bkoganbing

IMDb member since June 2003
    Highlights
    2013 Oscars
    Lifetime Total
    10,000+
    Lifetime Filmo
    10+
    Lifetime Bio
    1+
    Lifetime Trivia
    10+
    Lifetime Title
    1+
    Top Reviewer
     
    IMDb Member
    18 years

Reviews

The Powers of Matthew Star: Prediction
(1982)
Episode 5, Season 1

ESP
Back on Quadrus they/ve apparently discovered the physical reasons for psychic power. When Chip Frye's dragstrip racer stops short and Suzanne Adkinsom gets a concussion she wakes up with this power.

Worst still Peter Barton can tune in on her visions. So while he and Lou Gossett try to help they also have to deal with Adkinson's possessive police detective father.

Nice performance by Adkinson. Dominates this story.

McMillan & Wife: Dark Sunrise
(1977)
Episode 2, Season 6

Telegraphs the solution
When a young female police officer is found is killed in a bomb attack on the Commissioner's home, the body found with Kim Basinger is thought tp be Rock Hudson.

For a bit Rock Hudson decides to stay dead, but he puts his trust in the wrong person abd it nearly costs him.

The reason for the murders is kind of grafted into the plot. Literally comes from nowhere.

Hudson keeps John Schuck and Richard Gilliland at arm's length and restead uses an eager Sergeant played by Karen Valentine.

Not one of the better episodes..

Pépé le Moko
(1937)

A fool for love and risk
Pepe LeMoko first was portrayed on the silver screen by French acting legend Jean Gabin. Despite American versions of this story starring Charles Boyer and Tony Martin, this became the standard the others are measured by.

The Casbah section of old Algiers is where noted thief LeMoko holds sway and the natives accord him demi-god status. No doubt from the fact he's paid off the native population well for protection. An attempt is made by the French occupiers to go in and take him out, but the police are made fools of.

It's hen protection becomes a prison. And the sight of a beautiful and chic French woman played by Mireille Belin sets Pepe to thinking about what he can't have.

Beilin is wonderful in the Delilah role opposite Gabin's Samson. But there's more to it than carnal desire. Pepe lives for his work, the planning and execution of a caper, pitting his wits against law enforcement. His real nemesis Inspector Slimane knows Pepe better than Gabin knows himself. Slimane is played well by Romanian actor Carlos Gridaux.

As for Gabin he creates in Pepe one of the great portrayals of his career. He led a life quite similar to one of the existential characters of his career.

Smartly directed by Julien Duvivier. Pepe holds quite well, as well as the Hollywood version starring Charles Boyer that came out th following year..

This is one not to miss.

McMillan & Wife: The Devil You Say
(1973)
Episode 2, Season 3

Serena
With the making and release of The Exorcist, satanic worship became quite fad in the 70s for the big and small screen. This episode from McMillan&Wife is not one of the best examples of the genre.

Satanic worship is alive and well in San Francisco and as Jim Jones's cult was at its height when this episode was aired why wouldn't it b? There are a few covens operating at the time and one of them thinks Susan Saint James is the reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess Serena. Her presence is demanded for their big vent on Halloween.

Such folks as Werner Klemperer, Keenan Wynn, and Robert Hooks are in the cast and so is Barbara Colby, victim of a real life tragedy.

Not one of the better stories.

The Beast Must Die
(1974)

Some really dangerous game
Calvin Lockhart is a rich businessman and professional hunter and like Leslie Banks in that long ago RKO classic The Most Dangerous Game has summoned a bunch of guests. One of them he suspects is a werewolf and it's a full moon rising.

Sure enough the werewolf starts doing its thing and Lockhart even with silver bullets just can't get the job done In the end Lockhart does the job, but at a tremendous cost.

Enough blood and gore for any horror film fan. What I don't understand is that Lockhart and scientist Peter Cushing develop a werewolf test. Why didn't they use it earlier?

The Young Riders: The Presence of Mine Enemies
(1991)
Episode 5, Season 3

Ike's true love
As you can imagine Travis Fine's muteness does make him a shy guy around people and women in particular. But he falls hard and fast Kelli Williams after he and Yvonne Suhor save Williams and her father Buck Taylor from ambush.

