Deadly Companions Before Parent Trap

DATELINE: Steve Cochran Died 55 Years Ago!

Steve Cochran with Brian Keith.

Before Walt Disney cast them as estranged parents of Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap,  Sam Peckinpah wanted them as the estranged couple in The Deadly Companions.

Even in 1961, it was rare for a woman to be the top-billed star in a Western. It happened rarely, usually with Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Crawford.

This time Maureen O’Hara, the best leading lady for a half-dozen big stars like John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart, took on the role of hard and angry dance hall girl.

In the Deadly Companions, Brian Keith shoots O’Hara’s son by accident, killing him. When she wants to take the coffin to bury him in a dangerous town across Apache Territory, no one will help her –except Brian Keith. They are not boon companions.

Joining them somewhat unwillingly are Chill Wills and Steve Cochran as a couple of ex-Rebel bank robbers.

The reasons for the assorted bunch to stick together is hardly altruistic—or particularly believable. It does make for a singular Western in sea of oaters ending the decade. It predates the Clint-Leone spaghetti versions by a few years—and is the first film directed by Peckinpah who would turn to violence as a motif to keep up with the meatball brigade in the next ten years.

You have a chance to see that Keith was a solid leading man, not a TV star, and that Steve Cochran was cast perfectly as a  scoundrel. He was gone too soon after this film, and Chill Wills phones in his usual seedy kook bird version of his usually likable uncle.

We are reviewing the film on the 55thanniversary of Cochran’s death in 1965. He still looked youthful here and was always a classic bad guy. His death was peculiar in the movie and in real life too, as he was on a yacht floating for ten days because no one aboard could sail it to a port.

Orson Welles in a Western?

DATELINE: Have Horse, Will Travel.

 Orson, Horse Optional.

When we saw the listing, it was beyond credulity! Can it be that Orson Welles made a Western?  Even worse than that, the film is listed as a “tortilla-Western,” made in 1969.

The film is called Tepepa. It would appear that the film never made it to the United States for release—probably to Orson’s great relief.

Well, if there was a chance to see Orson on a horse, we needed to view it and give a report to faithful fans. No, he did not direct this Spanish-Italian production. It was made when he took all kinds of roles for the money to bankroll his own films. This was done for a few dollars more without Sergio Leone.

You cannot expect much—or have we grown too cynical? The film is a dubbed mess, some of it in English, some in Spanish, and some in Italian. Dubbing was optional.

Welles does not appear on a horse. The tortilla setting is Mexico, beautifully filmed in clean, clear settings. And, the Western is actually set in 1920. This gave Welles the chance to ride around in an antique red automobile, obviously a man of the future.

He plays some kind of prison commandant, or colonel of the villainous order. He is the foil to Tomas Milian who plays some kind of revolutionary folk-hero in the Che Guevara mode.

The movie’s director reported that Welles was most disagreeable on the set—and particularly nasty to his costar. Yet, they had merely a few scenes together. Mostly, Welles appeared opposite blond John Steiner who played a British doctor who also wants to kill the revolutionary hero who raped his girlfriend.

One of the main characters is a Mexican boy who serves as a ping-pong ball between the other actors. As for Welles, you’d expect he’d phone in his scenes and act with nonchalance. Though he mumbles some lines in disdain, he actually gives a nuanced performance, as if he can’t help himself. He clearly enjoys playing the baddie and savors each moment. He chomps on a stogie and is half-apologetic for his evil.

No, this isn’t Citizen Kane,and it’s not even For a Fistful of Dollars, but it is an hysterical historical gem with Orson Welles. We hooted openly.

Being Natural and Lost in History: Alice Guy

DATELINE: Pioneer Filmmaker

 Alice Thru the Lens Glass! 

How is it possible for someone to be erased from history in movies? Alice went through the camera lens and made the first wonderland of studio narrative movies! The film is called Be Natural: the Story of Alice Guy-Blache.

With Jodie Foster producing and narrating this insight into forgotten history, Pamela B. Greene is a researcher, director, and force to right a wrong done to a creative and mistreated woman. Alice Guy was contemporary in France to the Lumiere Brothers, and she ran the Gaumont Studios.

Yet, she was omitted time and again by critics for her massive contributions. She made about 1000 short movies from 1896 to the start of World War I.

Both Alfred Hitchcock and Sergei Eisenstein called her a tremendous influence on their directing, but she is still today relatively unknown. Director Greene does a whirlwind of research to uncover the story.

