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Rafferty: The Epidemic
Episode 6, Season 1

Stay Away from the Piccalilli!
Is a little girl sick because of polio? Or did she get fed up with her clean-eating parents and their rules and have a hot dog from a food truck? Whatever you do, don't eat the piccalilli! Rafferty's nurse has more to do than usual in this episode.

Rafferty: The Narrow Thread
Episode 5, Season 1

The storyline with young, deaf Dewy and a paralyzed older patient helps this episode. But the pregnant airline hostess who may have been exposed to radiation on a plane should have been left on the cutting room floor. Though we do get to see Rafferty contact what must be an Army intelligence man... all very hush-hush but not written very well. Rafferty once again shows us he seems to like children, and definitely likes to bend rules. Dick O'Neill and Janet MacLachlan, both of whom would later appear in Cagney & Lacey, also add to the episode.

Rafferty: The Cutting Edge
Episode 4, Season 1

Rafferty Gets Sued... Again...
Rafferty once again pokes his nose into other people's maladys. The script bounces around like a rubber ball, but as it does, we learn that Rafferty seems to be very well versed in classical music as well as medicine. He also seems un-phased by lawsuits. And fans need to pay close attention to his visit to a lady lawyer he is acquainted with.

Rafferty: Death Out of a Blue Sky
Episode 10, Season 1

One of the Better Episodes
This episode seems to have had a better than average script. It flows a bit better than others and keeps your attention more as well. Some of McGoohan's mannerisms will (finally) feel familiar to fans. At the same time, Rafferty's comment to a man about certain pills he has been taking was unexpected and made me chuckle. While still not Emmy Award winning stuff, I actually enjoyed watching this installment.

Rafferty: A Point of View
Episode 3, Season 1

Good supporting cast and bad Mustang...
This third episode of Rafferty continues with more rather improbable plot points. But the supporting cast is good in this one, and McGoohan actually has some dialogue longer than a grunted word or two. Talent wasted... We also get to see that the doctor's Mustang convertible is a bit of a lemon!

The Lost Weekend

Proving that booze isn't always fun
Being a teetotaler, I appreciate anything that shows excessive drinking for what it can really become. This aside, Weekend is a good movie overall, though for my taste Milland at some times says his lines slightly too fast and hammy (especially when in the bar explaining his drinking to the bartender). But all in all a well made film, obviously! I actually knew the film from Milland's appearance on the Jack Benny radio show after winning his Oscar, before seeing the actual movie itself. If you want a good laugh, look for it on any OTR website who offers free shows.

Rafferty: Brothers & Sons
Episode 2, Season 1

Does Rafferty prefer kids to adults?
In this episode Dr. Rafferty deals with a couple who's daughter needs a kidney transplant, and a family of young black children who's mother left them months ago for no known reason. His interactions with the "man of the house", played by Erin Blunt, show Rafferty seems to like kids better than adults! But the show's script is just too far-fetched. And let's face it, even "back in the day", doctors didn't have the time to meddle in their patients' lives the way Rafferty does. When this second episode first aired, viewers must have been still trying to figure out Rafferty's character... sometimes nice, sometimes, not. Seems to care about people, seems to be indifferent. Talks too much, talks too little!

Witness for the Prosecution

A Good Mix of Humor and Drama
A mix of humor and drama, with the flashback scenes being weaker than the rest. Laughton and Lanchester are excellent, Tyrone Power seems overrated, and Dietrich is a bit TOO icy. And YES, you need to watch it until the very end, though the ending does seem slightly rushed and gimmicky. Overall worth a watch.

American Experience: Riveted: The History of Jeans
Episode 4, Season 34

A Limited History is More Like It...
If you are looking for an actual history of blue jeans, don't bother with this "documentary". Instead of a history covering all aspects of the topic, this show spends more time discussing a one-sided social and political aspect of jeans. Instead of discussing how they have been manufactured through the years, we are told about slavery relating to Indigo dye. Instead of discussing the history of the major manufacturers, we are told they either were or were not made by black labor. One moment they say jeans were almost exclusively worn by black slaves in America, then we are told EVERYONE did, even the Chinese railroad workers. Wearing jeans were a symbol of rebellion for civil rights fighters in the 1960s, were a slap in the face to rich whites when worn by rappers, etc. What about jean culture in other countries? Not covered. While it is good to learn different things about a topic, it is very obvious that in this case PBS cared more about race than the overall history of blue jeans.

