Monday, January 18, 2021

TECHNICOLOR NOIR: The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, 1952


The man who watched trains go by, particularly the Paris Express is Kees Popinga. Kees has a comfortable life in Groningen, the Netherlands. Set in his ways, he is a reliable bookkeeper and a reliable husband and father. It is the trains that spark the romance in his soul. He imagines the places they go and the things the passengers will do. Claude Rains who plays Kees Popinga shows us the extent of the pleasure these contemplations provide in his open and happy face when we first meet him watching the trains go by.

Kees assumes the respect of his employer Julius de Koster played by Herbert Lom, but we see the boss treat Kees with subtle ridicule. Kees assumes the love and devotion of his family, but we see his children giggle at his pomposity, and his wife Maria played by Lucie Mannheim deride his passion for "silly trains."

Claude Rains

The arrival at the de Koster factory of Inspector Lucas of Paris played by Marius Goring sparks Kees imagination. Inspector Lucas is following a trail of black market Dutch currency to this town and this factory. Why should he end up here? That Kees's books are in order is beyond question. 

Kees is so intrigued by the Inspector that he breaks a long-standing habit and attends the local chess club, not on his regular night, but on the night his boss will be there with the Inspector. Kees watches the two men's conversation with interest as they say one thing but seem to mean another. On his way to the club, Kees witnessed an indiscreet kiss between de Koster and a beautiful girl leaving on the Paris Express. Kees covered for his boss, unhesitatingly lying about the indiscretion to the Inspector.

Nonetheless, the loyal Kees is disturbed and returns to the factory late at night to find de Koster burning the books over which Kees has laboured for 18 years. Everything the bookkeeper owns is in the business and he knows now that the boss has looted the firm, robbing him personally. In a struggle, de Koster falls into the river and drowns. Kees decides to no longer watch the trains pass by, taking the case of money de Koster had stolen to start a new life.

Marius Goring

Kees is joined on the train to Paris by the seemingly all-seeing and all-knowing Inspector Lucas and they begin their own cat and mouse game. Subtly, as is his way, the Inspector leaves an opening for Kees to clear his mind and conscious but Kees is a passenger at last and he must ride the train wherever it takes him.

Inspector Lucas: "Mr. Popinga, I hope you appreciate that my questioning of you last night was merely an attempt to be of some service to you."

Kees Popinga: "Was it?"

Inspector Lucas: "But when we arrive in Paris my position may become an official one."

Freeing himself from the Inspector, Kees's first act in Paris is to locate de Koster's girlfriend and confederate, the beautiful Michele Rozier played by Marta Toren. Kees tries to act the sophisticate, to take the place of de Koster in the scheme and in Michele's affection. He does not fool the woman, who believes the money is now out of her grasp. She throws him out but their relationship is just beginning.

Marta Toren

Kees next becomes fleetingly involved with a prostitute played by Anouk Aimee. She gets money out of him but little else. The money proves to be the clue needed by Inspector Lucas and by Michele to Kees's whereabouts. Learning from the Inspector that Kees has de Koster's money, Michele brings him into her orbit and that of her lover Louis played by Ferdy Mayne. 

Michele: "Maybe I feel sorry for him. He's got no future. He doesn't seem to have had much of a past."

Louis: "Well, as long as he's got the money."

Kees is now involved in a much more dangerous game of cat and mouse than that offered by the Inspector. Like the chess he loved to play, Kees tries to stay one step ahead of Michele and Louis but his infatuation with the woman may overwhelm his best intentions.

Inspector Lucas understands the psychology of his little mouse and his goal is to save Kees Popinga from himself.

Inspector Lucas: "He's a hunted man. He's taken a large sum of money. Unless I catch him quickly he is going to do something desperate."

We follow Kees on his downward spiral in this, the adventure he always dreamed of and the unimagined things of which he is capable when his fantasies clash with his realities.

