Florence Vidor gets a couple of proposals pf marriage in Doomsday. One is from
honest farmer Gary Cooper veteran of the late world war. The other is from
Lawrence Grant owner of a wealthy estate, a rich older man who wants a trophy
wife Whom do you think she finally ends up with?
Apparently the marriage with Grant doesn't include sex as part of the arrangement. Of course she doesn't realize that when she turns Coop down for a life of material luxury.
Wrapped in puritanism that it is Doomsday does have a strong moral at the
end about marrying for love.
The players all perform well in roles they are typecast for.
Though why anyone would name their property Doomsday is beyond me.
When a film location has to change from Egypt because a fresh revolution going on there to Algeria and Tunisia where revolutionary activities were just getting into high gear against the French you know this has to be one hard luck film.
American novelist Van Heflin looking for material for a new book teams up with
archeologist Eric Portman on a desert dig near the ruins of Carthage. The hunt is
for a legendary Golden Mask belonging to a Roman conqueror back in the day.
Along for the ride is Portman's daughter Wanda Hendrix, Portman's daughter
who Heflin falls for. There are also a couple of crooks along to try and steal this archeological treasure.
This film was Van Heflin's first foray into European film making and it looks like
his paycheck cleared. I saw this film over 50 years ago on television and remember being colossally bored with it. It's not come out on DVD or any other media so I can only write this review from distant memory.
Van Heflin risked revolution for this. He's a reliable and competent aqctor, but even he's entitled to a Thanksgiving feast.
A version of the Prodigal Son parable is the basis for this episode. Graham
Jarvis is an electrical contractor who has two sons and a daughter and is incidentally doing a major rewiring job on the police station.
Carroll O'Connor is attending a dinner where Jarvis is announcing the engagement of his daughter Robin Massey. Brother Ken Page, the good son is
there also. Coming late is Justin Lazard who's the bad boy and in some deep
debt to some New Orleans bookies.
Jarvis and Page have a major disagreement over whether to help the incorrigible
Lazard out. It's a sad tale and it doesn't quite work out the way the biblical parable does.
David Hart has some good moments here and he's usually the good natured deputy who is a bit slow, but always eager to please. He proves not to be so dumb in this episode and that's bad for one of Jarvis's kids.
This episode is a continuation of a story done in a two parter from the previous season. Harriet DeLong pushed hard and got the Sparta police department to
investigate a most wealthy and white local citizen for the murder of her sister who
was a singer in a New Orleans nightclub owned by this man. He also fathered their son who is now around 10.
The perpetrator died rather spectacularly and now Denise Nicholas is now engaged in a custody battle with Adair Simon the widow for the boy. Despite
their millions I would think this a no-brainer for any Family Court Judge.
And I'm not sure why Simon would want a permanent reminder of some really bad vents in her life around her.
In that first year of the Oscar which also coincided with the last year of silent
films, the acting Oscars were given to one for a body of work in that period.
So Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor won for multiple films.
The Last Command was half of Jannings's Oscar. In this he plays a former Russian General of the Romanov blood royal now in Hollywood eking out a living as an extra. When looking for work on a Russian themed picture he's spotted by director William Powell, also a Russian who was a revolutionary at the time.
Flashback to the events of 1917 and Jannings is leading his cousin the Czar's troops on the Eastern front. But revolution is in the air and a troupe of actors
that include Evelyn Brent and William Powell are there for entertaining/
This Russian USO type show is a hotbed of Leninism and Powell and Brent are committed to fomenting a little treason in the army. Brent foments a little something else in Jannings and he interests her as well.
Brent gives one of her best screen performances in The Last Command. Her
revolutionary passion and other passions come out in equal measure. She's
sadly overlooked in the acclaim Jannings got.
One thing left out in the story is Powell's reason for being in Hollywood. His
side won but he obviously did not like the worker's paradise created by the
The battle scenes both real and on the Hollywood set are well staged by
director Josef Von Sternberg. The story is probably way too melodramatic
for today's taste yet it holds up for the most part.
And as Jannings American work seems to be mostly lost, it's a good thing
The Last Command wasn't.
With both stars John McIntire and Robert Horton not in the episode Terry Wilson
carries this episode without even the comic relief of Frank McGrath.
Bill Hawks is leading a section of wagons to a destination in southern California, but they have to pass through an area controlled by Nehemiah Persoff who used
to ride with the legendary Joaquin Murietta. As history tells us Murietta was a
Robin Hood type hero who fought in vain to keep the immigrant pioneers who
spilled into California looking for gold, etc.
