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6/10
A neat little frame
14 August 2020
John Barrymore stars in Night Club Scandal which was a remake of an Edmund Lowe/Victor McLaglen film Guilty As Hell. In the previous film Lowe and McLaglen are first billed and play the reporter and the police captain who first solve a society murder and then have to solve it again when they suspect thhey've got the wrong man.

John Barrymore is the society doctor who kills his young cheating wife and frames her paamour Harvey Stephens. The reporter and police captain parts are done by Lynne Overman and Charles Bickford.

We know Barrymore did it, but the story is how first Overman then Bickford figure out it was a frame. Overman who was a Paramount regular plays his part like he was imitating Lee Tracy. Good, but a copy.

As for Barrymore he underplays effectively, no staged histrionics in what he does. The women's parts are Louise Campbell who fights for her brothe Stephens and a nice performance from Evelyn Brent as Naish's wife and a nightclib singer.

Not a great Barrymore film, in fact a B picture from Paramount. Still those who like the Great Profile will like this.
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6/10
Van Patten family project
13 August 2020
This Van Patten family project is based on a true incident that happened to star Vincent Van Patten back in the 90s. He did actually make a bert he could walk from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in 7 days. vince wrote the script allegedly based on some Hollywood characters he knew. They must have been some colorful bunch.

That's the strength of 7 Days To Vegas, the colorful characters that creator Vince Van Patten drew. The film is structured a whole lot like the Martin Scorsese classic Casino. As that is a real favorite of mine I couldn't help but like 7 Days To Vegas.

The villain of the piece is Ross McCall a full of himself director with a big bankroll who likes to take chances. He doesn't have even surface likability, but the money keeps people hanging on and he's a good gambler.

The climax belongs to brother James Van Patten. I won't say more, you have to see it to believe it.

This is one good enjoyable almost caper like film.
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Bonanza: The Gamble (1962)
Season 3, Episode 27
6/10
The fate of the Cartwrights
13 August 2020
All four Cartwrights find themselves in a real jackpot in a small town where Charles McGraw and his deputy Ben Johnson are the law. The bank is held up and a teller killed and the money the Cartwrights are carrying from a cattle sale is thoought to be the bank loot.

They geta quick trial and a hanfinf sentence, but Michael Landon escapes.

Upon Little Joe's shoulders is the fate of the Cartwright family. That this is an inside job is obvious, but can it be proved?

Nic stry with good guest star turns. Little Joe comes back with a lot of help.
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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Sanctuary (2017)
Season 18, Episode 21
7/10
Face of Evil
12 August 2020
The cncluding part of this two part story shows how difficult it is to get a conviction of the two rednecks who did a monstrous hate crime against a Moslem family. For one thing the chief witness against the pair is gunned down rightnear the court house by a friend of the pair who thinks he's struuck a blow for his friends in particular and the white race in general.

In the end it's Emma Myles who is the wife of one of them who comes forward. She and her son have endured years of abuse at the hands of Tyler Ellis Burke.

As for Burke he's a Liberty Valance type villain with no redeemable features whatsoever. Chillingly evil and brutal and he too thinks he has a friend in the White House who understands.

It's not a promising future for the city or the nation when this episode concludes.
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7/10
Terrorized survivors
12 August 2020
SVU joins with NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit to bring about an arrest on a hate crime with sexual overtones. A Moslem family who owned a restaurant is kidnapped, the father beaten to death, twodaughters raped, oneof them shot to death leaving as terrorized survivors the widow and the second daughter.

Gil Perez-Abraham is essentially a weak and easily influenced character. But flipping him is the key towards bringing the other two, a pair of real redneck specimens to justice.

The degeneration of America is graphically covered in this first of a two part episode. All the bases are hit, racim, xenophoia, homophobia , and the permission toexpress said feelings people seem to feek they now have with a friend in the White House.

Poorna Jagnathan shines as the shell shocked survivor widow of the massacre. Whether she gets justice is taken up in part 2.
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Yesterday (1981)
6/10
This should be better known
12 August 2020
A lack of production values prevents Yesterday from getting a better rating. But this Canadian production is a fine film aboutlove and sacrifice.

