Rogue Male: Peter O’Toole Wasted

DATELINE: More or Less Dangerous Games!

rogue assassin Roguish Assassin?

In 1976 Peter O’toole was still looking like a major star. When he did Rogue Male, he seems to be going down the rabbit hole to disappear. It’s The Most Dangerous Game, redux and doubled-down.

The film postulates in 1939 that Neville Chamberlain was worse than a Nazi sympathizer and appeaser. As Sir Robert Hunter (no joke), he goes to assassinate Hitler, is foiled, and uses his British pluck to go after the Fuherer. This Fredric Raphael script is based on a Household novel.

The film is a string of incidents that reveal some smart, intriguing supporting characters along the way, from a German who aids escape, to O’Toole’s Jewish lawyer, his tailor, and on and on. Alas, the film does not rely on this network of adventuresome people.

They are ultimately all for naught.

The picaresque adventure of Hunter features many veddy veddy English creatures, but there are enough enemies to undercut the social amusement. He finds escape to England after torture simply means he trades in one set of vicious Nazis for the collaborators (Jon Standing) in Chamberlain’s government.

We know Winston Churchill is around the corner to save the day. And O’Toole is too busy embarrassing his uncle (Alastair Sim) who is a high-ranking cabinet member. Most film fans recall Sim as the best Ebenezer Scrooge on film 25 years earlier.

The film features one of the final performances of Sim as O’Toole’s breezy Earl of an uncle. He is all too infrequently seen. He is delightful with his nephew whom he calls “Bobbity.”

Les Miserable approach to having O’Toole parallel hunted by a clever government agent is heavy-handed. The agent reads a book by the would=be assassin on hunting and uses its contents to track him down.

Worse yet, O’Toole is literally trapped in an underground rabbit hole for the finale, but we are left puzzled as to motivations and logic between these dark characters.

 

 

American Experience: Gilded Age

 DATELINE: 1%ers Around 1900!

photog meets Morgan dollar Silver Dollar J.P. Morgan

Once again, the PBS series gives us an education. It’s rather painless and extremely informative with a political edge. “The Gilded Age” may not be what you think, or it may not be what PBS thinks. According to this two-hour documentary (with no re-enactors, thankfully) details the world of business and society from 1880 to the early 20th century.

That means a healthy dollop of Vanderbilts, Carnegie, and J.P.Morgan and their money-first philosophy of America’s business being business.

Gilded means there is a patina over the rot.

And, you can say that the urban blight and immigrant climb started with the Gilded Age. They wanted to have a good life, but found out it mostly came with wages, however high, or however low.

Though Americans wanted to be proud of their trade or profession, they learned through their socialist and unionist leaders that they were mere pawns for the 1% of super-rich.  And, this age is when those folks started amassing power and wealth.

Andrew Carnegie tried to save his reputation with charitable works, but it was a patina over rot. And, banker and heartless monster John Pierpoint Morgan never pretended to be anything but a creep with a huge purple nose who hated the press and media. His face should be on the Morgan silver dollar.

1% wealth is with us today in spades, as billionaires think they own the world. And, perhaps they do.

You may find the injustices against hard-workers hard to take, but even by today’s standards of enlightenment, you have an army of people who hate Bernie Sanders and his message. He would have been at home during “The Gilded Age,” and that may be a sad commentary after all.

 

Unidentified Episode 5, Going Nuclear!

DATELINE: Guadalupe & Minot

Elizondo Pentagon’s Man of La Mancha?

If you want to descend into a typical UFO show, you simply re-hash the stuff that has been examined by a dozen other shows, and you re-interview the now aging witnesses.

So it goes on Unidentified, for their fifth episode. It looks at the British Roswell, so misnamed because there was no crash and no alien bodies recovered.However, you had a Christmas time incident near an American base in England. Here over the course of several nights, strange lights were seen in the woods next to the base. Of course, the military base had one of the biggest stores of nuclear arms in 1980.

To interview the officer in charge, Col. Holt, and one of his security non-coms, Luis Elizondo covers the same old ground, but tells these men they don’t have to answer if there is some military secret involved. Talk about hamstrings.