In that way, this is a thrilling and fascinating detective work. Alice Guy-Blache was the victim of critics, bad history, misinformation, and a husband who took credit for her work.

She was a driving force for Solax Pictures, one of the big movie companies in Fort Lee, New Jersey. All the others went to Hollywood, and she went out of business.

Returning to France, she was further isolated and ignored. IN her later years she tried to find her films, but most were lost. During the 1950s her glowing, brilliant works were slowly found.

Her mantra was “Be Natural,” to actors. It was heresy in the silent era, but her films feature performances that are amazing by today’s standards.

Family told her in old age to give up: she would never be recognized. Fortunately, that is not true, thanks to pioneer women in movies today uncovering the injustice done to Alice. This turns out to be an extraordinary documentary.

Hollywood Lens of Murray Garrett

DATELINE:  Eye on Hollywood 1950s

 Odd Couple: Marilyn & Dale Robertson?

You may not know his name, but the photo-journalist of choice among Hollywood minions of the 1950s was a New Yorker with a keen sense of beauty. He protected his subjects—and they appreciated it.

Murray Garrett started out at age 16 taking photos of celebrities. He even apprenticed with one of the big Broadway photogs and learned how to visualize stars on stage, meeting the likes of Brando and Ferrer In their stage phase.

As someone who met and worked with a few celebs, we can confirm that the lessons and observations of Murray Garrett are more than a means to live with stars: it is a sense of decency that sensitive people, artistic souls, easily spot.

The documentary of his career and life shows that Murray knew how to see the best in people—and took a photo of it.  His pictures show clarity of heart, beauty and honesty in every subject.

At 16 in New York, he was to take a photo in Frank Sinatra dressing room in 1943, when the singer was first going solo. Sinatra asked for a print—and Garrett said, of course. Sinatra was snidely disbelieving, but the kid returned the next day with an envelope and left it.

Three years later he was in Hollywood at a studio and walked through the commissary—and Sinatra recognized him! He told others the kid was a great photographer from New York, and Garrett was on his way.

He was a personal photo-journalist, and took pix at Sinatra parties.

Later, he met Bob Hope who grunted at him from the stage during a radio broadcast. Thinking he’d offended Hope, he went to apologize after the show, but Hope liked him—and wanted him to be an exclusive photographer for his shows. Their relationship last 25 years. He became a personal photo-journalist for Red Skelton and Louella Parsons too.

He was the antithesis of an “ambush photographer,” and stars could trust him to destroy any unflattering images.  Yet, it was more than that: he actually talked to his subjects before shooting and seemed to win relaxation that showed up in pictures.

 

 

 

 

Powell & Pressburger Early Effort

DATELINE: Forgotten Classic Film

Stars together in scene not in movie.

The two creative powerhouses who gave us The Red Shoesand Stairway to Heaven within a decade provided the free world a marvelous morsel called 49thParallel in mid-World War II.

Michael Powell and his film writer Emeric Pressburger chose to give propaganda a shot in the arm. The only real German in the movie, Anton Walbrook, plays a pacifist: Eric Portman, a Brit, is the worst of the Nazi officers.

Perhaps the only war movie set in America where invading Nazi forces have landed at Hudson Bay, the film is a curio and a delight of originality.

The cast is stunning: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, and Anton Walbrook, Finlay Currie, with Eric Portman as the Nazi Uboat officer stranded near a far-off trading post after their U-boat is sunk by RAF bombers. The Nazis think they are the first wave of invaders to conquer North America.

It is amusing to see Heathcliffe, Abe Lincoln, and Ashley Wilkes fighting Nazis. This movie gives you these cerebral actors breaking form. The film is done in picaresque style, which is to say, your stars do not have scenes together.

The Nazis are ruthless monsters to the point of hyperbole, your typical propaganda approach of the era. They are their own worst enemies and self-destruction is half the battle.

One by one, the hunted Nazis fall by the wayside, deserting or captured along the way. One of those they meet is a writer, effete and genteel, who is Leslie Howard—of course, and for whom the Nazi has utmost contempt for his “degeneracy.”

Filmed in Western Canada in black and white, you still feel the majesty of the setting among the grand forests and stunning mountains that dwarf the Nazi menace.

If the final Nazi, celebrated in Germany on radio, can make it to the neutral United States in 1941, he can be repatriated to Germany. His final encounter is with a boxcar rider named Raymond Massey.

By the way, the young teenage girl at the commune is Glynis Johns.