But Persoff's band is now 20 years in the desert and he's weary. He also wants a better life for daughter Lisa Gaye. However he's got a hotheaded subordinate
played by Leonard Nimoy who wants to continue. the fight. Looking over
Nimoy's career it's fascinating the number of hotheaded types he played before
being the unflappable Mr. Spock.
Persoff strikes the right balance of fierce lion of the desert and a weary man
who just wants to live his last years out in peace and some comfort.
Persoff in the end makes a sacrifice for his followers that both Terry Wilson and
traveling judge Russell Collins give for a valiant man.
A whole confluence of issues are dealt with in Who Am I. Josiah David Warren
directs and stars in this film about a pastor of a fundamentalist Christian church
in San Antonio. Drugs, human trafficking abortion all dealt with and the answers
are the fundamentalist ones.
One thing that was curious. One of the characters is a black woman who says she
is a 'hermaphrodite' born with the sex organs of both male and female. The
correct term for that is intersex, but I wouldn't expect fundamentalist
Christians to know that.
As she confesses she mentioned that growing up the only ones who didn't
give her a hard time were gay people, A most revealing line.
But she's had surgery in Mexico and now she's ready to join the congregation
at Warren's church. t's all a most halfhearted attempt to deal with transgender
issues within the parameters of the doctrine.
Good thing for Warren this film hasn't gotten any attention from transgender rights groups.
Nightmare In The Sun is the first of many vanity projects for his wives. This one was for Ursula Andress and why she gets killed a third if the wat into doesn't make
for a good spotlight.
But it was also ursula needed. She's the nymphomaniac wife of Arthur O'Connell
and she's constantly itching and the older O'Connell can't scratch enough. One
of those scratching the most is Sheriff Aldo Ray in this small Arizona community.
Andress picks up Derek who is hitchhiking his way to the Pacific coast. She makes
him one irresistible offer and as he's leaving Arthur O'Connell is arriving. He
shoots his cheating wife and calls the sheriff. Both Ray and O'Connell who is
overwhelmed with guilt decide to throw the blame on the stranger they saw leave.
After that Derek is running for his life and meets all kinds of folks who let him down, each and every adult.
Compared to some of his later projects Nightmare In The Sun was like Citizen Kane. A whole lot of familiar faces make appearances, long enough to collect
Hunter Van Leer plays a most hated man. He's the landlord owning several
properties in Sparta's bottoms. We meet him doing a job of eviction and
making the usual friends and influencing people. Van Leer has a a more lucrative
sideline as a narcotics dealer.
One of his evictions is Chris Lobban's mother who is in a nursing home in a nearby town as Lobban now lives Chief Gillespie.
When the much hated Van Leer is murdered, the more affluent citizens
of Sparta figure on a race riot. The blue line of the Sparta police find the
real culprits with the cooperation of at least one 'public minded' citizen
of the bottoms.
Slums. Everyone agrees it's a problem, but no one knows what to do.
An old friend of Hugh O'Connr's has taken up with some bad company. Instead of
an upstanding Sparta policeman, Denise Miller is nw hanging out with a pair of
bikers who are rightly suspected of a convenience store robbery.
The one who is suffering is the infant that Miller bore and as a single parent and
who is not being taken care of. One of AnneMarie Johnson's students Jason
Presson is Miller's younger brother and he's the only one stepping up to the
A sad episode about how the ones who truly suffer are the most innocent.
Claude Akins guest stars on this episode as a man who wants some vengeance on
District Attorney Darnelle. Akins breaks in the Darnelle home and kidnaps Wilbur
Fitzgerald and Katherine Cannon's teenage daughter.
Akins's motives are not the usual ones for a kidnapping. But when the Sparta police discover who they discover why.
This episode also features a jurisdictional dispute with the FBI who Fitzgerald
wants running the show. Of course Carroll O'Connor has different ideas and they are the right ones. As they would be on his show.
A very good climax between Fitzgerald, Akins, Alan Autry and Hugh O'Connor is
featured. Akins is unforgettable as a man with what he thinks is a righteous
While Bubba and a woman he's dating are enjoying a picnic in the country and
outside of Sparta city limits someone fires a shot at him. This very nervous
individual was trying to keep him away from a lovely field of poppies that can
be used for manufacturing all kinds of narcotics.
Strictly speaking this ain't Sparta jurisdiction. But you're not going to shoot at
Alan Autry and get away with it.
There's a good reason the bad guys have been getting away with it and for that
you watch the episode. But law enforcement ends up quite embarrassed.
The Murder Of Sir Harry Oakes is still a subject of speculation even today, especially in the Bahamas . This American born, Canadian citizen and knight of the British Empire is well played by Rod Steiger.
