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The bulls and bears
With all the money that JB Fletcher makes with her novels it seems natural that
she would be investing. The place she is investing with is a firm headed by partners Jerome Calvin and Farley Granger.
Calvin is the son of the original partner of the firm and he is getting in over his head a lot. But he has a good secretary in Lela Ivey whom he keeps trying to make, but her heart is loyal to her blue collar boyfriend Joe Maruzzo.
But when Calvin's head gets bashed in one night, the cops in the person of Detective Kenneth Tighe zero in on Ivey and Maruzzo. Of course it's not and that's when Angela Lansbury goes to work.
Good ensemble performances, singling out Edd Byrnes who has risen from parking cars on Sunset Boulevard back in his salad days to a too smooth broker. He's got a few angles he's working all by himself.
The Virginian: Dangerous Road (1965)
Two Murders In Coulter Station
Trampas gets deputized and asked to bring Bob Coulter,Jr. back to Coulter Station
on a warrant for homicide. Coulter is played by Robert Pine and the town is named after his dad Simon Oakland who runs the local Ponderosa. Pine is accused of killing a girl while in a drunken stupor.
When Trampas gets to town with his prisoner he finds a very nervous deputy Tom Simcox holding down the fort as the sheriff has also been killed. There are a lot angry people in the town, friends of Oakland and friends of the family of the victim.
Forensic evidence wasn't a science then, but Doug McClure finds forensic evidence that identifies the real killer.
Nice performances by the ensemble cast.
Murder, She Wrote: Town Father (1989)
A dirty election in Cabot Cove
The gossip among the denizens of Cabot Cove's beauty parlor is got some juicy
items to discuss. Lee Purcell has arrived in town claiming that Mayor Richard
Paul is the father of her two kids out in Wyoming. This is when Basil Hoffman is
running against him for mayor. The issues are some zoning changes and some
outside folks are backing Hoffman. Julia Adams Cabot Cove's real estate broker
has also tossed her hat in the ring. Some want Angela Lansbury to run as she's
the most well known figure from town. Even William Windom was asked.
Then Purcell is murdered and the blackmail scheme against Paul falls apart.
It's rather obvious who is behind all this, but I think it was silly to have Ron Masak and Angela Lansbury spending a lot time tracking down beauty parlor gossip.
Not one of the better MSW episodes.
Cocoon: The Return (1988)
It was a round trip
The old folks who left earth with the Antareans in Cocoon have decided to return
with an Antarean mission to rescue another cocoon. The six couples from the
previous film have three days to do their visiting with old friends and family.
As for the Antareans Courtney Cox looks up Steve Guttenberg who was so helpful in the last film that she's sure he'll be willing again. For a redblooded male like Guttenberg, Cox could convince me. But they're too late the cocoon has been taken from the ocean floor and a scientific institute has it now and they are sawing it open to get the living thing they saw with x-ray.
The first Cocoon movie was a wonderful fantasy that worked on our imaginations. The second is entertaining, but sadly comes off as a routine science fiction. And you better have watched the first because you won't understand the sequel.
Best in this film is Jack Gilford who stayed behind when the rest of his 60+ something friends went. He's still the same whiner and complainer, but there's an endearing quality to him.
I think most will like Cocoon: The Return. But leftovers aren't as good as the first meal.
Prairie Law (1940)
Bad guys buy the law and order
In this RKO western George O'Brien stars as a cattleman bringing a herd home and when he gets there he finds a bunch of homesteaders on what was public
land. It's been sold to them by agent Paul Everton who's a real sharp sort.
This is an argument used in westerns like the Sea Of Grass and McLintock where land used for buffalo and cattle does not have the rich soil deep enough to support agricultural crops. Everton knows it, O'Brien knows it, and soon the suckers who bought the land will. And Everton's also the town judge.
In any event the herds are stalled ripe for a little nickel and dime rustling another of Everton's schemes. The steers are butchered and the meat sold to town butcher Cy Kendall who really operates with a low overhead and a wide profit margin.
When the sheriff J. Farrell MacDonald investigates he's killed by Kendall and that spurs George O'Brien into action as MacDonald was his uncle.
I have to say that Everton was a truly crafty villain. Takes a lot to bring him down.
