"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Jan 072014




MAVERICK: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON (1960-61) Roger Moore subs in for the departed James Garner, showing up as the recently overseas (but originally from Texas) Maverick cousin, Beau (named after his uncle,”Pappy” Beauregard Maverick, one assumes) and adds some sly winks to Maverick’s already formidable combination of charm, action, character and dry wit. Jack Kelly shines as Bart, whether alongside cousin Beau, new Maverick brother Brent (Robert Colbert), Doc Holiday (Peter Breck) or solitaire as the Maverick boys take on seductive witches, town-sized cons, haunted goldmines, doomed forts and the most dangerous assemblage of desperadoes (including John Carradine and Lee Van Cleef) the west has ever seen. And to add a final dollop of wallop to the funtastic fourth season, we are treated to James Garners final appearance as Maverick (for now…) alongside Jack Kelly in “The Maverick Line”. Other highlights found in this mammoth sized 32-Episode season include directorial efforts from Rober Altman (³Bolt from the Blue²), ³Hadley¹s Hunters” featuring cameos the all the Warner Bros. West-i-verse (Lawman’s John Russell and Peter Brown , Bronco’s Ty Hardin, Sugarfoot’s Will Hutchins and Cheyenne’s Clint
Walker) and guest stars galore like George Kennedy, John Astin, Joanna Barnes,Ray Danton, Buddy Ebsen and Shirley Knight.


FOREIGN AFFAIRS (1993) Teleplay adaptation of Alison Lurie’s award-winning novel of parallel overseas Anglo/American affairs. Joanne Woodward and Brian Dennehy play the mismatched middle-aged pair, while Eric Stoltz and Stephanie Beacham play the star-crossed young lovers. Vinnie Miller is a buttoned-down New England pedagogue headed to Oxford for research, while Chuck Mumpson is the voluble hick who can’t hear “not interested” until the sparks fly. Meanwhile, Vinnie’s young academe associate, Fred, plunges into a fiery affair with their mutual acquaintance, voltile actress Rosemary Radley (Beacham). Chance encounters and other mishaps keep the quartet in apropos chaos until Cupid can sort out the slings and arrows. A charming romance of the ridiculous, with top-notch performances from a pair of pro’s pros (who had never before been teamed).

HEART OF DARKNESS (1993) Visionary filmmaker Nicholas Roeg direct us up the river to encounter the heart of horror deep in the jungle of the Belgian Congo in this adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s lauded novella (also the source for Coppola’s Apocalypse Now for any noobs out there). Tim Roth plays frequent Conrad character Marlow, who is enlisted to head upriver in search of prolific ivoryman Kurtz (John Malkovitch) who is rumored to have “gone native.” As Marlow heads upriver, civilization is slowly stripped away until Marlow is worn down to his essential humanity – and in that state, meets the man who would be God. Roeg dleivers his customary flourishes of delirium, while Roth and Malkovitch are perfectly balanced magnetic poles of performance power.

ORPHEUS DESCENDING (1990) Tennesee William’s challenging reimagining of the myth of Orpheus as a Southern Gothic enjoyed a short run in the late fifties before being adapted as the film The Fugitive Kind with Marlon Brando, Anna Magnani and Joanne Woodward before being consigned to the apocrypha shelf for the span of two decades. That all changed thanks to theatre legend Peter Hall’s hit Broadway adaptation in 1989, starring Vanessa Redgrave and Kevin Anderson. Hall followed up the stage run with this TNT backed cinematic version – more than a filmed play, but a thorough reworking (that enjoyed performances from much of the original cast, toplined by Redgrave and Anderson). Sicilian hausfrau Lady enjoys a loveless life, married to the merchant who helped burn her father out of town and out of existence. When snakeskin strummer Val Xavier strolls into town long buried passions leap to life, with Lady and Val swept under the tide.

THE PORTRAIT (1993) Tina Howe’s lauded play Painting Churches comes to cinematic life in this lively family affair of a film starring two of Hollywood’s greatest. Mag Church (Cecilia Peck, daughter of the great Gregory) is an aspiring artist trapped in the extended post-college adolescence that seemingly gripped a generation in the ’80s and ’90s. Facing her first big gallery show she heads home for some inspiration and to finish an unfinished family portrait of her parents Fanny (Lauren Bacall, superbly sardonic) and Gardner (Gregory Peck,  naturally). Mags is forced to confront her maturity when she discovers her parents have sold her childhood home without telling her. A fine and patient character portrait, courtesy of three actors truly at ease in each other’s company and director Arthur Penn.

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