Young Vincent Van Patten is attending college in Canada on a hockey scholarship and falls for coed Clare Pimpare. A rather stupid juvenile prank costs him the athletic scholarship and he has to go back to America to face the draft.

Van Patten goes back o America and Vietnam and comes out the worst for it in body. Pimpare is led to believe he's been killed. And she's with childnow.

Van Patten and Pimpare are as sensitive and tender a pair of young lovers as you'll find. There are good performances from Eddie Albert and Cloris Leachman as Van Patten's grandparents.

Yesterday is Vincent Van Patten's career film. A pity this film is not better known.
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Hell Night (1981)
3/10
Pledges get spooked
12 August 2020
Every time I see one of these horror/slasher films I get more convinced that players sign on for these things because they can overact with gusto and never be called on it. in this one four fraternity/sorority pledges hve to do a night in an old mansion here legend has it a family of deformed kids was massacred. All but one who haunts the place and treasures his privacy.

Linda Blair, Peter Barton, Vincent Van Patten,, and Suki Goodwin are the luckless four. And a few others who are pledgemasters get slain in various ways before the carnage ends.

I'll bet nothing like this happened at John Belushi's fraternity.
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Bonanza: The Lawmaker (1962)
Season 3, Episode 25
7/10
When they make a mistake........................................
11 August 2020
It ain't often but like Fiorello LaGuardia said,'when I make a mistake t's a beaut". When Ray Teak is injured foiling a bank robbery and has to take a leave of absence from being Virginia City's sheriff, Lorne Greene suggests that neighboring rancher Arthur Franz might do the job.

It was one of the biggest mistakes in the series history. Franz is a man with hidden deep resentments and giving him the authority as sheriff allows him to act them out. The authority goes tragically to his head.

Franz givsan outstanding performance as a very small man in a job way to big for him.
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Johnny Cool (1963)
5/10
Can't be a coincidence
11 August 2020
Althoug the production company was called Chrislaw Productions, Frank Sinatra had to behind the scenes somewhere. So many players in Johnny Cool had something to do with Sinatra, can't be a coincidence.

Henry Silva who had played with Sinatra most recently in Ocean's 11 and Sergeant's Three stars in the title role. Silva was a Sicilian partisan as a kid in Sicily and is a bandit chief here now. He's one expert killer and is recruied by a Lucky Luciano type in exile played by Marc Lawrence to go to America and settle old scores.

Taking up with party girl Elizabeth Montgomery that's what Silva does as a lot of familiar looking people fall in a variety of creative ways.

Fast paced and at times ironically funny, Johnny Cool did not make Henry Silva a leading man. But he still enjoys a geat career as one of the best villainous actors around.

It also has Sammy Davis, Jr., singing one dopey title song.
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Hamlet (I) (1964)
7/10
The play's the thing
11 August 2020
When you do Hamlet like this, a barebones prodiction with the players in street clothes and no sets, you'd better have one good cast. the burden is on them 100% to carry the play text and emotions.

This is what Richard Burton did in the mid 60s on Broadway when he didHamlet in this fashion. Burton took he lead and his Hamlet had force and power to it even with the great soliloquys delivered on a vare stage Fortunate we are that someone taped one of the stage performances and we have it preserved for posterity.

In the supporting cast I particularly liked Hume Cronyn as Polonius and Eileen Herlie as Queen Gertrude. John Collum as he passionate Laertes has a lot going for his performance as well.

Still t's Burton's show and quite the show it is.
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Law & Order: Encore (1996)
Season 6, Episode 15
7/10
Chutzpah in the first degreer
10 August 2020
It'a almost worth watching this episode for the look on Jerry Orbach's face when he sees Larry Miller at the medical examiner's office. As he explains to Benjamin Bratt, he and Chris Noth arrested Miller previously for the murder of his first wife. Sadly in that epsode the conection between the actual doer of the deed and Miller did not come to light until charges were dismissed with prejudice.

Miller like in real life is a comedian and owned a comedy club and now he and the deceased second wife own a high end restaurant. As such they have connections to some organized crime figures.

Miller has more chutzpah than just about anyone in TV series history. He got away with it once and he's got one elaborate scheme to get away with it again.