Enough gunplay to satisfy any western fan.
Flame of the West (1945)
Fast shootin' doc
Johnny Mack Brown stars in this western for Monogram that has a bit more plot
than your average B film. He plays a newly arrived doctor in the town who has a
secret. His secret is that he's a fast gun with an accurate aim at what he shoots
This is one lawless town and saloon owner Harry Woods wants to keep it that way. The town brings in tamer Douglass Dumbrille and appoints him marshal with carte blanche. But to finish the job he will need Brown and those colts he carries in his doctor's bag.
Being a law and order marshal in a western is not a role I ever thought to see Dumbrille in. But he does carry it off.
Joan Woodbury has the role of Woods's partner in the saloon. She's in charge of the entertainment at the establishment and PeeWee King and his group who are in this film play at the saloon and work for her. She's also carrying a big secret which we don't learn until the end.
Enough gunplay to satisfy any western fan.
Defining comedy for the millenials
This was one interesting show, essentially it defined comedy for the millenial
Three men, three women typical of young people as they like to see themselves decide to room together in New York City, rents being what they are. The women were Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Aniston,and Courtney Cox. The guys are David Schwimmer, Matthew Perry, and Matt LeBlanc.
With six characters from different backgrounds there was a chance to bring in girlfriends, boyfriends, relations of all kinds in a whole range of plot situations for episodes. One of the reasons the show clicked.
The bigger reasons was however the chemistry between the six. You can never tell, you just hope you make the right casting and the audience likes the ensemble. That's sheer luck at times.
I know my nieces of the younger generation really dug this show as they entered their teen years. I kind of liked it myself
That Was Then... This Is Now (1985)
What some kids carry around.
That Was Then, This Is Now is the story of two working class youths who look like
they are on a street to nowhere in their lives.
After his parents killed themselves, Emilio Estevez is taken in by his best friend Craig Sheffer and his mom Barbara Babcock. The two of them get in all kinds of trouble. But Sheffer is starting to think that may be if I grow up their just might be a future for him.
Estevez is carrying a lot around, many of us do and we react to it in different ways. Estevez is on the road to career criminality. He gets involved in deeper and deeper and threatens to bring Sheffer in with him if Sheffer does not heed the better angels of his nature.
The key scene is when we learn as Estevez confides to Scheffer just what it is he's carrying inside. Some of the best acting in both their careers.
Hollywood has done very well with S.E. Hinton novels. That Was Then This Is Now is right up there with Tex, Rumblefish. and The Outsiders. This one managed to get done without Matt Dillon.
I recommend it highly.
Bonanza: Lothario Larkin (1965)
Getting a Lothario wed
Not sure if Noah Beery's character of Lothario Larkin was born with that monniker or it is a nickname. But it sure fits him as he 's romanced every eligible
young female in the Virginia City area and has their father's out looking for him
Noah Beery, Jr. plays Larkin and he confesses that he was jilted once and now jilts the entire female species. So his good friend Dan Blocker seeks to remedy the situation and he discovers that the woman who did the jilting is working in a saloon. The only problem is that Dorothy Green is living without benefit of clergy with gambler Jim Davis. No legal complications but Davis is a rough customer.
Nice humorous episode with Hoss Cartwright as Cupid.
Quite an imagination
Dwight Schultz makes the first of several appearances as Lt.Reginald Barkley on
the Enterprise. Schultz got to reprise his character usually once a year for the
remainder of TNG's run.
Barkley or Broccoli as Wil Wheaton takes to calling him is the typical square peg in a round hole. He's one of those folks who just can't quite fit in. In all of the Barkley subsequent episodes like here things just seem to happen all around him.
In any event there are a number of systems failures that leave the Enterprise in great danger. It's LeVar Burton and Schultz who figure out what is happening.
Barkley has quite an imagination and is addicted to the hollowdeck programs he's created to blow off steam. Both Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis have differing reactions to them. As Geordi LaForge says Barkley could write a book on hollowdeck addiction.
Good story that introduces us to an enduring character in the Star Trek saga.
The Man Who Wouldn't Die (1942)
Shouldn't they stay dead?
