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3/10
Familiar cast does its best
17 November 2019
Arthur Lake takes a hiatus from the Blondie series and stars with Beverly Roberts as a newlywed couple who honeymoon in a lodge owned by Lake's sister. Lake is a sound effects man for a radio program. and the whole program personnel follow him to the lodge and want Lake to help with rehearsals.

That's rude enough but when producer Jack Lee turns up dead Lake is the chief suspect.

The film is badly written and edited. But what it does have is a good cast of familiar character players who just can't quite push it over the line. Still this might be worth a look for their sakes.
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6/10
We'll get that Yeti yet.
17 November 2019
The Abominable Snowman has adventurer Forrest Tucker and botanist Peter Cushing in the Himalayas looking for the elusive and shy creature the Sherpa natives call the Yeti.

The Sherpas have a healthy respect for these creatures as they seem to possess some powers and abilities that apes or man don't have. Just where on the evolutionary ladder are they?

It turns out that Tucker is something of a bunco artist and not what his billing says he is. Cushing is the only one on the trek who has concerns for the yetis themselves.

An interesting a good film from British Hammer Studios.
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5/10
A defector
17 November 2019
James Fenimore Cooper's The Pathfinder has George Montgomery playing a defector after Montgomery in the title role and Jay Silverheels as Chingachgook find the Mohican tribe completely wiped out with only young Uncas left to tell the tale.

It was the Delaware tribe who have lined up with the French as the French and Indian War has started.

With Silverheels as a contact, Montgomery goes to the French and offers to be a guide. His mission is to determine their strength. He also has along with him Helena Carter who speaks French because he does not speak a word.

Routine action/adventure from Sam Katzman who was getting a bit more budget to work with since leaving Monogram.
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Walking Tall (2004)
5/10
Cleaning Up the old home town
16 November 2019
The true Buford Pusser story which supplied plot for a trio off films in the 70s now has Dwayne Johnson in the lead role. The sheriff character is now named Chris Vaughn and the locale is now the Pacific northwest. Besides for a black man who would believe he had a good ole boy name like Buford Pusser?

Otherwise things are about the same and if you saw the original film with Joe Don Baker in the title role you can expect much the same here.

Gambling elements have now come to his home town and these people also sell narcotics out of a gambling casino now there since Johnson left to join the army.

The real Buford Pusser story was quite the inspiring one. This one is a good action/adventure saga, nothing more.
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Freckles (1960)
5/10
One arm guard
16 November 2019
Freckles marks Andrew McLaglen's third feature film and it's the third remake of Gene Stratton Porter's novel about a one handed orphan kid who goes to work for a lumber baron played here by veteran western heavy Roy Barcroft.

Barcroft takes a liking to young Martin West and gives him a job riding herd on the trees lest they be cut down by another logging outfit, specifically the one run by Steven Peck. Good thing it wasn't his shooting arm lost.

Some nice color cinematography from Big Bear Lake is the real star of Freckles. The young leads of West and Carol Christiansen are attractive.

And you also get a chance to see not only Barcroft, but Jack Lambert as a good guy for a change.
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5/10
Mr. Clarinet
16 November 2019
The Benny Goodman Band is playing in Chicago when a kid is spotted stealing Benny's clarinet. He's trailed by the King of Swing himself Jack Oakie one of the band members. The young thief has a brother who plays a mean trombone and is played by James Cardwell.

Socialite Linda Darnell also takes a liking to Cardwell. But he has a chip on his shoulder about just everything.

But this film is about the music of Benny Goodman and you get a lot of that. Goodman is no actor, then again Cardwell comes across as churlish and stiff.

This one is for those who love their WW2 era swing.
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Blue Bloods: Friends in High Places (2019)
Season 10, Episode 8
7/10
The Finest vs. the Bravest
16 November 2019
This Blue Bloods story has Tom Selleck having to use a bit of diplomacy to end a feud developing between the police and fire departments. Fire Commissioner Dan Lauria almost gets busted during a rowdy party neighbors complained about.

Bridget Moynahan meets with Mayor-elect Dylan Walsh and he wants her to run"for District Attorney. That could present some serious office issues. The Reagan dinner gets this idea batted around a bit.

Donnie Wahlberg and Len Cariou are on opposite sides of a domestic dispute as Cariou does some part time mediation work with the Department of Social Services.

And Will Estes makes a call that could jeopardize Vanessa Ray's career. He also finds a solution that has the least harmful affect for all involved.

