Reviews written by registered user
|11 reviews in total|
Paul Lynde absolutely steals this episode as the father of one of
Gidget's friends who is obsessed with avoiding "the Valley" as he
drives around 1966 Los Angeles in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to
buy a car for his daughter. The plot is totally incidental though as it
is just a gimmick to allow Paul Lynde to show off that faintly sneering
delivery of his which never fails to make me laugh. At the end of the
show his character "takes a lesson" from Gidget's father who can be
classy even in his pajamas. This after all of us in the audience have
"taken a lesson" from Mr. Lynde in the art of making the most mundane
material very, very funny.
I have not seen all the episodes of the Gidget series but of the ones I have seen this is by far the funniest. Tune in and "take a lesson" in the difference between a comic (someone who says funny things) and a comedian (someone who says things funny) from one of the finest comedians ever to perform, Mr. Paul Lynde.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I do not write many reviews and will only comment when something is
worthy of high praise or to warn against.
"They Came to Cordura" is a definite "warn against" as it is a fine mess of a movie. Rita Hayworth is 15 years past her "Love Goddess" sell by date and is absolutely wasted here (and probably wishes she were.) Gary Cooper should check for termites with every line reading and is simply too old for this. The acting highlight of this movie was Sam Buffington (a favorite of mine) as a jaded war correspondent who is never seen again after about minute 5 of the film.
If only I had been so lucky! There is a pretty interesting cavalry charge against a fixed position held by the banditos in the first 20 or so minutes of the film. Interesting but totally implausible as any officer who had ordered such a charge would have been sacked immediately. Still it provided the only memorable action in a movie which has little.
The premise of the movie is absurd. The naivete of Gary Cooper's central character is simply unbelievable in a man of his age with 30 or so years in service. The other characters are stock types and memorable only for who they became in later TV roles (Darren Stephens of "Bewitched", the Chief in "Get Smart" to name two). The wandering in the desert to find the way to Cordura is mind numbingly boring interspersed as it is with set pieces of every man in the group turning against the Major for one reason or another.
And the ending is absolutely ridiculous -- one of the worst, least plausible means to The End that has ever been "submitted for your approval" as the characters who so despised the Major enter some sort of Twilight Zone where the men they have been for 2 hours of the movie are completely transformed (by the scribblings in the Major's notebook!) so that they can drag the Major across the finish line that is Cordura.
Don't let the fine cast lure you in lest you lose two hours of your life and a lot of your respect for Coop and Ms. Hayworth.
This movie is captivating. The late 1940s captured in real time. Black
and white photography at its best. Dialog that crackles but yet is
believable. An excellent cast and an absolutely great third act
featuring the stunning Linda Darnell at the absolute peak of her
luminous, sultry beauty going toe to toe with Paul Douglas, an everyman
for any age. While Kirk Douglas and Ann Sothern have a few good
exchanges this movie would be completely forgotten were it not for the
30 odd minutes spent with Lora Mae Finney and her family hard by the
tracks and Porter Hollingsway's solitary man of wealth who is used to
getting what he wants until Lora Mae takes his measure.
1949 was a long time ago. Back then movies took their time setting a scene and introducing a set of characters. If you are impatient with this kind of film making and find yourself wanting to turn this off (for whatever reason) at any point before Linda Darnell and Paul Douglas take center stage then do yourself a favor and fast forward to around the 45 minute mark when Lora Mae's house begins to shake and watch the next half hour unspool as a world class "broad" and a street smart "gorilla" court each other for 15 very memorable rounds.
I suspect you will then go back to the beginning and watch the entire film and enjoy it immensely for what it is -- a witty, "penetrating" look at American life just after the Second World War in a world that lacked "instant" communication and instead had to settle for the real thing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Though I am old enough to have seen most Bonanza episodes when aired
initially I did not have much use for this show at the time and only
watched it with my Grandma on Sunday nights when we visited her. With
MeTV running the series on a daily basis I have given it a second look
(which is really a first look.)