Marjorie Weaver who is Paul Harvey's wild child comes home and announces she
has a husband. Her dad has troubles enough with a Senate Investigating Committee looking at him for God knows what. Harvey and a few others have
just buried a body, but a second look reveals an empty grave.
Weaver hires Michael Shayne, but in order to have him at the house she says Lloyd Nolan is her husband. Nolan's crackling wit does not near and endear to the rest, but he gets the job done.
All I'll say is that it wasn't quite what I expected.
The cast gives a good account of themselves and Nolan is as breezy as ever.
Sea Hunt (1958)
The craze for SCUBA diving
My cousin who was a great swimmer and like all kinds of water sports was a great
fan of Sea Hunt. He was 9 when Sea Hunt made its debut.
If this show and its star Lloyd Bridges did anything else it surely awakened a lot of people's interest in marine biology and life beneath ocean surface. The invention of the Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus allowed for better exploring of the seas. The navy used in World War 2 and the 50s saw an explosion in civilian popularity and use.
Bridges was former navy frogman Mike Nelson who still worked for our government on occasion, but also hired out to individual citizens if they needed questions answered from ocean depths. He worked alone, no wisecracking sidekicks. Bridges did have his sons Beau and Jeff on the show as child actors.
Ivan Tors produced this syndicated series and it was his first big success.
Lots of kids grew up with the adventures Mike Nelson had, kids just like my cousin.
Corrina, Corrina (1994)
"Where have you been so long?"
Ray Liotta a typical ad man from the Eisenhower 50s has just lost his wife and his
daughter Tina Majorino her mother. He's needing a housekeeper and babysitter
very badly. He starts interviewing a variety of candidates not all of them women.
But Whoopi Goldberg playing the title role sort of ingratiates herself with both
father and daughter.
Soon enough there's an attraction between the two of them, but this is not 2019 it is the 50s and before the Civil Rights Act. They get a lot of fisheyed stares and a racial crack or two. And that is both of them as Goldberg's own family says to stick to her own kind.
Whoopi's scenes with Tina are really special they're what drive the film. It also makes it a family film in every sense of the word.
Two movie oldtimers, K.T. Stevens and Don Ameche make their farewell appearances. Ameche has only a few scenes and you can see how the ravages of cancer are killing him slowly. A lot like Edward G. Robinson and Soylent Green.
There's also a nice performance by Erica Yohn as Liotta's mom and what a Yiddishe Mama she is. Ameche is his father.
This is a wonderful film and with interracial couples far more accepted now it's a look back on some brave people.
The King's Messengers (2017)
Will they be rescued
This is an 8 part mini-series with half hour segments that looks like it was shot with my father's old Bell&Howell home movie camera. A revolt has taken place
in some unnamed Balkan country and it is a real anti-clerical government that
has taken over.
Two young men, armed with only a laptop are broadcasting religious messages to the outside world and the outside world wants to get them out. But they have to keep on the move.
The two men are Christopher Veldhuizen a native of the country and Daniel Knudsen who is the son of the former British ambassador who was killed along with his wife and rest of the family.
It's a sincere effort, but not likely to be seen other than on TCT and church basements.
Ulee's Gold (1997)
A modern Ulysses
Peter Fonda received his only Oscar nomination for Best Actor in this film which
got no other recognition from the Academy. As Ulysses Jackson he's the troubled
patriarch of his family. Right now widower Fonda is raising his two granddaughters
Jessica Biel and Vanessa Zima because their father is in jail and their mother.
off and is on narcotics. Fonda works as a beekeeper in the Florida Everglades
Visiting son Tom Wood in jail, Wood asks Fonda to fetch his wife who is now running around with his two low life running buddies who pulled a bank job, but it was Wood who was arrested and doing a stretch. They think that wife Christina Dunford knows where the loot is, but she's too strung out to help them.
They let Dunford go with Fonda, but they want his help in getting the stolen loot. The running buddies are a pair with Dewey Weber threatening to go psycho any minute and Steven Flynn cooler, but maybe more deadly.
The climax is with Fonda taking these two to where the loot is with the rest of the family tied up at home.
This was the beauty of this film. Fonda is no hero, he's a good man, tends to be self righteous, but still a decent soul. He's not used to dealing with criminals though his son is one. Can he outwit these two is what Ulee's Gold boils down to.