The natural beauty of the Bahamas is what attracted Oakes to settle here and make this a home away from the world's travails. In 1943 the world certainly had a lot of travails and the World War raging on affects all on the Bahamas.
But in the upper crust where Oakes hangs out, they carry on like the war was a million miles away. Funny no mention of German U-Boat activity is made at any point in the film.
The Bahamas is where Winston Churchill's government put the former king and
now Duke of Windsor as Governor-General. There was always a fear the Germans would grab him and if they invaded the British Isles they would restore
him as king. Putting him in the Bahamas a short hop from Florida would releve the British and give the Americans the worry for his safety and person. The Duke is played by Andrew Ray and the woman he loved Wallis Warfield Simpson is played by Linda Griffiths. They're played just about like the society twits
Into this island paradise comes Armand Assante, a man with an old title, but little old money to go with it. He makes a living in New York as an escort for hire among the the creme de la creme of society. A titled gigolo. Assante has bought
a plantation next to the Oakes estate and Steiger befriends him
Until he starts courting Catherine Mary Stewart, Steiger's daughter. Both Steiger
and wife Mariette Hartley oppose him, but Assante marries Stewart anyway.
Two other elements of this story are the burgeoning independence movement among the natives who are the descendants of runaway slaves from the USA.
The second is the mob who want to turn the Bahamas into another gambling
paradise like Cuba. hey send Michael Sarrazin to work things out but peacefully.
All these elements are part of the story which comes to a head when Steiger
is murdered and Assante arrested. It would be convenient for the powers that
be to have Assante convicted.
Passion And Paradise is exceptionally well cast and photographed beautifully.
My favorite however was the American detective hired by Stewart Wayne Rogers. Right out of Raymond Chandler.
The Duke Of Windsor was rightly pilloried for botching the investigation when he
took advantage of the closeness and called in the Miami police. They did
more than botch and it all eflected bad on the Windsors.
See if you can come up with your own solution to this case.
This episode has John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan hosting Judge Joseph Cotten
and wife Virginia Gregg at Shiloh. Cotten's on the campaign trail looking to be
Wyoming Territory's non-voting congressional representative.
But after Cotten leaves the Thurman siblings consisting of Pamela Murphy and
her brothers Shelley Novack and Philip Alford take McIntire and Nolan hostage.
The hands are away on a cattle drive and only Tim Matheson is around.
The one to watch here is Philip Alford who back when is best known for being
one of the Finch children in To Kill A Mockingbird. As the younger Thurman
brother he's taken the loss of both parents very hard and is likely to go off any
The mission these kids have is to get Cotten to confess he was bribed to render
a decision involving the Thurman ranch and a railroad coming through. A common story in the west in real life, settlers of all kinds, farmers and ranchers against the railroad.
Just the title alone should tell you that you won't see anything like a Sonja Henie
movie. Great Britain's answer to Henie, Belita stars in this noir thriller about the
star skater caught between two men.
Peanut vendor Barry Sullivan has some ideas that catch the attention of ice show
owner Albert Dekker and he promotes him to the show management. Sullivan
also gets ideas about Belita as he rises the ladder of success.
For a Monogram Picture this one looks like a few bucks were spent on it. The
ice sequences match anything in a Sonja Henie movie.
Bonita Granville has a real adult role and acts real adult. The juvenile tattletale
in These Three and the screen's Nancy Drew, Granville plays the scorned other
woman in Sullivan's life and does well.
Suspense was Eugene Pallette's farewell performance. Mr. Pallette retired after
this film and went to live in the wild country in Oregon's more rural area. He was
a man of strong rightwing convictions and was sure that we could expect atomic war from the Russians. I wonder if when he died in 1954 he was disappointed.
For a Monogram film this noir is not a bad one with an unusual setting.
On one of her Pony Express rides Yvonne Suhor buys a dress to see how she might
look in feminine attire. She captures the interest of insurance salesman Roger
Rees who has no idea that on the job she passes for male.
Another person Melissa Leo finds the dress and Suhor's secret is revealed. Finally
someone to have girl talk with.
Rees is looking for her and Suhor thinks he's captivated by her. Maybe somewhat, But Rees has a not so nice agenda in mind.
This episode of the Young Riders is for the women.
James Murdock takes center stage in this Rawhide episode as Mushy the cook's louse who everyone dismisses and doesn't take seriously has an incredible lucky
streak at poker. He wins $1500.00 from saloon owner Barbara Stuart. Murdock
feels like the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo.
Of course folks who become instantly wealthy earn all kinds of friends who want
to help him spend the money. And Barbara Stuart ants some working capital
back in her gambling palace.