The first 3 or 4 seasons hold up pretty well but this episode aired at the tail end of season 10. Adam is long gone. Most episodes at this point feature only two of the Cartwrights (with a little Candy about 90% of the time.) No Candy here. No Little Joe either. Hoss is in the episode but has little to do but get shot off his horse without being hurt at all. So we're left with Ben and yet another of those Cartwright "friends" who are inevitably gone, never to be seen again, at the conclusion of the episode -- in this case a man known as Sam Masters and his daughter Ellen.
Since I have never posted on any Bonanza episode before it is reasonable to wonder why I chose this one. In a nutshell it is due to the fact that the story centers on a man (Masters) who was in charge of a Confederate prison camp and who is now being pursued a few years after the war's end by a vengeful former Union prisoner Col. Jim Hudson (played by the inimitable JDCannon) with Lawrence (don't call me Larry just yet) Linville in tow. Linville plays the former no. 2 Confederate officer at the prison camp who is now leading Col. Hudson to the man Hudson has sworn vengeance on in the name of all of his fellow Union soldiers who died at the camp because of the lack of food and humane conditions.
This episode takes up the very old question of organized warfare -- is following orders an absolute duty at all times or more of a judgment call on occasion? On this point the writing here is strong and makes a compelling case for both points of view.
Col. Hudson is the central character in this episode. He is a follow orders first, last and always kind of officer. He has sworn vengeance but goes out of his way to try to insure that no one else will die in this pursuit. He orders his men to only kill if there is no other choice. This leads to a rather comical scene wherein Hoss is attempting to escape on horseback to get help. He is shot at and falls off his horse completely unharmed! Later Ben will shoot one of Col. Hudson's youthful volunteers in the butt, but again no damage, just a "branding" in Ben's words.
Unfortunately except for the central dilemma noted above the writing is only adequate for the other 45 minutes or so of the episode as the story itself is rather weak and saved only by the performances. JDCannon is excellent. John Anderson plays "Masters" as well as he can be played as he is a man who is ashamed of his past and feels guilt for it as well. Ben is Ben who gets to play peacemaker and then mediator at a conference between Col. Hudson and Masters wherein Masters will finally learn the truth - a truth any of us familiar with Lawrence (don't call me Larry) Linville knew the moment he was shown in the episode's first scene, i.e. he would be revealed as the real guilty party. And so he is in the course of maybe two minutes of this conference. It turns out that Lt. Tyler (Linville) found a way to hijack food and supplies meant for the Union prisoners and to sell said food and supplies for his own profit. Once unmasked (and to provide closure to the episode) Lt. Tyler must run. Once running he must be killed and he becomes the only casualty of this episode if you don't worry about plausibility which clearly is another casualty.
The viewer will have many questions as the closing credits roll: Why would Lt. Tyler help Col. Hudson if he made so much money selling the stolen supplies? Is the Masters character any less guilty because he was apparently inept as a commanding officer? (Surely during the course of many months he should have caught on to Lt. Tyler's game.) Master's wife died at the prison camp. Again, is he inept or just unlucky? I am sure there are many other questions but I am tired of writing about this (as I am sure you are tired of reading about this).
To summarize: For a season 10 episode this one is pretty good but if you are new to Bonanza I encourage you to watch something from seasons 1 to 3 when the 4 Cartwrights rode together and the Civil War was still a couple of years in the future instead of a couple of years in the past.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
No spoilers here. None necessary. Very enjoyable entry in the
"Maverick" series - in the top 10 for my money. Gerald Mohr (as always)
is very, very good. This was the first of his two appearances on
"Maverick" as the Doc and was by far the best of the two. (He appeared
7 times in all with this episode being his best in show.)
I've singled out Mohr mainly because he is a particular favorite of mine. I'm always happy to see him and since he appeared in just about every TV show of note (including the best Westerns of the era) from the late '50's until his death in 1968 he shows up quite a lot but rarely does he get a role that suits him as well as this one did.
