Till the Clouds Roll By

Frost in England, kabuki in Hollywood for the title number. Another inspiration for Otto e mezzo in Minnelli’s circus number.

The key to Walker’s performance is the famous anecdote Kern tells of asking his wife, “you go, he stays”.

Alton favors long takes, Minnelli short. Whorf’s capacious technique bridges all gaps.

Kahn’s engineer is figured in the fictional apparatus, with a long metaphor of Hollywood.

Song of Summer and Savage Messiah show the influence on Ken Russell. The orchestration scene is remembered in Amadeus, too.

The Freed unit well-established but not recognized yet in the Press.


Champagne for Caesar

The surreal automated offices of Milady, “the soap that sanctifies”, are mainly by virtue of Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bête, also Le Sang d’un Poète.

The man who knows “everything except what is commonly known as how to make a buck” takes the quiz and breaks the bank (cp. The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, dir. Stephen Roberts).

It’s his pet parrot’s favorite treat. A story that takes place in Hollywood, as announced at the beginning (the bungalow court and the girl figure in Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust, also the scholar-gipsy in his lair, immersed).

“The last scholar... he reads and reads and reads,” like Peggy the Pecking Penguin in George Marshall’s The Goldwyn Follies, “she pecks and pecks and pecks!”

Einstein is the deus ex machina, relativity is his bailiwick. Note the apparent symbolism of Byron Foulger’s sublime little turn, he doesn’t want to learn the piano, just “Jingle Bells”.

The scholar is a man of many attainments, “sounded more like a cosmic raspberry,” the piano student says.

“My Sister and I”, a wartime hit. Masquerade for Money, “one of those quiz programs.”

The “forerunner of intellectual destruction in America” is quickly sized up. “If it is noteworthy and rewarding to know that two and two make four to the sound of deafening applause and prizes, then two and two making four will become the top level of learning.”

How to make a buck? “If you know everything, you’re not wanted around for long, and Greek translations don’t pay very much.”

Operation Lather. “This is a Mr. Bottomley, Mr. Waters, he hopes to become a member of Milady’s family.”

“... all this spells one thing to me, Sir, you are a dreamer, I am a doer, do we have that straight?”

A comprehensive analysis of the plight, cleft like the deep by the finger of God.

“I believe I’ve the greatest idea since the discovery of Happy Hogan.”

Milady is the sponsor of Masquerade for Money. “He’s a saboteur from Lifebuoy!”

The fictional Variety leads off with, “THERE’S NO BIZ LIKE QUIZ BIZ”.

“My dear Burnbridge, you are living on borrowed soap flakes.”

Milady, so to speak, comes to Mohammed, full of wiles she. At last the theme is stated in no uncertain terms as Samson and Delilah.

Bosley Crowther, fantastically dull, thought of “an old New Yorker cartoon”, here “broad aberrations offer faintly satirical thrusts at advertising genius,” mark you, “but most of them are duds. Mr. Colman’s exquisite urbanity wears awfully thin as time goes on... consumption of time... we’ll take The New Yorker’s cartoon.”

The actual by gosh Variety found a “broadly burlesqued soap tycoon portrait by Vincent Price.”

To Dave Kehr of the Chicago Reader, “an interesting relic”.

“Mildly satirical”, in Halliwell’s Film Guide, “tends to peter out halfway.”

Einstein’s universe is a ball in a barrel, he phones it in.

One of the greatest American comedies cites Olivier’s Hamlet for the collapse of the soap tycoon, whose immobile aberrations are subsequently practiced on Eric Von Zipper in the beach movies.

A very good spanking right between Capra’s Meet John Doe and McLaglen’s McLintock! is justly administered.

Equally skilled score by Dmitri Tiomkin, practically another element of the composition.

The climax takes place at Hollywood Bowl, the anticlimactic joke is well-prepared. “I would sincerely like to know who my next sponsor is going to be, if any.”


The Case of the Blushing Pearls
Perry Mason

Two sets of cultured pearls are brought into court, the Japanese expert himself (Benson Fong) possesses the third, natural set. Lovely Mitsou (Nobu McCarthy) is thought to have swiped the pearls and murdered her uncle, making it look rather ineptly like hara-kiri, a subject on which Lt. Tragg reveals himself a learned expert.

Her American boyfriend has a jealous fiancée (hence the pearl frame) and a father with a bad business deal (hence the murder).

Mitsou is united with the shop’s bookkeeper (George Takei).

Whorf’s direction is of course acute, in the highly demanding style of largely isolated phrases made to mesh quite intricately on the spot, requiring sustained concentration and precise playing in front of the camera and behind it.


You Can’t Pick the Number
The Untouchables

Three numbers, amusingly designated by the Treasury reports in each day’s newspaper. They support an empire of greed, bribery and corruption personified in the face of Whit Bissell as a top man amidst palatial splendor. All the poor people with their chance in a thousand give their Depression dollars to him with his staring eye and slack jaw, through a vast hierarchy of collectors, sub-collectors and counters.

A welcher brings it all down when a customer kills him. The collector who hired the man is haled before a secret judge, hidden by a curtain. The court has a bailiff and the panoply of justice, the penalty is ordered and meted out in a vicious beating. The same top man is the unseen judge.

Agent Flaherty knows the collector from his youth in Boston, owes him a favor. Ness searches high and low for the central bank of the numbers game, someone in the police knows where it is. The collector won’t reveal it, but is eliminated for speaking to Ness. His son knows the business and leads the squad there, concealed within a milk processing plant called Golden Farms, “no milk, just cash.”

A middle-manager escapes the raid and shootout with the racket’s ledger. He’s tailed to a poker game, where top man and police captain both are arrested. But where are the victories, Winchell notes, in “a deadly and never-ending war”?


Most Likely To Succeed
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

The crooked businessman from George Cukor’s Born Yesterday (note his wife’s dressing gown) hires the frat brother down on his luck as a houseboy, formerly class president, valedictorian, etc., whose services are well-known in high places (cp. “The Crooked Road”, dir. Paul Henreid).

Hitchcock on an odd job for his brother.


The Night of the Fatal Trap
The Wild Wild West

Ross Martin as Gabby Hayes,

Tell me Gabby one more time

How’d ye get so hairy?


Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ on

Up ‘n down the prairie.

to interest a Mexican border gang in West as a notorious outlaw.

Ron Randell as Col. Vasquez, who raids the Yankees and hides in Mexico.

Joanna Moore as his lady accomplice, she knows West from similar escapades and gets Viper (Joseph Ruskin) for a reward.