The police and the DA work trile overtime on this one.
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4/10
The new kid
10 August 2020
Natural Selection stars Mason Dye as the new kid in high school who has must moved to town with mother Amy Carlson. Carlson has never gotten over the breakup of her marriage and has sbstance abuse problems. Often Dye is the designated adult in the family.

Because of his home situation Dye doesn't make friends easily. One who does befriend him is Ryan Manzert who is friendly enough and acts as a protector of sorts. But is gradually revealed to be a very dark character.

Natral Selection is a well acted drama. But the pace is dreadfully slow. It's like an extended version of an after school special.
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Law & Order: Past Imperfect (1997)
Season 7, Episode 22
6/10
A forgotten heir
10 August 2020
A well known model somewhat past her prime is bludgeoned to death and th clprit is determined to be Rene Aigesen, a daughter she had given up for adoption years before. Augesen works as a bank teller and with another bank employee Bray Poor has a scheme to cut herself in on a piece of her inheritance.

Theinheritance is from her father who was a millionaire and she was the love child of the two of them. Sent away to live in an orphanage and repudiated by both parents, she wants her due.

Complicating matters is the fact that Bray Poor is an attorney though not practicing and her actual attorney Katherine Borowitz claims attorney/client privilege. Truth be told he was acting as an attorney as she esearched her parentage.

You have to see how Sam Watersto gets around this.
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Best Friends (1982)
5/10
Collaboration led to romance
9 August 2020
Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn are writers ad good friends working as writers om Rom Silver's film in Hollywood. They knew each other as colleagues in the film industry. But collaboration led to romance and on a break they decide to get married.

After a cross country honeymoon on AMTRAK the two drop in on her parents in Buffalo and his parents in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. The parents are Barnard Hughws and Jessica Tandy for her and Keenan Wynn and Audra Lindley for him. The two couples in my humble opinion steal the film from the stars. I thought at times I was watching the old Mothers-In-Law series.

Best Friends is a moderately amusing film that won't disappoint the fans of the respective stars. How does it end? Exactly how it began.
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New Jack City (1991)
6/10
The world of drugs
9 August 2020
New Jack City is one brutal ad uncompromising look at the drug scene in New York in the Reagan-Bush era. It's seen thriough the eyes of Wesley Snipes who rules Harlem for a while and through the team of narcotics detectives who are given the task of taking him diwn,

Snipes is mesmerizing in his evil. He sees himself as a Reagan era entrepreneur and is pretty ruthless about stamping out competition. He even goes to war with Mafia don John Aprea and each takes significant losses.

As for the team that goes after Snipes they are a diverse lot consisting of director Mario Van Peebles, Ice-T, Judd Nelson and Russell Wong. Each brings a skill set to the eam.

Two supporting cast members really stand out. One is Chris Rock a eather luckless junkie informer planted in Snipes organization. The other is Vanessa Williams one deadly ht woman who works for Snipes.

Almost 40 years later New Jack City is still a powerful film. And sadly the drug problem remains.
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Rawhide: Incident of the Hostages (1963)
Season 5, Episode 26
6/10
The only life they know
8 August 2020
Some passing Arapahos make deal with Clint Eastwood for 40 head of cattle in exchange for threer white captives theytook from the Apaches.

The three are Leslie Wales, Tony Haig, and Morgan Brittany and hw they came to the Apaches is quite different from the way Lana/Natalie Wood did with the Comanches in The Searchers. The three bond with and accept the drovers, but Apache chief Josph Perry wants his people back and make no mistake, he regards them as his people.

Good episode, but don't think this will be a small screen version of Thje Searchers,
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Bonanza: The Guilty (1962)
Season 3, Episode 23
7/10
Gunman comes to call
8 August 2020
Lyle Bettger who made a career ofplaying a lovely variety of psychotic villaind on the big and small screen plays a former sheriff in this Bonanza story. Gunman Charles Maxwell fresh out of prison comes to call and with Lorne Greene and Dr. Edward Platt as witnesses and holding them shoots Betger's son Jack Easton,Jr., when he goes for a gun.