Another favorite of mine is Sam Buffington who is also featured in this episode. He plays Ponca Brown here with his unique style that I can't quite do justice to. He's young, balding, rumpled, sly, amusing and intelligent. (The nearest "match" to his persona that I can come up with is a young "McHale's Navy" Tim Conway.) IMDb lists 44 acting credit titles for the young Sam Buffington, many of them TV series in which he appeared multiple times (for example, "Maverick" featured him 5 times in 5 different roles - this being his best in my opinion) from 1957 to 1959. Despite his early success which, by the time of his death, included a role as a series regular on the Audie Murphy TV series "Whispering Smith" he died early in 1960 at age 28 at his own hand. His entire career spanned a period of 2 1/2 years and into those 30 months he packed quite a punch! (Too bad that he himself does not appear to have appreciated what he was able to accomplish at such a young age.) I always smile when I see him on any show that he may turn up on and this episode of "Maverick" features him at his best.
John Vivyan does just fine as the killer who has bragged about "backing down" Doc Holliday in a prior encounter and who has thereby drawn the Doc into town to put an end to this slander. Marie Windsor rounds out the main cast playing the attractive owner of the saloon in which most of this episode's action takes place and, of course, to provide a potential love interest for Bret.
You will find a synopsis of the plot elsewhere if that is of interest to you. Suffice to say that the writing is first rate, the dialog and resolution of the story are "classic Western" and if you love the genre you will be very much entertained by this episode.
Some shows were simply better in black and white. This is certainly
true of 12 O'Clock High which when it transitioned to color in the 3rd
season seemed to lose the seemingly more authentic WWII look that is
B&W. Too, the scripts deteriorated markedly as there are only so many
stories you can tell about planes taking off, making bombing runs, and
being shot at and with 59 episodes through season 2 it is
understandable that the writers had to look far afield for material for
the last 17 shows which would comprise the half season 3 before the
show was mercifully shot down in the first week of January of 1967.
Maybe the switch to color made the reality of the bombing, etc. more
real and less "entertaining". "Combat", another WWII B&W staple of the
early and mid '60's would surrender its timeslot just two months later
(March 14 1967) and the boomlet of WWII drama series was at an end.
"The Rat Patrol" (more of a WWII dramedy) and "Hogan's Heroes" (almost
straight comedy) would survive a little longer. TRP was RIP in March
'68 while Hogan would last until the spring of '71 - almost long enough
to hand off the war comedy franchise to the Korean War with M*A*S*H.
Vietnam was beginning to have its effect as well at this time but I truly think the transition to color and the lack of new stories to tell was what killed the WWII drama which simply doesn't look right in color - something that is also true for WWI. Not so true for earlier wars like our Civil War, for example. I think it was the pervasiveness of the B&W newsreels for both World Wars which sears them into our memories as being fought in black and white. Certainly WWII - the last "good war" - was the last Black and White war on multiple levels.
That said, this is a great episode - the best of 12 O'Clock High's final season. It features a very young John Voight as a German pilot and an equally young Ossie Davis as an American soldier with an interesting back story. No spoilers here! Watch it if you liked this series or want to see one of its best episodes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Saw this broadcast on MeTV. The murder is committed at the 42 minute
mark of this hour show when commercials are included. I have never seen
a Mason show that took longer to claim its victim. Courtroom scenes as
a consequence of the slow death (pun intended) are about as minimal as
I can recall in a Mason episode. Since the courtroom is where the
action of interest is on this show, it suffers as a result. Adding even
more tedium to this effort is the laughable attempt (presumably) to
attract younger viewers with a very Beatle-esque "singer" named Sandy
(who does very much look like a young Roddy McDowell) whose warbling is
even more forgettable than this very forgettable episode.
I remember being very unhappy hearing that Perry Mason would be canceled in the spring of '66 as I was just reaching an age where I would be able to watch it (in this time when if you didn't see it when it aired, you never saw it!) but now that I have seen most of season 9 (thank you MeTV) I must reluctantly conclude it was for the best as the scripts were just not that compelling. Also, having just watched the solo episode in color ("The Case of the Twice Told Twist") which immediately preceded this episode it is clear (to me at least) that black and white was very much a character on this show - it's just not the same or as compelling - in color. 9 years is a heck of a run. It was time for the final verdict for this series. This episode which easily makes the bottom 5 of all the PM episodes that I have seen - and I have seen most of them - makes that clear. Watch only if have a goal of watching them all. I won't be seeing this one again.
