50-Movie All Stars Collection, Disc 9

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 DA—but not Ellery Queen. Apart from the fine cast, it’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 firehouse—replacing a firefighter who died in a fire set by black arsonists. Roundtree’s character lets a black arsonist get away at one point, which doesn’t help matters. A great cast, but the script doesn’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 Dean’s roommate; Bast wrote the biopic and Brandon narrates. While lauding Dean’s acting ability, the picture certainly doesn’t whitewash his character issues. The only reason this doesn’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 that’s distinctly Upper Crust and Everyone Else—and the returned-home daughter of the Upper Crust family has eyes for him, which her patrician brother doesn’t appreciate. Good cast, well acted, a little talky but compelling, good picture and sound. I’m giving it full value despite one slightly implausible running plot issue: The half-crazed dying old man keeps saying something like “lukearuke,” and nobody recognizes what he’s saying until the upper-crust lady visits him and hears “loupe garou,” which is to say “werewolf,” which [SPOILER] is, of course, who’s been doing the murders. Maybe back in the 1970s, you could reasonably assume that Cajuns wouldn’t recognize that word. I picked it up the first time I heard “lukearuke,” and I sure don’t speak French—but then, I had the title of the TV movie as a clue. $2.

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