 

 

 

 

 

Danger Man to Prisoner: Patrick McGoohan

DATELINE: In His Mind 

Notorious Village at Portmerion, Wales

 

Portmerion is in Wales and was built in the 1960s to be an anomaly Italian resort by the sea. When actor Patrick McGoohan went there for an episode of his Danger Man series, he was struck by the rococo isolation—and it inspired him to create a seminal 1960s TV series, the cult-favorite The Prisoner.

McGoohan played the notorious #6 who is kidnapped as a secret agent and imprisoned by #2. It turned out to be 17 episodes, though he wanted only 7. And, the show, a marvel of modernity, became his Citizen Kane: a creation from top to bottom.

You may recall McGoohan chased on the beach by a giant white beach ball that returns him to the Village of imprisonment. Every episode he was bedeviled by a new #2. Number One was a mystery. He was #6. In My Mind is his story.

Under pseudonyms, he directed many episodes and wrote them. He was officially listed as executive producer, a man who was not a number. Imagine agent John Drake’s horror today when he would be even less than a number.

McGoohan created the props, the costumes, the settings, to be exactly what he wanted. It was a marvel that not even Orson Welles could critique.

McGoohan always played some kind of secret agent in so many films before he moved to Hollywood and did smaller character roles for the final 20 years of his career.

Director Steve Rodley was a superfan—and dug up a rare 1977 interview aobut The Prisoner, and he begged the reclusive McGoohan to talk with him in the 1990s in Los Angeles. To his surprise, the actor acceded. He also took over the interview, actually directing it. He was irascible and always quick to anger.

They once asked Lew Grade how he managed to get along with McGoohan—and he said he had no problems because he gave him whatever he wanted.

McGoohan’s daughter Catherine agreed to speak on behalf of her father, with reluctance, but knows his great series deserves an honor on its 50thanniversary in 2018.

The interspersing of McGoohan footage, on and off screen, at Portmerion and by amateur photogs, is amazing to behold. The actor manages to annotate his own great film role and project—and it was all in his mind from the start. After giving an interview about the Prisoner, McGoohan offered a blank check to buy back the video footage. it was refused.

Fans of the show cannot miss this documentary, and it may well bring more people to watch the original 1960s masterpiece.

Two Coreys in the Hopper?

 DATELINE: Feldman Exploits Haim?

 A Final Picture.

 There are conspiracy theories that Stanley Kubrick was assassinated partly because of his hostility to the pedophile strata in the film world.

You can hardly put actor/director Corey Feldman into the same category as Kubrick, though he has produced and directed a film that has been trashed and disbelieved: his documentary on his friend Corey Haim and his sexual history as a teen, has been in production for a decade.

The Rape of the Two Coreys, as it is called, may be more fantasy than reality in terms of film production. If there is a second rape of Haim, it is by his so-called friend Feldman and done posthumously.

Its premiere in Los Angeles a few months ago may have been lost in the pandemic news coverage. His ill-fated showing of his documentary went into the trashcan as the audience waited before a blank screen with “technical difficulties,” and he didn’t help matters by taking a powder rather than face angry people who thought they would be in on a scandal bigger than Michael Jackson.

Whether Feldman is a con man, or merely an exploiter of his friendship with Corey Haim, we may never know truly. Allegedly a half-dozen witnesses gave input into the film to contend that the prettier Corey was raped during the filming of a cheezy movie called Lucasby another Hollywood personality mess. You know his name. At the time one was 13 and the elder was 19.

With statutes of limitation, dead victims, and big money as the foundation, it would seem that no one should be surprised if the Feldman documentary was, first, fake, or second, derailed by powerful forces.

Kubrick would have tend toward the latter view, and the living Corey would hope you agree. He claimed to have a million dollars in sales lined up for his film—and where that money will go is anyone’s guess.

The digital film could not stream, but two months later, the entire project has disappeared like the Los Angeles police investigation of Feldman’s charges in 2017. Police found no basis for pursuing the crimes, and the alleged perpetrator (unnamed here but well-known on the Internet) has skated away with denials.

We can figure out the truth by percentages of possibilities, but exploitation of pathetic people is never going to be a pleasant topic to discuss, view in a movie, or prove in a court of law. As of now, there is no avenue for Corey Feldman’s movie documentary to reach an audience, if it is even a finished film or a real documentary.