The Estes portion of the episode is the strongest.
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Bonanza: A Dream to Dream (1968)
Season 9, Episode 26
6/10
Hoss and the kids
16 November 2019
This Bonanza story takes Dan Blocker on a horse buying trip and the man he is to purchase his equines is Steve Ihnat.

Ihnat is married to Julie Harris and he has two small childdren. He's also a heavy boozer as a result of a famly tragedy a few years back.

Hoss gets along well with the kids and Harris is thinking he might be her salvation in a deteriorating marriage.

A couple of evenly matched performances from Ihnat and Harris.

If you don't recognize it the plot is taken from The Country Girl.
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6/10
A blast from the past for Trampas
15 November 2019
This episode has Doug McClure getting a visit from an old jailhouse buddy. We learn that Trampas did some time in the joint and escaped to Canada with Victor Jory. Both were accused of two separate murders. But while Trampas was cleared, Jory remained a fugitive in Canada.

Now he's come back and he has bounty hunter Troy Donahue on his tail. Jory works for widow Jean Inness, a hardbitten woman who has had a lot of tragedy in her life.

As for Trampas, Donahue is not above a bit of bribery and Trampas starts raising the money against the advice of The Virginian.

Donahue is far from the All American heartthrob of the early 60s. He was graduating into character roles and those bobby sox days were behind him and he knew it. Jory is a delight as charming old rascal.
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Bonanza: The Law and Billy Burgess (1970)
Season 11, Episode 20
6/10
One angry kid
15 November 2019
David Cassidy guest stars in this Bonanza story about an abused kid who refuses to go to school and is one disciplinary problem for schoolmaster Les Tremayne.

When Cassidy wishes him dead, Tremayne is found dead and Cassidy is looked on with suspicion. No separate laws for juveniles then, Cassidy faces an adult hanging if convicted.

Lorne Greene takes an interest in both the school and Cassidy. Hoss is dispatched to 'learn' those kids some grammar. In real life Dan Blocker did teach school at some point. Mercedes McCambridge is in this episode as a crusader for the rights of juvenile defendants and does well.

The truth is revealed at the end.
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Four Star Playhouse: Go Ahead and Jump (1954)
Season 3, Episode 14
6/10
Not what he was expecting
14 November 2019
Dick Powell stars in this half hour drama from his Four Star Playhouse anthology series. He plays a most cynical cab driver almost like if Philip Marlowe stopped being a detective and was driving a cab to pay the bills.

Bills are a part of what comes up in conversation with William Johnstone who is a passenger most despondent over his wife leaving him.

Johnstone asks Powell to take him to the middle of the bridge so he can end it all. Powell takes him up on it, but he wants his fare first and foremost.

What happens afterward is for you to see, the dialog between Powell and Johnstone is really a treat for the ear.
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Blue Bloods: Something Blue (2019)
Season 9, Episode 22
6/10
Wedding bells ringing for a Reagan
14 November 2019
The big day for the Reagan family has arrived with Will Estes and Vanessa Ray getting hitched and the hitching being done by the archbishop Stacy Keach.

But Ray gets into a professional dust up with Bridget Moynahan over one of her cases which threatens to derail the wedding. And she has no one to give her away at the ceremony.

A note of comedy comes into play as Tom Selleck's immediate official family gets into a turf war. So Selleck shuffles jobs for Abigail Hawk, Robert Clohessy, and Gregory Jbara and the results are funny and educational for the parties involved.

And Donnie Wahlberg and Marissa Ramirez investigate a murder of a man who had a date with a woman and they were caught on tape at a bar and she might have been the last one to see him alive. But her tearful pleas of innocence get to Danny Reagan.

All in all a landmark Blue Bloods story.
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From These Roots (1958–1961)
6/10
The Frasers of Strathfield
13 November 2019
I remember From These Roots because it was usually on television at 3:30 when I would get home from school and I kind of got drawn into the story line.

It was the story of the Fraser family in the mythical New England town Strathfield. Patriarch Ben Fraser played during the run by three different actors had two sons and two daughters. Both sons were killed off as I recall and the husband of one daughter.

From These Roots knowing cancellation was coming actually did something unusual. The last year or so was devoted to some crime syndicate moving to Strathfield and Ben Fraser running for mayor to stop them. All the personal situations for the children got resolved.

Kind of a storybook ending.
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7/10
Verad Dax
13 November 2019
During a space storm the occupants and most of the staff of the space station are evacuated and only are cast regulars are on board. Quark stayed behind because he's got some unfinished smuggling business and let's a ship in that has a pair of renegade Klingons and a Kherbaclk woman and Verad an unassigned Trill who is the boss.

