2021 Viewing (Q2)

Continuing what is now a tradition, albeit a month late, and following the previous post back in April (sorry to be gone so long, but I promise there’s a bunch of new posts coming up!), here are the viewings from the second quarter of 2021… some of which were obviously started in Q1 but completed in Q2!

The Rebel (Johnny Yuma) season 2 (DVD)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents season 5 (DVD)
Have Gun Will Travel seasons 1-2 (DVD)
Department S series 1 (Blu-ray)
Star Trek: The Original Series seasons 1-2 (Blu-ray)

Was very sorry to see The Rebel end. What a great series it was. But as soon as it did, we started watching Wanted Dead or Alive, with Steve McQueen—and Nick Adams showed up in the very first episode!

Current viewings-in-progress also include the third season of Have Gun Will Travel (more on that below), Alfred Hitchcock Presents season 6, a slow burn on Naked City season 2 and the single season of Orson Welles Great Mysteries… and after watching random episodes of The Phil Silvers Show, aka Sgt Bilko, we’re now working through the complete first season.

Old westerns have become a bit of a running theme, but I’m okay with that. Some of these shows are superb, with an ever-interesting array of old skool acting talent… and none better than the aforementioned Have Gun Will Travel, starring the excellent Richard Boone.

I can recall Boone from my childhood, but I don’t think I ever saw an ep of Have Gun until recent years. I seem to have vague memories of Hec Ramsey (1972-74), as well as his presence in lots of movies. But what a memorable performer… with his granite features, weather-beaten, pock-marked complexion and commanding, gravel voice, he’s a compelling figure on screen, and Have Gun‘s Paladin is tailor-made for him.

Paladin

Just as Paladin is a mercenary with an interesting (sometimes ambiguous) set of values, who happens to be highly cultured and well-read, as well as a crack shot, Boone himself was something of an educated polymath. After dropping out of University, he went on to work “as an oil-rigger, bartender, painter, and writer” (quote from Wiki) before joining the Navy!

Richard Boone & Christine White in Have Gun Will Travel, 1958
Richard Boone & Christine White in HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, 1958 (from Wiki).

Have Gun ran for six seasons (1957-63), and having just started the third, I’m pleased there’s four more seasons ahead! It’s worth noting that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wrote a couple-dozen episodes, and Mission Impossible creator Bruce Geller was also a semi-regular. The writing talent on the show was generally first-rate. On the directing front, the most common name in the chair (116 of the 225 episodes!!) was Andrew McLaglen—son of veteran Western regular Victor McLaglen, one of whose final roles was in the extremely memorable first season episode “The O’Hare Story” (1958; directed by Andrew, of course). Boone himself directed 28 episodes!

And it’s definitely worth noting—per the references in the previous post!—that the main bad guy in the very first episode of Have Gun was none other than…

JACK LORD!

Have Gun Jack Lord
Jack Lord in the first episode of HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, 1957.

It had to be, really. 🙂

Recent viewings film-wise: several classic films noir have been digested in the form of the remarkable Too Late For Tears (1949; amazing performances from Lizabeth Scott and Dan Duryea! Highly recommended!); Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945); Otto Preminger’s Fallen Angel (1945), Where the Sidewalk Ends and Whirlpool (both 1950); and Jack Arnold’s Universal western-noir starring Jeff Chandler and Orson Welles, 1957’s Man in the Shadow (which led to Orson making his 1958 classic, Touch of Evil). All but Too Late For Tears were rewatches, but great stuff all round.

Non-noir films—and more recent fare—were covered with 2005’s Johnny Cash biopic, Walk the Line, and the 2014 Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. I am not a great fan of biopics in general, but these are definitely amongst the better ones… and the Wilson picture, in particular, is truly an impressive achievement. While John Cusack as middle-aged Brian is somewhat miscast, Paul Dano as young Brian is simply mind-blowingly good, and the recreations of the 1960s studio sessions & video clips are absolutely superb. Liking the Beach Boys (as I do!) helps a lot, but this film is well worth your time.

Finally, a rewatch of the 1958 low-budget chiller by Albert Band, I Bury the Living—starring a certain Mr R Boone!

And that’s all. See ya very soon (definitely, this time)!

3 thoughts on “2021 Viewing (Q2)”

  1. Chrissie,
    Some really great television and movies listed here. Richard Boone was a distinctive talent and I’ve enjoyed the episodes of the Rebel I’ve seen. I love film noir and have seen most of the movies you’ve mentioned here. Enjoyed Walk the Line but have to check out Love & Mercy.
    What stands out in many instances in the shows/movies you discuss is the quality of the writing, acting and directing. Some old shows I’ve seen recently are the Untouchables and The Defenders. Again, great actors (both up and coming and old pros) along with strong material. Well worth writing about and seeking out.

    1. I’ve never heard any of the Have Gun – Will Travel radio spin-off, so can’t speak to John Dehner’s iteration of Paladin, but I doubt he bettered Richard Boone, whose performance is every bit as multi-faceted as the character he’s playing, moving from sombre to comic or from angry to romantic without any noticeable gear shift. I recall a similar depth to Boone’s appearance in Hombre (1967), playing a villain with an ethical code somewhat to the south of Paladin’s.

  2. As we’ve discussed before, I regret the relative extinction of half-hour drama, leaving that running time pretty much the sole preserve of sitcoms, soap operas and quiz shows. Back in the days of The Rebel, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Loner, writers had a little over twenty minutes to introduce their players, unveil the plot, put the action into gear and get it all tidied up again before the end-credits — a discipline I wish had been taught to those currently producing tv scripts.

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