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By is based on a 1938 novel by Georges Simenon and adapted for the screen by its director Harold French (Quiet Weekend) and Paul Jarrico (All Night Long). Otto Heller (The Ladykillers) filmed the story in glorious Technicolor on location in Amsterdam and Paris, and in-studio in England. 

The Man Who Watched Trains Go By aka The Paris Express provided Claude Rains with one of his more exquisite later career performances. Swedish actress Marta Toren is beautiful and dangerous as the scheming Michele. Marius Goring as the sympathetic and quirky Inspector grounds us in this well-paced thriller with its focus on the psychology of its main character. You will add Kees Popinga to your list of lost souls of film noir (in Technicolor).







Monday, January 11, 2021

REMAKE AVENUE: Three on a Match, 1932 and Broadway Musketeers, 1938


Mervyn LeRoy directed Three on a Match for Warner Brothers in 1932 with a screenplay by Lucien Hubbard based on a story by Kubec Glasman and John Bright. The film's 63 minutes is packed with the verve typical of LeRoy's work in this era (Five Star Final, Little Caesar, Big City Blues).

Joan Blondell, Bette Davis

The 1919 hit song Smile plays on the soundtrack while a montage of news headlines and historic events confirms the year. We get up close to three of the students of Public School No. 2. Virginia Davis plays Mary Keaton, Dawn O'Day (Anne Shirley) plays Vivian Revere, and Betty Carse plays Ruth Westcott. When Commencement rolls around 30 seconds and 2 years later, we have gleaned much of the character of these youngsters. Ruth is on her way to secretarial school to help out her family. Vivian is going to an exclusive boarding school. Mary is on her way to the reformatory.

Buster Phelps, Ann Dvorak, Warren William

A decade later through happenstance these three are reacquainted. Bette Davis is Ruth who works in an office. Joan Blondell is Mary who is a chorus girl. Ann Dvorak is Vivian, married to the successful and attractive lawyer, Robert Kirkwood played by Warren William. They have a young son, Bobby played by the precocious Buster Phelps. It looks like Vivian has grabbed the brass ring but she is discontented and looking for kicks. Her husband agrees to let her take Rob Jr. with her on a trip to Europe. Kirkwood has depths of understanding. 

Ann Dvorak, Lyle Talbot

Vivian does not take the trip to Europe. The night of sailing Mary is on board seeing some people off. Tagging along is a Broadway gambler called Michael Loftus played by Lyle Talbot. Vivian and the hotshot have an instant attraction and she takes her kid and hooks up with Loftus, leaving no word with her husband as to her or the kid's whereabouts.

Mary and Ruth are aware of Vivian's neglect of her son and arrange for his return to his father. This act brings Robert and Mary into close contact, and they become a happy couple marrying on the day of his divorce from Vivian. Meanwhile, Vivian loses her money and her self-respect in booze and cocaine, Loftus is doing no better. He is in debt to gambler Ace played by Edward Arnold. Henchman Harve played by Humphrey Bogart is looking forward to making an example of Loftus.

Ann Dvorak

Desperate for money, Mike Loftus kidnaps Kirkwood Jr. for the needed two thousand dollars. Ace muscles in realizing there is much more that can be made. While the gang holds the kid, a freaked out Vivian and on edge Loftus hostage, Kirkwood and the police comb the city. It all leads to a tense and harrowing standoff. I first saw Three on a Match at the age of 12 and the unexpected and violent ending made quite an impression.

The montages, the passing eras, the variety of events, and their emotional impact forge an unforgettable movie that feels epic despite its brief runtime. Bette Davis is pert and cute although the character of Ruth doesn't present the opportunity to hint at her memorable future characterizations. Joan Blondell lets us see a heart under the wisecracks because it is necessary here. Ann Dvorak is outstanding as the mixed-up Vivian Kirkwood. Her fall from grace is as completely believable as it is distressing. Three on a Match is a once seen, never forgotten film.





