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telegonus (610)


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Back To The Original Series Revisiting Frankenstein Starting Up Again Any Thoughts On Why There Aren't More Serious Posters Here? One Vicious Movie The 7th Is Made Up Of Phantoms View all posts >


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Thanks, EC. I think that Weston could be a convincing bad guy, but wholly bad would have been hard for him; or maybe I've just never seen him in quite that mode. Gross and crass, yes, yet he lacked much in the way of physical menace. William Bendix was somewhat similar and yet he could play a brutal thug and rough a guy up real bad; and in a kickass Untouchables episode (The Tri-State Gang) he was, years later, just barely post-Chester A. Riley, once again playing a brute. His character wouldn't just holding up trucks with his gang, he'd shoot every single driver, anyone who could identify him. This might sound prosaic, and by today's standard maybe it is, but sixty some years ago this must have been a shocker. Because it's a product of its time, and with the usually lovable Bendix as a psycho killer, it's a stark thing to watch even today. The ending is impossible to guess, and I won't give it away. Jack Weston's the sort of guy who could be IN the Tri-State gang but not OF IT (by temperament), would likely have been cut down by his boss for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, in a restaurant maybe, then taken out into an alley and shot. Hi EC, and welcome back. This board is probably the nearest we're going to get into the immediate future (if that makes any sense) to a serious successor to the dear departed IMDB boards, gone two years and counting now. (IMDB v2's good but almost too busy, and classic type folders end up with discussions of mostly recent films. One of the great pleasures of the old site was the commitment of its member to the word classic, which for most of us means pre-1970, or in my book, better still, pre-1960.) As to Jack Weston, I've been seeing a of him lately. He was a nasty jazz loving guy on a Hitchcock half-hour, and quite nasty as a suburban "bully" in an alien invasion episode of The Twilight Zone. I always like him; his presence. He doesn't wear out his welcome with me. Dom DeLuise was definitely a mincing, gay seeming Jack Weston knockoff (!) or wannabe (!) who carved out a nice niche for himself mostly on television. Weston could play mean and menacing but he always struck me as not quite up to the job for that. His natural pathos and good guy likability worked against that. There was nearly always a comic undercurrent with him, though I don't think I've ever seen him truly over the top. He was more like the guy "people laugh at" rather than someone who truly wanted to elicit laughter. Yes. Ankers was damn near inspiring in the pub scene. She was a fine actress, maybe not at the studio best suited to he talents she had. It would have been interesting if she could have broken away and done more non-genre films, but this rarely happened back in the day. No, but it's very good, the cast is excellent and the atmosphere is rich. I like it better than most in the Forties Uni Sherlock series. They're fun just to look at as much as listen to. I just finished watching The Pearl Of Death and have wondered the same thing. The storytelling is all over the town but the particularly nasty master criminal and his ugly, pitiful, deformed back breaking Frankenstein monster-like assistant make the movie far more intense than most of its kind, although the Universal Sherlocks are nearer to it in style than most other mystery and detective films. Pearl Of Death plays at times like a horror, and in this it builds a head of steam as it comes down to its resolution. There are sadistic undercurrents abounding in the movie, which features more cruelty than most in the Rathbone-Bruce series. Territorial imperative issues, I imagine, as in "we're the people who really belong here (as in fauna), while you city guys are off your turf and we're gonna show you who's boss here". It never struck me as anything more. Also, these mountain men, backward and retarded as they seem and may well be, are human beings all the same, and this places seems several notches above the true creatures of the wild, whether bears, foxes, rabbits or wolves; and it makes them a hundred times more dangerous, if roused, as they're way smarter than the four legged critters who inhabit the area. Thus they're capable of true sadism; of inflicting pain and humiliation, knowing what they're doing, and getting a big kick out of it. I'm not so sure gayness is an issue in their behavior toward Bobby so much as the pleasure principal. These wild men of the forest are almost too simple and simpleminded to have much in the way of motive, as most of us understand that word. They're sly, clever and straightforward; and they know enough to not give their game away before the final assault on Bobby and then, almost, Ed. Nor do they have an ounce of subtlety. The city guys do, and their subtlety and overall sophistication is, in the moments of their captivity, no help to them given the kinds of men they're up against. If anything their "knowing", their "understanding", in an empathetic sense, would not provided them with the material they needed to take on the psychopaths who are tormenting them. More likely it would inhibit them, slow down their reactions and, cause them to bungle what actions they do take, as indeed happens later in the film Agreed on the greatness of Deliverance. As to the city boys riding on the river being watched, that remark by Lewis could be placed in a literary context as a foreshadowing rather than an "inner knowing" or "sixth sense" on the part of his character. It's maybe something author James Dickey added to the narrative to plant seeds of,--what?