Bettger who normally would play the gunman is fine as the father who goes quite a bit off when his son dies. And Maxwell is really one evil dude.

Grat climax scene involving, Bettger, Maxwell, Greene, Pernell Roberts and Anne Benton as Bettger's daughter.

Lyle Bettger is always good even as a good guy for a change.
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From the Hip (1987)
8/10
From The Hip very hip
8 August 2020
It'a always been a source of fascination how a plot or a subject can be done equally well as drama or comedy. A lot of the same plot elements in Al Pacino's And Justice For All are found in From The Hip.

Like Al Pacino, Judd Nelson is a young attorney looking to make a name for himself. He's a most junior associate at a Boston white shoe law firm and wants desperateky to be noticed. He takes on a dog of a case involving banker Edward Winter and with some dazzling courtroom theatricality, wins

Winter's case was one where he punched out someone and the man sued because of the bank's deep pockets. It was a civil matter. But Nelson's flamboyance gets him noticed. Now he gets to defend Professor John Hurt who is accused of the murder of a call girl with a claw hammer.

The DA has a flimsy case, but Hurt gives us lots of hints of guilt. He's one scary dude and Nelson realizes this is no game.

This is one well cast film and Judd Nelson getting a courtroom drama which is an actors dream shows his acting chops. He's got a nicepossr of support in girlfriend Elizabeth Perkins and lawyer associates Dan Monahan and David Alan Grier.

A nice trio of partners Nancy Marchand, Darren McGavin and Allan Arbus all react differently to Nelson. The one youill remember in From The Hip is John Hurt.

Nelson faces a most uncertain fate hen the film concludes. You'll have to see foryourself and predict his future.
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The Virginian: The Final Hour (1963)
Season 1, Episode 30
7/10
Miners to go with the mine
7 August 2020
This final pisode from season 1 of The Virginian has Lee J. Cobb opening up a coal mine on Shiloh and importing Polish coal miners from Pennsylvania to work it. The Poles do't assimilate easily into Wyoming culture.

Cobb sends Doug McClure to supervise and help assimilate. But he becomes one od three men Polish lass Ulla Jacobsson becomes involved with. When miner Dean Fredericks kills rancher Bert Freed's son Don Galloway accidentally during a fist fightthe feud heats up.

This is a fine episode about tolerance and acceptance of people who talk different and act different from themajrity. It sadly takes another tragedy to make people come to their senses.

In addition to those mentioned in this good guest cast Jacques Aubochon plays Fredericks's father and head f the miners and Whit Bissell has a fine scene as the foreman of the coroner's jury delivering a verdict.

The episode among The Virginian regilars belongs to Doug McClure. He has some of his best moments in the history of the show at the climax.
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The Virginian: Day of the Scorpion (1965)
Season 4, Episode 2
6/10
The Australian invasion
7 August 2020
A cattlemen vs. sheepmen range war nearly comes to Medicine Bow as an Australian sheepman arrives and has no intentionof compromising in any way with the cattle ranchers.

Before the sheep arrive The Virginian gets into an altercation with the lout son of the sheepman John Anderson and the loutis killed. No charges are brought gainst James Drury, but that makes no difference to Anderson who is one had and mean man. It ends in the worst of tragedies for Anderson.

A lot of fine playersare in the guest cast. But not one Australian in the bunch and it does take a bit off their performances. I'm sure if this episode was run on Aussie TV the natives had a good laugh.
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Daisy Miller (1974)
7/10
The Girl From Schenectady
7 August 2020
For his first film un color Peter Bodanovich chose a most curious and arcane subject, 19th century novel by Henry James. Daisy Miller on screen is an Americaniized version of onr of those films that the Merchant-Ivory team do so well with for British subjects.

Our title role is played by Cybill Shepherd and Daisy is a rather ingenuous girl traveling with her mother Cloris Leachman and much younger brother James McMurtry. They're over from, Schenectady where the father made big money and employed a lot of the town.

The Millers are the subject of much gossip by other expatriate Americans like Mildred Natwick and Eileen Brennan. Mainly because they don't know the ropes and Daisy scandalizes them by going out unescorted and with European men who are after American virtue and money.