- - - / / / - - -



Broadway Musketeers released in 1938 was the 7th of 8 movies director John Farrow (The Big Clock, Wake Island) made at Warner Brothers Studios during the decade. Don Ryan and Kenneth Gamet's reworking of Three on a Match was a showcase for up-and-comers Ann Sheridan, Margaret Lindsay, and Marie Wilson. Nonetheless, with the same 63-minute runtime as the earlier film, Broadway Musketeers holds the interest but lacks the drive and excitement of Three on a Match.

The movie begins with our introduction to Margaret Lindsay as Isabel Dowling, a socialite with everything money can buy, an attentive husband Stan played by John Litel, and a darling daughter Judy played by Janet Chapman. Do you sometimes get the feeling that some Hollywood writers and directors have no idea how kids really behave? I think so. At any rate, an ideal home life and no money worries are not enough to make Isabel content.

Marie Wilson, Ann Sheridan, Margaret Lindsay

Isabel is about to get a blast from the past when the radio announces the arrest of entertainer Fay Reynolds played by Ann Sheridan. Ann is a singer with provocative accompanying dance moves. No money for bail lands her a 90-day sentence but two old pals come to her rescue. Connie Todd played by Marie Wilson with the sweet vagueness that made her My Friend Irma so popular, doesn't have quite enough money to help Fay. For Isabel, it is chump change. 

The three friends stop off outside the orphanage where they grew up to goggle at the kids haven't seemed to change since their time in the institution. They then head off to an afternoon of lunch and exchanging confidences. They promise to meet each year at this time before going their separate ways. 

Margaret Lindsay, Richard Bond

Stan has to leave New York for a month on a business trip and while hubby is away Isabel steps out. Fay had a job at an upscale nightclub and it was there that Isabel meets Broadway gambler Phil Peyton played by Richard Bond. Fay tries to warn Isabel that the guy is trouble, but nothing will do but Isabel spends every day and every night with Phil.

On the night before Stan's return, the lovers are in a car accident. Fay tries to cover for her friend by concocting a convoluted story in which she takes the blame. Stan appreciates Fay's loyalty, but the nanny played by Dorothy Adams has already spilled the beans. The Dowling marriage is not on the rocks, it has sunk.

Janet Chapman, John Litel, Ann Sheridan
;
You know the rest. Over the course of time, Fay and Stan get married and Isabel hits the skids; no drugs, just booze. All of this changing partners and backsliding looks more neat and tidy than in our earlier movie. One tidy loose end is that Isabel and Phil marry instead of living together. The gambler is still a cheque bouncer, but the kidnapping is more serendipity than planned. Fay had let Isabel have Judy for the afternoon and when Phil arrived home with hoods hot on his trail, the whole kidnapping was made up on the spot. Phil is knifed by the henchmen and Isabel is sought as his murderer.

Dewey Robinson

We get a little too much of a cutesy Runyonesque moment for comfort when one of the henchmen played by Dewey Robinson tries to calm little Judy with a bedtime story about Snow White.

"This Snow White is a swell skirt but the Queen has green eyes on her on account-a Snow White has the edge in looks. Snow White takes it on the lam. She doesn't want to run into any of the Queen's torpedoes so she hightails it to the tall timber and that's where she bumps into the dwarf mob."

They did not mess with Isabel's dramatic end and the sequence comes "this close" to matching that of Three on a Match. We get an extra coda to Broadway Musketeers in a cute wrap-up for Connie's character. All through the picture, this secretary speaks of her boss with stars in her eyes. She finally gets her man and we finally get to see him in the manly form of Jimmy Conlin. Not as downbeat or ambiguous an ending as its predecessor, but perhaps more suitable here.

All in all, if you were to choose one picture to see it would be the pre-code. Broadway Musketeers is more of a choice out of curiosity or fondness for the performers.












