Hunting for Zodiac Killer: History (s1) for Openers

DATELINE: Armchair Detectives

 zodiac killer Purported Zodiac Killer

Whether you’re hunting for Hitler or cursing Oak Island, you know you must have clicked onto the streaming History channel.

Their first season of Hunt for the Zodiac Killer delivers exactly what you come to expect from the cable TV’s pop history purveyors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you like your reality stars always self-congratulating each other for their brilliant detective skills.

If The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer sounds like one of those fake news documentaries, you probably would be right. Yet, it is a cold case and being insoluable should not mean it is not ripe for re-examination.

Fifty years after the legendary1960s serial murderer unofficially killed 37 innocent people and left a calling card of cryptological taunts with a unbreakable code, the network has assembled a reality show with a formula that can’t miss entertaining fans of psycho monsters running amok.

These researchers give Zodiac his due—and find even more victims to offer History Channel and history buffs.

When you put two retired homicide detectives in the field doing legwork like Sam spade and Philip Marlowe, then match them with a couple of cryptographical scientists and nerds with computers, you stir deliberately.

You have suddenly a fascinating show.

The gum shoes and the nerds play ping-pong with the clues. We keep telling ourselves that a supercomputer that has been programmed to think and act like a serial killer is not a good idea.

We keep wondering when the computer will turn into the Forbin Project supercomputer  or HAL from 2001. Then again, the Zodiac maniac seems even brighter than Carmel, the computerized serial killer finder.

Before you know it, you may be hooked on the revelations. Several police departments refused to cooperate, at their own peril. They look like impediments to the crime solving.

By turning the zodiac killer into a mad genius, the show has a winning formula – and a frightening one.

 

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Hardy Boys 2: Ghost Farm Mystery, 1957

DATELINE:  Disney Fails Second Time Around

still wonderful

Tim Considine & Tommy Kirk epitomize sibling rivalry.

In 1957 Disney decided to do a second series of Hardy Boys episodes. With two extremely popular young stars lighting up the big screen (Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine would be in the Absent-Minded Professor, The Shaggy Dog, Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, etc.), the two young stars signed on for another mystery.

They were growing more adolescent (and admitted it in a prologue that was a long preview of the upcoming shows), but that only made them more appealing to young fans. The second series would be called The Mystery of Ghost Farm.  Don’t look for it among the 60 or so stories of the canon of Hardy Boys books because it isn’t there.

Disney was growing as much as its stars—and now they found their own formula for stories was better controlled by something original. As a consequence, the second series borders on the overly cute use of standard Disney tricks (like irksome farm animals) and a completely non-scary ghost.

The boys were catnip to young girls—and Considine was allowed to be the Romeo (even accused of being as much by Kirk as his younger, jealous brother). They even wrestle on the ground after Frank calls Joe “stupid,” once too often.

Disney also brought back a couple of actors from the first year. Florenz Ames, aka crazy old Applegate, returned for a small part as an advisor to the young detectives. They also brought in Andy Clyde as another crazy old man. Sarah Shelby as Auntie Gertrude had a larger role this time around, as did Carol Ann Campbell as Iola, Joe Hardy’s female nemesis (never girlfriend), much to Joe Hardy’s dismay. Russ Conway as the boys’ father found his role much diminished.

The second show had to be the last because the stars were moving on to the bigger careers. Tommy Kirk was especially going big, whereas Considine was settling into a steady hit TV show (My Three Sons and later wound up being slapped silly by George C. Scott in Patton).

The series also went short and cheap on episodes, down to 13, as if the boys had only limited time to film the new season with so many projects beckoning them elsewhere. The writing is slipshod and the mystery is moribund, as if this production couldn’t be done fast enough.

Yet, we are lucky to have them again as perfectly matched brothers, no matter that the story and mystery are less compelling the second time around.

Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover

DATELINE: 1977 A-I Grand Production

 

Broderick Crawford Crawford as Hoover

If Director Hoover were still running the FBI, you know the shenanigans at the White House and during the Trump campaign would be dead in their tracks.

The Private Files of J.Edgar Hoover, 1977’s film by Larry Cohen is still surprisingly relevant today: from Hoover’s dealings with immigrants, terrorists, and campaign laundering of money. You might be amused to hear that Hoover was on the side of right, according to this marvelous little film. In many ways it is more amusing than Eastwood’s version.