Recently, Feldman claimed he left the country because of death threats. He apparently took his film with him. It may never have a public release

 Showtime with Bob Fosse

DATELINE: Anti-Chorus Line! 

Young Bob Fosse in 1953.

There would be no moonwalking Michael Jackson without Bob Fosse’s choreography pioneering the way back in the 1950s.

Fosse went from dance/ taskmaster to director of movies, producing musicals like All That Jazz, Cabaret, and Sweet Charity, that contained thematic drama and ideas far beyond those of mortal danseurs.

The documentary film of his life seems to feature many British dancers and young ballerinas who likely weren’t born during Fosse’s heyday. One prima ballerina also lists herself as a quantum physicist in the credits. Oi vey.

Fosse danced at a young age, and by 13 was professionally dancing in a strip joint with older women. Today someone would be under arrest. However it affected him, we can see likely in movies like Sweet Charity, about prostitutes and dancers.

There is considerable talk that Fosse wanted to be another Fred Astaire, but his hairline was an issue, as were his looks. That problem also dogged Astaire, but he thrived. Fosse may well have been a poor actor, but his electric dances in Kiss Me Kateand Damn Yankeeswon him accolades—and his third wife, Gwen Verdon.

Time is also devoted to his idiosyncratic use of hands and hips in dances. And, like Mike Nichols, he came to film directing late in life, age 41 and learned on the job. Of course, he was on movie sets since the early 1950s, observing.

By the time he made Cabaret, Fosse was a drug-addled, alcoholic womanizer with a deplorable attitude. Today he’d be in jail with Harvey Weinstein, but in the early 1970s, they gave him an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony, all in the same year.

It did not improve him, or stop him from having three heart attacks.

Fosse tried to show a dancer’s life in All That Jazzwith an ugly counterpoint to the more joyous A Chorus Line,by James Kirkwood, made almost contemporaneously. Showtime dancers might have different opinions to the two parallel worlds. It may be revealing how few people (none) who knew him participate in this documentary.

His final film was a non-musical about an abusive murderer of his wife, based on the true story of Dorothy Stratton. It was called Star 80.  His last act was directing Chicago on stage, but he died in 1987 and never made it his crowning achievement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lured: I Love Lucy!

DATELINE:   George Sanders Loves Lucy!

Lucille Ball, George Sanders, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Boris Karloff, and Charles Coburn. If you are an old movie fan, these names together in a movie will send you into the stratosphere. It’s a murder mystery set in modern London with an American showgirl recruited by Scotland Yard to catch a serial killer.

Lured  is a 1947 film overlooked by most because it is such a cross against typecast.

Lucy is sarcastically funny when she needs to be. George Sanders actually has a line in which he states, “I’m an unmitigated cad,” and the killer has a penchant for the poetry of Charles Baudelaire.

This is not your usual mystery film. Douglas Sirk directs with his usual great aplomb and knows how to let his highly idiosyncratic actors play their stereotypes to the hilt. He made his name later in big budget soap opera movies, but here he plays film noir like a comic Hitchcock.

Not only that, the film is beautiful to look at—with its glossy black and white sets that do not scrimp on atmosphere.

Coburn is the lead Yard inspector—and his assistants are Alan Napier and Robert Coote!

The litany of rogue suspects is peachy Boris Karloff and Lucy are marvelous as he is the mad fashion designer and she is his model. Later she attends a Schubert concert after joining the staff of butler Alan Mowbray. She must hunt down each suspect with her brash comedy timing. You will soon recognize the Lucy you love.

You may not guess who the culprit is until the final reel—and Lucy does an excellent job working for Scotland Yard.

A lost gem, you owe it to see this charming comedy thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Nichols: Becoming & Unbecoming

 DATELINE: Insider Biography

 Burtons with Nichols.

Filmed shortly before his death several years ago, director and comedian Mike Nichols reviewed his life and career before an audience and in a more private interview. HBO put together this short film about Nichols called Becoming Mike Nichols.

The result is an illuminating exposition about a self-made director.

In the early 1960s in the heyday of the monologue comic standups like Mort Sahl and Bob Newhart, you had Nichols and May among the cleverest of all. Their run ended when, Nichols admits, he became too obstreperous director for May.

It opened up a chance to direct in theater, not merely his partner. He started with Neil Simon, Walter Matthau, Robert Redford, and Odd Couple on stage. Not exactly chopped liver.