Friday, January 1, 2021

CAFTAN WOMAN'S CHOICE: ONE FOR JANUARY ON TCM


Janet (my daughter): "What are you watching?"

Caftan Woman (mother): Design for Living. Ernst Lubitsch from Noel Coward's play. Miriam Hopkins as to choose between Fredric March and Gary Cooper. (pause) Or does she?!

Janet: Ho-ho, ha-ha!


The original Broadway production in 1933, staged by the author Mr. Coward featured the actor with Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne had a run of 135 performances. The play was not produced in London until 1939 due to difficulties with the censors. 


The 1984 Broadway revival directed by George C. Scott starring Raul Julia, Jill Clayburgh, and Frank Langella had a run of 245 performances.

The Paramount Pictures film released in 1933 gave us a screenplay by Ben Hecht (Barbary Coast) and Samuel Hoffenstein (Love Me Tonight) directed by Ernst Lubitsch. Victor Milner (The Furies) was the cinematographer and there is a sly soundtrack from uncredited studio stock composer John Leipold. Travis Banton's costumes are to sigh for. 


When commercial artist Gilda Farrell (Miriam Hopkins) meets pretentious artist George Curtis (Gary Cooper) and unpublished playwright Thomas Chambers (Fredric March) aboard a Paris-bound train the attraction is instantaneous. The attraction between Gilda and Tommy, between Tommy and Gilda, and between Gilda and George, and George and Gilda. Circling around this interesting emotional triumvirate is Max Plunkett (Edward Everett Horton). Max is Gilda's business mentor, a friend of five years standing, and protector. In other words, those of Tommy's, he, Plunkett, never got to first base.


Both Tom and George have professed their love for Gilda and she in return has professed her fondness for the two of them. The friendship between the two artistes abroad has survived 11 years but is in danger of being blown apart by "a little bit of feminine fluff." They determine to treat Gilda with complete nonchalance and to refer to her by Miss Farrell if they refer to her at all.

Gilda has a completely different idea of how to handle their complications. "Well, boys, it's the only thing we can do. Let's forget about sex." ... "I'm going to be a mother of the arts." A gentleman's agreement exists among the three where the boys will work and Gilda will criticize and bully them into success. 


The cock-eyed plan works until Tommy's play opens in London and his absence highlights the "tension" between Gilda and George. They become a couple in the romantic sense, and George becomes a successful artist in the financial sense. Tommy is out in the cold and stews about it for almost a year. Upon returning to Paris and finding George out of town, the "tension" between Gilda and Tommy is highlighted and the morning's light finds them with something to either tell George or not.


Gilda deals with the situation by running away from both fellows. Tommy puts it succintly: "The mother of the arts wants to be a nice girl." What's a girl to do? Well, there is always Max Plunkett, but then there is the issue of the flock of Egelbauers. 


Design for Living
has an excess of wit, a knowing wink at conventions, and the odd piece of broken furniture. It is a polished and satisfying entertainment worthy of being labeled a true comedy classic.


TCM is airing Design for Living on the evening of Thursday, January 7th following two other treats from Ernst Lubitsch, The Smiling Lieutenant with Claudette Colbert and Maurice Chevalier, and Trouble in Paradise with Herbert Marshall, Miriam Hopkins, and Kay Francis. A delightful evening's viewing.

NOTE: Possibly due to rights issues, Design for Living will not be shown in Canada. Make Me a Star, 1932 based on the play Merton of the Movies by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly is the substitute.


"The sorrows of life are the joys of art."


















Monday, December 28, 2020

THE THIRD FRED ASTAIRE AND GINGER ROGERS BLOGATHON: I'll Be Seeing You, 1944


Michaela of Love Letters to Old Hollywood is hosting The Third Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers blogathon while her partner in this endeavour, Crystal of In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood is hospitalized with a serious illness. The blogathon is a lovely way we can send our best wishes to Crystal for her recovery.