Rafferty: Rafferty
Episode 1, Season 1

Big change of pace for McGoohan
In this first episode, McGoohan plays Dr. Sid Rafferty as almost the opposite of John Drake, aka Danger Man. His personal life seems to be a bit of a mess, he is a bit sloppy, speaks in a higher pitched Irish-tinged American accent (WHY did he have to do that??), and deals with all sorts of people, from patients to co-workers to lawyers. There are some faults in the script that make you go "wait, how did... what about..." It may also be the fault of the script, but it is difficult to warm up to the admitted curmudgeon. As much as I love McGoohan as an actor, I don't think this was the right character for him. He must have had lots of high-hopes for Rafferty or else he would never have gone back into a TV series. But Jack Klugman's Dr. Quincy came across as far more natural and believable, and in the end Rafferty just didn't work out. A shame...

Symphony in Slang

This was recently shown on TCM and both my mother and boyfriend wanted to watch it a second time, they thought it was so funny! I actually remembered bits of it from my days in front of the TV as a kid, which is amazing as I hadn't seen it in about 30-35 years! I don't want to ruin it for anyone, so I'll just say if you love puns, even old ones, you should love this cartoon. Even if you've never heard of the sayings they use, the "descriptions" are funny enough to make you laugh!

High Anxiety

An Excellent and Underrated Brooks Film!
I don't know why this film isn't rated higher... I rank this as Brook's BEST film. Great direction and production, good script, perfect casting, and fun even if you don't catch all of the Hitchcock references. I don't know why people think Brooks shouldn't have played the main character... he IS Dr. Richard H. Thorndike! He looks like a mild mannered Jewish psychiatrist who gets a bit wacky at times, even letting loose at a piano bar. Excellent film.

Silent Movie

A fun change of pace more for classic comedy fans
This Brooks film is more appealing to lovers of classic comedy than modern audiences with their short attention spans. Some will have issues with the silence and having to read title cards. The story is somewhat irrelevant to the gags, and some of those gags get repetitive, but having Brooks paired with his old boss Sid Caesar is fun to see. Guys will no doubt love looking at Bernadette Peters. Light viewing.


Comb the desert... One gag after another!
By far WAY funnier than most of what I call the "later" Brooks films. Not as raunchy, lots of great sight gags and in-jokes, along with the usual Jewish-related gags. To this day, I still use quotes like "when will then be now?" in casual conversation. Rick Moranis is PERFECT and a real hoot. I have never been thrilled with Bill Pullman in this but then again, Harrison Ford wasn't that great in the first Star Wars, either! The "bad guys" scenes are far better than those with the "good guys". Rather impressive special effects for a Brooks film. Recommended... unless you prefer the more raunchy style of Brooks film.

Kelly the Second

Worth Watching If Just For Chase in a Feature Film
I have watched this film twice and liked it better the second time. I love Charley Chase, even when he wasn't at his best (or healthiest). His actual gray hair helps make him a more natural character. His (too) short solo scenes made me chuckle, especially when he is alone in his drug store after Cecil's disastrous first fight. He is also funny when Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer needs to "get back" his swollen coins. But alas, he wasn't the best choice for the role. His comedy wasn't loud and overly frantic, and Patsy Kelly was way too loud to be mated with Chase. We DO, though, get to see him dance!

Guinn Williams was mediocre. Patsy Kelly did a fine job IF you like her style of comedy. Edward Brophy and his "thugs" are good. There are way too many back-projection scenes and use of doubles that give the movie a low-budget feeling, THOUGHT they did use a lot of real people in the fight audiences. OH, and a lot of farm animals...

Patsy's last CAR, on the other hand, I absolutely LOVED: A Duesenberg.

So while not the best film of 1936, it is decent and you need to watch it if you are a Chase fan, even if he simply wasn't in enough feature films.

Rattling Romeo

One of the better Columbia Chase shorts
I enjoyed this Chase short, probably because I am a car gal! While not as good as his silent work, there are some cute gags and I'm sure plenty of people during The Depression understood the jokes regarding "accessories" and, of course, "the collection man". It's a shame the scenes on the trolley weren't all filmed on a real one. But this WAS Columbia, after all... Enjoyable, especially compared to other Chase shorts from 1939.

