a bomb delivered to the polluting factory only to find that a class of schoolchildren will be touring the place at the time. Naismith is wheel-chair ridden so he sends Kimble to retrieve the bomb. Christie calls the police. Kimble is confronted not by Oddjob but by a rebellious kid who has grabbed the package and insisted that it belongs to him. Kimble has to get the package away from the kid without detonating the bomb, defuse it, and somehow escape from the police who have surrounded the building. It's the most exciting episode of "The Fugitive".

1/4/63 "A Bunch of Lonely Pagliaccis", 30 September 2015

Todd now has a cushy if demanding job as a secretary/chauffeur for a Faulkner-like novelist. He even has his own office with a cup of hot coffee waiting for him when arrives for work each day. In the first scene he takes some time to write a later to Buz describing his situation.

The novelist, (Barry Sullivan), has a beautiful daughter, (Laura Devon, who was last seen in the season premiere, "One Tiger to a Hill"). She is first seen shooting her husband in the presence of an old flame he has apparently rekindled his relationship with. She gets put on trial which, with her father's notoriety, becomes a media circus. Todd spends the episode on the periphery of this, jousting with a columnist played by Vivien Blaine, who gets to utter the title line, saying that we're all here to provide a mixture of laughs and tears. Warren Stephens plays another journalist, even more jaded than the rest who has a dalliance with a local young lady and then beats up her husband when he objects, (due to a greater familiarity with the martial arts). Neither of those sub- plots connect directly to the main story, where we find out that all is not quite what it seems. The ending suggests a tolerance for mercy killing that wound be controversial now: it must have been even moreso then.

There's nothing here to suggest the original presence of Buz in an earlier version of this script.

12/28/65 "When the Wind Blows", 29 September 2015

Kimble takes refuge at a small hotel run by a widow with a young, overly-sensitive son who likes to hide in a cave he found. Kimble befriends the boy and treats him with respect, earning his respect. The widow befriends Kimble because of this and hides him out when the typically incompetent local constabulary come calling.

It's a good episode because it shows the compassion that makes Kimble such a compelling character. He recognizes that Kenny is more unique than troubled. "The things you worry about are the things that make him two feet taller than the rest. He's an original and that's rare"

In a sense, both he and the child are fugitives- Kimble from the law and the boy from the world itself. They're also both originals.

12/21/62 "Give an Old Cat a Tender Mouse", 29 September 2015

Now we have three Tennessee episodes in a row, obviously filmed after the two Missouri episodes. We also have the return of free- spirited Vickie Russell from season 2's "How Much a Pound is Albatross?", (Julie Newmar), the most charismatic of all the characters Todd, Buz and Linc encountered on their journeys and the only one they meet twice. One wishes there had been a third time. Maybe she could have been the gal Todd married at the end and they could have gone off on her motorcycle for a new series of adventures. The problem is that the character, as wonderful as she is, is rather slight, sort of a zephyr blowing by. She's interesting in a couple of episodes but likely couldn't hold down a series.

Vicki is in Memphis to check out Franck Ridenbaugh, a potential husband the bank who controls her fortune has lined up for her. She now has a semi-comical private detective trailing her in a van who "fixes" the messes she gets into. Franck, (the "c" is for cotton, which his fortune is based on) is well-played by Robert Webber, fully a match for Newmar as a serious-minded businessman who nonetheless is fascinated by his potential bride. They have some adventures together, including skydiving and a brawl at a nightclub that's more to her taste than his formal parties. Eventually he decides he's not ready to stop being who he is and she's not ready to stop being who she is. Franck also adds that he doesn't want "a woman who is a contender for the title", (after her horse jumped higher than his did). Again the recurring theme in this series of how women shouldn't undercut men.

Todd never makes contact with Vicki except through his rear view mirror, (didn't she recognize him?), and gets into a series of comic scrapes with a local cop that pad the episode to an hour but never really become part of the story. There's nothing in this script that suggests the original presence of Buz. One wonders what the original version, if there was one, looked like.

