Maverick: The Complete Fourth Season from Warner Archive

Though I was only 10 years old, I remember the day my dad learned “Bret Maverick,” the 1980s reboot of the classic television Western “Maverick” (1957-1962), was cancelled. Dad followed James Garner through every television show he ever made — which meant everyone else in the house did, too, though I wasn’t complaining; “The Rockford Files” remains one of my favorite shows of all time — and over twenty years on, dad was still angry at Warner Bros. for not giving Garner whatever he wanted to keep him on as the star of “Maverick.” But Garner didn’t stay, and after three seasons, “Maverick” was retooled into more of a farce, rather than the satirical comedy-drama it had originally been. Featuring the antics of gambler Bret Maverick (Garner) and his brother Bart (Jack Kelly), the Mavericks tended away from confrontation, preferring to make money in scams, as long as the scams were against those who morally deserved it. All Maverick kin, whether seen or unseen in the show, where both highly ethical and irredeemably sneaky. When Garner left after a contractual dispute and went on to fame in films — I defy anyone to name an actor with a better run of films than Garner from 1960’s Cash McCall to 1971’s Skin Game — Bart became the ostensible star, and a new character, cousin Beau Maverick, was introduced. Beau made his debut in the episode “Bundle from Britain,” airdate September 18, 1960, and the first episode on Warner Archives’ recent release … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week (Updated)

Thank you all for your patience as I gather together some films for a new blog series I’ll be starting soon, as well as a set of Warner Archive MOD DVD reviews, all coming shortly. Meanwhile, please to enjoy some of my articles that have appeared elsewhere around Le Interwebbe, plus a few interesting things I’ve stumbled across recently. * UPDATED TO ADD: Spectrum Culture’s snarky little Oscar article, where I blather (occasionally at length) about the nominees. For anyone interested (no one will be interested) I and about seven million others will be live-tweeting the Oscars on Sunday night. * Redemption Tomorrow for Sin Today: The Fallen Woman in Pre-Code Films: My latest Pre-Code Obsession article for ClassicFlix, focusing on those out-of-nowhere endings in pre-Codes that were designed to help mitigate all the naughty, naughty things that went on in the first 95% of the film. If you’re interested in the topic, I highly recommend Lea Jacobs’ The Wages of Sin, a terrific book with in-depth info on the censorship and editing process behind plenty of pre-Codes, particularly the notorious Baby Face (1933). * Underrated: Night of the Comet (1984): A fine 80s low-budget horror/sci-fi flick that far too many sniffy guys dismiss as unimportant, because they’re sniffy guys. * Oeuvre: Two Weeks in Another Town (1952): Part of Spectrum Culture’s Oeuvre series, focusing on Vincente Minnelli. I had seen Two Weeks before, but when re-watching it for this article, its flaws hit me particularly hard. One of the … Continue reading

Elsewhere This Week

The holiday season has been over for many weeks, but the endless, soul-draining, life-sucking winter that will not die has really thrown off my groove. With some luck and a little willpower and copious amounts of caffeine, I hope to be starting up a few new projects, as well as resuming some features I let fall by the wayside recently. In the spirit of pretending like I’m a productive member of society, here’s what I’ve been doing when I haven’t been doing nothing: Review: Band of Sisters (2013) at Spectrum Culture DVD Review: Deception (1946) at ClassicFlix Review: The Truth About Emanuel (2013) at She Blogged By Night Review: Like Father, Like Son (2013) at Spectrum Culture Serial: My rather depressive final installment of The Monster and the Ape (1945) here at SBBN *** A couple of things what might interest you: David Bordwell’s The Rhapsodes: Agee, Farber, Tyler, and us: A history and meditation on the origins of modern film criticism. Followed with a part two posted yesterday, including links for fussbudgets (like me!) wanting deeper background. Informative and wildly entertaining stuff. Courtesy the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: PDFs of Myra Keaton’s scrapbook, from 1901 to 1920, including plenty of clippings about her son Buster. And finally, if you have an hour and a half to spare, this fascinating Marc Maron interview (audio only) with comedian provocateur Norm MacDonald:

The Monster and the Ape #15: The Last Refuge of the Failure

Good friends, ’tis the final chapter of The Monster and the Ape, so a quick recap is in order. But first, those who were playing along with The Monster and the Ape home game can find the final chapter here, with Spanish subtitles. Our story so far: A team of scientists reveal to the world that a newly-discovered, meteor-based element known as Metalogen can power robots, proving to be an exciting step forward in the sciences. They demonstrate the Metalogen Man at a press conference; immediately afterward, all the scientists save Professor Arnold (Frank Morgan) and Professor Ernst (George MacReady) are killed off. Soon, we discover Ernst feels the invention was all his, and the other scientists were stealing his thunder. From this moment on, Arnold and Ernst are locked in a duel of so-called wits, each trying to obtain both the Metalogen and the robot it powers. Ken Morgan (Robert Lowry), robot salesman, and no that is not a joke, arrives and helps Arnold by getting into lots of fistfights with Ernst’s henchmen. Also helping Arnold are his daughter Babs (Carole Matthews, possessing both the best hair and the least talent in Hollywood), and Willie Best as the assistant-slash-chauffeur Flash, who provides us comedy relief by being humiliated in a series of racist situations. At this point you should know that not a single reporter follows up on the press conference, not even after the scientists’ deaths, and Ernst never again mentions that he believes the Metalogen Man is … Continue reading