Fonda gives a wonderful performance and one can see why he got the Oscar nomination. He lost to Jack Nicholson for As Good As It Gets. Also in the cast are Patricia Richardson as Fonda's neighbor and a nurse and J.Kenneth Campbell as a very wise sheriff.
The cinematography of the Florida swamps is good as well. Ulee's Gold is a crowning achievement in the career of Peter Fonda.
The Happy Hottentots (1930)
Vaudeville comedian Joe Frisco stars in this short subject that stretches a gag out
of all proportion.
Frisco and friend Bob Callahan decide to form an act and they get a booking in a movie theater. This was when vaudeville was dying and acts took what work they could find. Movie theater manage Billy Gilbert hires them to fill in between features and be ready at a moment's notice to go on stage.
Gilbert wasn't kidding as Frisco and Callahan keep going on and on, never getting a chance to eat or sleep. Must have been a 24 movie show.
The gag wasn't funny enough to carry the whole short subject. Still this is a good place to see Joe Frisco who was one of the best in vaudeville.
Trading Places (1983)
The Dukes like to toy
Movie old timers Ralph Bellamy and Don Ameche are a pair of filthy rich brothers
named Duke who like to toy with people's lives. They arrange an experiment
where one of their employees Dan Aykroyd is framed for drug dealing and loses
all the perks and privileges of being a rich WASP in America. At the same time
they elevate street hustler Eddie Murphy into their circle. Will both Aykroyd and
Murphy adjust to their new situations?
They do, kinda sorta, but when the two realize they're being manipulated they hatch a scheme to take down the arrogant Duke brothers. Murphy and Aykroyd do it with style and at their own game.
Aykroyd and Murphy work beautifully together and as for the Duke brothers these two are like the sons of Mr. Potter from It's A Wonderful Life. Manipulation didn't work any better for Lionel Barrymore than it does for Bellamy and Ameche.
Others of note in this comedy classic are Jamie Lee Curtis as your standard heart of gold hooker, Denholm Elliott as Aykroyd/Murphy's resourceful butler and Paul Gleason as the Duke brothers hatchet man. What happens to Gleason will stick with you.
Don't miss Trading Places, it's a classic and a laugh riot.
Sgt. Bilko (1996)
The eternal Bilko
Nat Hiken's Sergeant Ernie Bilko is one of those characters who no matter what
age, what time, and what army he'll find a way to game the system. I'm sure
there's a Bilko somewhere in North Korea's army, he just has to act with quite a
bit more discretion.
From the 50s of Eisenhower to the 90s of Clinton, Bilko and his denizens of the motor pool at Fort Baxter are still operating their schemes. Steve Martin steps right into Phil Silvers's shoes if not his glasses.
The party could be over though because Fort Baxter might just be closed because they haven't come through with the development of a new type of tank. In addition Phil Hartman who is a major with some history with Martin is making it a personal crusade to get Martin bounced from the army.
Most of the characters from the TV show are still here if in a different guise on occasion to reflect the diversity of the army in the 90s. I particularly liked Eric Edwards as Private Doberman. Then as now I can't believe that a Doberman could get in the army in the first place.
And in fact it is mentioned that Bilko and girlfriend Gleanne Headly have the longest running engagement since Nathan Detroit and Adelaide. Headly becomes a front on Hartman's war against Bilko.
Dan Aykroyd is Colonel Hall taking Paul Ford's place. Aykroyd doesn't have Ford's eternal Irascibility. He's more resigned to go with the flow with Bilko. But he also doesn't want to see his command shut down.
Newer fans should see this movie as well as the old TV series. They'll like both.
Rawhide: The Blue Spy (1961)
Old war wounds don't heal so fast
In this Rawhide story the Gil Favor herd comes across a woman in the desert barely alive. It's the famous actress and Union spy Pauline Cushman played by
As these drovers are mostly Confederate veterans her arrival is not greeted with applause. But especially not from Lyle Bettger who got cashiered out of the Confederate army when he revealed some information that caused his troops to be decimated in an ambush.
Bettger wants her dead, but Eric Fleming doesn't sanction coldblooded murder. But Bettger has some mutinous allies among the drovers.
Nice guest star turns by Bettger and Thaxter in this story.