This show originally aired in October 1963 - barely a year after Johnny took over the Tonight Show. As such it is one of the few available shows from that era featuring Johnny which has survived. (Carson fans know that NBC re-used - and thus erased - his Tonight shows from this time period.) Johnny is still young (a year shy of 39 in fact as opposed to Jack's "39") and he shows off his versatility as a close up magician with a deck of cards, as a drummer, as a singer(!) and dancer. For those of us who only remember him as a talk show host it is quite a revelation. And, by the way, it's quite a funny show too featuring a send up of Johnny's Tonight Show as its featured skit. Thanks too to Antenna TV for re-broadcasting this classic.
Any fan of either Spencer Tracy or Loretta Young should watch this
movie when the opportunity presents itself. (It is currently in
rotation on Antenna TV which is broadcast ((not cable)) in most major
markets.) I particularly enjoyed the opening dinner date between the
two and how Tracy "pays" for it. The real worth of this movie is its
depiction of the time (early Depression) and the values of the time in
which it was made. 1933 was, indeed, a very different world and a
character like Tracy's and his attitude towards women was not that
uncommon then. (Probably not that uncommon now, but an attitude only
allowed to be expressed in the action genre.) Young plays a smitten
young woman of 19 who may indeed be an "idiot" to use one other
reviewer's less than charitable description of her, but that type of
young "idiot"ic and naive woman is very much with us today and putting
up with far worse from their men than anything Tracy dished out in this
film. (Many of today's reputedly liberated young women will by the CDs
with the most misogynistic lyrics which make up so much of what passes
for modern music and call themselves the most vile and basest of names.
There is no way Loretta Young's character in this movie would do that.
Needless to say a woman clinging to an abusive man is a recognizable
type in any era - as is an abusive man.) To my eye, Tracy's character
was "abusive" only because he wanted to drive her away as he saw
(correctly) that she would be able to tame him if given the chance. The
only thing that truly surprised me was the out-of-wedlock pregnancy -
mention of which was never made in films of that time, except for this
one. And to see the very devout Tracy and Young in those roles in light
of what came later for both of them personally was very surprising.
Frankly I think that sums up this film for me - very surprising. The setting surprises. Ditto for the characters. The screenplay works well enough to bring out the world in which Bill & Trina, and Ira & Flossie and all the rest find themselves, and how they attempt to deal with it and to find what happiness they can.
I have a soft spot for late '30's and '40's films. 65 to 80 years of
nights (remembered and unremembered) have passed since these films were
made - 72 years and counting for this one. The actresses and actors -
some born just after the Civil War, others so impossibly young then
that it's hard to believe they would be over 100 now - and the America
itself shown in this cinematic B&W snapshot all continue to fascinate.
A film like "Remember the Night" will thus grab me at the get go with a marvelously attractive Barbara Stanwyck to set the hook and a great ensemble cast to keep my interest when the story itself is less than compelling. I won't recap the plot - you can get that many times elsewhere in these reviews. What I will do is promise you that if you will give this movie even half your attention you will be rewarded. I can also promise you that if you view this with anyone under the age of 20 you will have to explain the middle American reality that underpins the entire movie and gives it its power and its poignancy. It's not just a good Christmas movie (though it is that), it is a good movie set around Christmas time.
Also, a big thank you to THIS-TV for showing this classic as I would never have seen it otherwise. I encourage any of you reading this who lives in a larger TV market and doesn't have cable (20% of households still don't) to check an internet source (I use TV Guide.com) in your area and see if THIS-TV or Antenna-TV are available on some broadcast sub-channel in your market. The digital conversion 2 years ago has had one benefit - these sub-channels (THIS-TV is 2.2 in Denver, AntennaTV is 31.2) which are now providing all households with a TV with a digital tuner to see a lot of classic movies which we haven't been able to see anywhere for many, many years. In the case of a movie like "Remember the Night" which only recently became available on DVD (in October 2010) this may be your most economical way to see it. These new sub-channel networks are especially good at showing movies from the '30's through the '50's which seem to have dropped off the cable TV map as well. (Note to cable TV subscribers: buy a cheap antenna and use your set's digital tuner. You can see these stations too!) Check them out and enjoy this movie and others like it.
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