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CAN you go home again...?
Bettina Lloyd, a reporter struggling to make a career for herself on a New York magazine, finds herself obliged to accept an assignment that will take her back to her hometown in Ohio to investigate a report of a series of so-called medical "miracles". Her return forces her to face a mother with whom she has an estranged relationship, a father facing a future alone, a brother with a drinking problem... When she tries to examine the story, she is shocked to find that the root of the "miracles" lies with her former teenage romantic interest who has been comatose for over a decade and that his mother has been conducting medical cures by the laying on of his hand over the afflicted... But, surprisingly, the heart of the story is in Bettina herself...how she is forced to come to grips, sometimes through flashbacks, at times by being confronted by a growing crisis in her mother's health with the traumatic events in her young life which tore her away from her family...events which eventually are brought to the surface and resolved by the very situation which brought her home in the first place... Points to the acting, which gives us the right tough of honesty and believability without going over the melodramatic top.
torn from old headlines..?
what an eerie feeling to watch this episode unfold and suddenly sit upright and realize how similar the story was to a crime that gripped the public here in Canada about 10-11 years ago...!! a failed accountant responsible for over 100 rapes in the Toronto area subsequently married...together with his wife, they kidnapped raped tortured and murdered 2 young teenage girls...previously, his wife had drugged her younger sister with a horse tranquilizer and given her to him as a Christmas present; subsequently the sister died from the drug...Wife also participated in the kidnapping and assault of prostitutes...talk about deja vu all over again...!!!
Maggie Muggins (1955)
weird little kiddie show
I don't really remember much about this show..about a pig-tailed girl who hangs around farmer Mcgarrity who always seemed to be working in his vegetable garden, and who was always having problems with pesky varmints like rabbits who were always after his vegetables...I must have around 13-14 at the time, with overcharged hormones, so I would get kind of aroused fantasizing about what was REALLY going on between them..(sorry...told you I was perverted)... Anyway, I probably didn't even notice that Maggie and the old man kept changing as the series went on, what with cast changes and such...just kept watching it, and lusting after Maggie, waiting for something ANYTHING exciting to happen...it never did..farmer Mcgarrity was too obsessed with them pesky varmints, and Maggie never seemed to have anything better to do with her time then hang around that damned vegetable patch....but like she always said at the end of every episode; "I don't know what'll happen tomorrow!" Poor Maggie...nothing ever did....
Say hello to the real world, Beav
an unusual episode for a '50's sitcom...the subject was divorce..Beaver's friend Chopper comes from a VERY split family viz; a mother and 2 stepmothers...Beaver is right on at one point in the episode when he comments that he has never had a friend with divorced parents before! This was not a common feature in 50's sitcoms...about as unusual as his having friends from another race or culture...watching the episode, you feel his shock and confusion, as if he were experiencing a certain loss of innocence..but, by then he was all of 12 years old and maybe the writers of the show felt it was time to put away more the more childish situations he had been getting involved in...time for him to face the real outside world, although the full impact of a broken marriage seemed lost to him, thinking only of the material gains of having presents to replace the affection and love that would be lost to him.. Wally, being slightly older seemed more attuned, almost blasé to such a situation... Definitely a sober beginning to a new season with an older Beav, and a foretelling of slightly more serious situations to come.
La famille Plouffe (1953)
life death and love
I remember this series with a lot of fondness...! Set in 1950's Montreal, it focused on a working class French Canadian family, centering on their trials, tribulations as they struggled to cope with keeping the family together...Maman Plouffe was the strength, the heartbeat of the family as she provided the love and the inspiration needed by her husband, her 3 adult children..2 sons...there is also an adult daughter who is married to a bus driver...Amazingly enough, the English language version was extremely popular outside of Quebec, to the point wherein, at one point Maman was taken ill and had fallen into a coma..at the same time, a producer's (?) strike put the series on hiatus..when the strike ended, the series took up where it had left off with Maman coming out of her coma! When the series finally ended, an attempt was made to keep it's cultural popular going with sort of a sequel involving their snobbish relatives in Quebec City called (I think) The Town Above, but the magic wasn't there anymore..the mood was really drab...the buoyant spirit was just missing...
The Great Detective (1977)
Uniquely Canadian series
this was a uniquely Canadian variation of the old American western..viz; a turn of the century cop show..instead of a U.S. Marshall, we had an Ontario Provincial Police Inspector..Instead of Texas, we had Ontario Canada...instead of a tall two fisted Marshall we had a portly police inspector, who, in turn solved crimes a la Sherlock Holmes using his powers of deduction instead of fists and guns so typically Canadian! (instead of Watson, he even had a devoted assistant in the form of Sargeant Striker who did most of his running around for him)...The locations were strictly urban and rural Ontario. the crimes were mainly crimes of passions and greed turned to murder although almost no blood or even violence was ever displayed...the attitudes were very much Victorian (women being very rarely considered as suspects even though the opposite often was the case)...Sadly, the series lasted only 1 season, never reaching a very wide audience who yearned for spicier and more vibrant action
weird for it's time, long before "Look who's talking."
I remember this show! it was a summer replacement, back when TV shows ran for 39 episodes and HAD summer replacements for the other 13 weeks...anyway, it wasn't as weird as another show that ran the same summer called "Kane" about a one-armed gunfighter, just to give you an idea what attempts were being made at the time to experiment with new ideas...but this one starred Ronnie Burns, son of comedian George Burns, who's only other acting credit was occasional appearances on his dad's show....way ahead of it's time, a forerunner of the "Look who's talking" movies, it was silly, bland, with very rare flashes of wit, pretty much like the "look who's talking" movies
okay first...historically, the only accurate thing about this movie is the title character..Langtry was NOT named after Lily Langtry...it was named after a civil engineer (Bean insisted HE named it after his favourite music hall star...) it was never proven that he ever hanged anybody... Bean died at a ripe old age peacefully after going on a drinking binge at 78...not in a burning building fighting Frank Cass...! At least, the 1940 version with Walter Brennan was more accurate age-wise and personality-wise. It also spent about almost no screen time in the navel gazing this one does...This version is long, rambling, tedious with perhaps 30 minutes of action and the rest Paul Newman gazing morosely at the scenery, his cards, the other characters in the movie with his usual laconic style...I could swear sometimes I was watching Hud and/or Cool Hand Luke and/or Harper for all the effort he put into creating the unique personality of Roy Bean... I'd give this ***.5 stars