Young Hoover is played by James Wainwright—and his best friend is his mother, actress June Havoc in a cameo. The best of the stunning cast includes Jose Ferrer as a dubious underling to Hoover. However, the G-Man couple of the century, Hoover and Clyde Tolson, are played by Broderick Crawford and Dan Dailey, no strangers to whispers and innuendos themselves.

Hoover must deal with Franklin Roosevelt (Howard da Silva) and Bobby Kennedy (Michael Parks).  AG Kennedy especially tried to drive Hoover to retirement with great disrespect, but Hoover was a wily old fox. He handled Kennedy and seemed ready to blackmail Martin Luther King (Raymond St. Jacques).

If you like hooting through a movie, this old American International flick has gunfights with Dillinger and mobsters, and TWA hijackers.

The rumors that Tolson and Hoover were a romantic couple is among the highlights of the film, hinting they might have been brave pioneers in gay rights, no less. However, there is no scene of Edgar in a dress.  Sorry.  All this is secondary to a grandiose performance by the never-shy Broderick Crawford as the Top Cop (never saying 10-4) and his aide-de-camp Dan Dailey.

His secret files kept many people in their place. He had dirt on everyone over 50 years and managed to convince Lyndon Johnson (Andrew Duggan) to extend the retirement age to accommodate the FBI oldster.

More salacious info would come out after the making of this film, but this semi-forgotten movie will do as a bang-up tribute to Edgar.

 

George C. Scott as Scrooge

DATELINE: Holly Not in His Heart

scrooge

Each Christmas season we are inundated with a variety of the myriad movie versions of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Each season we are invariably asked for our recommended choice for viewing. But, we must defer: our taste in Scrooge performance is sympathetic to the eternal curmudgeon that dwells in every movie critic.

Since we live in a haunted house where ghosts stay with us every day, not merely on holidays, we are less intimidated than most by spirits.

With that in mind, we must offer the best version of Ebenezer Scrooge was by the man who brought General Patton to life:  notable contrarian George C. Scott.

His miserly Scrooge seems unrepentant. He is some fearsome in his role that he never defers to the ghosts, but dares them to change him. In that, they barely succeed.

If you like your Scrooge undiluted, George C. Scott gives you a dose for the ages. The unremitting mood of the Dickens London in this movie is dank and unpleasant—and even when Scrooge tends to give quarter, he seems to be mindful of the world he lives in. Scrooge is only slightly moved by pathetic Tiny Tim.

It is the best Scrooge performance ever.

What you see is what you get: there is no fancy makeup on Scrooge, as the only American accent in the cast. Even that is perfect to show a man out of touch with his time and place.

The film remains faithful, almost in every detail, merely cutting away some plot points, though sticking to the original dialogue.

Made in 1984, this Carol is often lost in the Hollywood or Disney extravaganzas. But, we would put our miserly money on this version as the one to scare the holiday spirits out of your classically, mis-remembered moments from the original novella.  It’s a treat, and not a goose or turkey production.

Stone’s Throw to Consequence in JFK

DATELINE: Movie History Literally

 Kirkwood's Grotesque  

Twenty-five years after Oliver Stone’s conspiratorial extravaganza, with more Kennedy assassination documents released weekly, it may be time to re-consider JFK.

The movie has become legend—and now checks in at a length worthy of Ben Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. Yet, that still is not enough.

The movie is the ultimate docudrama, providing theory and re-enactments about the death of an American president in Dallas in 1963. Many of the arcane details that made Stone’s movie seem fantastic have become ingrained into the epitome of fake news turned into fake history. As Pontius Pilate once succinctly put it, “What is truth?”

Stone takes the same approach as Jim Garrison: he uses the system to present ideas, in some ways abusing the process and going outside the usual parameters.

Oliver Stone went for the sensational: casting the most minor roles with notable, famous actors. It gave credence to the view that many people, especially celebrities, agreed with his perspective of the facts. He believed Clay Shaw was an assassin’s conspirator.

On top of that, he even cast the aging Jim Garrison as Chief Justice Earl Warren interviewing Jack Ruby in his prison cell shortly before his fateful death from cancer. Tommy Lee Jones made a dandy Shaw, and Kevin Bacon sizzled as the ersatz Russo.

Garrison’s conspiracy case against Clay Shaw, New Orleans businessman with a salacious private life, was built on reports from Perry Russo, who died in 1995 shortly after the movie was released. But, the Russo character turned to stone, or a pillar of salt, suddenly called Willie O’Keefe, a gay hustler who put Lee Oswald into the maelstrom of New Orleans double agent gay life. Russo always claimed he was maligned, but not by his associations.

