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 Review the Night of the Wolf
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 09/14/2005 :  22:29:12  Show Profile


Wolf’s story concerns Stephen who is the heir to a throne. He has been a pig farmer in Arizona and would be happy to remain such but he has a duty to the future. His brother the late king exiled Stephen from his country. He exiled him because he was under the influence of Talamantes, a Rasputin type character. Stephen had opposed Talamantes in his country and shot him. Talamantes has a pack of wolves that are seemingly impervious to bullets. Stephen is not in good health. He is dying but wishes to be crowned before he dies so his daughter will inherit the crown. Something she is not thrilled with doing as she explains to Jim after Jim tells her that when she marries her prince charming he will be a real prince. “He’ll have blue blood but not much of it. No chin but lots of stomach.” She answers Jim. After Stephen has another stroke, Artie goes for a priest and others that will be needed for him to be crowned. Surprisingly Talamantes does not want to prevent Stephen from being crowned. Stephen tells Jim and Artie “He wants me to have the throne if he has my soul.” Leandra, the Kings daughter, has been kidnapped by Talamantes and drugged putting her under the same control he had over her uncle. This is discovered by her father before he dies and he tries to stop his crowning as does Jim but he is crowned. Leandra is told of the influence she is under and she pleads for help. Jim and Artie devise a ruse by having her abdicate. Leandra is given a note with Vrkalak on it and the order to kill Jim which she attempts but Artie shocks her out of her trance by pretending to be her father. Talamantes enters the train with his cronies who fight with Jim. Talamantes falls on his own clawed hand and dies.

This had the makings of a five star episode.

Wolf starts out spooky enough. The wolf howling the dark figure watching and the cat that almost had eight lives making Jim draw his gun. Jim being attacked by the dog oops I mean wolf. I have a hard time believing that there was a horse on the other end of that line instead of a prop man playing tug of war. That “wolf” turning and snarling was so fake as was that rubber spider in the cave.
Artie performs well as the decoy king.
Artie to Jim: kneel peasant
Jim: As a decoy you’re a sitting duck
Artie: I know I am perfectly willing to abdicate but nobody wants the job.

We come to the question of what happened to continuality? Jim’s horse runs away during his fight with the “wolf”. Jim, Artie, and the King ride to look for the wolf and Jim is on his own horse. Later Leandra is frightened by the run away horse??? and Jim asks the horse why he ran away.

The wolves in the tunnel are better? It was scary to have the wolf jump into the car and than freeze frame for commercial break but that fight in the coal car was so fake and why did that tunnel blow up? I suppose Conrad was suppose to make out like he threw explosives into the cave but it was more like a slap of the leg and jump into the car. Talamantes is to often show just lurking around. It might have been menacing but it became meaningless after the third time. The episode is misleading as we are lead to think that these are werewolf but instead they are just drugged.
Despite all the negatives, I like this episode. I enjoy watching it even if it is just to see that coat that Jim wears. I LOVE that coat.

My rating is two points for the episode and one for that coat for a total of three out of five.


Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  07:35:29  Show Profile
Hey couldron,
Excellent review once again. TNOT Wolf is not one of my favorite episodes either. Wolf has its ups and downs, mostly its downs. I was very excited to see this episode thinking back to TNOT Big Blast where WWW took the Frankenstein theme and used it for an excellent plot. I must be honest, I was hoping for a rehash of Universal Studio's "The Wolfman" where a man can turn into a werewolf, or think that he turned into a werewolf. However, I too think wolves that are impervious to bullets is quite eerie, but after the first few attacks (by the German Shepards) the premise falls flat, plus the super strong wolves are more of a detail or dare I say padding to a basic overthrow the king plot.

I feel the show could have been stronger if Talamentes was played by any of the existing horror legends. Perhaps having Karloff be Talamentes here instead of Mr. Sin back in the first half of the season would have made a big difference, but as you pointed out Talamentes just stalks and lurks and hides in the shadows (ho hum). Perhaps if we had a flash back of Talamentes in action in the old country we would have found him a more convincing Rasputin like character.

Sadly, I've found it very hard to care about the characters in this plot. Stephen doesn't want the throne, Leandra doesn't want it either, and Talamentes could care less if Stephen or Leandra gets the throne because he is so powerful that he can take either one of them subconciously over.

I often go back and think that a more interesting plot premise would have been if Stephen's ailment was actually Lycanthropy and he turned into a wolf, which would endanger his people and perhaps Leandra had inherited this deadly trait, thus they do not want the throne. Even a twist ending where Talamentes actually prevented Stephen from becoming king because he knew the deadly secret would have been better, thus our seemingly bad guy (Talamentes always in the shadows) was actually the good guy would have been better than what we got on screen.

The strong points of the episode are that even though she was very selfish, Leandra was indeed a very pretty addition to the cast. Jim's prowess is up to par fighting off the wolves. I too like his coat. My favorite fight scene is when Jim punches one of the thugs through the varnish car door and he falls over the rail. Artie has the most dangerous job of his career here where he plays the decoy and very well could be assassinated at any moment. Heck, he is even shot to help out his old buddy from the evil cluthes of Vrkalak's hypnotic powers. So why are our boys risking life and limb for such ungrateful people? The world may never know?
2 out of a possible 5 stars.

Herr Ostropolyer

P.S. couldron you took all the good qoutables for this episode so instead of repeating them all I have to qoute from is:
"V---r---k---a---l---a---k,
V---r---k---a---l---a---k,
V---r---k---a---l---a---k," a word repeated via morse lamp by the villian Talamentes in TNOT Wolf
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  11:21:25  Show Profile
"The Night of the Wolf" should have been a better episode than it is. It's a haircut on a classic supernatural figure—the werewolf—and West usually did well by old horror types: Frankenstein's reanimation of the dead ("The Big Blast"), "Donovan's Brain" ("The Druid's Blood"), voodoo ("The Undead"), and, of course, the haunted (or "man-eating") house.