The tributes to Fred and Ginger can be found HERE from December 28th to 30th.

People reach out to other people instinctually. Often times, behavior and circumstances keep us from doing so, giving us the feeling of perpetually being on the outside looking in. Some people seem to know how to navigate life while others wonder if they will ever know the secret. 

Joseph Cotten

furlough (noun): 1. a leave of absence granted to a governmental or institutional employee (such as a soldier or civil servant), Merriam-Webster

Sgt. Zachary Morgan is on furlough from an army hospital. He is shell-shocked (PTSD) from his time in the Pacific. Zach has medals that attest to his bravery and a Purple Heart to indicate he was wounded. His mind is taking a long time to recover. The doctors have given Zach advice and reassurances he will be able to handle two weeks over the Christmas holiday reacquainting himself with civilian life.

Joseph Cotten stars as Zach Morgan in a charming and gut-wrenching performance. He is charming in his attempts to reconnect with the world "back home" and breaks our heart when overwhelmed by the memories of Guadalcanal that will probably never fade. Zach is on his own fighting with the horrors of battle, the horrors of his cure, and his fear of failure.

Joseph Cotten

Zach (to himself): "Don't get worried, Zach. That bayonet wound is all healed, but the wound in your mind is going to take a little more time. That's why the doctors gave you this ten day leave from the hospital --- to prove to you that you can go out in the world again and find a place for yourself. It's going to take a little while to get your timing back. You'll still drop things and be a little slow, but you'll get well. They told you you would. The important thing is not to get too tired, not to give in. Then you won't get any of those things that wind up with a shot in the arm, or a tub or that little room with a barred window. You can fight those things off, Zach, if you believe that you'll get well." 

Ginger Rogers

furlough (noun): 3. a set period of time when a prisoner is allowed to leave a prison, Merrian-Webster 

Mary Marshall is on furlough from a Women's Prison where she is serving what her family considers to be an unjust sentence. She has been a model prisoner and is allowed the consideration of a Christmas with her uncle, aunt, and teenaged cousin. 

Ginger Rogers stars as Mary Marshall, a young woman who wins our sympathy while dealing with her twin burdens of imaginary confidence and confusion. The world has changed during her years "inside" and she is marked with the stain of her conviction.

Home is a place called Pinehill. It is the home of Uncle Henry played by Tom Tully, Aunt Sarah played by Spring Byington, and Barbara played by Shirley Temple. They represent the normal life that Mary now feels she can never attain. The Marshall family unit is open-hearted and welcoming to Mary. The family enjoys the easy, teasing way of people who have lived together and think they understand each other. 

Sarah is more philosophical than you might think. She worries about Mary and wants to make things work out for her. This exchange between the characters is the homey set of the kitchen speaks many truths.

Ginger Rogers, Spring Byington

Aunt Sarah: "Honey, you've got to stop being afraid. You've got to stop feeling that you're branded like people were in the old days. You've done something. You're paying your debt to society. Most people are willing to let it go at that." 

Mary: "I know, Aunt Sarah, but coming out into the world and seeing everybody in uniform, everybody doing something --- I just don't belong. I don't fit in. And dreams that I've had for the future are just impossible."

Aunt Sarah: "Well, most dreams are, Mary. It's just the dreaming that counts. Nobody gets exactly what he wants out of life. One of the first things you learn is to make compromises with your dreams."

Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple

Uncle Henry and Aunt Sarah have been less than forthcoming to their daughter Barbara about Mary's troubles and the teen is curious and repelled by the thought of sharing her room with a convict. Barbara's lack of maturity leads to a strained relationship with her cousin. Eventually, it is Mary's honesty that brings them together.

Joseph Cotten, Ginger Rogers

Zach and Mary met on the train to Pinehill. It was not Zach's destination but he impulsively concocts a story of a sister in town and gets off the train determined to meet Mary again. What could be more normal than to follow up an attraction to an appealing traveling saleslady? You see, Zach and Mary have secrets to keep from each other.