Taylor is ne'er do well who is a degenerate gambler and drinker. The two have had to move constantly because his bad habits keep getting them in trouble,

Trouble comes from a murderous gambler played by Michael Harris. Multiple tragedies abound in this seminal episode for The Young Riders.

Bonanza: The Burning Sky
(1968)
Episode 18, Season 9

A new hand
The Cartwrights hire a new bronco buster in Michael Murphy and he brings his pretty new wife Dawn Wells with him. But Dawn Wells is a Paiute and some of the neighbors are offended b that.

Most especially Victor French who turns in acting honors for this episode. He savagely beats his own son for becoming friendly with Wells.

A sad commentary on prejddice, but also the solution given by the courts just wouldn't have happened in the old west.

Story Conference
(1934)

The I'll Cry Tomorrow girl
This Warner Brothers short subject features Lillian Roth the woman whose autobiography I'll Cry Tomorrow provided Susan Hayward with one of her great roles. But that was two decades into the future.

Roth had already been in Hollywood and Paramount put her in such feature films as Animal Crackers, The Vagabond King, and Madame Satan. She was at pretty much the end of her film career when Story Conference came out.

The framework for the many numbers in this short was a conference among studio writers and their ideas for the next Lillian Roth picture. The number s are cute but mostly forgettable. One however entitled Alimony Sal was pretty good and might have been better known if it were in one of Warner Brothers feature film musicals.

This is a good chance to see the real Lillian Roth.

The Young Riders: Survivors
(1991)
Episode 6, Season 3

Two damsels in distress.
As war clouds gather this episode has Anthony Zerbe and the Pony Express Riders trying to track down some gun running mercenaries who'll sell to one and all if their price is met. As it were Stephen Baldwin gets himself involved with widow Margaret Reed and her son Gregor Hesse. Her late husband used to ride with this bunch and they still use her property as a place to store their contraband.

Gregg Rainwater still in mourning for Travis Fine who was killed in the previous episode, helps a very pregnant Linda Allwyn whose husband was killed y these same outlaws.

Nice shootout with the outlaws and the Young Riders to climax this fine episode.

McMillan & Wife: Death of a Monster... Birth of a Legend
(1973)
Episode 1, Season 3

Yearning for my bonnie Scottish highlands
This McMillan And Wife story takes us to Scotland where Rock Judson, Susan Saint James, Nancy Walker and John Schuck are going to the castle of the Clan McMillan. Hudson's uncle is the local laird.

But upon their arrival literally the laird is shot down while in a castle turret in the proverbial locked door mystery.

Family traditions are being threatened as well as the heir presumptive Roddy McDowall is looking to sell the place to a Donald Trump like hotel magnate Roger C. Carmel

It's up to Hudson to solve the murder and save the castle. There's also a buried treasure somewhere on the grounds.

All in all a perfect Scottish vacation.

The Gorilla Man
(1943)

Fifth column at the hospital
The Gorilla Man is a wartime espionage story starring John Loder with a ton of th character players from Hollywood's British colony. Loder is a wounded RAF pilot at a coastal hospital that's run by a small cohort of Nazi spies.

Loder has found out where the planned invasion of the United Kingdom is to be made and he wants to tell those in power. But the bad guys frame him for a murder and he's now a hunted one.

Some similarities between. The classic 39 Steps of Alfred Hitchcock and the James Garner film 36 Hours. Nowhere close to those and the plot has to manu holes,

And if you want to know the origin of the title, The Gorilla Man you watch the movie.

Banacek: A Million the Hard Way
(1972)
Episode 4, Season 1

How To Steal a Million
Ace insurance investigator Banacek is in Las Vegas working for a secretive and reclusive Howard Hughes like billionaire, more directly for Noah Dietrich like subordinate Don Porter

There is a million dollars in five stacks of thousand dollar notes in a display case that gets heisted during the excitement of someone hitting a bug payoff on the slot machine.

