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Agatha Christie came up with it first.
This episode (like several other "Murder She Wrote" episodes) borrows its basic plotline from an Agatha Christie mystery, in this case "The Moving Finger" (itself turned into a television episode, The Moving Finger (2006)).
This episode is not quite as good as the Christie work but it is very well-acted and has some added twists and turns of its own. And the revelation of the killer is every bit as shocking a denouement as has been pointed out by others.
Giù la testa (1971)
James Coburn's Irish accent is irritating and atrocious. Might as well have hired Richard Harris or Peter O'Toole or Patrick McGoohan.
One of the finest episodes of television I have seen in my 50+ years
"The Trouble with Templeton" is a wonderful hour of fiction that has at its heart a theme that is universal -- the desire to return to times that were happier, simpler, better , or just when one was younger.
There is no unnecessary padding and no sanctimony and no phony message that is contradicted by any other TZ episode -- it is perfection. The performances are flawless.
The pathos is genuine, not cheap bathos. Just wonderful. It ends with a good and loving shove to the derriere of our title character by those who love him best and who know that while his concerns and troubles are understandable he must not be allowed to escape them via the stagnation of sentiment, ennui, and nostalgia. Still, the end of the speakeasy scene in its sudden darkness and silence just brought a tear to my eye.
I must respectfully disagree with comments by certain other posters that Booth and Laura have changed and that his reminiscences of the past are based on flawed recollections. The episode shows NOT that Booth and Laura have changed (although living people do change and, had Laura lived, who is to know what might have happened) -- the point is their unending mutual love. That's why she and his friends make him face HIS reality in the only way they can, by not allowing him to wallow in nostalgia and self-pity and forcing him to move forward until the blessed day they will be reunited.
Her mean behavior towards him was a COMPLETE ACT from start to finish. There is a hint of this when both she and Barney ask him, one right after the other, "What did you expect?" -- in response to his complaints about her behavior -- in tones that don't match the feigned frivolity they have been trying to force on him. There is a hard edge to her voice which lasts until the end of the scene and after Booth has fled the fantasy speakeasy, Scott standing silent and forlorn shows her character's true feelings before all fades to black.
(I did wish Laura had been a little older than 18 when Booth had married her, and Scott, although 25 herself at the time, and vivacious, beautiful and transfixing, suggests a woman somewhat older than 18 and 25.)
Hauer was terrifying.
I remember enjoying this movie long ago but can't remember all the details. However, I do remember how terrifying Rutger Hauer was as the main villain and terrorist. The scariest part was when he slits a woman's throat on the Roosevelt Island aerial tram just to show the cops he means business, then kicks her body off, ignominiously. Puts the lie to Hauer's character's claim that he "doesn't enjoy killing". Scared the heck out of me.
Monk: Mr. Monk Gets Hypnotized (2008)
Intriguing and innovative.
Very interesting and well-acted, filled with twists and turns remain eminently sensible and never become messily convoluted. The only problem is that while Monk, as usual, correctly solves an ingenious murder, neither nor the police have any evidence, except for a disgusting piece of gum which he has been chewing. (He had been hypnotized and underwent a degree of personality change, putting his germophobia and other neuroses temporarily into abeyance.) It is just virtually impossible that a piece of chewing gum which had been on the killer's person but no longer is (remember it wound up in Monk's mouth on a dare until he finally spit it out hours later into some kind of pond, thus rendering it even more meaningless, if that is even possible) could have any possible DNA or other value whatsoever or that any self-respecting detective or prosecutor could or would charge the killer based on that alone.
Chato's Land (1972)
Well done, overall, with a few surprises.
Well-acted tale of revenge begetting revenge in a hellish landscape. Well acted with the minor complaint that Jack Palance does not remotely sound like a former Confederate soldier from the American Civil War, and the character, Captain Quincey Whitmore (an ironic surname as actor James Whitmore appears in the film), comes off as somewhat pretentious, rather past his prime, and, soon enough, impotent, and, ultimately, quite foolish for going on a mission he could have easily avoided. Whitmore's comment on the Civil War, "Hell, it was a good war", is just stupid and inexplicable.