We figure by the fifth episode we should spell the guy’s name correctly:  Luis Elizondo. He visits Guadalupe this time to find the homing device of both sharks and UFOs. Brilliant researcher Mauricio Hoyos shows up here to note that the sharks are only one element of the mysterious ocean off Mexico.

The most interesting aspect of the interview is that one military policeman suffered injuries as a result of the incident—and even disappeared for an unknown amount of time, scooped up the extra-terrestrials is the theory.

Of course, years later he tried to win some kind of medical disability—and the military claimed he was not in the service at the time, and his records were lost. Yikes. Sen. John McCain’s top aide went to bat for this unfortunate man and helped him win his medical coverage.

She said she never saw such opposition to recognizing what he sacrificed. It was part of a massive coverup of strange ships around nuclear facilities. It can be traced back to the mid-1940s and the Manhattan Project, years before Roswell.

They also spend time detailing the mystery around the Minot base near the Canadian border where nuclear weapons were armed and disarmed by unknown forces.

Once again, we hear that the government has lied to the public (a crime) and that we are at the mercy of forces that do not subjugate us for unknown reasons.

 

This stuff can be called alarming news. These guys are all wearing placards and sandwich boards that read: “The End is Near.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unidentified Episode 4, Going Nowhere Man!

 DATELINE: Half-way to the Stars?

head mellon Mellon Head?

Luis Elizando wants to uncover what is going on in the skies for a hundred years—and that is why he quit the Pentagon program that resisted investigations into these unknown objects. It isn’t a coverup as much as a denial of truth.

By the fourth episode of Unidentified, looking at the three released videos that raise all kinds of questions, the former Pentagon leader finds that two were East Coast encounters, not far from Washington. In fact, the young pilots (Ryan Grave and Danny Aucoin) risk their reputations to reveal that they were stalked by an armada of craft acting in ways that go beyond all aerodynamic rules.

Everyone wants to say these could be enemy on Earth vehicles. No one wants to believe that because it would mean sure subjugation by political enemies.

That leaves the unpleasant notion that no one in the government wants to face the inevitability of a smarter, more advanced civilization. Or, conversely, they know that these ships that stalk our nuclear-powered ships and their jets, even into war zones, are benign creatures or light energy from another dimension.

As weird as strikes everyone who witnesses these, there seems to be a reluctance to identify and to confront what they are. It could be someone knows what they are—and hands are off any confrontation.

As the show’s military-based investigators note, to cover this info up is a federal crime. But, the black budgets of top secrecy for decades may render that idea moot. These are not merely ancient alien believers, but men who want to move policy toward open discussion and revelation. Good luck with that.

Chris Mellon may want to shake his congressional associates and wake them like the Rip Van Winkles they are. That thunder in the sky is not elves bowling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stonewall Uprising, 50 Years Later!

DATELINE: American Experience’s Documentary

stonewall Pioneer Gay Fighters!

Was it ten years ago that American Experience produced its historical film, Stonewall Uprising, on the fortieth anniversary of the so-called gay riots in that gay mecca of the 60s, Greenwich Village?

This year some said five or six million marched in those streets for twelve hours of parading. Forty years ago, three drag queens walking down the street would constitute a riot.

Ten years ago some witnesses were aging, both as cops and gay patrons of one of those blue-collar, sleazy, unpleasant gay bars of the times. Yes, folks, those places were dubious if you had more professionalism and dignity.

Yet, it was those people who first stood up to undue harassment. The first 45 minutes of the PBS documentary recounts the hideous conditions of the 1960s when homosexuals were considered one step short of psychopathia.

Perhaps the interviews with “experts” trying to terrorize children that gay predators lurked on every street corner were the worst dregs of the era, yet these were the cornerstones of civilization. It is infuriating to see these people treat gay men and women with such cruelty. On the plus side, most of those creeps are now dead.

They were about to be shocked by the three days of rioting against a half-dozen belligerent cops who started a movement. They were barricaded in the bar in abject terror when thousands attacked in return.