It is this time that Verad picked. The real mission is to steal Terry Farrell's symbiont Dax. Verad feels he was passed over and Dax should be part of him.

John Glover playing Verad does some subtle personality changes in his performance to show just why he was passed over for selection. Quite Good.

And Armin Shimmerman who knows he's in deep do do for being made a fool of redeems himself as well. Of course all according to Ferengi code.
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The Virginian: Eileen (1969)
Season 7, Episode 21
6/10
Shiloh has a guest
13 November 2019
An old friend of John McIntire's has sent his errant daughter Debbie Watson out to Shiloh to possibly break up with her fiance Richard Van Vleet whom the dad isn't crazy about. McIntire keeps the reason a secret to one and all.

Van Vleet has gotten himself mixed up with some nasty criminal types whom he's into some big bucks. Van Vleet has come west and so has Don Barry whom he owes and henchman. Van Vleet says soon enough when he's married he'll have the Watson money. He even gets hired on as a hand at Shiloh to keep tabs on his 'beloved'.

Enough said other soon enough Van Vleet's character shows through. Barry who was a cowboy hero and when B westerns declined, Barry started varying roles and now was an out and out villain. Watson who was television's Tammy brings the innocence, but not the common sense of Tammy to her role.

This was a good dramatic story.
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7/10
Three cases, one solution
12 November 2019
With The Long Goodbye Elliot Gould joins the ranks of distinguished players who have been Raymond Chandler's famous private detective. He might not be the tough guy as Bogart, Mitchum, and Powell were, but he's deadly. Never more so than in the very end of this film.

As in many classic Marlowe stories separate cases that Marlowe is hired for are really connected. In The Long Goodbye, Gould does a favor for friend Jim Bouton by driving him to the airport. Later on Bouton's wife is found murdered and it is reported that Bouton committed suicide in Mexico.

Gould is also hired by Nina Van Pallandt to find her dissolute writer husband Sterling Hayden. And gangster Mark Rydell wants Gould to locate some missing money of his. All that and Gould's cat goes missing.

Contemporary Los Angeles is photographed nicely in The Long Goodbye. Of the cast my favorite is Sterling Hayden who drinks a lot and has lost his muse for writing. He's also lost a bit else as well.

Raymond Chandler fans should be pleased.
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7/10
All creatures great and small
11 November 2019
Attachments are the theme of this TNG story. A giant space creature the size of a couple of starships is giving birth out in space and with a laser Dr. Crusher does a Caesarean on it. Out pops a baby which attaches itself to the Enterprise because it now thinks of it as mother.

Geordi LaForge has finally met Dr. Leah Brahms on the Enterprise and Susan Gibney is a business like woman full of critique, but eventually they reach a working arrangements. Then she sees the program in the holodeck with her in it and she does feel violated. It was not LeVar Burton's intent, but we know it gets straightened out so they can deal with the baby creature sucking the energy from the Enterprise to eat.

Later on this episode is referenced when LeVar Burton meets James Doohan from the previous Star Trek series. As Scotty says these are moments to reminisce and treasure.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation: First Contact (1991)
Season 4, Episode 15
8/10
Where is Riker?
11 November 2019
The Enterprise is on a first contact mission with the Arkonians and as standard procedure they have had observers on the planet for some time now. Jonathan Frakes has been sent to gather up last minute intelligence and he's been surgically altered to pass for an Arkonian. But he was injured and at their hospital he's discovered not to be one of them.

When Captain Picard and Deanna Troi go down and contact the chancellor about first contact they mention Riker is missing and what he was doing.

The reactions of the various people to the news of the aliens among us runs the gamut. All the way from the minister to security who sees a threat to the Arkonian way of life and he's played by Michael Ensign. Then there's Bebe Neuwirth who wants to experience sex with an alien. Riker is on an intelligence gathering mission you know.

One of their best stories.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation: Clues (1991)
Season 4, Episode 14
6/10
Unexplained things
11 November 2019
This TNG story finds the Enterprise on its usual exploration mission when the entire crew but Data faints. They are soon revived and they go about their usual business.

But gradually certain unexplained things happen and Data offers rationales that the others have come not to expect from him.

I can't say more but that the Enterprise is dealing with a situation that is a dangerous one for them and Data is sacrificing part of his programming.

This episode belongs to Brent Spiner.
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7/10
Two for the road
10 November 2019
California Split to me is essentially a buddy film with a twist. The two men are Elliott Gould and George Segal. Gould is a professional gambler lives by nothing else. Segal is an occasional gambler who happens to get into a poker game at a club with Gould.

