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The Boss of the Bronx, 23 November 2017

By all accounts Dutch Schultz was one brutal man who shot first and asked no questions. In real life and in Portrait Of A Mobster Schultz acts pretty much the way he does here. He also took the name of Dutch Schultz as part of his persona. By his real name of Arthur Fliegenheimer no one would buy that as intimidating. Just like Adolph Hitler never used Schickelgruber.

Vic Morrow may have gotten his career role in Portrait Of A Mobster. If the facts are sketchy he's got the essence of Schultz down cold. In this tale young Fliegenheimer is turned down by Leslie Parrish in a marriage proposal and she teams up with policeman Peter Breck. Smart girl had a sixth sense on these things.

One thing is definitely true. According to gangland lore Schultz was done in on orders from Lucky Luciano played here under an alias by Frank DeKova. Schultz wanted to hit Thomas E. Dewey who was preparing a case against him. The newly formed national syndicate thought that would bring down too much heat so Schultz had to be eliminated. Of course when Dewey got Luciano he might have had cause to regret stopping Schultz.

What is also true is the trial he got with the change of venue to Malone, New York, county seat of Franklin County in New York State and right up against the Candian border. What you see there is exactly what happened.

While he was alive Schultz was the uncrowned and uncontested Boss of the Bronx. Portrait Of A Mobster shows the essence of his reign.

One mercenary widow, 23 November 2017

This episode of 77 Sunset Strip has Roger Smith get himself a client by having the client break into his apartment. It's the cool and lovely Valerie Allen who is recently a widow. Her late husband worked for an insurance company and was quite the philanderer. But he did leave a nice $25000.00 insurance policy and she thinks hubby was murdered, pushed rather than jumping out the office window.

Allen's late husband was quite the operator. Right in his office he was involved with receptionist Nora Hayden, boss Raymond Bailey's wife, and co-worker Dallas Mitchell's wife. And there's the widow herself who might want to make it murder for the money and also maybe she did it herself and wants to pin it on one of the other's.

I am rather that two roles aren't given mention. One is a strong arm guy who Louis Quinn's tracks down the residence of after he winds up dead in a motel room. The other is the woman who ran the motel. She really stood out in her few scenes and gets no credit.

Life is just not fair.

Tied to her apron strings, 22 November 2017

Roy Orbison's classic hit song Only The Lonely serves as opening theme and title for this film. The lyrics themselves spell out the characters of John Candy and Ally Sheedy two people looking like they're not fated to find mates.

In Sheedy's case she's a cosmetologist who works in a funeral home, a profession that for some reason weirds people out. Candy is a cop and I'm not sure anyone his size and weight would make the force. Maybe they have looser requirements for the Chicago PD.

I know that in some cultures it is a common practice to keep one daughter at home to take care of the parents in old age. In this case Candy's Irish momma Maureen O'Hara kept her son home. She's a widow with another son Kevin Dunn married with children, but Candy she keeps tied to her apron strings.

O'Hara has a nasty comment for everybody. Some of the dialog has Candy talking about past indiscretions she's committed. She also has widower Greek neighbor Anthony Quinn playing a senior citizen version of Zorba interested in here. But there isn't another race, ethnic group or religion good enough for her and her family.

Candy and O'Hara play well against each other in scenes that call for a love and resentment to be demonstrated at the same time. O'Hara was back after an over 20 year hiatus from films. If you read her memoirs it was a combination of some personal crises, the death of her husband and she was not happy with the way films had become too loose morally.

She also spoke highly of her co-star John Candy whom she thought of as a big old giant teddy bear. His early death deeply affected her.

Only The Lonely a good film for romantics of all ages.

Olympic pole vaulter has interesting sideline, 22 November 2017

I think the SVU creators were really reaching for this story. It might be as another reviewer said an interesting character study, but the plot is off the wall.

SVU catches the case of a disheveled Brit Morgan who claims she was raped. But it turns out she has an interesting sideline as an escort. Every so often she goes into Manhattan from Queens and picks up men. When she picked up Theo Stockman she got assaulted as well as this guy likes to treat hookers very rough.

I can't see how this case was remotely prosecutable. But it's Kelli Giddish who figures out what her real issues are and there is resolution of a sort. She keeps training, but really our hidebound Olympic committee would never let her compete and endorsement deals are just plain toast.

Giddish also has her wayward sister back with her on parole. This story line will play out over the next few episodes. Lindsay Pulsipher says she's changed, but I want to see that.

Sad almost beyond endurance, 22 November 2017

For tax reasons and to be nearer his beloved African game preserve William Holden spent a lot of time in Europe during the sixties working. At the end of the decade Holden starred in The Christmas Tree which is not what you would think by the title, a warm and fun holiday movie. Christmas is peripheral to this very sad, almost beyond endurance sad movie.

Holden is one of the richest men in the world and a widower who has a young son Brooke Fuller. While on holiday in Corsica and swimming on the beach Fuller is exposed fatally to radiation poisoning. I'm not sure of the science of this, but I think the effects are those that would be sustained in one of those dirty bomb type explosions. You'll have to see the film to see how it is done.