Whether the connected dots actually mean there was conspiracy, or just coincidental dots connecting, may never be known with witnesses wiped out by accidents, murders, illness, and mystery deaths over the decade after the Kennedy assassination.

We are far more likely today to accept a movie as our historical reference than ever before. With that, Oliver Stone’s well-produced film gains credence. The viewing public who won’t read history are clearly condemned to accept re-enactments in a movie.

Garrison’s case was a case of self-delusion, or invisible and secret government sabotage.

Our friend Jim Kirkwood covered the original trial and befriended Clay Shaw, but Jim always had a penchant and soft spot for killers and those accused of unsavory acts. He called his book on Clay Shaw and Jim Garrison by the appropriate title of American Grotesque.

When we tried to bait him over drinks about the Clay Shaw case in the 1980s, he wouldn’t bite. It left us uneasy then, and later when the JFK movie came out, we were confounded. Jim Kirkwood was gone to the undiscovered country and so was his insider knowledge.

Today, when the latest documents hint at deeper, uglier, unpleasant details, we wish Jimmy Kirkwood were still here to see us dangle on the hook of conspiracy.

Stone’s JFK throws us for a loop still.

Dr. William Russo has written two timely books: Riding James Kirkwood’s Pony, on Kirkwood’s life, and Booth & Oswald, on the assassins.

Old Applegate’s Treasure & Two Brothers

DATELINE:  Oak Island Inspiration?

 best boys

Tommy Kirk & Tim Considine as Hardy Boys

With The Curse of Oak Island not far from our thoughts, we certainly never expected a 60-year old TV series from Walt Disney to rival the Lagina Brothers. However, there is much parallel in the boys’ adventure notion of the Hardy brothers inspiring the Lagina boys.

The long-forgotten show is The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, which had been serialized into ten-minute chunks on the old Mickey Mouse Club show.

We can certainly tell you that there is far more action on the old TV show as the young Hardy Boy detectives use their skills to locate a lost pirate treasure on the old Applegate estate.

The 3000 gold dubloons and pieces of 8 are mentioned as being worth thousands (in 1956 dollars), but today they would be worth a History channel bonanza.

The Hardy boys do the Laginas one better by bringing in a girl detective to liven up the action. The Laginas have no women in their war room powwows, but Frank and Joe Hardy have Iola. True enough, Joe throttles her now and then and is somewhat short-tempered and abusive, but it was a different time.

All the kid protagonists do battle with some interesting adult characters: standouts include Florenz Ames as the irascible and slightly nuts Silas Applegate, Robert Foulk as the handyman, and Arthur Shields (Barry Fitzgerald’s brother no less) as the mysterious villain interloper.

Only old Dan Blankenship trumps them all on Oak Island.

Auntie Gertrude Hardy is there, stalwart and obtuse, to take on anyone who crosses her boys. She even takes on her brother, Fenton, the Hardy boys’ father.

You could not ask for a more charming TV show about treasure hunting and boyhood adventure.

 

 

 

Directed by John Ford, Updated

DATELINE:  America’s Master Director

Johns Wayne & Ford

Johns Wayne & Ford

A documentary on the career of American film master John Ford really came about shortly before he died in 1971. A few years ago, Turner Classic Movies produced an update with newer interviews to go along with the original insights into Hollywood contrarian Ford.

This is one of those documentaries that will send you scurrying to watch the classics of the past: Directed by John Ford.

The result is to bring back Peter Bogdanovich decades later, with other modern masters like Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese, and Steven Spielberg, noting the importance of Ford to history.

The original narrator was Orson Welles—and his voiceovers continue with some amusing anecdotes added by Bogdanovich.

The heart of the film is always the clips of an endless 140-movie filmography of sheer brilliance, legendarily American.

We could fill the page with notable titles to remind you of what you have missed or should see again. If John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, are not enough, you might also ask Maureen O’Hara, another staple of his movie stock company of actors.

Use of musical motifs transcend his films whether set in Ireland or the Old West. His panoramas and vistas show invariably minor characters against the progression of history. And, Ford covered it all: from Revolutionary War, Old West, to World War II, as settings.

His films have composition that give peace and still-life of painting with deep emotional wallops. Color movies only gave his canvas more depth, but black and white looks documentarian.

Spielberg, among others, give more than cursory interviews. You have here insights into what challenge there was working with a genius of the first order: the belligerent, irascible curmudgeon who was John Ford.