George Maharis is still listed in the credits and Todd chooses Buz for the one phone call when he gets arrested. His "echo virus" is now an inner ear infection, (not that that's what it really is, despite what it sounds like). Buz is still in Cleveland. You wonder why Todd didn't stay in Cleveland and find jobs there. But the show must move on and so must he.

12/21/65 "End of the Line" *, 25 September 2015

Kimble steals a wallet to pay his fare on a bus. He then decides to return the wallet, after earning back the money with a job as a dishwasher. He winds up witnessing the murder of its owner, giving him the dilemma of whether to report what he saw and possibly reveal himself. The murderer is played by Andrew Prine who had played Kimble's brother in a first season episode. The lead man's daughter, (and Prine's girlfriend in the episode), is played by an actress I've never heard of, Barbara Dana, and she's very good. She had just married Alan Arkin and was semi-retired from the business until they divorced years later.

12/14/62 "Where is Chick Lorimer? Where has She Gone", 25 September 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chick Lorimer is not a character in this episode. She's a character in Carl Sandberg's 1916 poem "Gone":

EVERYBODY loved Chick Lorimer in our town.

Far off

Everybody loved her. So we all love a wild girl keeping a hold

On a dream she wants. Nobody knows now where Chick Lorimer went. Nobody knows why she packed her trunk .. a few old things And is gone,

Gone with her little chin

Thrust ahead of her

And her soft hair blowing careless

From under a wide hat, Dancer, singer, a laughing passionate lover.

Were there ten men or a hundred hunting Chick? Were there five men or fifty with aching hearts?

Everybody loved Chick Lorimer.

Nobody knows where she's gone.

Vera Miles is a rather down to earth actress, but a good one. She plays Ellen Barnes who left her small town years ago to be a singer and has been admired- or resented- by those who left behind ever since. She's now returned for her niece's marriage. The niece, (Brenda Scott), sees he as a fee-spirited favorite aunt. Her mother, (Martha Scott, apparently no relation to Brenda), sees her as the irresponsible sibling that left her to manage everything. Frank Overton plays an old suitor who never lost interest.

Todd encounters her as the prisoner of a bail bondsman she claims has kidnapped her. He aids her escape, then goes after her to make up for it when he learns the truth. He winds up falling for her. The show winds up at the wedding with Ellen singing for the gathered group. Then the drunken bail bondsman shows up and tells everybody what she was doing when he found her: she's a stripper! She's also penniless. But that's what she did and what she had, not who she is.

The episode suffers from lengthy dialog scenes that are a bit too over-wrought and a bit of over-acting by Martin Milner at the end. It plays like a stage play, not a TV show, where we are used to more "movement". Surprisingly it was not written by Stirling Silliphant, famous for his flowery dialog, but by Larry Marcus.

(In a strange personal irony, after watching this episode, I went to see the current Meryl Streep movie, "Ricki and the Flash", in which she plays a modern version of Chick Lorimer, a woman who left her family to become a rock star and who returns home because her daughter needs her. It ends with Meryl singing at a wedding. What are the odds on that?)

George Maharis still appears in the credits of this episode and Todd has a lengthy phone conversation with Buz at the beginning. Buz is in the hospital in Cleveland with "echo virus", (which is an intestinal disorder caused by exposure to an uncleanly environment that might be akin to what Maharis actually had). Clearly, Todd tells Buz that he's looking for a couple of jobs for them. The episode takes place in St. Charles, Missouri , 245 miles from St. Louis. This is surely the episode shot right after "Hey Moth, Come Eat the Flame", the apparent last episode filmed by Maharis. Why they put him in a hospital in Cleveland, I don't know. It's the local of their previous episodes, one of which, "Only by Cunning Glimpses", was shown after "Hey Moth Come Eat the Flame". Had they already decided on the broadcast order? At any rate they either expected Maharis to come back again or they were still hopeful of it.

Todd's attitude toward Ellen seems to change from scene to scene, suggesting that some of those scenes were originally "Buz" scenes. Now it's all Todd.

(This is the first review I've posted since Martin Milner's death. He had a long and productive life and was an under-rated actor. R. I. P.

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