TV Review – GUNSMOKE: THE JAILER (1966)

Amanda Blake was scared to work with Bette Davis on GunsmokeGUNSMOKE: THE JAILER (1966, USA) ****
Western
net. CBS Television Network; pr co. CBS Television Network; d. Vincent McEveety; w. Hal Sitowitz; exec pr. Philip Leacock; pr. John Mantley; ph. Harry Stradling Jr. (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. Morton Stevens; ed. Albrecht Joseph; ad. John B. Goodman; set d. Herman N. Schoenbrun; cos. Alexander Velcoff; m/up. Glen Alden, Pat Whiffing; sd. Vernon W. Kramer (Mono); tr. 1 October 1966; r/t. 51m.

cast: James Arness (Matt Dillon), Milburn Stone (Doc), Amanda Blake (Kitty), Ken Curtis (Festus), Bette Davis (Etta Stone), Bruce Dern (Lou Stone), Robert Sorrells (Mike Stone), Zalman King (Jack Stone), Tom Skerritt (Ben Stone), Julie Sommars (Sara Stone), Roger Ewing (Thad), Glenn Strange (Sam Noonan), Stephen Burnette (Townsman (uncredited)), Fred McDougall (Prison Wagon Driver (uncredited)), Anthony Redondo (Guard (uncredited)).

(s. 12 ep. 3) Etta Stone (Davis) is a very bitter, older, woman who has Kitty and Matt captured and thrown into a homemade jail, and now she plans on hanging Matt for the execution of her husband 6 years before. This is an exceptional episode of the long-running TV series with a top-notch cast and excellent direction from McEveety. Davis is all brooding, dominant matriarch and vengeful psychotic as she seeks revenge on Matt (Arness) for the hanging sentence handed to her husband through her kidnapping of Kitty (Blake). She uses her sons – including Dern and Skerritt – as her instruments of retribution, as well as Dern’s wife Sommars, who unbeknownst to Dern has picked up with Skerritt whilst Dern had been serving time in prison. Arness and Blake begin to play on the sibling tension leading to the final confrontation. It is undoubtedly Blake’s best performance in the series (she acknowledges the episode as a personal favourite) and her scenes with Davis are electric. It is a great example of how superb acting and strong direction can lift a story.

Film Review – THE ROOKIE (1990)

Related imageTHE ROOKIE (USA, 1990) **
      Distributor: Warner Bros.; Production Company: Warner Bros. / Malpaso Productions / Kazanjian-Siebert Productions / Lighthouse Entertainment; Release Date: 6 December 1990 (USA), 18 January 1991 (UK); Filming Dates: 16 April 1990 – 13 July 1990; Running Time: 120m; Colour: Technicolor; Sound Mix: 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby Stereo (35 mm prints) (4 channels); Film Format: 35 mm (Eastman 5384), 70 mm (blow-up) (Eastman 5384); Film Process: Panavision (anamorphic); Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1; BBFC Cert: 18.
      Director: Clint Eastwood; Writer: Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel; Producer: Howard G. Kazanjian, Steven Siebert, David Valdes; Director of Photography: Jack N. Green; Music Composer: Lennie Niehaus; Film Editor: Joel Cox; Casting Director: Phyllis Huffman; Production Designer: Judy Cammer, Ken Kaufman; Art Director: Ed Verreaux; Set Decorator: Daniel Loren May; Costumes: Glenn Wright, Deborah Hopper; Make-up: Ralph Gulko, Michael Hancock; Sound: Robert G. Henderson, Alan Robert Murray; Special Effects: John Frazier; Visual Effects: Ken Kaufman.
      Cast: Clint Eastwood (Nick Pulovski), Charlie Sheen (David Ackerman), Raul Julia (Strom), Sônia Braga (Liesl), Tom Skerritt (Eugene Ackerman), Lara Flynn Boyle (Sarah), Pepe Serna (Lt. Raymond Garcia), Marco Rodríguez (Loco Martinez), Pete Randall (Cruz), Donna Mitchell (Laura Ackerman), Xander Berkeley (Ken Blackwell), Tony Plana (Morales), David Sherrill (Max), Hal Williams (Powell), Lloyd Nelson (Freeway Motorist), Pat DuVal (Interrogator #1), Mara Corday (Interrogator #2), Jerry Schumacher (Interrogator #3), Matt McKenzie (Wang), Joel Polis (Lance), Rodger LaRue (Maitre’D), Robert Dubac (Waiter), Anthony Charnota (Romano), Jordan Lund (Bartender), Paul Ben-Victor (Little Felix), Jeanne Mori (Connie Ling), Anthony Alexander (Alphonse), Paul Butler (Captain Hargate), Seth Allen (David as a Child), Coleby Lombardo (David’s Brother), Roberta Vasquez (Heather Torres), Joe Farago (Anchorman), Robert Harvey (Whalen), Nick Ballo (Vito), Jay Boryea (Sal), Marylou Kenworthy (Receptionist), George Orrison (Detective Orrison).
      Synopsis: A veteran detective gets stuck with a rookie cop when in pursuit of a German crook.
      Comment: Loud, violent, bubble-gum action thriller vehicle for Eastwood and Sheen. It spends all its money on its elaborate and destructive set-pieces, which by their very outlandish nature are wasted on a script that starts out okay then gets progressively dumber. Eastwood and Sheen occasionally spark off each other well, but as a whole, the cast is a collection of cardboard characters and the action is too nasty to be considered fun.
      Notes: The film featured over twice as many stuntmen as it did actors. Held the world record for the biggest ratio of stuntmen/actors. Reportedly, over eighty stuntmen worked on the movie.