As usual George Peppard figures out the how before the who As for the who no big surprise.

He supporting cast is well typed for the roles. A good episode in this sadly only two year series.

Gildersleeve's Ghost
(1944)

Gorillas, mad scientists, and invisible women Oh my my
Harold Peary stars as his famous radio character of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve in this, one of a series of films RKO did adapted from the radio series. Not one of the better of the series.

Hollywood has a fascination with primate behavior from Tarzan to King Kong and occasionally folks like Abbott&Costello and the Ritz Brothers played it for laughs. This was not one of the better primate films.

Too much was thrown in here, everything from the ape, experimented on by the usual movie mad scientists to a disappearing and reappearing Marion Martin. Just too many ingredients without a proper recipe.

McMillan & Wife: Two Dollars on Trouble to Win
(1973)
Episode 7, Season 2

Sally's Uncle Cyrus
This McMillan&Wife episode concerns the sport of kings and specifically William Demarest who owns a racing stable. He's a cantankerous old cuss but it looks like someone is out to kill him. The hints are quite subtle at first, but they get more and more obvious as the story progresses. A lot of denizens of the racetrack provide a handy list of suspects from where our murderer comes from. I say murderer because one of them is murdered making it an SFPD homicide case. In fact the real culprit takes log chance doing something to deflect suspicion. Watch and see what I mean. Both Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James get into harm's way as well. It's a fine story.

Bonanza: A Girl Named George
(1968)
Episode 16, Season 9

Creating an alibi
After attorney Gerald Mohr publicly threatens to shoot Judge Fred Clark over a decision he didn't like, he pays off itinerant photographer Jack Albertson to do such a thing. In one of the earliest examples of special effects Mohr gets what he needs. Albertson needs the cash to send his tomboy nice to a finishing school back east. The niece played by Sheilah Wells is a bit rough around the edges. Mohr's character makes no sense. He's a lawyer and presumably would know not to make public threats. Not one of the better Bonanza stories.

The Big Valley: Four Days to Furnace Hill
(1967)
Episode 12, Season 3

One woman as good as another
When Barbara Stanwyck is out visiting some mining properties in a nearby town she gets grabbed by some prison guards and made to take the place of a woman they had been transporting to serve her sentence at Furnace Hill prison. Just the name conjures up things that will creep you out, And if that doesn't do it Bruce Dern the guard in charge will creep you out even more. Dern is playing one of his patented low lifes which he did so well in his younger days. Stanwyck's salvation may come from the other prisoner Fritz Weaver who has a class distinction problem with her. Weaver resents the Barkley wealth and position, but he's all Stanwyck has. I always like the episodes that feature Stanwyck and shw gets good support rom Weaver and Dern.

McMillan & Wife: Cop of the Year
(1972)
Episode 3, Season 2

The locked room
It's none other than Rock Hudson's trusty aide John Schuck who our San Francisco police commissioner out of a most elaborate murder frame . The victim here is none other than Lorraine Gary who is Sergeant Enright's ex-wife. These two must have had one rocky marriage, But at a party in a locked room here all can be heard, a murder is heard. Gary is supposedly shot down by Schuck. It's a trap Agatha Christie would have envied. Even the forensics are fooled somewhat. But it's the forensics that are Schuck's salvation. Big kudos go to Lorraine Gary as one crazy lady.

The Powers of Matthew Star: Genius
(1982)
Episode 4, Season 1

Matthew's kryptonite
This episode of The Powers Of Matthew Star has science genius Margaret Fitzgerald developing a new kind of paint. This will mean a college scholarship for the young woman.

Unfortunately when Peter Barton is around the stuff acts like kryptonite for him, robbing him of his abilities. And that's with a small whiff.

It also is explosive when the thermometer reaches tropical temperatures.

Sad to say but Barton has to put on the charm to get close to Fitzgerald and render her paint harmless. That complicates his social life with Amy Steel.

An interesting story for our alien prince.

Dancing Sweeties
(1930)

Dancing the night away
Some of the themes of They Shoot Horses Don't They are found in this contemporary film of the early talkies about dance contests. Dancing Sweeties is about a boy and girl who have dancing on their minds 24/7.