Zach is the first to open up about his recovery process. The welcoming from the Marshalls and the kind support of Mary appears to be a major step in his healing. His gratitude is quickly turning to love. Mary is falling in love with the sweet and troubled man and fears that her reality, as opposed to what he sees, will cause a setback. 

Spring Byington, Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten, Tom Tully, Shirley Temple
Christmas dinner at home.

Those year-end milestones Christmas and New Year's Eve are celebrated with the attendant rise and fall of emotions. The furloughs are coming to an end, but what about the relationships forged with genuine feeling and one pitiable and looming lie?

Spring Byington, Tom Tully, Ginger Rogers, Joseph Cotten 
New Year's Eve Dance at the YMCA

I'll Be Seeing You is a beautiful and honestly told story with exquisitely memorable performances from the entire ensemble. It touches the lonely searching core to be found in everyone.

Charles Martin's radio play Double Furlough first aired in October of 1943 starring Gertrude Lawrence and James Cagney. David Selznick Studios (Since You Went Away) produced the 1944 film directed by William Dieterle (Portrait of Jennie) from Marion Parsonnet's (Gilda) screenplay. 

I'll Be Seeing You by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahan was written in 1938 and with its romantic longing became a popular tune during the war years. It has been recorded by many great artists. Two of my favourite recordings are by Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday, both from 1944.











Monday, December 21, 2020

Christmas at Dingley Dell


The 1836 publication of The Pickwick Papers (The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club) by 24-year-old Charles Dickens and illustrated by Hablot Knight Browne, following the death of Robert Seymour, was a sensation with the public and a game-changer for the publishing business.

We follow the fictional exploits of Samuel Pickwick, his friends and acquantainces as they travel throughout the country observing and gathering facts about life while "life" buffets them about in amusing and unexpected ways.


Chapter 28 is A Good-Humoured Christmas Chapter. Let Charles Laughton tell us all about Mr. Pickwick's Christmas recorded for Decca Records in 1944 by clicking HERE.
 


Merry Christmas, One and All from the four of us in Toronto.

Janet, Paddy Lee, Gavin, and Garry











Monday, December 14, 2020

12 Delights of Christmas Tag


Heidi of Along the Brandywine created the 12 Delights of Christmas Tag. I was delighted to be tagged by Rachel at Hamlette's Soliloquy as part of the spirit of the season.


1. A favourite Christmas tradition? 

On Christmas Eve the kids open their gift of pajamas and a book, so everyone is nice and cozy when we watch A Christmas Carol aka Scrooge, 1951 starring Alastair Sim.

2. Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside?

I like to be inside looking at the outside, but I find it more enjoyable if I have been outside first. 

3. Tea or hot chocolate?

Generally tea, but if there is a bitterness to the cold (and isn't there always?) then it is hot chocolate time.


4. Favourite Christmas colours (e.g., white, blue, silver, blue, green, etc.)?
 

It's not always the same. The basic reds and greens speak to me, but sometimes I like the look of pink Victorian decor.

5. Favourite kind of Christmas cookie? 

Maybe it's the kid in me, but I find sugar cookies are irresistible, especially with icing.

6. How soon before Christmas do you decorate? More specifically, when does your tree go up?

December 1st, the wreath goes on the door and the kid's decorative stockings made by their aunt when they were babies go up. Sometime during that first week, it is tree time. Last year, I switched from the green floor size to a white tabletop retaining the most sentimental of my ornaments. Framed posters (reproductions) of Christmas movies take up the stairwell or any blank spot I can find.


7. Three favourite traditional Christmas Carols.

Silent Night

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

What Is This Lovely Fragrance?

8. A favourite popular Christmas song.

The Christmas Song

9. A favourite Christmas movie.

A Christmas Story, 1983 always makes me laugh in recognition. I wasn't a kid in the 1940s, but I was a kid who lived in my own head like Ralphie.