He knew many Broadway stars from his years in New York, and met Richard Burton when they were in next door theaters. Burton later invited him to Rome to visit where he met Elizabeth Taylor while filming Cleopatra—and he was instrumental in having both appear in his first film, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Three days before filming, he had friend Tony Perkins give him a crash course of pointers on use of camera in movies. In fact, he learned on the job. His work began a string of brilliant movies: The Graduate, Carnal Knowledge, Catch-22, and other literate films like The Birdcage.

The documentary focuses on his first two movies in depth, giving marvelous insights into Taylor, Burton, Dustin Hoffman, Buck Henry, and Simon and Garfunkel. The anecdotes leave the audience begging for more. A few pearls drop about Jack Warner, Billy Wilder, Anthony Perkins, but there is not time or attention to those.

There is nothing really about his Emmy winners or Tony winners. You may want to know about The Birdcage or Angels in America,  or his work on Gilda Radner or Whoopi Goldberg, but you will need to look elsewhere for that.

 

 

Westworld 3, the Lost Season, Bites the Dust

 DATELINE:  Cliff-hung!

As Westworld wound down on its third season, it was clear that Jonathan Nolan was meandering without any sense of direction to his creation. The series had nowhere to go—and went there with empty shoot-out and fight scenes.

A coda after credits turns out to be the most interesting part of the show, which some could have missed: we see William confront himself as Man in Black, and we see decommissioned Bernard, covered in dust, likely years later. So, that is the teaser for season 4.

Two, not one, major karate fights between Maeve and Dolores (Miss Delos) seemed to end with their deaths: except no one in this series is ever truly dead.

The fights seem now to recur with all the regularity of Ali and Frazier.

William also seems to be trying to reform himself, sort of, to save humanity, in the same destructive way that Dolores wants to save automatons. It’s pointless as the world outside Westworld devolves into anarchy.

Some odd details seem to indicate that everyone has forgotten where they came from:  Lawrence, (Clifton Collins, jr.), shows up in haggard form to save his “friend” Bernard. But. His friend for all season two was William (Ed Harris) who runs off without seeing him. This may be a loose end for season 4, if we stick around.

As for a litany of loose ends, you are left with tatters of William, Bernard, Dolores, and whoever Aaron Paul is supposed to be:  presumably the new star of the series.

With everyone professing to save humanity, one wonders why the simple acts of kindness Dolores recalls are meant to save us all.

Whatever the series will become next season, or in its subsequent years, will not be the Westworld  of the movies, or of the first two seasons. This third season has truly been a lost season, meandering blindly for some purpose.

Dolores’s war on humanity comes to a fitting non-conclusion at the end of season three, especially since there are now three more seasons on the HBO docket. We can sleep at night knowing these talented actors, writers, and directors, will be gainfully employed for a few more years.

 

 

 

 

 

Cursed Movie: The Omen

DATELINE: Horror Curses! 

 Happy Family?

Shudder network has presented a limited series on movies that have a cursed production history. This is more than intriguing to someone who writes books about Hollywood productions. The classic horror movie called The Omen with Gregory Peck and Lee Remick was filmed in England in the late 1970s.

You may recall the plot:  an incarnation of Satan is born to the happy couple, and as the kid grows beyond toddlerhood, he becomes a hood of the first order.

They talk to a producer and director Richard Donner who tells a few hair-raising and distressing anecdotes, but they also consult some “male” witches who do not call themselves warlocks. One actually performs a curse on a film production or producer in a show of nastiness.

Witches do not believe in coincidence—and see all the events as cause and/or effect. The film hired an occultist/Satanist as technical advisor—and he told them that the Devil would not be happy with their script and production.

Gregory Peck cancelled a flight to England—and that plane actually crashed, killing all aboard. When he nervously scheduled another flight, that jet was hit by lightning. The same happened one of the the major producers when he traveled to the film site.

Another producer and his wife were going out to have dinner at a posh London restaurant when they heard an explosion: the IRA set off a bomb in their dining destination. They were minutes away from being killed.

Another production worker and his girlfriend were driving when they were in a car accident—and an upset Donner related how she was decapitated like one of the characters in the movie. She was killed on the road to “Ommen” under the sign that said it was merely 66.6 kilometers away.

The animal trainer was killed by a tiger at the zoo where he worked during the film’s post-production.

As parents in the film of a satanic child, both Remick and Peck were naturally fidgety. However, the director admitted that the incidents never delayed or stopped the film: in fact, he saw the actions as protective of his movie and workers.

Satan loved the movie enough to give it his blessing.