The sadistic, redneck Hooker brothers are trouble from the beginning and their fates are well-deserved, especially after the brutal rape of Chato's squaw, although the unpredictable manner in which Jubal Hooker meets his end is both surprising and entirely understandable. Four men are killed by the Hooker brothers, and Jubal Hooker and Captain Whitmore also do not meet their ends at Chato's hands. Thus, not all of the posse members are killed by Chato, although the film makes it clear that all would have been had they lived a bit longer.
The last killing is almost a mercy killing by Chato (although that certainly was not his intent) as that last man would no doubt have died a horrible death without water or a horse in the middle of nowhere but he still tries to escape. That is probably the natural instinct most of us would have, I suppose. Suffice to say the movie ends with the sound of a gunshot.
The saddest case is that of the character of Gavin Malechie (played brilliantly by the late Scottish actor Roddy McMillan), apparently a chaplain of sorts to the posse (he doesn't seem to serve any other purpose but I missed the beginning of the film when I saw it on TV), and the only man in the posse who evinces any caring or concern for anyone besides himself. He is the only one who tries to stop the brutal rape of Chato's squaw, although there was never a chance he could succeed. His character's devolution into one rather justifiable act of extreme violence and his moral and spiritual despair (although not supplanting the fight/flight instinct and will to escape and live) seeps through, and he becomes the closest thing to a tragic figure (aside from Chato's brutalized kin) in the film.
The main surprise (for me anyway) is that the film was not shot in the American Southwest (Arizona or New Mexico or Utah) as I presumed but in Spain, not far from the glorious Costa de Almeria, a tourist site, believe it or not. I lived in Spain many years ago for a year as a student (although I did not get to see all of that beautiful country) and I did not even know that any part of Spain was so bleak and deserted, much less so close to the Mediterranean Sea.
FANTASTIC EPISODE -- DICEY AND GRAPHIC
Jessica's niece (played by Genie Francis) gets a job working (in advertising, this time) for a fascinating bad guy (played brilliantly by, wait for it, Richard Kline, who played "Larry" on Three's Company) who is more than willing to pimp her out (the niece, not Jessica) to a very sleazy married client (Ken Swofford), whose wife (played by the hilarious and sadly missed Marcia Wallace) is no Caesar's wife, either, although her vice is cupidity not carnality, in this rather adult and as graphic an episode you'll come by in this series. Bill Macy inexplicably plays Kline's rather repulsive older brother (!) despite being old enough to be Kline's father (and he looks it).
Kline brilliantly embodies a never-say-die, self-made, tough, ambitious, ultraconfident ad man who battles all obstacles accordingly. When he's dispatched by an embittered former confidant I genuinely regretted the passing of this sadly all too realistic (verisimilitude to real quotidian life not being one of the series's strong points) character.
The killer is not one of the killers you feel much, if any, sympathy for, but equally, is far from being among the vilest. Jessica trips him up in a clever Columbo-style trap, which is more interesting than most of the series' denouements. All in all, a very good episode.
Criminal Minds: Machismo (2006)
GOOD EPISODE BUT COULD NEVER BE MADE TODAY DUE TO POLITICAL INCORRECTNESS
While another poster has made valid points about holes in the plot, when he or she states that "I believe that Cinco de Mayo is not widely celebrated in Mexico and it was therefore wrong of the producers to assume that this would be a normal thing to do", I had to wonder if that means the United States doesn't celebrate the 4th of July. Absurd comment.
Yes, Elle's Spanish is lacking. The character could certainly be of Cuban descent on her mother's side (we are not talking about Suzanne Somers here) and the use of "tu" instead of "usted" would be an example of a cultural difference. As far as speakers of foreign languages miraculously speaking in English (sometimes perfectly), whether they are supposed to be Spanish or Arabic or Chinese, that happens quite often, most likely out of expediency as translator characters are not always built into every scene of every episode of procedural programs (NCIS would be a perfect example, as well as JAG, Person of Interest, as well as Criminal Minds).
Now, to get to the meaty part of this review. I found it compelling and, as far as I know, reasonably realistic, again aside from some of the flawless English of certain characters. The episode, one scene of which, I am sure anyone who has seen it will know which, borrows a twist from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, is too politically incorrect to have been made today. The use of the word "homosexual", for example, which has fallen into almost complete disuse due to objections from the LGBTQ community.