Three Godfathers, 1936 directed by Richard Boleslawski is my favourite telling of Peter B. Kyne's classic tale of redemption.

10. Have you ever gone caroling?

I belonged to a community choir and sharing Christmas Carols was my favourite time of the year. 


11. Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snow boarding?

I am a kluntz and could never get the hang of skating. Didn't even consider trying skiing. I was frightened by a "Goofy" cartoon. Nonetheless, I love getting knocked around on the old sled. Especially when you know hot chocolate is at the end of the line.

12. Favourite Christmas feast dish?

Last year I began adding Yorkshire Pudding to the turkey dinner and it was a hit. Why wait for roast beef? 


Tagging the following, if they have the time and inclination:

Maddy Loves Her Classic Film, Critica Retro, Silver Scenes, and any friends who may wander by and think it would be fun. 

1) A favorite Christmas tradition?

2) Say it snowed at your domicile, would you prefer to go out or stay curled up inside? 

3) Tea or hot chocolate? 

4) Favorite Christmas colors (i.e. white, blue, silver, red and green etc)? 

5) Favorite kind of Christmas cookie? 

6) How soon before Christmas do you decorate (more specifically, when does your tree go up)? 

7) Three favorite traditional Christmas carols? 

8) A favorite Christmas song (i.e. something you might hear on the radio)? 

9) A favorite Christmas movie? 

10) Have you ever gone caroling? 

11) Ice skating, sledding, skiing, or snowboarding? 

12) Favorite Christmas feast dish?















Friday, December 11, 2020

THE MARIE WINDSOR BLOGATHON: Maverick, The Quick and the Dead, 1957


Toby Roan at 50 Westerns from the 50s is hosting the event we have been waiting for - The Marie Windsor Blogathon. The tributes to the actress can be found HERE. The blogathon runs from December 11th to the 15th.


THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
Written and directed by Douglas Heyes
Aired: Sunday, December 8, 1957


James Garner as Bret Maverick

See that face? That is the face of a man who has just been introduced to Cora played by Marie Windsor. Our mostly amiable roving gambler Bret Maverick is in trouble and has come to town to extricate himself from that trouble.

"I'm not trying to solve the crime. I'm just trying to get out from under it."

Bret had been arrested for being in possession of five $100 bills that were part of a hold-up. He escaped to track down Parker, the man who lost that money to him in a card game. The man provided a lead of three names, Shields, Kane, and Johnny. Parker declined the offer to return with Maverick to the Marshal at Qualary and died in a struggle over a gun. Bret's trouble keeps getting more troublesome.


Marie Windsor as Cora

See that face? That is the face of a woman who has just been introduced to James Garner as Bret Maverick. Cora is the boss at the Red Front Casino. By all accounts, she is a fair boss and indications are that she would hire Bret in a heartbeat.


John Vivyan as Stacey Johnson aka "Johnny"

This is the face of a wary man, a man who is jealous. He is jealous of the boss and he is jealous of his reputation as a man who once made Doc Holliday back down. Stacey Johnson goes by the nickname, to his close friends, of "Johnny." Bret is looking a Johnny who has a habit of twisting his gold pinky ring for luck. Bingo!


Gerald Mohr as Doc Holliday

Lo and behold, who should come to town but Doc Holliday himself. This is indeed the face of a man who says "There are two types of people in the west, the quick and the dead."

Like Bret, he is looking for Johnny. Unlike Bret, he does not need Johnny to clear his name. Doc wants to even the score with Johnny for impugning his reputation. Doc and Bret have crossed paths before, but Doc doesn't remember this Mr. Martin, as Bret calls himself, and wastes a good deal of time threatening Bret for gossip spread by Johnny. Their intentions are definitely at cross-purposes.


