The Trail Gang

A boy can’t see past the end of his nose that “hoo-rahing” a town means “treeing” it, in the parlance of the sheriff, his father, “breaking all the glass on Main Street, burning down buildings,” beating men up for no reason, doing violence to women. Not seeing this, he has an insensate hatred for his father, who put him in jail for a year.

Another man was whipped for his part in the treeing, and plans vengeance. “No man blacksnakes me and gets away with it.” He’s the foreman on a cattle drive to Nevada led by Ben and Hoss, with twenty-five of “the roughest men I could find.”

A deadline on Main Street in Waycross Station is designed to prevent trouble. The townsmen protest, they want business. The sheriff holes up in his office while the trail gang, who have left the two Cartwrights under guard, tree the town once more.

James Westerfield has a fine dramatic role as the sheriff, who throws down his gun belt when challenged by his son. The foreman vituperates the boy and draws, wounding the sheriff but killed by Ben. At this, the boy realizes the situation.

The intricate teleplay by Carey Wilber covers all the ground, transparently directed by Rich. Edgar Buchanan as the trail cook, Hallelujah, demonstrates a hoo-rah in the saloon. He’s drunk and boasting, shootin’ off his iron on a table. Hoss smiles him down in a trice.


A Most Unusual Camera
The Twilight Zone

Thieves purloin a camera that records the future five minutes hence, “an ally,” Serling notes, that really is “a beckoning come-on for a quick walk around the block in the twilight zone,” supplying them with the useless foresight that in any event they lack.

It shows them wealth and comfort, and then their fall and extinction. The aliquots of this are what interest Serling, almost certainly, in a world of future makeovers riding sure things to oblivion.

The expert cast (Fred Clark, Jean Carson, Adam Williams, Marcel Hillaire) are expertly directed by Rich in a flawless comedy.


A Kind of a Stopwatch
The Twilight Zone

Serling’s excoriating study of a man who is “the biggest bore on Earth”, a suggestion-box stuffer who tells the guys watching baseball on a television set at Lou’s Bar that soccer’s a much better game, really. The stopwatch he receives there from a grateful phrasemonger of a drunk out of money to repay him for a glass of beer is precisely the instrument of an efficiency expert, a time-and-motion man.

He’s got a ton of ideas for diversifying, flat hot dogs for hamburger buns, square tin cans for easy trash stacking, pontoons in soldiers’ backpacks. Trouble is, the company makes ladies’ foundation garments.

The bank robbery carried out by stopping time occurs in John Rawlins’ Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome.


The New Interns

A year of duty at the labyrinthine hospital with collegial living quarters, “oh, it’s just the way I remember it, the cracked plaster, the leaky faucet, the horrible smell! I’m touched.”

A welcoming vaudeville routine, most illustrative, preluding the themes.

Ignorant armies clash by night, casualties litter the field, prisoners are taken. A doctor has a higher calling in both senses, he must perceive the occasion and rise to it. This is also true of nurses.

Bosley Crowther of the New York Times, “hodgepodge... thrown together... television pap... diverting, misleading and satisfactorily untrue to life... an awesome fright.” TIME, “cheap stuff.” TV Guide echoes Crowther but finds an “enjoyable plot”. Halliwell’s Film Guide is in the same case, “unnecessary”.


Boeing Boeing

A farce about three air hostesses who share a flat in Paris without knowing it.

But this is the farce of farces, the farce extraordinaire.

A perfect system announces its end, variety enters into it with an adversary, the system once designed to carry a thought to its logical conclusion now regards itself across the flat as a variable equation, and flees knowingly into the arms of three lady cabdrivers who share a flat in Paris, just missing a pair of Oriental air hostesses.

Number One of the trio is English (Suzanna Leigh) and eats kidneys for breakfast in “the natural juice of the organs”. Number Two is Ninotchka’s German cousin (Christiane Schmidtmer) with knackwurst for lunch. Number Three is French (Dany Saval) and resolutely chez soi and favors soufflé for dinner.

The supreme expression of Rich’s art is in his study of these three actresses, they give incomparable performances (“A Most Unusual Camera” for The Twilight Zone is his calling card).

The male leads are Tony Curtis as a foreign correspondent facing promotion to New York, and Jerry Lewis (whose dramatic work on television had not been noticed by the New York Times) as a rival transferred from Berlin.

Thelma Ritter as the cook and maid and housekeeper is carried aloft to new heights of acerbity and nonchalance, among other things.

Neal Hefti has the score in French trombones and oo la la.