New Book of Movie & TV Reviews

 “A compendium of enormous balderdash and overwrought and underthought insights!”

Mal Tempo, Long Time Ago book consultant

                                                    kindleredcarpet

If you enjoy Ossurworld’s movie and television reviews, with their unique and odd insights into what’s really happening in your favorite movies, then you are in luck! 

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews collects the best of the blog reports in one place for easy access and reading.

The books is available for smarter readers, both in e-book and print formats, from Amazon.

If you want the perfect time-killer, Red Carpet Tickets is your ticket to ride. 

Ossurworld’s blogs on movies (& TV streams) select only films that you can and should devote time to watching. Bad films are rarely considered for examination. Bloated budgets, ridiculous acting, and skimpy budgets, will not hurt a film’s chances if something intelligent is presented. Ossurworld will let you know.

You can find Ossurworld’s new book online by simply clicking on this blue highlight!

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews.  (This blog is a self-serving, commercial, and otherwise blatant attempt to win your appreciation of our mini-labors of Hercules.)

From Sunset Boulevard to New England

DATELINE: Gloria Swanson’s Late Career as Artist

swanson4

This year’s holiday treat was to discover a 1974 painting done by legendary screen actress Gloria Swanson, hanging in the parlor not far from our Thanksgiving dinner table.

If you recall, Miss Swanson made one of the all-time comebacks in movies when she starred in 1950 with William Holden in Billy Wilder’s classic tale of Gothic Hollywood, called Sunset Boulevard.

Her final scene remains chilling and pathetic, as she descends the grand staircase of her old Hollywood Hills home in final madness and tells the director, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

swanson2

Who knew that nearly 25 years later, Norma Desmond was painting acrylic oil scenes as a hobby?

We encountered her 1974 rendition of an old, faded gray barn on this holiday 43 years after she painted it, hanging proudly in the home of an art collector and movie fan where we enjoyed an invitation to dinner.

How intriguing that the creative juices of Swanson, a macrobiotic diet advocate, emerged from this sad landscape. It is a giant picture, three feet in height and four feet across. The colors are muted, like a silent movie depiction.

Dilapidated in the snow, fallen in disrepair and probable despair, the old barn stands proudly alone. Its carriage door is ajar, broken open, letting whatever creature wanders by to enter its cold and empty interior.

It seemed to us to be a place along the “Road Not Taken,” that lovely poem by Robert Frost who lived a few miles away in New Hampshire. Miss Swanson presents us with a scene that comes right of out Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (which was also set a few miles away, in fictional Grover’s Corners).

Miss Swanson’s picture, painted while she lived in New York, a dozen years before she passed away, now has a special place in the home of a long-time fan. We think she would be happy to hear how much this work from the last days of her life, largely unknown, is appreciated.

We felt privileged to stand before it to reflect on life and the passage of time.

Oak Island: Curtains to Curses

DATELINE:  Weekly Update #3

Rick lagina

Time for Just for Men?

As season five progresses, the series Curse of Oak Island seems in jeopardy.

From the off-season storms that decimated roads and other parts of the island, to the tragic death of the 17-year old son of Craig Tester we have had already sufficient warnings and dire omens.

The latest episode begins optimistically enough with the discovery of coins from the 1600s in a pile of dirt uncovered 60 years ago and never searched with a metal detector. We almost feel that the show will conclude successfully this season.

However, the good news became muted when the Canadian government sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Lagina operation, claiming they were vandalizing cultural artifacts after five years of digging.

After 400 years of hunters and hiders tunneling and bulldozing, and ravaging the little Nova Scotian island, this johnny-come-lately interference from some nitwit cultural ministry of do-gooders seems a day late and a dollar short.

In order to assuage the governmental cretins, the Lagina brothers agreed to hiring an archeologist to oversee their work. He promptly stops their digging when they overturn tree stumps and find indications of an old settlement.

We thought the troglodytes of do-good deeds only hid in the bowels of the US government, but the virus has spread to Canada’s guts for real adventure.

Rick Lagina seems crest-fallen. He might have to take that job with Just for Men for Beards. His jet-black hair mismatches his white beard—and he could make a fortune coloring both for an endorsement contract. He can draw on a big gay market, based on the number of people who ask us to find out if he’s gay.

Our other solution is far simpler. We suggest that Rick Lagina sacrifice himself by jumping head first into the Money Pit. This will end the curse instantly by giving the Island its seventh victim and reveal the treasure instantly—in our humble opinion.

