“The Painted Face”

Painted-Face

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Nicole Phelps
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “9PM” by Howard Shore (from the 1985 film, “After Hours” directed by Martin Scorsese) and dialogue sampled from “The After Hours”.
Audio Clips: “Science Fiction/Double Feature” (Richard O’Brien/Richard Hartley) (from the 1975 film, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” directed by Jim Sharman), “Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery” (a 1997 film starring Mike Meyers), “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (a 1983 film starring Albert Brooks and Dan Aykroyd), The Odd Couple “It’s All Over Now, Baby Bird”, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (Albert Hammond, Diane Warren) (from the 1987 album “No Protection” by Starship), “Mr. Bevis”, “The After Hours”.

Recorded January 26, 2016

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2016 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

Running Time: 37:19 Direct Download

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Vintage Cable Box: “Unfaithfully Yours”, 1984

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“My name is Claude Eastman. As you probably guessed, I’m a symphony conductor. You may have heard of me. I didn’t always possess this uniform. For twenty-odd years, I ate, drank, and dreamt music. I became a – oh what the hell, I’ll say it – great conductor and simultaneously, a lonely man. I wanted more … love, probably. Be careful what you wish, you just might get it. I met her on tour in Venice. She was acting in a film and we fell in love and married almost immediately. She made me young. She gave me life and it was great while it lasted, but tonight it will all cease to exist for me, because tonight … I’m going to … kill her.”

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“Unfaithfully Yours”, 1984 (Dudley Moore), 20th Century Fox

There’s a George Carlin joke (George Carlin: Again!, 1978) wherein he describes the “perfect murder”. “You pick one guy up by the ankles, and then you beat another person to death with him. That way, they’re both dead, and there’s no murder weapon!!!” A little more than halfway through “Unfaithfully Yours”, Dudley Moore believes he has concocted the perfect murder, and the whole thing plays out in his head as he maniacally conducts Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto”. This is the main take-away from Howard Zieff’s 1984 remake of Preston Sturges’ 1948 original.

It’s beautiful. He will establish an alibi by wearing a Halloween mask. He will use two micro-cassette tape machines to record and mix conversations that suggest his lead violinist (hunky Armand Assante) is murdering his cheating wife (gorgeous Nastassja Kinski) when in reality, the violinist will be up-ended by a combination of sedatives and champagne. He will wear the violinist’s mask and play back his wife’s screams while stabbing her to death as security cameras record the whole thing. With his wife dead, and his violinist sentenced to death by hanging, famed conductor Claude Eastman (Dudley Moore) can go about his life unfettered by the infidelity of others. Of course, it doesn’t turn out quite so perfect.

Right after the opening credits, Dudley tells us he’s going to kill his wife, and the bulk of the film is told in flashback. Claude’s suspicions are built completely around a gold jack o’ lantern pendant he purchases (at agent/friend Albert Brooks’ suggestion) for his very young wife. Brooks had purchased the same pendant for his own wife (“The Osterman Weekend’s” Cassie Yates). Brooks seems to only exist in the narrative to wind up and aggravate Moore with thoughts of infidelity, because he reasons Kinski is too young and beautiful to want to be married to an aging elf like Claude. Brooks hires a private detective who produces a security video-tape of someone entering and exiting Claude’s apartment in the middle of the night, but the person’s face is obscured, and the only thing we see are a pair of very nice argyle socks. Claude spends a great deal of time lifting the cuffs of people’s trousers to see what kind of socks they wear. He begins to suspect Assante.

As it happens, Assante is having an affair, but not with Kinski. He is using Claude’s apartment to meet with Cassie Yates. Dudley, however, is convinced of his own wife’s adultery because of the gold jack o’ lantern pendant he finds on the floor leading to his bedroom. Assante thinks Dudley is calling him out on his affair with Yates and asks him to keep it on the down-low, which further enrages Dudley. After a conversation with his fiery, vengeful Italian butler (Richard Libertini) in which he demonstrates what he would do to his wife if she cheated on him – involving the destruction of an effigy-eggplant, he resigns himself to murder. Interestingly, the script was written by Valerie Curtin, Barry Levinson (the real-life couple who wrote “Best Friends” for Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn) and Robert Klane (who would go on to make the “Weekend At Bernie’s” movies).

As I said, it doesn’t go down quite the way Claude planned it. For one, he can’t find any micro-cassette recorders. He doesn’t have any masks. He accidentally drugs himself, intending to drug Assante. He can’t get to his wife in time to kill her, so he rewrites his scheme on the spot, trying to make it look like Assante is killing him instead, all of this while Moore is tipsy with sedatives. I think the whole point of this movie is to get Dudley Moore positively silly on sedatives while orchestrating an elaborate plan to murder his wife. This is Dudley’s wheel-house! The movie ends with a completely inebriated, apologetic Moore being carried home over Kinski’s shoulder. I suppose the movie’s ultimate moral is that we’re all powerless in the arms of love, or something to that effect. If I were Kinski, I’d be a little more than pissed at Dudley, but … that’s amore!