Murdock as Mushy is always a bit sad and forlorn, never more so than in this story.
In this Mexican Spitfire movie we have Buddy Rogers taking the place of Donald Woods as the husband of Lupe Velez. Repeating are Leon Errol as he indulgent
uncle and Elizabeth Risdon as the exasperated harriden aunt.
Other than a change in setting all the Mexican Spitfire films are alike. Lupe with
her malaprops helping Errol pull off playing Uncle Matt, Uncle Matt disguised
as Lord Epping and Lord Epping the rich but daft titled Englishman. They do
move at a furious pace.
The action here takes place at Lord Epping's American estate all closed and boarded up and unoccupied they think. Some crooks are using it as a hideout
Rogers is trying to get businessman Donald MacBride's account. Errol frantically with Lupe's help makes several changes from Epping to Matt and
The new element here is MacBride possessor off one of the two best slow burn comedy routines around, the other belonging to Edgar Kennedy. He's the
funniest one in this comedy.
Otherwise it's Mexican Spitfire business as usual.
This Frontier Circus episode has the T&T circus having a conflicting date with
Edward Andrews who fancies himself a 'Duke' with show of both speedy and
trained horses. he's got some good riders too, led by Skip Homeier.
Homeier is one arrogant Cossack whom you want to punch out on general principle. John Derek and Richard Jaeckel want to do that very badly, but when
the circus riders are challenged to a race, it's first things first.
If you think you know how this episode will come out, I guarantee you will be wrong.
Legendary piano bar singer Bobby Short guest stars in this episode and his favorite
number is a story about a real crime which Geoffrey Thorne pays close attention to. He ought to pay it mind because it's the story of how the grandfather of
Wilson Sweet was the victim of a bias killing. Some of the local rednecks in 1948
Mississippi did not think it right that a black man ought to be driving a brand
new off the lot Packard. The song and story go was that grandfather Sweet
made several good passes in a crap game and won the money to pay for it.
A couple of those good old boys are still around and justice may be late, but
it does arrive sort of.
This episode was Geoffrey Thorne's big moment in this series and there's a nice
guest star turn from James Best as a long retired sheriff's deputy.
The more I see of In The Heat Of The Night, the ,ore I' convinced that like Cabot
Cove, Maine in New England, sleepy Sparta, Mississippi is the murder capital of
the Deep South. At least Sparta has a bigger police force than Cabot Cove does.
In this case Merl Hatfield who fathered a mixed racial daughter in Kim Hawthorne
has a confrontation with her he's murdered.
The story gives us only 3 possible suspects, Hawthorne, wife Marj Dusay and
business partner Ben Murphy. It becomes real obvious who did the deed early
Still some nice guest performances especially from Dusay who is the cream of
Sparta society and makes sure all know it.
The T&T Circus gets a visit from James Barton and his clan. As the head of the
Clan MacDuff, American branch he's kept up all the fine traditions of Scotland
including a feud with people named McNeil and picking out husbands for his
Barton has earmaked John Derek and Richard Jaeckel as likely candidates for
two of his six daughters and he will not be swayed.
This was James Barton's farewell performance and he's giving one lovable
scene stealing performance. But the episode tends to the silly side.
The first of a series of films from Warner Brothers B picture unit based on Booth
Tarkington's Penrod stories is this item with Billy Mauch, Penrod and Sam. Playing Penrod's parents are Frank Craven and Spring Byington.
Mauch's gang are all tried and true members of the junior G-men club and they
put aside all their usual kid rivalries when publc enemy Craig Reynolds comes
to town, robs the bank and in the process kills young Philip Hurlic's mom.
Sadly young Hurlic's performance conforms to all the racial stereotyping. But
it's still a poignant especially after his mother is killed.
As for the climax Reynolds better hope he gets the chair. All the ribbing he'll take
about those junior G-men.
The Mauch twins after making their debut in The Prince And The Pauper had a
brief run of popularity. But there's only so much you can do with a twin brother act other
than save money on special effects.
They got into a few B films at Warner Brothers based on Booth Tarkington's Penrod books. Billy Mauch plays Penrod Schofield who goes up in a hot air
balloon and drifts off to parts unknown. When he's reported missing parents
Gene and Kathleen Lockhart offer a big reward.
Which a couple of conmen Hugh O'Connell and Dick Purcell decide to cash in passing off Bobby Mauch an orphan who looks just like Penrod,
I'm sure you see more than a small resemblance to the plot of Mark Twain's
The Prince And The Pauper in this film. There's no Errol Flynn to aid and assist
so the Mauch twins are left to their own devices. Fortunately Penrod has a gang
and a dog that are most helpful.