Armchair Theatre: The Greatest Man in the World
Episode 9, Season 3

McGoohan is Actually Hilarious!
Any 1950s McGoohan television appearance is a rarity to see, so I had to watch this one!

In short, the first half is a bit slow, but once you see the whole show you understand why. The whole idea of Smurch being "what he is" has to be established before we actually meet him.

Patrick McGoohan's Smurch is surprisingly hilarious. He should have tried more comedy! His American accent is a cross between Marlon Brando and every dummy-character from the radio days. It is, while over the top, by far one of his most believable American accents. His delivery and expressions are a hoot! Not sure how many sticks of gum ended up in his mouth, but it looks like a LOT!

Pleasence and some of the other actors aren't the most convincing Americans, and in a way the whole story seems ever-so-slightly anti-American, but all in all it is an interesting premise and most of the performances are good, especially given the date and format.

A fun little story, a bit dark, but the ending is entirely worth a viewing!

Escape from Alcatraz

An Excellent Film Which Proves Excessive Dialogue Isn't Needed
I have seen "Alcatraz" MANY times through the years. I recently watched it yet again, with slightly older eyes, and never realized how little dialogue it has. Which helps explain why I always liked it, despite not being a big Eastwood fan.

It is gritty without being super-violent, is anti-prison without being preachy, deals with race but doesn't pander, and is about a true event.

Eastwood does a great job as Frank Morris. Quiet and brilliant, always thinking, yet perfectly able to take care of himself in a fight. Hankin as Butts is perfect as well, though the Anglin Brothers seemed slightly miscast. Comments in iMDB state they were cast due to their physical abilities, which they did seem to have.

The English character has plenty of "status", yet we doesn't act like a tough guy. He is also quiet and smart.

Other than English and Morris, the character with the most dialogue is The Warden, played by Patrick McGoohan. He almost seems to not be wearing any makeup in this one. He is very plain, very subdued, yet very cold and business-like. He has a caged parakeet and a small fish aquarium in his office, which make him seem almost human But but he shows no feelings whatsoever for his inmates (though he does seem rather pleasant when he asks Morris about his accordion). McGoohan did long, technical dialogue well (like when he meets Morris in his office) and also scenes which require little dialogue at all (like the ending).

So if you don't need lots of talk, even soundtrack music, this is a movie you will like. If you MUST have lots of yammering and explosions and padding, you may not enjoy it. But it looks good, has good acting, and is based on fact.

The Gypsy and the Gentleman

How DOES McGoohan get on that horse?
Yet another Patrick McGoohan film I had to scratch off my "To Watch" list. I had already formed an opinion of it thanks to female fans' comments regarding his kissing scenes, McGoohan's own opinion of his Rank films, and even one newspaper editorial from years ago where a woman was rather upset at his non-Secret Agent-like character. I found a copy of the film posted online and gave it a view...

In summary: the two lead characters are, well... CADS. It is very hard to be sympathetic to either of them. They both ask for what they get. Mercouri seemed to be pushing the whole sexy-thing a bit too much. Her whole performance was a bit over the top. McGoohan's character, Jess, one minute seems almost nice, then nasty, then a bit of both, then also a cad. He looks darn sexy in his beard, and HOW does he get onto that horse like that??

The "nice" characters are pretty run-of-the-mill, though Flora Robson was a bit of a stand-out.

I was semi-impressed by the "look" of the film, with colorful sets and costumes, outdoor scenes, etc. It didn't look cheap. But the plot looses you after a while, and the ending is... well... trite...

Watch it if you must, but have a good reason to, like I did...


Mary, Queen of Scots

Decent film with a few flaws, but worth a viewing
Being an American who learned very little about the European monarchies, I can't even BEGIN to understand the historical intricacies and familial relations between all of the characters in this film. Therefore, I won't even TRY to get into the plot.

This isn't my type of movie, but I had to cross it off my McGoohan Filmography to-see list. It was well enough made that I did indeed watch the whole thing, even if I was a bit confused as to who was a good guy and who wasn't! Costumes are good, as is photography.

