Alexander Scourby

The Last Flight (1960, William F. Claxton)

The Last Flight has some fantastic sound design. Especially at the beginning when Kenneth Haigh’s plane lands. He’s a World War I flier who journeys through time to the late fifties, landing on an American airbase. The sound for the base and the planes is just phenomenal. And the episode hasn’t even really started yet.

Richard Matheson’s script doesn’t concern itself too much with the time travel. Well, wait, it does. But more accurately, it concerns itself with the consequences of the time travel. Haigh figures the whole thing out in a rather long scene. He talks Simon Scott–as a modern Air Force major–into it. A little, anyway. He raises the question.

Great performances from Haigh, Scott and Alexander Scourby as the bewildered commanding officer.

There’s some decent shots from Claxton, but Last Flight succeeds because of Matheson’s script–which winds and unwinds–and the actors performing it.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by William F. Claxton; written by Richard Matheson; “The Twilight Zone” created by Rod Serling; director of photography, George T. Clemens; edited by Joseph Gluck; produced by Buck Houghton; aired by CBS Television Network.

Starring Kenneth Haigh (Lt. William Terrance Decker), Simon Scott (Maj. Wilson), Alexander Scourby (Maj. Gen. George Harper), Harry Raybould (Corporal), Jerry Catron (Guard) and Robert Warwick (A.V.M. Alexander Mackaye, R.A.F.)


The Shadow (1954, Charles F. Haas)

So why not turn The Shadow into an amateur detective procedural? Haas’s pilot for a “Shadow” television series is a good reason, though it’s inexplicable why someone would want to turn it into such a thing. Not the procedural part, but the amateur detective part.

Peter Barry’s script recasts Lamont Cranston (played by an ineffectual Tom Helmore) as a psychiatrist who works for the police. They don’t seem to know he’s The Shadow, but he can only solve cases because he’s The Shadow… one of the many questions not worth answering.

With Helmore’s tepid performance, there’s no way “The Shadow” was going to work out; Barry’s script is awful too. There are occasional hints at something when Paula Raymond (as Helmore’s female companion–there’s no explanation for her presence) is around.

The decent supporting cast can’t overcome the lame script or Haas’s awkward camera setups.

It’s bad but not terrible.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Charles F. Haas; teleplay by Peter Barry, based on the character created by Walter B. Gibson; camera operator, William Steiner; produced by Nathan Kroll and Willson Tuttle.

Starring Tom Helmore (Lamont Cranston), Paula Raymond (Margot Lane), Frank M. Thomas (Commissioner Weston), Alexander Scourby (Rollo Grimmbauer), Norman Shelly (Detective Harry Harris), William Smithers (Alex Bromm), Leona Powers (The Landlady) and Peggy Lobbin (Cissy Chadwick).


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