Saturday, June 29, 2013
WORLD WAR III (1982)
WORLD WAR III was broadcast as a two-night miniseries back in January 1982, but other than that I really can't find any information about it. Was it well received by critics? Did a lot of people watch it? I have no idea, but I enjoyed it a lot. As I mentioned, the story is divided into to parts: the leaders trying to come to a diplomatic solution and the troops on the ground fighting it out. The American president (played wonderfully by Rock Hudson) is predictably portrayed as a sensitive man with a heart of gold who just wants peace, damn it! And the Russian leadership was, of course, selfish and quick to kill people in order to get what they want. All of that is to be expected, but still the negotiations between the two are tense. On the soldier side, you have David Soul as a war-hardened vet rallying his troops in an almost Alamo-like stand against a enemy force that not only outnumbers them but is also better trained and better armed. I found it very exciting.
Of course, since this was a made for network television movie back in the early 80's, the violence is pretty tame, but still I found the whole thing to be well-written and the pacing to be really good. It definitely didn't seem like it was 183 minutes long. I'd gladly watch it again, but then again, I'm just a sucker for 70's/80's TV movies. Would make a perfect double-feature with THREADS.
Friday, June 28, 2013
MANHATTAN MELODRAMA (1934)
The story is your basic Cain and Abel hokum with two orphans growing up as brothers. One goes the straight and narrow to become a prominent political figure and the other the local kingpin of illegal gambling. Throw in the fact that they are both in love with the same woman and you got…well, nothing really. You would expect for there to be fireworks, but the script plays it safe from beginning to end and there’s never any tension or surprise moments.
Worth watching for fans of classic Hollywood, but everybody else would probably be bored.
Interesting trivia: John Dillinger was leaving the Biograph Theater in Chicago, Ill. when he was confronted by federal agents and then shot in the back. Here is a picture of the Biograph Theater with MANHATTAN MELODRAMA on the billboard:
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