The Death Tree
The Untouchables

Capone supplies the gypsies of Chicago with bad whiskey through a son of the tribe whose father died in the old country as the result of a curious event.

The gypsies are ruled by a governing “senate” or council. The village lost a religious statue to theft, a culprit was produced and beaten to death. His son now works for Capone and seeks vengeance against the head of the senate in Chicago, son of the actual thief and betrayer.

The name goes on the death tree, a disused mob custom, he is gunned down, and then his brother. The daughter assumes his place at the head of the table. Ness defends her against the mobster, until he is considered no longer a gadjo.

Barbara Luna tells the tale of the old country, Charles Bronson is the vengeful thug, Theodore Marcuse a hit man collared by Ness, quickly breaking down.


The Untouchables

A flying boat at the foot of a street is one of the proposals made for dealing with Ness and the squad by mobsters in the narcotics trade once Prohibition is finished.

There’s a leak in Louie Madikoff’s organization, or as Luciano puts it, “you got a dirty house”.

The scion is in love with a rival’s daughter, she works nights at a soup kitchen.

Louie blames the rival, threatens to blow up a school full of kids if his runner doesn’t make it through this time, and gives Ness a nighttime demonstration.

The bomber is shipped in from the Purple Gang, out of Detroit.


A Knight to Remember

This is very much in the manner of Star Trek as well as The Twilight Zone. Bandidos are repelled and then captured by King Arthur, with Adam Cartwright’s help. A perfectly sensible attempt at an explanation is offered at the close, after which Adam is knighted.

McEveety’s comic resources are exceedingly quick aperçus in a not excessively dry deadpan that is capable of exploding right off camera after a steady increase of comic tension.

The main role is given to Henry Jones, a heroic comedian.


The Case of the Baffling Bug
Perry Mason

A perfect exposition of Poe’s “Business Man” as a despiser of genius, by which he means manufacture, in favor of method, by which he means diddling.

The seawater conversion method developed at Tryon Industries is handled for security reasons like a Maquis operation, the scientists working separately only compare notes after Paul Drake has screened them for bugs and gathered them in a surprise locale. The head of the firm supervises this, and he isn’t screened.

A rival firm, Coleridge Associates, acquires the data. One of the chemists once worked there and had a romance with Rhonda Coleridge, who also bids for the services of a Japanese patent-holder on Tryon’s staff.

The information comes at second hand by way of Italy, where a lady chemist has sent it for the good of her nation. A “thumbnail” microphone in a cuff of the boss’s trousers did the trick.

His other security man, working undercover, is found face-down in a lab tank. A bug in Mason’s office was the instrument, this one placed by the boss, whose stolen patents laid the firm’s foundation.

Mason’s Periclean conclusion advises “personal integrity” to ward off intrusion.


The Goldtakers

The winnowing of wheat and tares undertaken by thieves of an Army payroll shipment, who commandeer the town and seize Jake’s blacksmith shop to smelt the amalgam.

Matt Dillon rides along as hostage, summoned from his fishing trip (remembering the Comanche), Dodge City mounts up to extricate him from the thieves’ grasp.

The epic image is a rectangular ton of metal above the crucible.


The Jailer

It turns out to be High Noon, the sad woman with her dead husband hanged by the State of Kansas, thanks to Matt Dillon, kidnaps Miss Kitty to trap him.

One of her sons is out of jail, another loves his wife.

The suspension of the theme is a great point of interest, also the cast (Bette Davis, Tom Skerritt, Julie Sommars, Bruce Dern), and the widow’s dialogue with the dead à la John Ford (Judge Priest, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon).



Calvin Clements goes to town with a terrific analysis of High Noon, voluminous as the plain, detailed as the scrub, given monumental attention and free as you please, tended by McEveety’s sumptuous reckoning of every frame.