The final scene, while satisfying, contains both a clear goof and an amazingly blatant reference. I will explain. The "goof", as far as I am concerned, is how the surviving female victims of a serial rapist and killer somehow knew before the BAU where the next killing was set to take place. That is never explained. The amazing part, which might or might not be possible in today's media world, is the fairly blatant reference to castration, illustrated by a knife being tossed down in front of the arriving police and BAU by the leader of the victims turned avengers.
JAG: Brig Break (1995)
I was not in the military (which I can assure anyone reading this was all to that august institution's advantage) so I cannot vouchsafe exactly how realistic the breakout was but it was exciting. It quickly becomes apparent that the seemingly ordinary sailor who stole two Stinger missiles from a base intended to be caught so as to be in the brig when the breakout occurred and Michael Jai White plays him quite effectively as scarily smart, violent, and no nonsense. And then he turns out to be something else, again. A vicious-looking shiv is used in the escape but the audience learns that, fortunately, it did not cause any fatalities.
Lee Tergesen plays a treacherous character, in this case an ostensibly trustworthy sergeant who seems initially stereotypically hardened, mulish and chauvinistic, but soon shows his far, far worse colors. All in all an exciting, if far-fetched, episode. But truth can be stranger than fiction.
NO TAINT OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
An excellent and realistic (as far as I can discern) portrayal of Marxist terrorism and one in which, mercifully, American imperialism is, for once, not to blame. The body count is relatively high and the terror is as realistically depicted as possible on the small screen given the format constraints. Some interesting characters turn out to be villains, defying the all too common gender and sociological one-dimensional media depictions. In fact, this episode takes those same stereotypical assumptions and turns them on their collective head. Sad and scary and disturbingly true to life.
Mr. Brooks (2007)
NOT BAD, BUT ...
Not bad and interesting watching Costner play a bad guy but it ultimately doesn't add up to a great or even particularly good movie. William Hurt is fine and the rest of the cast is unmemorable. Costner, although I know he tries, just doesn't send that shiver up the spine that an actor playing a really bad guy or a scary killer just has to do to the audience. Kevin Spacey could likely have accomplished that.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
Loved it from start to finish. Made me miss the 1980s even more. Cannot forget how hot William Petersen was, like molten lava in tight jeans. The late Darlanne Fluegel was a worthy "bad girl" and John Pankow hit all the right moves as the straight-laced novice who changes a lot by the end of the film. Not necessary to go through the plot since everyone posting here has seen the movie, evidently.
CRAP BUT ....
Not one of the better episodes but to blame one poor episode for the departures of Jorja Fox, Gary Dourdan and William Petersen seems a bit of an overreaction, especially as Fox returned and Dourdan's departure was rather involuntary, if I remember correctly.
Just a brief note -- this is somewhat like a mini "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" battle with a happier ending.
Ironside: Gentle Oaks (1971)
WELL-ACTED AND EFFECTIVE
Ruth Roman is quite effective as a larcenous, lethal (and slightly unhinged) nurse (with the silly name of May Joyce Skinner), just as scary as Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) or Elizabeth Montgomery in Amos (1985), and in a much more compact, less overwrought, superior vehicle. None of these can compare, of course, to T.C. Jones as "Nurse Betty Ames" in Hitchcock's An Unlocked Window (1965), needless to say. (LOL). Excellent acting all around.
The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
Yeah, I saw it when it came out, and I even bought into it. Perhaps Margaret Atwood genuinely believed it. However, it has long been evident that while a dystopia has indeed come to pass in the United States, it is exactly 180 degrees opposite that which Atwood ostensibly predicted, and her refusal to acknowledge this makes her a fraud. The United States of 2019 is exactly the opposite of that which she created in her fiction.
Sad to think so many posters here buy this ridiculous nonsense which has been PROVED complete nonsense by just looking at the United States today, almost 30 years after this movie. One poster on this thread wrote of the film, "This world was more frightening than 1984, Brave New World or Mad Max!", which helps explains why the United States is in so much trouble.
P.S. -- There are, doubtless, countries in which women are treated as chattel and repressed. Sad that the editors praising the book and/or film are unaware that iit is not the United States. Those countries, however, are ones that the likes of Atwood will never dare criticize or condemn, i.e. Muslim, sub-Saharan African, parts of the Middle East, Myanmar maybe) because they are not developed/white countries.
