I Dream of Genie
The Twilight Zone
The greatest joke ever on television.
An American Dream
“That everything will come out all right in the end.” The lay of the land, or the apple cart. You and she and Uncle Ganucci make three. Thirty stories from red-light penthouse to well-traveled pavement (cf. Dmytryk’s Murder, My Sweet). A fine Hitchcockian point of murder or something else from I Confess and North by Northwest.
The Korean War Medal of Honor recipient and the chanteuse at Club Penguin (“Hal Ortega, ‘Vibes In Tempo’”). A Los Angeles rooftop at freeway level remembered in Tom O’Horgan’s film of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, “right in the middle of the jungle.” Great intimate views of the city, just ahead of Altman’s Countdown.
The Citizen Kane motif from Welles (cf. Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps). Characteristic Mailer dialogue (screenplay Mann Rubin, cinematography Sam Leavitt, score Johnny Mandel, who wagers “A Time for Loving” with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster) and a line of rapid-fire patter in good working order. A major line of analysis from Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The avenging conscience, as Griffith would say, also from Lang (Scarlet Street). A deal in the millions, “top of the ratings.” Rossen’s The Hustler a notable influence.
One of William Conrad’s masterworks as producer, cp. Brainstorm (which like Two on a Guillotine and My Blood Runs Cold he furthermore directed, screenplay Mann Rubin, cinematography Sam Leavitt, score George Duning). The highly intricate, variegated and detailed structure still winnows out to one on the order of Mailer’s Tough Guys Don’t Dance. The occult cinematic form is again from Lang (or Losey), the middle ground of M (but cf. Huston’s Under the Volcano, “when the announcement was made that Norman Mailer’s An American Dream was to be made into a movie,” said Pauline Kael in The New Republic, “my reaction was that John Huston was the only man who could do it”). Janet Leigh’s platinum coif and makeup suggest rather an identification with Becker’s Casque d’Or, death of a soldier in plain sight (down the staircase she departs, an image in late Nabokov).
Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema), “hilarious misalliance of Mailer and Hollywood.”
TV Guide, “deteriorates into a cynical look at 1960s society.” Geoff Andrew (Time Out), “a long haul.” Film4, “suffers from a lack of punch, depth and cohesion.” Catholic News Service Media Review Office, “generally inept” and “morally offensive”. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “ludicrously heavy-handed”.
A witness is needed to testify against the mob’s “boss contractor”, who’s just killed one.
Three approaches are taken to turning his casino manager. Phelps introduces the idea that a hit man (Willy) is on his way to silence the traitor, Barney and Rollin intercept calls to the boss. An expensive mistress is provided in the form of Cinnamon, with checks forged by Rollin. Finally, the crowning touch, Barney plays St. Nicholas by reaching all the way across the counting-room floor and its alarm to place a pile of extra money in the vault with Ben Franklin’s Long Arm, so that Rollin as the new accountant can tally up the take and find it under-reported.
With his entire operation upended and in revolt, the manager locks himself in the counting-room, hits the alarm and waits for the police.
Gist’s clarity of direction makes use of a micro-camera to give a view of craps and blackjack from the surface of the table.
The Singapore File
The elimination of a witness to a murder committed by the top boss of island crime is temporarily averted when the witness flees to Singapore rather than testify. An attempt is made there, she calls McGarrett.
The Singapore police have been bought into, McGarrett and the girl take a freighter to the Philippines. The kingpin offers an open contract with a bonus if both are hit. One independent operator receives a telegram aboard ship, McGarrett in the radio shack deciphers the keyed reception.
The girl has lived as a prostitute in Singapore, they share a cabin with two bunk beds. The few passengers on the freighter include a minister who is the hit man, and a middle-aged husband whose wife issues a gentle warning to “Mr. Collins”.
From Rain (dir. Lewis Milestone) or Miss Sadie Thompson (dir. Curtis Bernhardt) to their source in the adulteress and her proper ministration.