41. The Odd Couple (1970-5)

This is the first of five articles I am doing for the TV Count Down now in progress at Wonders in the Dark.

Wonders in the Dark

by John Greco

The Odd Couple was one of those shows that was never a huge hit during its original TV run. For five-seasons it ran on ABC and not once did it crack the Top 20 in the Neilson ratings. However, once the show was cancelled and put in syndication, it became a favorite, still running today on various cable stations and streaming services. The shows two stars made more money once the show went into syndication than they did during the original run.

The show was based on Neil Simon’s hit Broadway play [1] that opened in March of 1965 and ran for more than two years. Walter Matthau played Oscar Madison, the sloppy, gambling sports-writer for The New York Herald with Art Carney as the finicky television news writer, Felix Unger. [2]  The play won numerous Tony Awards including Best Play, Best Actor for Matthau, and Best…

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The Harrad Experiment (1973) Ted Post

harrad-experiment-1973-don-johnson-laurie-walters-hdex-003p-bkd2jmRobert H. Rimmer’s 1966 novel, The Harrad Experiment, was a moderate success when first published in hardcover. One year later, Bantam Books published the paperback version, and the book exploded selling over 300,000 copies in one month, eventually selling over three million. Rimmer, who died in in 2001, wrote close to twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction, most, if not all, focusing on unconventional, free love relationships outside the norm of monogamy. The Harrad Experiment was his most successful work spawning a second related nonfiction book called The Harrad Letters to Robert H. Rimmer. Continue reading

The Beguiled Times Two

The_BeguiledAfter recently watching Sofia Coppola’s first rate remake of the 1971 gothic western, The Beguiled, I was motivated to take a look at the original Don Siegel directed film which I have not seen since it was first released back in 1971. Both films stay close in plot, but head in alternate directions when it comes to a point of view. That may be in part due to the gender difference of the directors as well as the mores and attitudes that have evolved in the more than forty years separating the two works. Continue reading

Between the Lines (1977) Joan Milken Silver

LinesI have always had an affinity for newspaper themed films. As a kid in Junior High, I had, for a short period, illusions of being a newspaper reporter. I’m not sure what exactly sparked this interest, but while the desire to be a reporter died my love of films with newspapers/reporters has remained strong. Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole, Sam Fuller’s Park Row, Alan Pakula’s All the President’s Men, Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday, Alexander MacKendrick’s Sweet Smell of Success, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, Phil Karlson’s Scandal Sheet, Richard Brooks’ Deadline U.S.A. and more recently Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight are just some of my favorites.  As you can tell from this small list, newspaper reporting can be an heroic endeavor or it can be down and dirty, even scandalous. Continue reading

The Visitors (1972) Elia Kazan

IMG_1395One of the earliest films about the American involvement in Vietnam is the little known A Yank in Vietnam (1964). The film was directed by and starred Marshall Thompson. It was made in Vietnam before the escalation, the large buildup of American troops, and the anti-war fever back at home. Produced during these early years of the conflict, the film is free of all the political baggage that came only a few years later.  As the American involvement in the war grew and the war became more and more unpopular at home, Hollywood saw Vietnam as a hot potato to be avoided. Continue reading

Home for the Holidays (1972) John Llewellyn Moxey

home-for-the-holidays-1972b

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays                                                                                ‘Cause no matter how far away you roam                                                                                          When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze                                                                            For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home!                                                                                      Home for the Holidays – Al Stillman & Robert Allen Continue reading

Sisters (1973) Brian De Palma

sistersBrian De Palma admittedly has been tapping into Alfred Hitchcock since his earliest works going back as far as Murder a la Mod in 1968. However, many other filmmakers have drawn inspiration from or just plain copied the master of suspense over the years including Henri-Georges Clouzot (Diabolique), Jonathan Demme (Last Embrace), Francois Truffaut (Mississippi Mermaid), David Fincher (Panic Room), D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) and  Woody Allen (Match Point) just to name a few. It’s difficult to make a suspense film without leaning at least a bit on the master.  De Palma’s second foray into Hitchcock’s world came in 1973 with Sisters. After a series of low budget independent films: the previously mentioned Murder a la Mod, The Wedding Party, Greetings and Hi Mom! De Palma signed up with Warner Brothers to make the social satire, Get to Know You Rabbit. Creatively and financially it was a dud. Continue reading