Barry Brown is Natwick's nephew and an expatriate student. He's the only one who finds Shepherd intriguing, but won't break convention.

Shot on location in Switzerland and Rome the film really captures the look and feel of 19th century Europe. Daisy Miller got an Oscar nomination for costume design. It's beaitifully crafted and sad that the film did not do so well at the box office.

I guess Henry James was out of season.
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The Virginian: Run Away Home (1963)
Season 1, Episode 29
7/10
Run on the out of town bank
6 August 2020
Lawyer Russ Conway earns his fees when he withdraws Judge Garth's money frpm an out of town bank to the tune of $40,000.00 before a financial panic sets in and there's a run. But sheepherder Karl Swenson who got there before the bank closed figures part of that is his. He and his sons ain't taking no for an answer.

Anyway it's the problem of James Drury and Gary Clarke to get the Judge's money back to Medicine Bow and elude Swenson and his kids. Drury winds up hitching a ride on a freight train with fellow denizen of the rails Jeannne Riley. Kindly farm couple Stanford Jolley and Ann Doran give them some help.

This was a light and breezy episode and riley's free spirited character is quite captivating.
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Nickelodeon (1976)
7/10
The early years
6 August 2020
Nickelodeon must have been a labor of love for Peter Bogdanovich as both a filmmaker and film historian. Whatever else you can say about Nickelodeon it was certainly meticulously researched.

This film is a portrait of the early years of motion pictures. Forthose who doubt the veracity of the film you can find stories like this in the autobiography of Cecil B. DeMille. Back in the early teen years DeMille went to Californiawith his troop and made The Squaw Man against the trust who are the villains here.

His name is not mentioned, but the trust was an effort by Thomas Edison to control all aspects of film making with patents. Unfortunately while it is arguable he was the first to invent moving pictures, he was not alone. Melies in France and Friese-Greene in Great Britain were doing te same work not to mention others in the USA. Ultimately Edison lost the patent wars as portrayed here.

Lawyer Ryan O'Neal and conman Burt Reynolds become director and action star working for Brian Keith an independent producer. They also become romantic rivals for Jane Hitchcock.

Tatum O'Neal as a nicepartas a precocious adolescent with a good imagination who becomes a screenwriter. John Ritter is an early cameramanand Stella Stevens another actress.

I'm surprised at the tepid reviews that Nickelodeon got. It's a well crafted film that shows the love Peter Bogdanovich has for his profession.
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4/10
Little Leagues were fairly new
5 August 2020
Anyone expecting Little Big Leagur or the Bad News Bears or even Moochie And The Little League will be gravely disappointed. The Great American Pasttime is a pleasant but strictly sub par family comedy about a lawyer with wife and son who decides to coach a Little League team. This was the 50s and the idea of the Little League baseball teams for kids was fairly new.

Tom Ewell is our harrassed and harried protagonist with wife Anne Francis who upon hearing his son's team needs a coach volunteers. He's a lawyer and that kind of training doesn't fit you for athletics.

This was the staid 50s so the concept of sports rage hadn't taken hold. Still just about every father feels he could do a better job, but note none of them volunteer.

There's some romantic rivalry as Francis doesn't like the idea of Ewell spending time with widow Ann Miller and her son ho is one of his players. Clueless Tom makes a hash out of that.

The 50s saw many idiot fathers on the big and small screen/ Rerll was only one of them.
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Bonanza: The Auld Sod (1962)
Season 3, Episode 20
6/10
Me Dear old mother
5 August 2020
Cheerio Meredith arrives at the Ponderosa just in time to save Hoss who has fallen into the well. But Dan Blocker does not correct her mistaken impression nor do the other Cartwrights that it is her son James Dunn who is the owner of the Ponderosa. She's just such a dear sweet old soul and she does do the cleaning and cooking while Hop Sing is away.

Dunn is her deadbeat drunken son who spends half his nights sleeping t off in Roy Coffee's jail. It's only up to a point that the Cartwrights play along with this charade.

Dunn's portrayal is sadly too close to his own real life and close to his Oscar winner from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. It's a good episode and the scenes with Dunn and Meredith are precious indeed.
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