 

 

 

  Westworld 3 Turns into Person of Interest

DATELINE: Persons of Westworld Interest

  Enrico Colatoni Returns.

It seems almost logical that creator Jonathan Nolan, mastermind of the Grand Computer of Person of Interest (not Finch), has also created the same AI for Westworld.

Now with the grand finale on the horizon for season three, we find ourselves in a strangely familiar place. There, locked away in a giant warehouse, is the computer from Person of Interest. As if to confirm this, the second banana from that earlier series, Enrico Colatoni, shows up here as a guest star in essentially the same role.

We are also given several intriguing finale confrontations: it now seems that William (Ed Harris) will save the world by destroying the creation of AI from Person of Interest. There is also the big bash between Maeva and Dolores (Newton and Wood). Their fight scenes are, of course, reminiscent of death fights with men in generations past of movies.

Now with a series of women directors and creative powers on Westworld III, we are seeing the past come alive with women in the same roles.

If you expect Jim Cavaiezel to make a guest appearance, it might not happen for another season. After all, this week HBO announced that Westworld will be renewed and will finish out six seasons.

We were most amused to find the AI of the earlier series still prisoner and now obsolete, trying still to save people as it did in the earlier show with Finch and Reese.

We presume that to continue for three more seasons the entire cast must find themselves back in their familiar roles at Westworld as the TV series roots three seasons ago. Whatever the robot revolution was meant to be, it is hardly about to come to an end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Westworld 3.6, Serac, See Rac Run

DATELINE: Breaking with Pinky 

 Williams 1 & 2

We doubt the series can recover its equilibrium now that it is on a path where everyone is a host and no one is a guest. Robots, Robots, everywhere, and not a human to be entertained.

Jonathan Nolan’s Futureworld took a couple of steps deeper into the abyss of bleakness, and it ain’t pretty, no matter how clean the future streets are looking. That in itself is a tip-off that what’s real may not be what you see.

This episode is called “Decoherence,” which apparently indicates the series is now a step away from incoherence.

If there is redemption in this episode, it can be found in the group therapy session of William (Ed Harris). Now committed to a mental institution, his hallucinogenic therapy includes a hilarious session with all aspects of his past self: boy, young man, man in black, business tycoon, and mental patient.

This allows Jimmi Simpson to return for one bravura recap as his character of William. It leads to cynical villain William realizing he is indeed the hero of his own life.

As far as Ed Harris is concerned, he is not happy with the role and its turn of events. He signed on to play the Man in Black—and he may bail on the series if it continues. He was so unhappy that he broke Jimmi Simpson’s finger in their big fight scene.

The other major development that may turn into an interesting plot maneuver is the alteration of Tessa Thompson’s Charlotte who had begun to identify with the human side more than ever. Once crossed, and crossing that threshold, she may become a woman scorned: truly more dangerous than Maeve.

What may be converging here is a means to save Westworld from sure destruction on several sides. What it ultimately changes into could set us up for another season, or a neat ending to the proceedings.

Genre, the Drug-Addled Westworld 3.5

DATELINE: Our Least Favorite Episode in 3 Seasons! 

 Aaron Paul & Evan Rachel Wood.

The show Westworld  is now literally out of its world, out of its mind, and officially should have a new title. Going back decades, we loved the original Yul Brynner movie and even the not so good Peter Fonda sequel. We loved Jonathan Nolan’s first two clever and sharp seasons. We loved his Person of Interest.

Something has gone awry. This week’s episode was chaotic junk, with high speed car chases and drug-addled characters killing each other. We were not impressed to find Mr. Nolan slumming his Westworld to a dismal futuristic, misanthropic world where AI will eliminate real humans.

Apart from all else, it was so distasteful. And, the cast was so limited that we missed so many of the great characters who showed up for cameos a few weeks ago. Perhaps Nolan plans to have a grand finale in which all appear like in those Faulkner novels where all his favorite characters show up for a final bow.

It does seem to be the end of this series. Maybe Nolan and his partner Lisa Joy have run out of interest and ideas. We hope another project will return to the roots that Jim Cavaziel gave us in Person of Interest. There is no person of interest in this new season.

This new leading man, Aaron Paul, is an intense actor playing a rather dull character. No, there is no love interest with Dolores who is all business, and her job is chair of Murder, Inc.

There are three more episodes, came one reminder. Whether we shall be able to stomach any or all of them only the weeks ahead shall prove. We are most disappointed, having anticipated this show for a year.