This is my final installment of Dudley Moore Month here at Vintage Cable Box, and I want to say I really enjoyed watching his movies and writing about them. I never realized how many Dudley Moore movies I’ve seen, and as a result of his exposure via cable television in those years, I saw the ill-fated “Best Defense” that year. I was under the impression he would be sharing the screen with Eddie Murphy, but I was disappointed (at the time) to find that it was kind-of a time travel story, a time-jumping narrative wherein Dudley played a tank designer. His latest creation is piloted by Murphy two years into the future.

He made “Micki and Maude” with Blake Edwards. This was a favorite of mine, but it didn’t premiere on cable television for a couple of years. He appeared in “Santa Claus: The Movie” perfectly cast as an elf, and later “Like Father, Like Son” with teen heart-throb (and now loopy born-again Christian) Kirk Cameron as his son (in a body-swapping comedy – a popular sub-genre in comedy at the time). After an inferior sequel to “Arthur”, he would be reunited with his “Six Weeks” director Tony Bill for “Crazy People” in 1990 and appear in a pair of unsuccessful television sitcoms. Health problems forced his retreat from the spotlight, and Dudley died March 27th in the year 2002 of complications from pneumonia as a result of a brain disorder known as progressive supranuclear palsy.

Let’s forget about that for a moment and remember, just remember that laugh, that Dudley Moore cackle. Remember that top hat and the Rolls Royce, and performing the magic trick with the tablecloth. Remember the screaming, hysterical tirades, and the wild hair, and the sarcasm. Remember his fantasy of Bo Derek running on the beach toward his waiting arms. Remember him holding a dying girl on a New York City subway train. Remember him being carried away like a petulant child by Nastassja Kinki. Remember the great Dudley Moore.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird).  We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images.  We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates.  About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties. 

“Know When To Run”

Written by David Lawler
Additional Commentary by Alex Saltz
Original Music by Alex Saltz, APS Mastering
Introduction Music: “Fever” by Rita Moreno, The Muppet Show.
Audio Clips: “Lost In America” (a 1985 film directed by Albert Brooks), “The Fever” and “The Last Flight”.

Recorded December 17, 2015

© BlissVille, David Lawler copyright 2015 for all original vocal and audio content featuring David Lawler and selected guests each episode. Original Music © Alex Saltz copyright 2015. This podcast, “That Twilighty Show About That Zone” is not affiliated with CBS Entertainment, the CBS Television Network, or The Rod Serling Estate. Any and all images, audio clips, and dialogue extracts are the property of their respective copyright owners. This blog and podcast was created for criticism, research, and is completely nonprofit, and should be considered Fair Use as stated in the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. section 107. It is not an official product, and it should not be sold nor bought; this is intended for private use, and any public broadcast is not recommended. All music clips appear under Fair Use as well. If you’re thinking of suing because you want a piece of the pie, please remember, there is no actual pie. We at BlissVille have no money, and as such, cannot compensate you. If anything, we’re doing you a favor, so please be kind. I do this ’cause it’s fun, and nothing else.

If you or somebody you know or love has a gambling problem, please contact The National Council on Problem Gambling at (1-800-522-4700).  You’ll be glad you did.

Running Time: 41:51 Direct Download

Vintage Cable Box: “The Sender”, 1982

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“The sleep of reason breeds monsters.”

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“The Sender”, 1982 (Željko Ivanek), Paramount Pictures

Young men and women with strange powers, usually manifest at the onset of puberty, made for a much-loved, though often critically-derided subgenre of horror movies starting with Brian De Palma’s adaptation of Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie. The strange powers might be telekinesis, an ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without physical interaction, ESP, or “sixth sense”, the ability receive information through no other form than brain power, or telepathy, the ability to read minds and communicate by way of the mind.

In “The Sender”, Željko Ivanek plays such a disturbed young man. His amnesiac John Doe #38 arrives in a mental institution after trying to drown himself in a lake. He makes the resident nut-jobs nervous. His doctor (played by the lovely Kathryn Harrold) is intrigued and tries to get inside his head through recall and trigger effects. She becomes submerged within his psychic nightmares and fears, which leads to impressive gore and graphic effects, including an electro-shock scene straight out of an early De Palma film.

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Željko is revealed to be a “sender”; that is a person with the ability to project his dreams and nightmares into other people’s minds, and make them come alive. As you can imagine, it can be quite distressing. Željko Ivanek creates a sympathetic brand of monster, similar to Roland, a mentally-retarded janitor Ivanek portrayed in an eponymously-titled episode of The X-Files. “The Sender” plays like an extended X-Files episode, with Harrold subbing for the intrepid agents, Mulder and Scully.

Željko Ivanek appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street as criminal prosecutor Ed Danvers. Kathryn Harrold appeared in Albert Brooks’ “Modern Romance”. Paul Freeman (one of Harrold’s colleagues) will always be known as Belloq from “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Shirley Knight (playing Ivanek’s mother), appeared on the stage, television, and several high-profile films, including “As Good As It Gets”. “The Sender” is a disturbing, thoughtful, and provocative blend of science fiction and graphic horror.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.

Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.