The gay bars were the purview of the Mafia who ran them to rake profits off the benighted gay men and women on the outskirts of society. They gave gays a place to congregate but would soon lose their upper-hand to political awareness.

This documentary shows how the anti-war and civil rights movement simply transferred to gay rights overnight. Fifty years later, it is intriguing to see the roots of this powerhouse of politics. Millions of young marchers were not even born when the uprising started.

Those who still decry it may be better advised to watch out and watch this little film.

 

Brooklyn Bridge Revisited

 DATELINE: Ken Burns Classic

great art Amazing!

In 1982 Ken Burns made a name for himself with this small, unassuming and brilliant documentary about the fifteen-year process to build the iconic, magical Brooklyn Bridge.

The film made his reputation and sent him on a career as a ground-breaking documentarian. What’s left nearly forty years later is the masterpiece of film on the masterpiece of engineering.

To take it in again after so many decades and find it as fresh and charming as when first seen is like the chance to walk across the East River like one of those who saw it like the first man to walk on the Moon.

John Roebling came from Germany as Hegel’s favorite student and a brilliant bridge maker. He designed the way to cross the river between New York and Brooklyn in three months. Then, fate intervened, giving him tetanus and killing him. It left the job then to his 30-year old son and Civil War hero Col. Washington Roebling.

David McCollough lends his narrative presence, but familiar voices dot the film: Julie Harris, Kurt Vonnegut, and others.

The dangerous caissons gave Roebling the bends, and he recovered but never fully. He managed to oversee the bridge construction from his third-floor bedroom with binoculars. His wife supervised and learned engineering to carry out on-site work.

Great Lewis Mumford lends his presence here to the cultural viewpoint with a poetic expression of his walk across the bridge as a young man. There are clips of Frank Sinatra in a movie in love with the Bridge, and even Bugs Bunny puts in an appearance.

The Bridge is monumental, inspirational, beautiful, and a cathedral of the national pride.

This is definitely American pie.

 

 

 

 

Secrets of the Dead? WWII Pep Pills!

DATELINE: Deadline Pep!

james holland Holland Invades Germany!

We never heard of this PBS marvel of history documentaries. It sounds like a bad show from the History Channel, something morbid about ghosts or Egyptian mummies.  It is entitled Secrets of the Dead!

Of course, it is none of the above. It is an intelligent look at historical events, uncovering little known information and formulating new theory.

For this episode from Season 17, it is called World War Speed. It is about the shocking notion of amphetamine usage during the second World War!

Who knew?

What’s worse, who suspected that the governments of England, United States, and Nazi Germany, condone and required drugs to stimulate the soldiers.

We’d like to think that only craven Hitler demanded his soldiers take amphetamines to remain awake for days: like good Aryan supermen.

However, Generals Montgomery and Einsenhower learned of the practice and decided it was a good strategy. You see, not only did it keep men awake but made them act out in deranged, but heroic ways. Men would volunteer for death missions and do utterly suicidal actions.

Hitler had experimented on victims of concentration camps to see how the pep pills effected people who were starving to death. However, even Hitler decided the side-effects were too grave to continue on his army. Not so with the American and British.

They gave pep pills to men in tanks that were deathtraps. It gave them courage beyond logic. We are horrified to think that this show, hosted by James Holland who most recently worked on the History Channel “Hunting Hitler”—and he has not lost his yellow journalism style here.

It is appalling to think that innocent young men had no idea that “pep pills” drugged them out of their minds.

We may tune into this series again. It is a shocker and provides teachable moments.

 

 

 

Unidentified, Improving Episode 3

DATELINE: Old Hat Re-lined?

AATIP

Having the tenacity to stick with the weaker opening episodes, we found the series hit its stride in the third showing. Of course, yet another member of the “team” is introduced, a former Chief Petty Officer named Cahill.

We continue to question how and why Luis Elizondo was ever put in charge of a top-secret project at the Pentagon. It is a bigger mystery than the presence of forces more powerful than any country on Earth.

What’s more, we discover that the Trump evangelical generals in the Pentagon regard any investigation of UFOs as placating the demonic. Yes, they oppose any investigation on religious grounds. These people kept any reports from reaching General James Mattis who was Trump’s most respected Secretary until he wasn’t.

