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Louis Armstrong: a colorful and charismatic personality!
A fine and perhaps iconic moment in America television, as Louis Armstrong sings an improvised version of 'Hello, Dolly!' Aside from his talents, Mr. Armstrong radiated joy and good humor, rounding out a particularly good show.
Not a docudrama, yet a great series "based on true events"
If the viewer is capable of separating fiction from reality, this episode is guaranteed to produce all sorts of emotions: Helena Bonham Carter, as Princess Margaret, gives a superb performance, oftentimes without speaking a line of dialogue, and is beautifully photographed.
However, the production takes 'artistic license' to a whole new level, distorting history, and timelines.
For example, the Queen Mother did become aware of what happened to her nieces, the Bowes-Lyon sisters, in 1982, making Margaret's discovery implausible.
By the time of Prince Edward's coming of age, in 1985, Margaret was already grand aunt to Prince Harry.
Therefore, the episode should be enjoyed as great fictional storytelling, loosely based on true events.
The Crown: Avalanche (2020)
A much darker tone with high production values.
This season has been plagued by excessive dramatization and a much darker tone, turning just about every character shown as dislikeable and the portrayal of the royal family as a bad group, including the Princess of Wales, with the over-the-top characterization as a defenseless victim (the tilted head and puppy eyes are a bit too much!).
Nonetheless, aside from some historical inaccuracies, with several years being compressed in to one episode, production values remain high, with beautiful sets and location filming, and the tension level is maintained throughout the episodes by a talented cast.
A set-up full of creative opportunities wasted with recycled bits.
Even though it is a treat to see TV's 'favorite mother' Florence Henderson (Elizabeth) and talented Robert Wagner (Douglas) as guest-stars, this episode is filled with way too many ancient gay stereotype one-liner jokes, aside from other tiresome puns, that eventually bring the storytelling down to a boring stand still.
Nonetheless, the presentation feels like a watching a play unfolding on a theater stage which is interesting.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
In this episode we see Fred Gwynne interpret the essence of Herman, to perfection, in three different looks: as the "handsome" usual appearance, the "hideous" form (Gwynne without any make-up), and as a hilarious and delicate female version. And, as an additional bonus, we get the original iconic props of a "mad scientist's" lab by Ken Strickfaden (special electrical effects, Frankenstein,1931) in Grandpa's dungeon.
Herman in eyelashes and a dress is the grand finale, which in 1960s American network television was probably not considered drag since it was not for a performance. Still, it's funny slapstick and it's put to good comic effect.
Overall, the story has rhythm and keeps the jokes coming - an excellent classic TV entertainment moment!
The Show with Nothing Extra...
Being able hear people's thoughts and exploring the dilemma between what they ask for and what they really want, could have propelled this show to the iconic status of other fantasy sitcoms of those days. Could we imagine just how many opportunities that Sally could have had in helping her lawyer husband with his cases or fulfilling customer's wishes in her antique store or with the overall struggles of the feminist movement of the early 1970s?
This show doesn't make good use of its premise, being uncreative and flat in a world full of possibilities. Just for comparison, take the commercial success of the imaginative writing of a similar premise in the funny (and somewhat thought provoking) What Women Want (2000), where the ESP 'gift' is presented from the man's perspective.
Unfortunately, 'The Girl with Something Extra' doesn't really get anywhere and ended up wasting the talents of two good actors, who could have made better material really work.
A rich topic wasted on a very bad documentary
As a fan of Warner Bros.' 'Golden Age of Hollywood' productions, it was a huge disappointment to watch this documentary. One would expect that a historical study of a movie studio with such a rich past would be based on serious research of its archives and presented in a coherent and organized matter.
On the contrary – this documentary's editing jumps back and forth in time making it incomprehensible for a first timer on the subject to understand anything (and irritating for anyone with an average knowledge on the subject). The statements presented by the different interviewees are mostly related to the specific film clips shown (nothing we haven't seen before) and its main star than to the studio that produced it and the behind-the-scenes reality. The production process, the writers, costumers, cinematographers and composers behind these films aren't even mentioned - who can imagine Warner Bros. in the late 30's and early 40's without the Epstein brothers, Orry-Kelly, Sol Polito and Max Steiner (composer of the well-known introduction fanfare) just to name a few? Bette Davis, who spent 18 years of her career as a contract player and sometimes referred to as the 'Fifth Warner Brother' (her movies were huge money makers), is superficially mentioned. The studio system, the introduction of Technicolor and the entertainment business in the pre-TV environment aren't even explained.
Besides the poor topic coverage, the presentation gets to the point of annoyance: it is almost impossible to read interviewees names/titles or the film clips' titles due the amazing speed which the tiny font size subtitles are flashed on the lower part of the screen (when they are actually shown, since sometimes no identification appears whatsoever). And that's the review of the first half/disk – I slept through the second half .
Unfortunately, a work presented in a careless matter with no respect to chronology or in-depth research on such an interesting topic. Don't waste your time and money on the rental.