Monsters Are Due on Maple Street
The Twilight Zone
A psychological study of the American middle class from the vantage point of the agitator. The basis of this is doubtless Fritz Lang’s Fury. Winston has an eloquent device, the hammer in a close-up of the handyman’s overalls, masquerading as a means of identification when he returns from his walk to Floral Street.
The Big Tall Wish
The Twilight Zone
“The Big Tall Wish” is answered in the Psalm by the Lord unto my Lord, on enemies and footstools. The boxer to whom this applies cannot believe his luck, and wishes it away through a “strange and perverse disinclination to believe in a miracle.”
Surely there are preaching ministers of the Gospel even today who spare not the rod when it comes to inculcating the needfulness of faith in regeneration, and the efficacity of the Savior’s intercession.
Winston has a stark technique of freeze-frames, a glass floor representing the mat and an up-angle through it on the unconscious boxer left and the referee above him counting right, with the arena lights behind him, like a magician’s counterindications, so that it takes a moment to grasp the transition.
Stopover in a Quiet Town
The Twilight Zone
The distaff side of “It’s a Good Life”. In this version, a gigantic little girl from another planet toys with two New Yorkers in a playland called Centerville, where everything is false and empty and it’s quite like the speech on virgins in Michael Ritchie’s The Candidate.
Winston misses nothing. After the kitchen drawers are found to be false fronts, the phallic handle of the refrigerator is seen in the foreground, before the refrigerator is opened to reveal props for food.
Outside, “there’s not even a bird singing.” They dub the place Hicksville, imagine the inhabitants peeking out from curtains at them, and prefer the big city, “at least there you know when you’re being stared at.”
At the church, where the signboard memorializes M-G-M’s set decorator Keogh Gleason, they ring the bell but no-one hears it. The trees and grass are fake.
The train takes them back to Centerville again (“a real nice place to raise your kids up,” as Frank Zappa said).
The subject of Rev. Kosh Gleason’s sermon is “Parishes”, cf. Beaumont’s “Person or Persons Unknown” (dir. John Brahm), Serling’s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit” (dir. Lamont Johnson)...
“There isn’t a thing or a person alive in this town, and yet we’re being watched.” The theme is permanent from Homer to Goya, Robinson Jeffers has a poem that bears a light in more than one instance on The Twilight Zone, “The Inquisitors”.
... He heard the rumble of a
voice, heavy not loud, saying, “I gathered some,
You can inspect them.” One of the hills moved a huge
And poured its contents on a table-topped rock that
stood in the firelight; men and women fell out;
Some crawled and some lay quiet; the hills leaned to eye
Swiftly down the pike come such films as Wayne’s The Green Berets and Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, Winston clears the way.
A Marine air radioman (James Mitchum) gets dropped into a jungle squad sent to discover what Tojo knows about MacArthur’s landing.
Hugh O’Brian is the ranking non-com, Mickey Rooney the gunnery sergeant.
Richard LaSalle’s score combines the effect of Victory at Sea and The Bridge on the River Kwai. The radioman is a tenderfoot, the rest fought island to island.
The contact is in a teahouse full of Nips and geishas. Several ragged elements of the Imperial Army and a lot of jungle have to be dealt with. O’Brian and a knife take the teahouse, beads of sweat, immediate stare, fast instantaneous moves, vertiginous thinking.
Rooney and the rest of the squad fight off a Jap patrol. The jocularity of his encounter with the enemy is memorable.
An unfortunate reception is laid out for MacArthur, and that has to be dealt with, too.
All the members of the squad are specialists rarely called on for it in the circumstances, if ever. The radioman is indispensable for the signal, their seaplane carries off the man he’s commandeered to replace, out with appendicitis or grippe en route.
The title is a nom de guerre and the theme.
The professional circuit is closed, there is the country club.
Vicissitudes of a scratch golfer accused of fixing by the crook who offered and the player who accepted, now respectively an executive at the El Presidente and its golf pro.
This was altogether beyond the comprehension of Howard Thompson, who nevertheless spoke of a derogation from “the top-flight professional class” (New York Times).
Beautifully filmed in Technicolor and Techniscope by Loyal Griggs, score by Quincy Jones with an uncommonly good song nominated by the Academy.
The Catholic News Service Media Review Office pronounced the film “morally objectionable”, which is practically to speak of the Index, because it “overdoes the plot elements of vice and greed,” in fine.
“Tedious,” says Halliwell’s Film Guide, with Thompson.
Don’t Just Stand There
The question in the Paris papers is DID BOUGIE KILL PEPE?, or was it Cupid’s arrow, “the pampas playboy”?
Stateside it’s the bestselling novelist, sex between the covers, a million-two counting the film rights.
A hardbitten exposé, highly complicated and abstruse, very brilliant and to the point, characteristic Winston.
The title song suggests a carryover from banning, perhaps a trilogy with The Gamblers.
“Ineffective”, in Halliwell’s Film Guide’s judgment.
In a Lonely Place (dir. Nicholas Ray) for the lady novelist’s new-found love, “submarine archæology”.
Matter of Mutual Concern
There’s a young crime boss in Hawaii who has what the French call an American uncle known as Big Uncle, in Miami, on whose authority the other three crime bosses are eliminated, or rather the middle-class one is murdered by the upper-class one (self-defense) who goes to jail, and the elderly one (whose nephew sells him out) goes to McGarrett for protection and receives (after the young crime boss is slain) a one-way ticket to Taiwan.
Alvin Sapinsley’s script is full of great jokes on the surface, too (the Hawaiian crime bosses are, in the order mentioned, Korean, Japanese, Samoan and Chinese). Winston gets great acting from everybody, to the extent that David Opatoshu’s maddeningly pedantic Chinaman is thought by some fans to be too much so.
Manu Tupou as the Samoan, for instance, has a very fine delivery of this line as he opens a decanter, referring to the squeamishness of the other bosses toward killing Big Uncle’s emissary, French McCoy, “like young girls about to go [swift sniff of the stopper] skinny-dipping for the first time”.
There is an evident relationship to Richard Thorpe’s Vengeance Valley with its little “kicker” theme.