These guys are not exactly Annapolis types, and only Chris Mellon comes across as a true patrician and of a high rank in government.

This week they follow the UFOs to an isle about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico where they allegedly dived into the ocean. Talking to fishermen (with a translator) is interesting because universal whoosing noises and hand gestures speak volumes about describing the unknown, unidentified tic tac craft.

What is a bit of a shocker:  Americans are not allowed on the island of Guadalupe because of its environmental protections!  Hunh? Well, apparently, this location is one of the hotspots for great white sharks: more here than anywhere in the world. This surprises us as we thought the Australian Great Barrier Reef was their favorite spot.

A wildlife expert notes that the sharks come here because of magnetic anomalies near the island—perhaps caused by the submersed UFOs.

The show focuses on the Nimitz sightings from 2004, and its infamous video released by the Pentagon for reasons unfathomable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endeavour Wraps Up Season 6

DATELINE:  Shootout for Morse!

Dr. Max in the library Dr. Max in the Library!

We never expected our intellectual detective show would go big time corruption at the highest levels of government. And, we have to admit surprise when the show’s climax turns out to be Gunfight at the OK Corral.

The old gang re-gathers in high form. And, corrupt politicians may escape, but never dirty cops.

Some shocks do occur along the way: Dr. Max DeBryn (James Bradshaw) hardly seems the sort to be a mob target, but threats to nearly every member of the cast leads us to worry some may not be returning for season 7.  Yes, there will be another year, 1970.

In the meantime, we almost thought we were watching Ancient Aliens or Curse of Oak Island when the foremost villains turn out to be Freemasons.

We can almost be assured that next summer there will be a few more of these precious and rare gems. Endeavour has behaved badly to end this season, which may be a cliff-hanger for this series, but we already know the middle-aged and older Inspector Morse survives to make the prequel post-quel episodes with the late John Thaw as Endeavour.

Nevertheless, you should not say “nevermore,” to this Shaun Evans outrage. Abigail Thaw (John’s daughter) remains a staple news reporter here to bring the two series into some kind of karma.

Some of the highlights of the finale include Inspector Thursday noting to an Oxford don that he was partial to Holly Martins (good grief, shades of The Third Man). We did enjoy seeing Dr. Max DeBryn in the library with the ice pick.

Well, we love this show for a good reason. You will have to wait for a year to see the good works rewarded fully with crime busting for four more episodes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Aliens Toss Kon Tiki Overboard

 DATELINE: Vimana Your Raft

Vimana TravelThor Mans Vimana!

This week Ancient Aliens went one better: they just blew Thor Heyerdahl out of the water. Yep, they claimed that Southeast Asians came to Colombia via vimana spaceships, not rafts.

By teaming up David Childress with Praveen Mohan, their new Hindu expert, sort of a Giorgio from Mumbai, you have some insights from 12,000 miles over the globe. The gold diggers of 3000 years ago worked for ancient alien “gods.”

Ancient Aliens starts off with a bang: blaming the Vatican and its auto de fe of the Inquisition for destroying the Mayan culture because it knew about visitors from the sky. In fact, they even go so far as to accuse the Vatican of still covering up the information stolen from the Mayan and taken to the Vatican archives where it still remains.

The other interesting bombshell has to do with the Hindi god from outer space whose name was, you guessed it: Maya. We see a similarity on History lately. You can blame it on two groups, it’s either the Masons or the Mayans.

Who knows? Maybe a future show will prove that the two groups share more than rituals and secret, lost knowledge.

It seems all those parallels between South America and India may have something to do with Vimana, the mythical spaceships of Indian legends and ancient texts.

Childress brings his Hindu counterpart to a remote area in the jungle of Colombia to show him the various statuary that resemble Hindi gods. It offers the theory that the South American location became a second city of Indian gods.

The newest cliché of TV documentaries is taking shots from above by drone: now you can see the topography of rivers and geoglyphs from the angle of ancient astronauts in their flying machines.

The Vatican now is catching up to the Masons as a suppressive group with secrets in their archives.