What goes wrong? Here's one viewer's opinion.

1. The set-ups are stronger than the pay-offs. The eeriest murder—that of Murdock the storekeeper—comes in Act I; nothing after that is as frightening. (How did his body end up way out there? Ugh.) The strongest character (and actor) in the show, John Marley's Stephan (a date-farmer, BTW), succumbs at the end of Act II. After that, the story becomes focused on its weakest character, Leandra (competently but drably played by Lorri Scott). We're led to believe that lycanthropy is The Real Deal; yet the wolves turn out to be only so doped up that they don't know they're supposed to drop dead when shot. A yawn for everyone, except maybe the ASPCA.

2. The main heavy is weak tea. The problem here is both script-structural and one of casting. For this episode to hum, Telemantes ought to scare the hell out of us. As a personality, Joseph Campanella isn't strong enough for that, and the storyline never really gives him a chance anyway.

3. Finally, the execution of the wolf-attacks is bad. You see through all the smoke and mirrors. Mostly they use German Shepherds instead of wolves. Sorry. When West is attacked in medium shots—in the teaser, on the store's porch—you can tell it's not Bob Conrad (for which I don't blame him one bit). When they go to close-ups of these attacks, the "wolves" are so obviously stuffed dummies that you almost expect to see moths escaping from them, courtesy of Granny's attic. Lay the same soudtrack of wolf-snarling on top of Conrad's wrestling a Teddy Bear. It would be just as scary.

There is much wasted promise in this episode. West's moonlit ride to Murdock's store, cued with Morton Steven's mournful music from "The Watery Death," is drenched in atmosphere. For once, a character dies from a real disease that could scare anyone: a stroke. The cornonation of a dead man. A great and rare fight in the varnish car. You can almost hear the producers scolding the stunt-men: "Not the curtains! Do not trash the curtains. Do not touch the sofas. Do you know how much those sofas cost? Creepers, what's this going to do to our carpet?" And I like Jim's Marlboro-Man coat, too.

Am I the only one who thinks this episode would have been better filmed in first-season black-and-white? in those days, color stock was so "slow" that they had to light night exteriors and caves as though it were Disney World in July.

1/2
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  19:46:06  Show Profile
quote:
I often go back and think that a more interesting plot premise would have been if Stephen's ailment was actually Lycanthropy and he turned into a wolf,
Interesting! It would have been better if the idea of lycanthropy had not been an empty promise
As ccb says
quote:
1. The set-ups are stronger than the pay-offs.
quote:



When West is attacked in medium shots—in the teaser, on the store's porch—you can tell it's not Bob Conrad
It isn't
I have gone back and stepped and I still can't tell this. I probably could if my recording was better but it was recorded ten years ago and tape does deteriate.

quote:
When they go to close-ups of these attacks, the "wolves" are so obviously stuffed dummies that you almost expect to see moths escaping from them, courtesy of Granny's attic. Lay the same soudtrack of wolf-snarling on top of Conrad's wrestling a Teddy Bear. It would be just as scary.

My granny was born about the time JW was born indeed they would be dusty and moth eated just like in the episode
quote:
Am I the only one who thinks this episode would have been better filmed in first-season black-and-white? in those days, color stock was so "slow" that they had to light night exteriors and caves as though it were Disney World in July.



You know I think this would play better in black and white ...now where are those controls that turn off the color
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 09/17/2005 :  22:40:20  Show Profile
couldron: You know I think this would play better in black and white ...now where are those controls that turn off the color.

Twist your knobs—sorry, my age is showing—or press your buttons as you like, but I fear you'll still not get the same effect as in the '65-'66 season's shows, filmed in b/w. It's not just the absence of color; it's the critical difference in lighting. In those days, for color, they had to drench the sets with buckets of light from every direction. With b/w, they could—and on West did—light with real artistry.

I try to keep an open mind. Some first-season shows, like "The Two-Legged Buffalo," would probably have been ravishing in color, with all those rich sets and costumes, But I honestly think that color would have sapped a show like "The Puppeteer," much of which was staged in pitch black with single spotlights. All these episodes weren't called "Nights" for nothing, you know. In any case, I think that the technique should support the material, not dominate it.
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n/a
deleted

47 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2005 :  20:49:03  Show Profile
as Homer Simpson would say, "BOOOOOOOriiiiiiinggggg!"
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n/a
deleted

9 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2005 :  15:22:48  Show Profile
I actually watched this a few nights back and it is a great hallowwen ep. but while I was watching and now reading your report it fits perfectly with how I felt at the end. I love that jacket meself it reminds me of the alternative jackets that luke and han solo wore in star wars, not thought of as their top 5 outfits or so but a very cool change up.
Also i was wondering about if other times west battles "creatures" like this. I think theres another wolf or werewolf fight episode but im not sure.
The one with the big gorilla is another sort of "monster" battle.
Let me know if theres any insight about those aformentioned episodes.
Thanks as always
MIKE

MDS
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n/a
deleted

47 Posts

Posted - 10/22/2005 :  17:02:12  Show Profile
The Night Of The Simian Terror is where Jim fights the gorilla dude.

I could of sworn that this was a season 2 episode, but another site says it was from season 3.

I think that I may dig out an old VHS tape of an episode and watch it tonight.

Tundra (short for Tundra Ted)
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Michael
SS 1st assignment - desk job

139 Posts

Posted - 10/23/2005 :  10:04:05  Show Profile
The name of the episode is TNOT Simian Terror. It is from season 3 and was episode number 79. The original airdate was 2-16-68.
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