Bonanza: Credit for a Kill (1966)
Motives are questioned
Michael Landon with a little time off from duties at the Ponderosa is visiting old
friend Dean Harens when they spot a horse thief riding one of Harens's horses out of the barn. Both shoot and kill him and find there's a price on his head.
But only Little Joe claims the reward. Reason being is that there are three other brothers and they're looking for trouble. Harens has one bad arm and wouldn't stand a chance. But as Little Joe's not divulging anything his motives are questioned.
There are some nice guest star turns here from Luana Patten as a saloon entertainer and Don Collier as the sheriff. Best of all is Ed Faulkner, member in good standing of the John Wayne unofficial stock company. He plays a town tough and Faulkner and Landon have a real memorable standoff in a saloon.
Worth watching for that alone.
A Thrill for Thelma (1935)
The criminal lifestyle
This 'Crime Does Not Pay' short subject from MGM examines the case of a woman
who got caught up in criminality because of who she married and because she
found herself enjoying the thrill.
Irene Hervey is our protagonist and she's looking like she's on the straight and narrow even marrying a good looking chap Robert Livingston. But when Livingston has her along on a robbery, she really likes the thrill.
As in all the MGM 'Crime Does Not Pay' shorts, they slip up as criminals do in real life too.
I'm agreeing with the other reviewer, a bit heavy handed but effective.
Dapper Detective of the Disco Age
Though Joe Mannix might not have had the money that Amos Burke did from
Burke's Law, he kept himself well dressed. I guess the Intertec paid well, so well
he went out on his own.
When Mannix first premiered in 1967 Mike Connors worked for a company called Intertec. When he went into business for himself he took with him Peggy Fair as his secretary played by Gail Fisher. She was the widow of a policeman killed in the line of duty. She was quite protective of him as I recall.
Lots of action in Mannix, because when he got the scent of his target Mannix definitely believed in a hands on approach to crime and corruption.
Mannix as PI was as incorruptible as Theo Kojak, he just had a lot less rules to go by. This was a good show and reflective of its time.
Hi, Gaucho! (1935)
Zorro of the Southern Hemisphere
Hi Gaucho tells the story of a pair of feuding Argentine families back when Argentina was still part of the Spanish Empire. The Zorro of our piece is unmasked, but he's as dashing as Tyrone Power and sings like Nelson Eddy.
John Carroll is our hero and he wants to win the love of Steffi Duna. But she's betrothed to a man in his 70s and it's all part of a scheme to bilk her family's fortune. Carroll won't let that happen.
Some forgettable songs and some cheesy accents highlight Hi Gaucho. At least the very British Montague Love doesn't try for one of those accents.
This RKO film is all right, maybe a dubbed Tyrone Power could have put it over better. Dubbed because Ty couldn't sing a lick.
The Big Game (1936)
Kidnapped star player
Some familiar character players plus a number of All Americans from that era of
the 30s are in the cast of The Big Game. Phillip Huston because he's not one of
THE Hustons is our lead and I'm sure most have never heard of him.
Huston is kidnapped before The Big Game and I'm I need go no further. You've seen that a dozen times over.
The film bears a slight resemblance to the John Wayne film Trouble Along The Way in that it raises issues about how college athletes are recruited. The issue was better raised in the Duke's film.
Some real football footage nicely integrated into the film. Huston is a most colorless hero though.
Over the Goal (1937)
The big rivalry
This college football story has injured quarterback William Hopper promising girl
friend June Travis that he wouldn't wreck himself any more. He has an injured
knee from the last game.
But Hopper's Carlton College is facing the hated rivals at State in the last game of the season. There's a lot riding on this game. Carlton gets a generous alumnus endowment if they beat State.
The nefarious forces at State will do anything by hook or crook to keep Hopper out of the big game and do.
Over The Goal is a light and easy to take college film with lots of comedy provided by Johnnie Davis as Hopper's roommate. Eddie Anderson brings his Rochester character to his part as a groundskeeper with Hattie McDaniel as his overbearing wife.
Hard to recognize William Hopper who was in his salad days back then. He had a head of dark hair unlike the premature gray he had as Paul Drake on the Perry Mason Show. Only the voice gives him away.
Nothing special, but nice entertainment.