Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Falcon and the Englishman

Over at the Radio Spirits blog this morning, there’s a little birthday shout-out to actor Tom Conway, born on today’s date in 1904.  Classic movie mavens know him as the older brother of accomplished screen cad George Sanders—and that he replaced George as the star of RKO’s Falcon franchise in 1942 with an ingenious little entry entitled The Falcon’s Brother—but he also maintained a presence over the ether in two radio series: The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (he replaced the definitive Holmes, Basil Rathbone, in the fall of 1946) and The Adventures of the Saint (he got that gig when star Vincent Price left in May of 1951).  Conway also starred as Inspector Mark Saber in a television series alternately known as Mystery Theater and Inspector Mark Saber: Homicide Squad.

My recent eBay auction finished last night and if anyone out there in YesteryearLand purchased any swag—I thank you one and all.  (And so does my mother.  You have no idea how happy you’ve made her, believe me.)  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I’ll eventually get to a point when the eBay kiosk will pretty much run itself, but until that time the hard-hitting, probing movie and television profiles that you’ve come to expect here at TDOY will have to wait a while longer…okay, I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish saying that with a straight face.  But if you’re curious as to what’s been keeping me occupado in the meantime; I have a couple of reviews currently in rotation at the ClassicFlix Beta site: It’s in the Bag! (1945—an old TDOY fave) and Inferno (1953).

Also this Sunday—we’re going to start a new feature here on the blog that I’ve decided to call "Sunday Night at the MOVIES!" because I simply have no imagination.  Each Sunday, I’ll post a rundown of what will air this week on the new Fox affiliate digital sub-channel, much in the same way “Coming Distractions” looks at what’s scheduled monthly on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™.  So, here’s what to expect this week:

Today, September 15
08:40am Kidco (1983)
11:00am Homicidal (1961)
12:55pm Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938)
02:20pm A Message to Garcia (1936)
04:10pm Blind Fury (1989)
06:00pm Destination Gobi (1953)
08:00pm The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
11:30pm The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
03:05am Lisa (1962)
05:25am The Big Town (1987)

Monday, September 16
08:00am Take a Hard Ride (1975)
10:10am Cripple Creek (1952)
11:50am 7th Calvalry (1956)
01:30pm Mysterious Island (1961)
03:40pm The Naked Prey (1966)
05:45pm Murphy's War (1971)
08:00pm Hatari! (1962)
11:25pm Hatari! (1962)
02:50am The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
04:50am Cripple Creek (1952)

Tuesday, September 17
06:30am Charlie Chan in Honolulu (1938)
08:25am Kidco (1983)
10:40am Boeing-Boeing (1965)
12:55pm Teacher's Pet (1958)
03:30pm The Rat Race (1960)
05:45pm Diamond Head (1963)
08:00pm The Big Picture (1989)
10:10pm Pretty Baby (1978)
12:35am The Big Picture (1989)
02:45am Pretty Baby (1978)
05:05am Against All Odds (1984)

Wednesday, September 18
08:00am The Jayhawkers (1959)
10:10am Murphy's War (1971)
12:25pm Nightmare Alley (1947)
02:45pm The Star Chamber (1983)
05:05pm Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)
08:00pm Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
10:25pm Flaming Star (1960)
12:25am Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
02:40am Flaming Star (1960)
04:40am Reprisal! (1956)

Thursday, September 19
06:15am The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957)
08:00am Comanche Station (1960)
09:35am 7th Calvalry (1956)
11:15am Homicidal (1961)
01:10pm The Gambler (1974)
03:30pm Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round (1966)
05:50pm Runaway (1984)
08:00pm The Italian Job (1969)
10:10pm The Assassination Bureau (1969)
12:35am The Italian Job (1969)
02:50am The Assassination Bureau (1969)
05:15am The Molly Maguires (1970)

Friday, September 20
08:00am Hatari! (1962)
11:25am The Lords of Discipline (1983)
01:25pm The Assassination Bureau (1969)
03:45pm Road House (1948)
05:50pm The Big Picture (1989)
08:00pm Tap (1989)
10:25pm Lady Sings the Blues (1972)
01:40am Tap (1989)
04:05am Lady Sings the Blues (1972)

Saturday, September 21
08:00am Mothra (1962)
10:00am Kids Programming (FCC-mandated)
01:00pm Boeing-Boeing (1965)
03:15pm The Family Jewels (1965)
05:30pm Sabrina (1954)
08:00pm Teacher’s Pet (1958)
10:35pm Do Not Disturb (1965)
12:50am Teacher’s Pet (1958)
03:25am 711 Ocean Drive (1950)
05:35am Nightmare Alley (1947)

1 comment:

grouchomarxist said...

Whoever's in charge of picking the movies at MOVIES! has chosen some great obscure titles, like The Assassination Bureau and Murphy's War. I'd love to see the original The Italian Job again.

Nice line-up for early Sunday AM too, starting with that Edward O'Brien noir 711 Ocean Drive and following it up with the second-darkest film Tyrone Power ever made: the superb Nightmare Alley.

I also enjoyed your review of Inferno, though I have to disagree with you about a few points.

First, I doubt Fleming's character was ever in love with Ryan, just his money. Even if he's an obnoxious twit, her willingness to leave him to suffer a lingering, horrible death (if he didn't blow his brains out, first) argues pretty strongly that she never had any real feelings for him. Whether her attraction to Lundigan was ever more than surface-deep is an open question, too.

I see her as more passive-aggressive than merely passive. Even if Lundigan came up with the scheme on the spur of the moment, I'd bet the two of them were daydreaming about doing away with Ryan long before they got their chance. I can easily imagine her hinting around about how great it would be if Ryan had a fatal accident, while leaving it up to Lundigan to work out the details.

Given the circumstances, it makes far more sense for Lundigan to have been the one who thought to take advantage of Ryan's bad luck. With his specialized knowledge of the desert and especially how aerial searches were organized -- remember: he's a pilot -- he's the only one who likely could have come up with the idea of misdirecting the searchers, and stood any chance of carrying it off. It just wouldn't have been as believable, if Fleming had been the mastermind.

Obviously, Robert Ryan's presence is going to overshadow just about any other male lead, but I still think Lundigan did a better job here than you're giving him credit for. His situation is a lot like Walter Neff's, in Double Indemnity: a man who's trapped by his own greed and lust and turned into a murderer. He has an odd sort of integrity -- it's Fleming who betrays him, not the other way around -- and you can almost at times find yourself feeling a bit of sympathy for him in his growing desperation.