Over-the-top segment permitting Cassavetes to ham it up
I enjoyed "Double Feature" against my better judgment, as its satirical content clashed with the series' usual sincerity. Chalk it up to Cassavetes' desire to play a dual role, affording him the opportunity to depart from his usual acting style.
Gimmick is a hit-man for hire from Canada in New York City who happens to be Staccato's doppelganger. Opening scene is a shocker for the audience because we see Staccato acting very strangely, giving a guy having dinner a hard time and then shooting him to death outside in the rain in cold blood. Of course this has to be a double!
Which it is, and the no-named murderer wreaks further havoc hired to rough up an amusement arcade owner who refuses to buckle under to the rackets who control jukeboxes - a notoriously corrupt industry of the time. Instead of Sully his friendly cop Cassavetes is arrested for murder by a mean cop who gives him the third degree in an exaggerated torture-style scene as far-out as the rest of the episode.
At times affecting the unique crazy-man acting style of '50s legend Timothy Carey, Cassavetes' goofiness is endearing, leading predictably to a John vs. John shootout in which the hit-man has a grotesquely comical overdone death scene next to a pinball machine. His dying words to our star: "You're me".
Episode is notable for a solid, straight-forward performance as the arcade owner by John Marley, who would become a leading member of Cassavetes' film troupe starring in "Faces" 9 years later, leading to his immortal casting opposite the horse's head in "The Godfather". Veteran movie director Richard Whorf evidently enjoyed helming this silliness, like Cassavetes probably dissatisfied with having to work for the boob tube rather than the beloved silver screen.
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