Are we to understand that a 105 year old actress played "The Pope, Rembrandt, Van Gogh's mother"???
The 40th Annual Tony Awards (1986)
Pretty entertaining, but Susan Anton (looking justifiably uncomfortable) and Stefanie Powers (who should have known better) had no business being there, on stage at least. Also, the stage blocking whereby stars hang around on stage waiting for someone to start talking or singing gets tiresome. Watching Dorothy Loudon doing a bit of song and dance to the song "Easy Street" from the musical ''Annie'' -- in which she debuted the role for which she would be best known and won a Tony Award, that of 'Miss Hannigan' -- was great.
ONE GREAT SEGMENT
I agree with mark.waltz regarding this tribute but the tribute to the actresses of the Silver Screen (Drew Barrymore's inclusion was surely a joke), a number of whom are still alive (Shirley Jones, Jane Powell, Angie Dickinson, Arlene Dahl), especially featuring Lillian Gish, Luise Rainer, Ginger Rogers, Alice Faye, Lana Turner, and others WAS wonderful and, I think, pretty classily done. Everyone introduced by alphabetical order, so completely fair. Ruby Keeler looked, sadly, like she was not doing well health-wise (she died of cancer in 1993 but that was six years later) , however, Maureen O'Sullivan was the essence of lustrous beauty, incredible grace, and warmth.
BETTE DAVIS TV SPINOFF?
Perry and Della are only seen briefly (Perry is in the hospital), but Paul Drake is around to do his thing. Bette Davis is Constant (not "Constance" which it sounds like) Doyle, a widowed lawyer, whose late husband has been posthumously accused of financial improprieties which wind up being very much related to the case at hand.
Davis does her best but she looks and sounds pretty bad and this was decades before her true health crises took place -- strokes and cancer. (Her hair looks like it could be a wig.) She is also not overly convincing as a shrewd lawyer who, for some unexplained reason, takes an inordinate interest in a young man with a criminal background for whom she posts bail and gives spending money. When he is accused of murder, she, of course, represents him pro bono, and discerns the identity of the true killer/murderer in typical Perry Mason courtroom climax. Although she doesn't seem to have any particular evidence she does get the perp to lose it hysterically (but not make a confession). She also clears her late husband's name.
An interesting episode but not one that fully succeeds. I got the impression this may have been the lead in to a possible series for Davis but if so the series never materialized, nor, I suspect, would it have been successful with Davis's over the top presence and voice sounding like long sharp nails scraping against a blackboard.
Just saw it. Started promisingly but falls apart. The contract killer named Harry Silver (played by the very similarly named actor Henry Silva, who, here, looks a bit like James Woods) seems to go out of his way to avoid a very lucrative offer, including upping his price but his would-be client, a wealthy, apparently cuckolded husband who wants to hire Silver, doesn't get the message.
The plot becomes increasingly hard to believe but is admirably non-convoluted. It is hard to believe that a tough guy like the now "respectable" retired gangster (played by Robert Middleton), in seeking out Harry Silver, could find himself in quite the predicament he does, especially at the end.
Silva acts (or is) way too young and callow to play a semi-retired contract killer and is completely unconvincing as a man who happens to know (and recite by heart) poetry by Keats and Shelley to woo a greedy manipulative unfaithful young wife, who -- in any event and regardless of what Silva's character says -- is impossible to imagine appreciating it.
The entire episode has strong similarities (including the finale) to that of a far superior Hitchcock episode, Services Rendered (1961), which happens to be 100 times better and had no phony Hitchcock summing up.
POSSIBLY THE STUPIDEST EPISODE OF THIS STUPID SERIES
Horrible, repugnant, vile ... I already knew McCloud is an incredibly stupid and thoroughly unconvincing police procedural with the moronic premise that McCloud, a deputy who looks and sounds like a Texas Ranger, somehow gets transferred to the New York Police Department (NYPD), most of the other "police officers" look and sound like they've never been anywhere New York in their entire lives. I knew that but there was nothing else to watch so I endured it. Three druggies bust into a hospital, engage in various shootouts and hold a children's ward hostage but are largely ignored and the hospital goes on as though nothing were going on.