Second Season Civil War Gold Finale! Fake Gold!

DATELINE:  Hook, Line & Sunk

hook, line, & sunk One Born Every Minute?

If Alex Lagina had any effect on a first-season disaster for Curse of Civil War Gold, he turned it into something far more compelling. As with conspiracy theories and history, you can become more outrageous along the way.

However, he bailed out when his father Marty Lagina blew up over the lack of careful preparation. After firing the diver who found gold, and failed to properly mark its location, Lagina personally escorted John Chatterton to the show.

The dive expert indicated something was amiss. And, a second dive at the last moment revealed that a conspiracy may exist within a conspiracy. The lack of professionalism and giddy accusations may have backfired on Dykstra and his theory.

Yup, the Masons may have salted the mine with gold bricks.

It seems unbelievable that Marty Lagina will sink more of his cash into producing another season, but ratings may be the real gold.

We didn’t see a great deal of Jesse James, as promised, but the inclusion of John Wilkes Booth was inspired stuff from the Lagina investors. They have turned the dross into gold, no matter what Kevin Dykstra ever finds.

The transformation of a small-time rich banker named Charles Hackley into a big-wig with connections to Edwin Stanton also has proven to be magical when it comes to plots to kill Abe Lincoln who might have objected to the Masons taking the Confederate treasury.

It seems these maligned people and groups may have bitten back at Kevin Dykstra. Tune in next year to find out who’s behind the fraud.

Sweet Tooth for Murder on Endeavour

DATELINE: PBS Masterpiece Mystery

evans Shaun Endeavours

With only a handful of episodes this season, Endeavour is making the most of its short-sighted insights. This year it returns to its four episode arc of murderous delight.

There is a great focus on the personal lives of the characters for this showing: Bright (Anton Lesser) has a marriage falling apart because his wife is sick; Thursday (Roger Allam) has a wife sick of him. And, as for Morse (Shaun Evans), he continues to look for love in all the wrong places. For a great detective, he seems to miss the obvious.

James Bradshaw’s coroner is busier than ever—and has more personal connections to Endeavour and Bright, with an easy integration of personal and professional conversations.

Morse is looking for a rental detached home in a charming Oxford village that is rife with murder, hate letters, and the big business—a candy factory with rich and powerful victims.

The episode also starts off with a fox hunt that seems almost a throwback to the 1960s British movie, Tom Jones. There’s the rub.

Red herrings are always thrown about, but the show remains clever beyond everything else that is contemporary TV detective series. American shows are childish, and this one is cerebral.

We see dark times ahead for Endeavour as the season wraps: even his trusted Thursday mentor is not to be trusted. Jim Strange (Sean Rigby), another long-time colleague/friend, warns him off.

This magnificent series will be off too for a year with all too few brilliant cases.

 

Sad State of Victimization

DATELINE: Crime Does Not Pay Victims!

img_4972 Behind You or Dead Ahead?

We took in more victim notions this week. There are no victims, only claimants to the condition, if you are to believe people like Mitch McConnell.

Does it pay to announce you have been attacked, shot, threatened, raped, or otherwise tell the American media and the world of Trump politics?

Apparently, victims are by their definition, people who have been injured by nasty and aggressive hate under the guise that nobody cares about you. Guess what? They epitomize apathy that killed Kitty Genovese nearly 60 years ago.

Chances are you don’t know about Kitty Genovese that created a shocking tenor of American life so many decades ago. How soon they forget? To say the least.

Indeed so, we saw the proof this week that nobody cares about victims, and even worse, the hate squad will “double down” in violating your dignity. We refer to cases involving David Ortiz (shot), Jussie Smollett (racial attack), and E. Jean Carroll (raped), migrant children (government indifference), or Haitians (discrimination).

If you want presidential sympathy, you are living on the wrong side of America upside down. If you draw a comparison to concentration camps, other victims will claim you cheapen their pain.

It’s the double-down and hit them repeatedly philosophy of Donald Trump by him and his stand-ins. If you dare to indicate that you have been mistreated, have been ignored, or fear reprisals, have suffered discrimination, you are looking at a world that laughs twice. And that you cannot forget.