James Garner, Marie Windsor, John Vivyan

Bret has concluded that Doc must have been on a winning streak when he ran into Johnny. Doc doesn't like to kill anyone while on a winning streak. He's funny that way. Johnny recalls that those were the circumstances. Bret proposes Cora provide him with a thousand dollars and a deck of marked cards. If he can keep Doc winning, he may be able to keep Johnny alive. Bret needs to keep Johnny alive.


Marie Windsor, John Vivyan

Cora is the boss in more than the Red Front Casino. She sets up the jobs that Johnny, Shields, and Kane pull. Johnny figures he takes most of the risks and wants a bigger cut. Their personal and professional relationship is becoming complicated. Cora is weighing her options.


Sam Buffington as Ponca Brown

Here is the face of a sweep who drinks too much. He was disappointed in not seeing a showdown between Doc and Johnny. His alcoholic haze made him brave enough to pull a gun on Doc Holliday's back. Bret saves both Ponca and Doc, hopefully putting something in the Doc owes him column.

"You're a very dishonest man. You've been cheating me, Mr. Martin, with marked cards!"

At the very least it gives Bret the benefit of not being directly in Doc's sights when Doc takes offense at being cheated, even if that cheating was to his financial benefit. All Bret has to do now is stay out of Doc's way while Johnny remains target number one.


Marie Windsor

Cora likes what she sees in the way Bret handled Doc and how he handled the Ponca situation. She offers Bret a spot in her gang as Johnny's replacement. Cora is very happy with how she has solved her problem. Bret is very happy at how he has solved his problem. Their intentions are at cross-purposes.


Marie Windsor

Nonetheless, Bret still requires proof for that pesky Marshal back in Qualary. It takes hours to crack Cora's office safe for those consecutively marked bills, but it is accomplished while "She was asleep now. Looking as sweet and innocent as a newborn vulture."


Marie Windsor, James Garner

Cora wants to celebrate with her new partner. Hence the welcoming tilt of her face. Cora also doesn't completely trust what her new partner was doing in her office at this early hour of the day. Hence the gun in her hand. 


James Garner, Marie Windsor

When Bret leaves to arrange a celebratory breakfast, he means to leave town but instead runs into the Marshal from Qualary, who had captured Shields and Kane. Their story cleared Bret and implicated Cora and Johnny. Bret is very happy that his troubles are over.

Bret offers a final farewell to the boss lady, who is not having the good day she anticipated.


James Garner, John Vivyan

Bret is hoping to get out of town before running into Doc. Instead, he runs into Johnny who observed Bret speaking with the Marshal. He assumes Maverick is a lawman who must be eliminated. Look at Johnny's face. It is the face of a man who has been called out by Doc Holliday. Johnny, even with his gun out of his holster is not one of "the quick."


Gerald Mohr, James Garner

Between the evening's disagreement and the morning's killing, Doc has remembered where and when he met Maverick. Congeniality rules as the pair decide to ride together to Dodge where Doc heard they got a pretty good game going.

The Quick and the Dead was one of two episodes where Mohr played Doc Holliday. The other was Seed of Deception. In all, he guested in seven episodes of Maverick.



Some Warner's publicity that has nothing to do with the episode but is fun for us and, we hope, fun for Marie as she kissed the hubby and kid goodbye and headed to the daily grind.


Awards

Writers Guild of America, 1958
Nominee: TV Western, Douglas Heyes
Maverick: The Quick and the Dead

Winner: Gene Roddenberry
Have Gun - Will Travel: For Helen of Abajinian

Primetime Emmy Awards, 1958
Nominee: Best Editing of a Film for Television, Robert Sparr
Maverick: The Quick and the Dead

Winner: Michael Pozen
Gunsmoke: How to Kill a Woman













TECHNICOLOR NOIR: The Man Who Watched Trains Go By, 1952

The man who watched trains go by, particularly the Paris Express is Kees Popinga. Kees has a comfortable life in Groningen, the Netherlands....