--maybe doubt, in the minds of the viewer, that a least one character knows that something big was comin' down the road, or river, as the case may be; and that Lewis, while he didn't know what it was for sure, sensed it. He knew something was there, maybe right behind the trees; maybe up on a hill, looking at and stalking these city men, whose agenda he could only guess. Yet again, in the larger scheme of things I'm not sure the author's intention was to make Lewis come across as a primitive man more in touch with nature than the others, who sees and feels things differently, has some unique instincts, albeit amorphous ones, that capture the "danger vibes" that surround Lewis and his fellow campers even as Lewis does not himself know what make of them. Later on, when danger really does strike, and dreadful things are happening, it's Lewis who rises to the occasion, armed with no less (or more) than a bow and arrow, to take direct action. It's a stirring few stirring seconds when we, the viewers, get to see this, and for a few brief shining moments Lewis becomes rather the action hero of the movie even as he pays for his act, and pays dearly, way downriver. I don't have any problems with comparisons and comments, whether regarding people, TV shows, politicians or religion. We come here to post and discuss, and enjoy ourselves while doing so. Nothing's graven in store, and where movies and TV series are concerned I doubt that this can ever happen. As to preference, I like both shows, each for somewhat different reasons. Twilight Zone offers sci-fi, fantasy and even horror in what are usually dramatic tales in which the outcome or resolution nearly always comes from a supernatural (or, if one prefers, fantastic) element, whether good or bad. This is a style of storytelling that I find highly entertaining. The Hitchcock half-hour (the hour long was really a different animal) was far more of a dramatic or, to be more specific, a melodramatic one, which focused on people more than ideas. It was not devoid of ideas by any means, and the irony was often laid on as thick as in any TZ, yet it arose from the people the stories were about, not a creature from outer space or a figure from the past intervening (divinely?) in the present, and vice versa. If I have a bit of a preference for the Hitch show it's because it feels more adult, deals with matters that mostly concerned grownups, and as a grownup I find this easier to relate to. The Zone was more adult when it began, but when it was discovered that the show had a huge following among schoolchildren and teens, the emphasis shifted somewhat. It never became a kid's show, but the tone, some of its stories and many of its characters came to seem simpler and easier to understand. Not always, not every show, but more often. I liked The Man On The Ledge the first time I saw it, then (go figure) inexplicably forgot the ending, which happens a lot with me, as I guess I like to forget endings to as to be surprised all over again. I do this a lot with the Hitchcock half-hours especially. Somehow, ironically, and I suppose paradoxically, I want to at least try to figure the thing out all over again. Okay, enough about me. There were undercurrents in this episode, in Merrill's predicament, in the nature of the story, which were never wholly explored. If they were there, in some discreet manner, I didn't catch on. Such as: was Gary Merrill's character impotent? That's a big issue now and, needless to say, then; and given that he was old enough to be his wife's father, something worth pondering. I don't recall so much of one line of dialogue as to suggest impotence, near verboten in Fifties prime time (such as "I guess I wasn't man enough for her", in reference to his cheating wife; or "she wanted more, more than I could give her"), which, as Merrill seemed like an upper middle class New Yorker, wouldn't be a reference to money but something else, as in "hint! hint!". Okay, it was a bunch of things more likely rather than one, as it so often is. Best guess on my part: the marriage had been a good one for a while, yet Merrill really was getting seriously older, while boytoy Mark Richman was, in looks and manner, rather a several years younger Gary Merrill: attractive in a rugged way, virile, not violent or abusive. Still, the ending makes the issue of death seem almost meaningless, as the three principal characters (one dead already) were dealing with death in ways that seem way over-dramatic. Why not a separation? Marriage counseling was quite the thing back sixty years ago. The Fifties in especially New York was a sophisticated time. There were so many better options than suicide. But in the Hitchcock series logic was secondary. Emotions got the upper hand. I like it. Not a favorite, but a classic. Specialty Of The House has many fans. I've know a few real life ones, going back decades. For a long while I avoided it in reruns because I knew the ending, which was no big surprise the first time. It's rather telegraphed, but no matter. What makes it watchable for me is the acting, writing and direction. It moves along briskly, keeps its Big Secret discreetly and, wisely, on the part of the production staff, it wasn't made for a Big Payoff ending. There is one (I suppose you could call it that), but like a piece of music, Specialty has qualities of its own that hold one's attention, and I now watch it every time it's rebroadcast. Another one like that was on last night (Don't Interrupt), set on a train and centering on an obnoxious child, which I find riveting even as precious little actually happens. Chill Wills sold it for me. His odd, enigmatic presence was creepy from his first appearance. View all replies >