The nemesis for rape, racial hate, and discrimination, is Trump, and you cannot avoid his neo-crypto-Nazi nationalism. He is proud to stomp on you, deny you medical treatment, and take a step toward extermination.

What makes a victim most? Victims will be a woman, gay, blacker than black, and a non-voting child or refugee. If you dare to speak out, you will be shot down faster than a conspiratorial bullet, by those able to deny charity, and promote greatness at the cost of belittling.

Yes, if someone is made small, you are made greater.

The price of being victimized has reached inflation levels. Goodwill is worthless.

Alas, the sum of the parts adds up to a return to a world where you climb the evolutionary ladder by wiping out “inferior” races, cultures, or people.

Welcome to Great America today.

 

 

Moon Landing for Endeavour

DATELINE: Aging Badly.

aging badly Allam & Evans.

Sixth season, episode 2, takes place at the time of the Apollo Moon landing. So, it is only natural that the murder victim at Oxford is an astrophysicist. Endeavour is more earthbound than the astronauts in July, 1969.

Morse is an exhibits officer who routinely oversteps his bounds. His new superior sees him as a condescending twit, and he may be right. Morse’s friend, Jim Strange, notes that the brilliant detective has not lost his heavy-handed social skills.

This episode is directed by star Shaun Evans.

Thursday (Allam) keeps reminding him that they are part of a bureaucratic system that follows chain-of-command, but Endeavour is the rebel within the system.

While astronauts make giant leaps for mankind on the Moon, back on Earth there are small steps toward crime solving by hard-working detectives.

Perhaps what’s most interesting about the historical inaccuracy of the series is that the days when cops were despised by youth movement types, you have them with more virtue and dedication than Joe Friday ever showed.

As a mystery show, Endeavour always puts together disparate elements into a stew that may be overly complicated. Punch and Judy has now reached marionette TV space shows of 1969, where jealousy and spousal swapping are the hot topics of the day—and motive for murders.

The regulars (Roger Allam, Anton Lesser) and others recognize now how good they had it in the previous five seasons. Now, they are reduced to working under lesser talents while bigger events overwhelm the world.

Though this series is not as elegant or finely tuned as an Agatha Christie story, you may find it convoluted on the side of intellectualism. That’s a rare problem in this age of unusual idiocy in TV shows, detective programs, and characters in general.

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s B Sirius! Ancient Aliens Tries!

DATELINE: Another Gemstone from Outer Space

B serious Starry Starry Night!

Doggone it. You guessed it. Ancient Aliens gave us an etymology lesson in word derivation. They brought us through a half-dozen variations on the word “dragon” and then showed its connections to various African tribes that have artifacts that extend back 17,000 years.

Even Japanese royalty has a dragon connection.

The point is that some amphibious creature, half-human and half-aquatic was the traveler from another star system. Linda Moulton Howe throws out that these creatures were here farming for genetic materials:  good grief, does that mean what we think it means?

Sirius is the dog star, and dog is a word that has no historical precedent. The sound of dogon, or drogon, is present as the name of a race of supernatural beings in primitive tribes.

Though you may want to say they all used the word because some creature called himself something that sounded like it, that is not definitive and cannot be called absolute.

Going back 17,000 years ago, the number of voice-related sounds of a group of humans may have traveled to dozens of locations, a cultural memory that is only vaguely related to star systems. However, two African geographic areas seem to have started the trend that went right up to Gaelic or Irish cultural fairy-like creatures.

Ancient Aliens throws in the constant image of reptilians without going into the theory of an entire race of underground space creatures that have intrigued them in past seasons.

Nope, you didn’t hear that connection this go-round. Doggone it. See you later, Alligator People.

We must admit and give credit that there is something decidedly strange that a tribe knew about Sirius B, a small and undiscovered companion star to the larger and brighter Sirius A. The detail known thousands of years ago is stunning and a precursor to what modern science only recently learned.

We have to give Ancient Aliens credit again for raising some truly weird coincidences. They may have created big news that man bites dog, outer space style.