The Joe Louis Story
After a brief allusion to Golden Boy (dir. Rouben Mamoulian), this moves meticulously into the training of a great boxer, and good clips from his bouts with Primo Carnera, Max Baer (Louis in terrific, workmanlike fighting), Max Schmeling (Louis out of shape and overmatched), the champion Braddock, Schmeling again (Louis in precision), plus footage of the 1942 “Night of Stars” at the Garden, and Louis’s WWII tour, ending with his final fight with Rocky Marciano (Louis out in harness).
The Dark Gate
Doc names the episode, an image of madness. Cattle are missing, overbranded (the Ponderosa pine-tree brand, a vertical bar with three crossbars diminishing upward, burned over by a letter ess and vertical bar for the Silver Dollar Ranch). A friend of Adam’s conceives a jealousy over a nonexistent love affair his own wife has taken up. She’s beaten.
Adam takes her to the Ponderosa, the friend fires all his hired hands and takes on a crew of robbers. Bullion is taken from a stagecoach, he wants the Ponderosa, kills the wanted man who heads the gang, kills his wife, heads for the rocks, where Adam has to take a shotgun to him. The old friend no longer recognizes anyone, wounds Adam and is shot. Dying, it all comes back to him with a delay, it’s his wedding anniversary, their fifth, which happened nearly a year before. The friend dies, Adam weeps.
Conrad’s Animal Kingdom, a zoo on the Hollywood bus tour.
A Valley developer wants it very badly for tract houses, a “girl snooper” is the first to go, Dali style, in Westwood.
Gordon closes the gates for the evening, iron bars fill the screen.
“Influence on the city council” he has, the Valley developer, families are moving in, says he. A lion eats him chez lui, “a hilltop house, south of Encino.”
Suspects are not wanting, “there’s a kook near Chatsworth that keeps a mountain lion for a pet.”
Mrs. Conrad drinks away the daily grind of “chimps, cats and tours,” her husband’s mute “cow-eyed” son endures “this everlasting loneliness” as an attendant in the place and feels ruth over feeding a sadistic colleague to a lion at his father’s command, all the big cats pay their last respects to the tiger he killed for spite. The deepest inside joke is on the transmigration of Hollywood souls and those who accomplish it, wearing the mantle so to speak, hide and hair. Conrad plays the organ for his menagerie in the living room, “even in death the continuity of life must not be broken.” The wife, not “really one of us”, and her chimps get a Broadway offer, in a manner of speaking. “You simply have to do something about your career!” A gorilla, of course, drops the lady agent like a deadbeat actor, in Hollywood.
“And don’t leave out the special farms where they train animals for public performances,” the Hitchcock joke, “leave no-one out,” he provides the flashback, at the sight of the first Mrs. Conrad being “lionized”, his mother, the boy was struck speechless.
The movies are a zoo that dwells in darkness, nothing neither way to critics.
TV Guide, “a sensational melodrama about a madman who belongs to a sect that worships animals and feels that the animals take on human souls.” Eleanor Mannikka (All Movie Guide), “violent, gore-filled, effective”. Halliwell’s Film Guide, “stultifyingly inept”.
Tarzan and the Jungle Boy
The geologist’s son, lost years before.
The search for him by a National Geographic photojournalist and her associate or assistant happens to coincide with a local event of some importance, the athletic contest between two brothers to decide the new chief.
The boy is quite at home, just as Tarzan had been, his leopard kitten has grown up with him, he has a chimpanzee friend as well.
The defeated rival tries to usurp the throne, the boy is sought in sacred tribal lands.
Variety found a “customary brand of jungle antics”.
The Gatling Gun
The “instrument of hell” in Apache country, Two-Knife burning and slaughtering, the preacher and his stepdaughter (cf. Endfield’s Zulu), residual bitterness in the years after Appomattox.
For the gun, vd. the extensive remarks in Russell’s Prisoner of Honor. A weapon to end war, fought over. A fairly classical ideal, Pat Buttram in the comic role, New Mexico landscapes, as a foil to the argument. Bribery and treason for openers. “La pistola real” the Apaches call it (King Gun is said to have been the film’s title early on), with a suggestion of Mao on power. Jockeying for position among the several viewpoints, which winnow out to a hillside defense like the one in Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Dos Cuchillos (whose name evokes a war on two fronts, even to the knife twice-over) shoots a brave whose aim is poor. “ˇEstúpido! ˇTonto!” The successful employment of the gun finally is remembered in Ritchie’s The Island. There is a sense of Custer avenged and something else. “What do you think, Lieutenant?”
“I don’t know. They didn’t have a chance against this gun.” Huston answers that in The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, Gordon ends on the ghastly face of the terribly defeated Apache chief, who doffs his blue Cavalry jacket (cf. Daves’ Drum Beat) and retires to his horse, thoroughgoingly Japanese.
TV Guide, “tired and ragged”.