The young couple are Grant Withers and Sue Carol. After a while though Carol wants to settle down, but Withers is a dancing and in many ways other kinds of a fool.

The song The Kiss Waltz was introduced here, but over all I'd say the film hasn't worn well with age.

Grant Withers was the first husband of Loretta Young. As for Sue Carol she got out of acting and became an agent. Her best known client was her husband Alan Ladd. But that was year's down the road.

If you like museum pieces, this is your movie.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
(1976)

Another Bad Seed
In her woman/child period of Bugsy Malone and Taxi Driver Jodie Foster turned out this curious film. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane is a 70s version of The Bad Seed. She wants to live alone though given her circumstances I doubt anyone in a responsible position of authority will let her. People just go missing around her including parents.

Acting honors in this film go to Martin Sheen the son of Foster's family's landlady Alexis Smith. As it is designed to do, Sheen's performance will make your skin crawl,

Foster reputedly does not like the finished product. It definitely is in the middle rung at best in her body of work.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Stranger
(2009)
Episode 11, Season 10

Complicated story
One night there's a knock on the door and Ellen Waglom is at the front door claiming to be a missing runaway daughter who just escaped from her captor. The man who kidnapped her had held her prisoner for many years.

A short story with a happy ending? Not quite. This particular SVU story involves two different sex crimes and a case of identity theft.

It's all held together by a great performance by Ellen Waglom who tells a sad story even if at first it's not all true.

Kudos go to Peter Gray Lewis as her captor and quite a bit more than that. He's some piece of work

Complicated but good episode.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Retro
(2008)
Episode 5, Season 10

In the hands of a quack
In this era of COVID and a lot of quackery that has come from the highest levels of government itself, this SV episode about AIDS has taken on a frightening relevancy.

The death of an untreated HIV baby starts a criminal investigation against mother Paula Malcomson. She has not had any of the standard treatments for AIDS and is in the hands of a quack doctor played by Martin Mull.

Like the man who said chlorox will help your COVID, Mull gives a frightening portrayal of a quack with a platform, And he's believing all the lies he's started, even more frightening.

The one who is truly affected is Aidan Mitchell, Malcomson's son. You have to see ow this multiple tragedy plays out.

The Powers of Matthew Star: Daredevil
(1982)
Episode 3, Season 1

No business like show business
Peter Barton's friend Paul Regina decides that being a stuntman is just the career for him. But he does lack the skill and the know how.

As a result it's a good thing he has a friend with some unearthly powers like Barton around.

Lou Gossett gets stuck with being the school liaison between the movie company and the school. If he had any hair he'd lose it from worrying too much.

Bill Daily from I Dream Of Jeanie plays a movie director who thinks he's the second coming of D.W. Griffith.

Altogether one dopey episode.

The Powers of Matthew Star: Starr Knight
(1983)
Episode 22, Season 1

Before there was Matthew
The original original pilot episode for this series is this program. It is essentially the same episode as the first broadcasted episode with the same plot situations.

The big differences are that Peter Barton was known as David Star and the role of mentor/guardian was played by Gerald O'Loughlin. O'Loughlin was the school custodian and not a science teacher. I'm guessing the producers thought having the adult be a science teacher might explain strange things occurring in their house.

But if you've seen the first episode the plot is just about the same.

Kojak: Another Gypsy Queen
(1977)
Episode 25, Season 4

Only the gypsies don't know
A case involving a serial killer of women and an old gypsy vendetta against a man who betrayed them to the Communists years ago get entangled. All I will say is that in fact the cases are separate and there are two different perpetrators. How they become connected is for you to find out by watching the show.

Kathleen Widdoes does a fine job as the gypsy queen who gets Telly Savalas's team looking for someone who may have betrayed a lot of gypsies to the Communists in Hungary, Grateful isn't exactly the atitude Kojak has for Widdoes, but they develop a healthy respect for each other. One smart individual for another.

Good episode to end season 4.

See all reviews