There's no hope but to make the lad's weeks/months as happy as possible. The moral if there is any is that all the wealth and power in the world can never be brought to bear against the inevitable.

The cast also includes Virna Lisi and the great French comedian Bourvil. It's a great film, but not for the Yuletide season.

Stockholm Jane, 22 November 2017

A generation before Patty Hearst embraced her kidnappers and joined in their criminal enterprises, Jane Russell in The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown feels kind of sorry for kidnappers Ralph Meeker and Keenan Wynn and actually falls for Meeker. Totally outrageous but these two are such schlepps you can feel sorry for them. And God knows as movie star playing a movie star Russell knew what it was like to be trapped in that plastic bubble.

Given what Wynn's straight job is in the film their scheme wasn't a bad one. Of course that would have meant killing Russell to keep her quiet or keeping Wynn from her. You'll have to watch the film to see what I mean.

The title is the rather ridiculous looking feminine nightgown they have for Russell to wear while they are holding her. For myself when you use a color in a title it's almost a necessity to shoot in color. You will see no Fuzzy Pink Nightgown on the screen in this black and white film.

The cast also includes Adolphe Menjou as the studio head, Robert Harris as Jane's agent, Una Merkel as her secretary, and Fred Clark as the cop assigned to the case. All filling out their type cast parts.

The Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, this film about the Stockholm syndrome years before it was called that has a few laughs, but generally is kind of flat.

Time To Grow Up, 22 November 2017

Josiah David Warren both directs and stars in another Christian film about taking on some unexpected responsibilities. He's had a pretty good existence with a wealthy widower father paying the bills with only an occasional ask for babysitting his much younger siblings. But that all ends when Dad is killed in a plane crash and he takes on business and family responsibilities.

As far as the business goes which we never quite learn what it is, I'm sure dad left behind a competent board of directors who could run things if needed. I doubt they would just hand over the running of the company to a 19 year old.

As for the kids if this was a poor family child welfare would be johnny on the spot and place those kids in foster homes. That would be a real challenge. His only challenge is his good times have been hampered.

All this though has to meet Christian parameters and the film has Warren falling for A Christian girl. A lot of people do manage to grow up and assume responsibilities without becoming fundamentalists.

Over My Head had the potential to be a really good comedy, but it's strictly amateur with the performances.

Social climbing horse trainer, 21 November 2017

Ty Hardin stars in Wall Of Noise a story about a thoroughbred racehorse trainer anxious to succeed and do a bit of social climbing. He's working the west coast circuit and most of the film is shot in Hollywood Park which is now history.

The social climbing consists of him falling for the wife of Ralph Meeker who has hired him to be trainer of a stable of racehorses he's starting. Meeker is a rather crude Harry Brock type married to former old money heiress Suzanne Pleshette and she's bored with his boorishness. She's got an itch and Hardin is around to scratch said itch.

Through a bit of Pleshette's scheming Hardin goes on the hook for the cost of a promising racehorse who's quite a bit rank. Meaning he has to win a big stakes race or else. There's also a good girl, not too good mind you, but Dorothy Provine has it big time for Hardin.

I always like racetrack stories like this or humorous ones like the Marx Brothers in A Day At The Races. This one is most serious with some fine characters. Acting honors go to Suzanne Pleshette as a woman trapped in a most loveless marriage who finds herself coming up way short on her machinations.

If you want a good cinematic day at the races, bet on Wall Of Noise.

The makings of a family, 21 November 2017

Contrary to those who say that families are only of a blood kin, this Wagon Train episode tells us that families can be made by chance and circumstance.

The circumstances here are that Robert Horton finds an Indian papoose in a burned out village and brings it to the Wagon Train. At the same time some of the high and mighty puritanical types are complaining about the presence of saloon entertainer Anne Baxter on the train. But when no one else wants to take the Indian babe, Baxter volunteers to though she's got no training in motherhood.

The only two willing to help her are cantankerous old Henry Hull and Vivi Janiss who just lost her child. Then the baby develops smallpox and things really stack against Hull and Baxter.

This episode also features a fight between Baxter and Kathleen Freeman one of the puritanical wives. Freeman has weight on her side, but Baxter has some moves.

A nice story and families are what you create.

Code Two (1953)
Lovable lout gets serious, 21 November 2017

Code Two from MGM's B picture unit is the story of three rookie cops at the Police Academy and then their first assignments on motor patrol with the LAPD. This is not a Police Academy film by any means, it could have been done by Jack Webb. At Warner Brothers in the Thirties the rookie with the big mouth and attitude would have been played by Jimmy Cagney.

And the training officer would have been played by Pat O'Brien. Here at MGM in the Fifties the parts are played by Ralph Meeker and Keenan Wynn respectively. The other two rookies are Jeff Richards and Robert Horton.

All three opt for motorcycle patrol and within days of being assigned Richards is killed when he stops a truck doing a little smuggling. After that Meeker loses the attitude and he and Horton take leave just to find Jeff Richards' killers.

Code Two is a combination of a long Dragnet episode and one of those basic training military films. Meeker is kind of a lovable lout who gets real serious as the occasion calls.

There's some good Los Angeles location photography and nicely staged action sequences. All in all an acceptable B programmer.

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