 

 

James Baldwin: Nobody’s Negro

DATELINE:  A World Unchanged in 40 Years

 

James Baldwin.jpeg

I Am Not Your Negro is a striking documentary, based on an unfinished manuscript author James Baldwin was writing about Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, and Medgar Evers, all his friends who were murdered. Yes, he was bitter.

Baldwin never finished his book, but the documentary gives its due to the lives of these men and Lorraine Hansberry too, a tragic loss of a black author to cancer.

Baldwin was articulate, passionate, sensitive, and gentle. That the FBI designated him as dangerous may be more indicative of the racism of the era. He interacted with the most famous and infamous of the black movement of the 1960s, though he was on the periphery of politics.

His insights into what ails America stands as true today as it did when he was dismissed as too radical 40 years ago. He saw America through its movie-history lens—and found that white people (whom he liked and admired) were basically morally apathetic, which was a step away from being a moral monster.

The film’s voice is Samuel L. Jackson, reading Baldwin’s words, but there is also a stunning collection of rare historical TV clips. You see Baldwin on a panel with Marlon Brando, Joseph Mankiewicz, Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier, discussing black rights. Amazing stuff.

How much would Baldwin be shocked by the insignificant changes in society since his early death in 1979? He scoffed at the notion of a black president, predicted by Robert Kennedy in 1965, in the dim future of 40 years, as being an insult.

Baldwin wanted white America to face its own black people whom he felt they never truly saw: even today, one study proved that racism lives in wedding photos. The number of white brides who had black people in their wedding party was miniscule.

We think James Baldwin would have snickered at such results, then cried.

Not Much Ado on Oak Island S5, E2

DATELINE:  Slow Week

heartthrob Alex Lagina

Heart-throb Alex Lagina

 

At this point, the biggest curse of Oak Island may be its tendency now to catalogue every tiny point, ad nauseum. As a result, even the Lagina Brothers are having a hard time showing enthusiasm for minor details that would have sent them into ecstasy two or three years ago.

 

So, when Gary Drayton finds a bit of coin from the 1600s, they smile and try to muster exuberance, but the big fish still eludes them.

 

If the second show of the season had any excitement, it was in the dating of a large spike found 170 feet below the surface. If it dates to the 1600s, it might be part of the original Money Pit. Who put it there and why remains elusive.

 

At a local university on Nova Scotia, the brothers and their partner take the spike to a couple of metallurgist professors who put it under a microscope.

 

Sure enough, the spike is of the type manufactured in the 17th century. Small steps lead them to the firm belief that there is something hidden on the island that was not “officially’ settled until the late 1700s when treasure hunters descended upon Oak Island.

 

Heart-throb Alex Lagina takes a side-trip to a descendant of one of the land-owners in 1788 renders a dull search of a sea chest with papers stowed away that indicate the captain of the Betsy was charged with treason by Virginia’s Governor Thomas Jefferson before he became President.

 

The other tie-in is that we have yet another member of the Masonic Temple, which always leads to the next jump of logic that he must be tied into the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, and in on the secret of Oak Island.

 

On top of that, continued drilling causes tunnels to flood, yet again, like in so many previous searches over two centuries. The treasure hunters have grown accustomed to the delays and set-backs.

 

We are not sure if the audience will continue to exercise patience at the snail’s

Danny & Julian Go Global with Their Song & Dance

DATELINE: Bubbling Juices

Road to OblivionLike Watching Home Movies of Your Cousins

Notable YouTube videographer Julian Edelman was at it on the NFL Network this time.

During the summer, the NFL and Patriots decided to send two Abbott & Costello-style players to Mexico to pave the way for this week’s big international game South of the Border.

Who might better represent insanity in sports than Julian Edelman and his partner in crime Danny Amendola?

One of them might be sufficient, but two is a handful. It was like watching the reincarnation of Hope and Crosby on the Road to Oblivion.

As would-be media stars and Internet splashers, the twin Patriots chose to direct a short film of their experiences. Alas, for Julie, an injury in preseason has knocked him out for the year. Yet, he was the right man for the job of public relations in Mexico with his other slotty receiver/Zoolander model wannabe.

A giant crowd greeted them like conquistadors, and Julian noted he felt like a Beatle.

They bickered about what to include in their four-day sojourn on NFL Network’s home movie—and decided on failed pranks on each other, a bout with professional wrestlers, visiting restaurants and eating crickets, as well as taking a balloon ride over the City of the Gods, ruins of pyramids.

