They Call It Murder, 1971, color, Walter Grauman (dir.), Jim Hutton, Lloyd Bochner, Jo Ann Pflug, Edward Asner, Jessica Walter, Leslie Nielsen, Vic Tayback. 1:35
Based on an Erle Stanley Gardner story, this appears to be a pilot for a show featuring Jim Hutton as a DAâ€”but not Ellery Queen. Apart from the fine cast, itâ€™s a well-done murder mystery with enough red herrings to keep it interesting. Good picture and sound. $1.75.
Firehouse, 1973, color, Alex March (dir.), Richard Roundtree, Michael Lerner, Paul Le Mat, Richard Jaeckel, Andrew Duggan, Vince Edwards. 1:14
Roundtree plays the first black in a New York firehouseâ€”replacing a firefighter who died in a fire set by black arsonists. Roundtreeâ€™s character lets a black arsonist get away at one point, which doesnâ€™t help matters. A great cast, but the script doesnâ€™t work nearly as well as it could. $1.25.
James Dean, 1976, color, Robert Butler (dir.), Michael Brandon, Stephen McHattie, Brooke Adams, Katherine Helmond, Meg Foster, Amy Irving, Jayne Meadows, Heather Menzies. 1:34.
Michael Brandon plays William Bast, an actor who was Deanâ€™s roommate; Bast wrote the biopic and Brandon narrates. While lauding Deanâ€™s acting ability, the picture certainly doesnâ€™t whitewash his character issues. The only reason this doesnâ€™t get a full $2 is some sound distortion early in the flick. Well done, worth watching. $1.75.
Moon of the Wolf, 1972, color, Daniel Petrie (dir.), David Janssen, Barbara Rush, Bradford Dillman. 1:15.
David Janssen makes a great upstanding sheriff in a Louisiana bayou town, coping with odd murders and a town thatâ€™s distinctly Upper Crust and Everyone Elseâ€”and the returned-home daughter of the Upper Crust family has eyes for him, which her patrician brother doesnâ€™t appreciate. Good cast, well acted, a little talky but compelling, good picture and sound. Iâ€™m giving it full value despite one slightly implausible running plot issue: The half-crazed dying old man keeps saying something like â€œlukearuke,â€ and nobody recognizes what heâ€™s saying until the upper-crust lady visits him and hears â€œloupe garou,â€ which is to say â€œwerewolf,â€ which [SPOILER] is, of course, whoâ€™s been doing the murders. Maybe back in the 1970s, you could reasonably assume that Cajuns wouldnâ€™t recognize that word. I picked it up the first time I heard â€œlukearuke,â€ and I sure donâ€™t speak Frenchâ€”but then, I had the title of the TV movie as a clue. $2.