A couple of good ole country boys who are losing bad to Gould get the mistaken notion that the guys are working together and give them a good ole beating in a parking lot. But that only cements the relationship.

This is a two person character study as Segal with a 9 to 5 job gets sucked into Gould's world. Can he rescue himself before it's too late because he's the only one who can.

California Split had two persons named Barbara who suffered tragedy. Barbara Colby was shot to death in a still unsolved homicide and Barbara Ruick died on set of a cerebral hemorrhage.

California Split is a great character study of the affects of gambling addiction. It's not a pretty sight with both Gould and Segal.
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7/10
Shades of Godfrey
10 November 2019
This was a film I never thought I would see. Not out on DVD it apparently wasn't shown for years. That's a pity because any film with 5 Oscar nods including Best Supporting Actress for Billie Burke should not be lost.

If it looks familiar that's because producer Hal Roach took a lot of themes from My Man Godfrey. The Kilbournes here look a lot like the Bullocks there. Irascible father Clarence Kolb who likes a toot every now and then, scatterbrained mother Billie Burke and three spoiled children. Constance Bennett, Tom Brown, and Bonita Granville.

Brian Aherne is driving along one day and stops to get some water for an overheating engine and the brake slips and his vehicle plunges down a canyon. He walks and looks somewhat disheveled when he arrives at the Kilbourne country home looking for help.

Billie Burke who takes care of tramps as a hobby sizes up Aherne as one and hires him as a chauffeur. If you saw My Man Godfrey I think you have a fair idea where this is going.

Hal Roach impeccably cast this film and some additional ones here are Ann Dvorak as a predatory society girl, Alan Mowbray as a stuffy butler and Patsy Kelly as a down to earth maid. I'm in complete agreement with another reviewer when he says he was impressed by Clarence Kolb's gift for physical comedy.

Sadly the reason that this film was not shown on TV for years was Willie Best at his shufflebutt worst. It was really offensive.

Merrily We Live is an undiscovered gem.
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6/10
The Dream of DaVinci
10 November 2019
The title role in Brewster McCloud is played by young Bud Cort who has the dream of the great Leonardo DaVinci of achieving flight. He also has a nasty habit of taking care of those who don't share his vision. Some tell tale droppings of birds in flight are his calling card.

Cort has made himself to home in a bomb shelter neath the Astrodome and this serial killer has everyone in Houston concerned. They even have a guest homicide consultant Michael Murphy in from San Francisco.

Oddly enough except for Cort everyone else in the cast gets a chance to chew the scenery. My favorites are Stacy Keach as his Trump like employer and Margaret Hamilton who give a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner that makes Roseanne Barr sound like Celine Dion.

In the end Cort gives us a demonstration of the wings and he looks like Mothra flying around the Astrodome. You also have to love the end credits, one of the most original ideas ever.
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Rawhide: The Deserters' Patrol (1962)
Season 4, Episode 18
6/10
Exit Pete Nolan
9 November 2019
This episode marks a temporary exit of Sheb Woolley from Rawhide. He would return later on in the series run.

But in this story both Gil Favor and Pete Nolan are asked by the cavalry to help negotiate a peace with the Pawnee. The tribe is holding some cavalry hostages but the cavalry don't know they're deserters.

The climax is taken from El Cid. More I won't say.
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2/10
What were they in a hurry for?
9 November 2019
This B picture from Warner Brothers reminded me of the remark that one of Napoleon's mistresses made about Bonaparte in bed. He made love like a fireman rushing to a fire. This film has that kind of frantic pace but it really goes nowhere.

The film stars Roger Pryor who is an insurance investigator trying to track down wanted fugitive Donald Douglas. And does everyone want Douglas, cops and crooks. Douglas also has some big insurance policies he took out although what kind of fool would insure a public enemy?

But it's done and Pryor has to find him and keep him alive.

Was there a fire on the set that they were in such a hurry to get this done? It wasn't worth the effort.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: The Siege (1993)
Season 2, Episode 3
7/10
What heroes are made of
9 November 2019
In this conclusion of a three part opener it looks very much like the Federation is scuttling their Deep Space 9 project. Avery Brooks is delaying implementation and he and the staff are fighting a rear guard action while Nana Visitor and Terry Farrell try to get to the provisional government of Bajor to give evidence of Cardassian complicity in the rebellion.

This was a fine ending and also it reaffirmed that Richard Beymer whose rescue by Major Kira and Chief O'Brien started this story. Indeed in the end Beymer shows he has the right stuff.
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