Patrick McGoohan is Mary's half-brother James Stuart, and he IS a bad guy... sort of... I think... Other than the Scottish accent, he does his usual good job, though I sure wish there was more of him in this film. I don't know why they didn't cast him as William Cecil instead of Trevor Howard, perhaps he wasn't old enough. Otherwise, casting is good, though I think Glenda Jackson as Elizabeth was ever so slightly "off" as far as her looks. Vanessa Redgrave does a good job though the character seems a bit "daft". Dalton makes Lord Darnley downright hiss-worthy. His blonde hair made me not even know it was him! His scenes with Ian Holm add to the hiss-worthiness.

My historical confusion made me think the last 1/4 of the film was a bit rushed. All of a sudden, Mary is (I think) let into England by her brother, she meets Elizabeth, and then she's in prison. Next thing you know, she's executed. Perhaps this stretch of history is worthy of a movie of it's own, and was left out to focus on the relationship between the two queens.

Which reminds me, as far as I have read elsewhere, they never did meet. Just in this movie.

So if you like this style of movie, you should like this one. There are a few flaws, but don't let them turn you away from it.

Charley's Aunt

A different Benny film with some good gags
The first few scenes of this version of "Charley's Aunt" almost made me not watch the rest of it. Thankfully, things picked up a bit once Jack Benny put on the dress! Sure enough, after doing a little reading about the original play, I found out that those very scenes were in fact different than the original story!

Most of the casting is good, though Benny seems a bit out of place, as does James Ellison. The fake British accents were a bit too much, and thankfully seemed to be forgotten part way through filming. But Benny does an admiral job as Aunt Donna Lucia, especially with the sight gags. Laird Cregar was actually under 30, younger than the man he was playing the father of! The three female leads look stunning in their costumes.

Get past the beginning, and you end up with a fun little movie with some good sight gags.

High Tide at Noon

A bit dull, unless you like love stories
Not quite my type of movie (a bit too "chick") but I gave it a go anyway as it was on my McGoohan-Watch-List.

In short, a rather dumb female lead and too many questions (DID Simon rape Joanna? Who is that official who seems connected with all the lobstermen leaving the island? Did Charles' wife & baby turn out OK? Joanna didn't know that her husband-to-be gambled?) help to ruin things. For the most part, the acting was OK, and in fact it was my favorite cast-member's performance that I had issue with.

I knew before-hand that Patrick McGoohan's character was a louse. Many of his female fans absolutely LOVE him as the young trouble-maker Simon in this film. I understand why, but to me he has no truly GOOD scenes or dialogue. The few love scenes of McGoohan's career were never very convincing, and perhaps here the room's shadows allow the viewer (especially ladies) to "fill in the blanks" as to what he is doing. His choice of accent also wasn't the best. His natural voice probably would have been a better fit, though still too "Irish-English" for a story set in Canada.

In later interviews, McGoohan never had anything good to say about his years with Rank. I doubt he was all that proud of this film, especially when you see how the studio was then promoting him as a rising young film star, something he really seemed to hate.

I am probably being too harsh. Don't run from this film, just know it isn't perfect, not exactly "action packed", and definitely not worthy of Cannes 1957... which it didn't win any awards at...

Silver Streak

Should have been better...
While working my way through currently available Patrick McGoohan films, I recently watched "Silver Streak" for the first time. And I was rather disappointed.

Very few laughs, a contrived plot, dull romantic scenes, some odd casting, and missed opportunities make for a rather dull movie. The music is good, as are a few of the scenic shots, but really, the whole thing just seems to lack "ooomph".

Could have (should have) been better.

Danger Man: The Conspirators
Episode 21, Season 1

On-location shots and stunts help a lot with this one
A few somewhat unusual things make this a decent episode. One is the presence of children, who Drake seems to enjoy being around. Others are on-location shots, lots of running and climbing around and driving of a horse-cart done by McGoohan himself, and a real helicopter. These little things help the episode feel a bit more "expensive".

Danger Man: The Vacation
Episode 20, Season 1

Drake gets his vacation... or does he?
A good episode directed by Patrick McGoohan himself. After four years, Drake finally gets a vacation, but it is ruined when he finds himself sitting next to a hit-man on the airplane. He knows someone is to be killed, so he assumes the killer's identity to find out who and when. The whole "who is supposed to get whacked" plot is, at times, a little thin, but it isn't much of an issue in this one. Recommended.

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