In another subplot a gregarious Santa Claus holds up at gunpoint people coming to contribute money. One of the marks stabs him (the only part of the show I enjoyed) and he goes to the same hospital mentioned above and is entirely ignored by doctors and nurses for reasons which have nothing to do with the anarchy in the other wing of the hospital.
In another moronic subplot, a psychotic stalker who refuses to give his name waits for McCloud in the police precinct, misbehaving and throwing paper airplanes at cops and yet he neither gets his butt kicked nor thrown into the slammer.
There was also something going on involving a character played by Linda Gray which was so boring I couldn't be bothered to pay attention to what was happening there and still don't know or care.
McCloud was one of the stupidest series of all times with the most annoying and repugnant characters and guests. Only the beautiful Diana Muldaur (born in Brooklyn yet somehow not sounding at all New Yorkerish, and I am from Brooklyn, so I know whereof I speak), wasted as McCloud's love interest, is almost always appealing. It is also fascinating to observe glimpses of 1970s New York City, which was a bubbling cauldron of social woes but now seems (to this viewer anyway who lived through it) far more winningly simple and appealing than the cookie cutter gleaming dystopian megalopolis which has taken its place.
WELL DONE, EXCEPT ...
Well done drama about fraud and murder in early 20th-century England, marred solely by Hume Cronyn's incomprehensible decision to play the role without an English accent, sounding like an American or a Canadian. Given that the rest of the cast is English, it is all the more jarring.
Cronyn was a fine Canadian stage and film actor married to an English actress (Jessica Tandy) so the notion that he could not do an English accent (as Robert Redfordwas unable to do in "Out of Africa (1985)", for instance), strains credulity. If Brooklynite Barbara Stanwyck could do one in "The Lady Eve (1941)", it is incomprehensible why Cronyn played the role that way, with no qualms from the director or from Hitchcock.
Otherwise, his performance was fine, as was that of the whole cast, especially Valerie Cossart as his delicate, neurasthenic but suspicious sister, the only person he seems to care about. The suspenseful end and his comeuppance are very well done.
Fascinating and simple at the same time
Link and Levinson do it again. Without convolution (or too much, anyway) and following a remorseless and inexorable logic to its shocking end, "Services Rendered" is quite brilliant.
The last few minutes when the "Young Man" (we never learn his name) remembers exactly who he is and what his disturbing mission is are fascinating; they rush by so quickly the viewer can only absorb what he or she is meant to absorb in the half hour format, and then it is over. An oversized photo of a not particularly happy looking woman is a key that few viewers will recognize until they replay the story in their minds.
Hugh Marlowe is, of course, a tad enigmatic at first when the viewer doesn't know if Dr. Mannick is telling "the Young Man" the truth about not knowing him and never having seen him before (Dr. Mannick WAS telling the truth) but soon shows himself to be a caring and concerned doctor. Steve Dunne, who appeared in four episodes of the Hitchock half hour show, is masterful as the man with no name, no memory, but with an incisive confidence and refusal to go to the police, which will later make perfect sense in retrospect. The looks that pass across his face at the end by the elevator when his memory comes back and the amnesia fades and his body language and facial expressions as he returns to the doctor's office should be re-studied by anyone who can repay the episode and move into slow motion for the last few minutes.
The ending was, for me, a shocker. I make no claims, unlike others who have posted here, to have found the story easy to foretell from the beginning. I very often catch clues in crime and mystery shows, and sometimes they give me the info I need and sometimes they don't. Here, they didn't. The conclusion ('nuff said) was cruel but not disappointing. Logical and spare, there is NO phony Hitchcock "summing up" for the sponsors and censors to assure everyone that the baddie got his or her comeuppance.
VERY GOOD EPISODE
I have enjoyed most every episode I can think of that I have seen courtesy of MeTV that I would never have otherwise been able to. Only exceptions were if I missed part or if the plot got too convoluted.
This episode is smooth, clean, and thoroughly enjoyable. As is often the case, the killer is sympathetic, in this case more sympathetic than the hateful but beautiful "victim", or other of the episode's characters, including the killer's own ruthless businessman husband who would never have forgiven her affair, thus forcing the murder of an insatiable blackmailer. True, the killer would have let an innocent person take the fall (they had the death penalty back then, as we often hear mention of "the gas chamber") so that eases the conclusion in this case.