Perhaps the greatest wonder is that Edelman managed to finish the entire film without once mentioning Tom Brady.

He and his comic partner, often referred to as Nofundola, seemed to have more fun than a honeymoon couple deserves. Julian even sings while Danny strums on the guitar.

In one episode, Edelman was reluctant to enter a lion’s den with Amendola and would have preferred, he said, to pet a GOAT—was that a sly reference to Tom?  Amendola dominated his matchmate and has his bucket list fulfilled.

At one point Julian noted his “juices were bubbling” in a wrestling match with Danny.

At another event, they seemed about to crash their mile-high balloon, and Julian was a tad uncomfortable that the hot air had no control. They also raced up the stairs of ancient pyramids where people had their hearts cut out, oblivious to history.

The best moment came when Danny ate a cricket appetizer and notes its good taste, but Julian looked like he would like to spit it out, but the camera was rolling.

Dangerous & Repressive Pakistan

DATELINE:  Gay as a Misnomer

Mawaan

Charming, affable, and entertaining Mawaan is a British citizen of Pakistani descent who decides to go back to his native land to see what it would be like to live there as a gay man. The documentary is chilling.

Twenty years ago, a Pakistani student told us that there was no gay life in Pakistan. If the religious fanatics learned of your sexuality, they would come in the night to murder you. End of story. No one would care.

Now years later, Mawaan’s visit basically discovers not much has changed. The British performer bravely takes in two of the biggest cities on his research: Lahore and Karachi where gay people live in abject terror that they could be discovered and stoned to death, blown up, or simply brutalized.

Mawaan spent two weeks there—and probably learned more than he cared to know. In the rural areas where he did not go, the worst extremists may reside and terrorize anyone with sexual behavior that diverts from traditional culture.

When Mawaan visits an imam, who is learned and civilized, he visibly flinches at the revelation that the young visitor is gay. His best advice is to leave the country, not an option for most gay Pakistanis.

Indeed, gay life exists, as it has for centuries, in secret. The designation MSM (Men Sleeping with Men) actually accounts for many because poor men cannot afford prostitutes and Muslim women are above sexuality. They end up sleeping with each other.

It is not a pretty picture with secret chambers in the darkest ghettos where such life takes place.

Gay parties are held in secret—and HIV health centers exist in fear that someone could throw a bomb at them at any time. We remained in awe at the courage of Mawaan to visit places in the most dangerous cities in the world.

This little documentary provides  extraordinary insight into repression and cruelty that still spawns hope in so many desperate people. Mawan is to be commended for uncovering the truth and showing the world the harsh life of gay people in Pakistan.

 

Edward, King of the Nazis

DATELINE: Royal Fascists

 hitler & edward

Netflix documentary on Britain’s Nazi King exposes, in more depth, the ugly side of the man who gave up the throne for the “woman I love” in 1936.

That was a pleasant, romantic diversion, but the leaders of England were far more concerned that Wallis Simpson, the King’s consort, was a depraved Nazi, sleeping with men close to Hitler. And, she had the oddball Prince of Wales wrapped around her finger.

Though Edward had a reputation for many affairs in his world travels in the 1920s, often with married women, Simpson revealed in letters that he was impotent—and only she knew the secret of how to arouse him.

It appears she was a dominatrix of sorts. It fit in with the crypto-Nazi beliefs she held.

Once Hitler began to become more aggressive in the 1930s, he sought the favor of Edward in order to install him on the throne when Germany won the war. Since Edward was bitter at the way his brother, King George treated him, he was eager to please Hitler.

When the war began in earnest, the United States FBI found the Prince of Wales abdicated his throne, but was giving secrets to the Nazis in his opulent lifestyle in Spain, and later Bermuda (where he was made a governor to exile him somewhere innocuous).

Edward spoke German fluently, and the family name of Windsor was a fiction adopted during World War I in order to downplay the Royal family’s Germanic roots.

The full story of Edward’s reprehensible plan to return to England as the puppet of Hitler is most unsavory. However, rumors that he might be far more depraved will not be found in this documentary.

Indeed, quaint notions of the FBI marked Edward’s friends as subversive if they consorted with black people in Harlem clubs. You wonder how much of the evil reported in Edward actually belonged to the eyes of the beholder.

Intriguing, this Netflix documentary will provide enough disturbing evidence to satisfy most that bon vivant wit Wallis and her partner Edward the King would have been a disaster.