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Blue Smoke (2007)
Not as Good as the Books
I think the movies might work better if you haven't read the books first. I'm not entirely displeased with the movies, particularly "Blue Smoke", but they are so limited in what they can do within the time constraints of the film. This was a complicated book, with the usual terrific characterizations.
I think the weakest part of "Blue Smoke" was the lack of time to develop the family dynamics.
Scott Bakula is wonderful in the part of the senior investigator. I've always loved him, but he shines in this part. Frankly, he's the guy I would go for.
Witt does an adequate job as the heroine. Overall, I would say that the movie would make a good afternoon's entertainment, but you would be better served by getting the original book and diving in.
Here's hoping this year's Nora Roberts selection of films will be even better.
And if the Eve Dallas books are ever filmed by owner Mel Gibson, I hope they consider Mariska Hargarty in mind for the lead role.
Violent Playground (1958)
I've long wanted to see this film, being a fan of both Peter Cushing and David McCallum. I agree that the romantic sub-plot was a waste of time, but the talent of McCallum shines through this juvie role. Thank heavens for Turner Classic which aired the show last week. I can imagine that there were lots of problems with children after the war, especially with the way things were throughout the 1950s. Some of the boys are a bit scary. I certainly wouldn't want to met them on a well-lit street, much less a dark one. There were some good insights regarding the feelings of a firebug as well, or as they call him, a firefly.
Tenspeed and Brown Shoe (1980)
Needs to be released on DVD
A too short series that was pure Stephen J. Cannell at the height of his television career.
The hardboiled private eye excerpts from a series of mysteries that had Cannell's photograph on the back; the peculiar and wonderful relationship between the main characters; the longing for a different life; it all added up to a wonderful series that should have lasted for much longer.
Jeff Goldblum was wonderfully befuddled, yet earnest in a most endearing way. Ben Vereen was tolerant and amused, drawn to this most unlikely private investigator.
The humor was unusual and the scripts did not pander to the lower level. It was a most wonderful year that ended way too soon.
An email from SJC himself states that he hopes to release it on DVD...someday. I think someday has arrived, boss. If you can release Renegade, you can release this one. Please?
Hardcastle and McCormick (1983)
I loved the series, even with the continuity problems, when it first aired and my opinion hadn't changed over the years. When VEI released the first season in Canada, I was overjoyed. I highly recommend this series and the DVD set to any and all fans of relationship series. Although HARDCASTLE & McCORMICK is a typical Cannell production with car chases galore, at the heart the theme of the series was friendship, that between Milton Hardcastle and Mark McCormick. It was where the series was heading when it was cruelly cancelled, despite being more than high enough in the ratings to be renewed. It has truly aged well and can be enjoyed again and again.