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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/22/2003 :  16:42:56  Show Profile
Sudden Death (AKA Circus) opens in the Carson City Mint (this is another thread). I like the twist that the money was not stolen but the plates are switched in hopes that it will not be discovered. The mint will be printing counterfeits while the crooks are printing good money. Ah! Artie and Jim are on the job. There are many things that I enjoy in this episode for one Artie is treated much better. Jim is uninterested in seeing the plates but Artie is curious. He chides Jim that if it had been a girl he would not have cared how hard he was squeezed. He makes a wonderful clown in his attempt to free Jim and of course, there is that wonderful tag of him getting the upper hand on Jim. Freinerger’s formula is hard at work. We have the bizarre: a man that falls from the ceiling to crush Jim, Warren Trevor (Robert Loggia) that shoots at a girl on a revolving wheel, the ballerina that coaxes Jim to be alligators food, and the attempted poisoning of our heroes to name a few. We have gorgeous women all over but primarily in the form of Corinne Foxx ( Julia Payne) and Janet Coburn (Antoinette Bower) . We have the impossible predicament of being tied up in skins. This brings me to one of my problems. If the skins had dried enough to tear, why didn’t it squeeze them to death? I actually remember this being use in Laramie and some other show that escapes me now. That forgotten show had the hero escaping because leather stretches when wet.

There is a lot I like in this episode. I especially like the restaurant scene where Jim meets Artie after seeing a doctor. I can only think of two other times that Jim saw a doctor in Puppeteer and Falcon. I like watching the women who slips them the poison. She blends so well into the background. Does she ever appear again. I looked but I could not spot her in any other scene. I have already mentioned the ballerina who first laughs, when Jim is attacked by the alligator, and then covers her face with the umbrella so as not to see his fate.

HELP there are two place where I can not understand the dialogue: One is when Jim talking to the “Crusher” at the circus. He asks Jim “Did they hurt you?” Jim’s answer is not clear to me. Does he say the pain is all mine? If so what does that mean? Is it another 80% water remark? The other is in the tent after he changes clothes. He is asking about the metallic noise he hears. Janet says “not from here you don’t”. The next sentence is garbled to me. Does anyone know what he said. What I thought I heard did not make sense. Another thing that puzzles me, if this is a traveling circus, why do they have such a permanent compound? If it is not a traveling circus, than why do they have a parade?

I thought the alligator wrestling was dumb. I can not imagine being able to kill an alligator with such a small knife and how did Jim keep it from biting him and drowning him. Despite this or maybe because of it I love this episode. I love the circus elements including the short shot of the parade.

Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 07/23/2003 :  13:29:03  Show Profile
Jim's reply to the Crusher is indeed "The pain's all mine." - a twist on the expression "The pleasure's all mine."

Jim's reply to Janet is "It's still _________." The rest of the sentence (one word, I think) is lost in her hair! Maybe someone with a shiny new DVD can help.

I like this episode alot.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2003 :  08:02:50  Show Profile
I was going to submit my review but now I’m wondering about that muffled line. I’ll watch it again off of the DVD tonight and see what I can make of it. I shouldn’t have a problem, the sound quality on the disc is excellent as is the picture quality, and I don’t think West ever looked this good even in its original run. Just can’t beat digital quality.
See you tomorrow with my review.


Mr. Phelps
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  10:45:11  Show Profile
A first season gem. What begins looking like a dull story about counterfeiting blossoms into something quite different and unexpected. As couldron mentioned, the Frieberger formula is hard at work and in full swing, the actual scheme involving creating counterfeit money with genuine U.S. Treasury plates takes a back seat to all of the bizarre characters, pretty women, and strange goings-on at the circus.

Once again in true “Bond” style the main villain isn’t introduced until the second act, after we have had a chance to see Trevor’s efficient organization at work: heisting the mint in record time, almost crushing Jim in his hotel room, successfully killing Foxx in the hospital, and trying to poison Jim and Artie in a public bar. This guy’s not fooling around. Robert Loggia makes another strong and dangerous adversary for the guys and he’s the first villain in the series that I truly detest. We see how he runs his circus, with an iron fist, guards everywhere, if he ever got a hold of a piece of Africa it’s not hard to imagine him as a brutal dictator. Unlike Loveless in the previous episode, Trevor is an antagonist with no redeeming characteristics whatsoever (perhaps some good taste); he’s greedy, sadistic, and selfish. His demise at the jaws of an alligator is well deserved.

Speaking of alligators, the alligator wrestling does strain credulity, but I guess the “T” in James T West really does stand for “Tough”. I think it’s kind of funny that Jim doesn’t just get away from the alligator (as most sensible folk would) he has to fight it.

The Jim and Artie relationship seems to be warming up as well. Perhaps I was being a bit tough on Frieberger in my earlier reviews, Jim is not so cool towards Artie as he was in “Deadly Bed” and “Wizard”. I also like the scene in the bar between Jim and Artie they seem more and more like equals as the series progresses, if you look closely over Artie you can see posters announcing Trevor’s circus. I love the subtle look of surprise and realization in Jim’s eyes when Artie reveals himself as the clown; chemistry is already forming between the two actors. I just love little moments like that between actors. The prank Jim pulls on Artie in the tag is all in good fun, followed by Artie’s deft picking of the lock and with his reply to Janet when she asks:
“Why didn’t you think of this two hours ago?”
“I did.”
In that brief scene we see that this is no second banana, he even strolls off arm in arm with both women, captured beautifully in the commercial break art.

While I’m on the subject, the commercial art in this episode is almost textbook perfect. We get a nice mix: a great photo of Jim for the first act, the menacing alligator (I like the way the evil ballerina’s laugh melds with the music during the close of the act), our heroes baking in the sun, and of course Artie and the girls. It’s commercial break artwork like this that makes me wish the entire series were in black & white.

Overall, a great hour, one of the best from season one. I give it three and a half prosthetic noses out of four.

(Sorry, I can’t figure out what Jim is saying either, it’s “It’s still…(ringing?)” then the rest is drowned out by the tiger’s purr)


Mr. Phelps
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Stash
SS spy school graduate

64 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  14:43:37  Show Profile
I just watched the video, and it sounds to me that Jim says "It's still lingering", maybe meaning he can still hear it in the distance. But it could be like when people screw up the lyrics of a song, and way off base.

Stash
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AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2003 :  23:45:22  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
Besides what all have written about this eps, which I totally agree, here are some of my thots:

In the scene where West enters his room and the crusher was already there - it shows us how extremely sensitive West is to his environment. He must have somehow sensed another's presence in the room yet could not seem to see him.

The dried skin scene : Phew! Did RC do that stunt himself? To have fallen over the edge and to bend up to cut lose is rather an amazing stunt! Its a wonder he didn't knock too hard onto the sides of that structure! Was the structure cardboard or concrete?

Artie as the clown with the background music - I like that! It blends! And the clown was cute!

And ..... that bedroom scene with Janet ...........and his new pants .......ahem! (Blue clams shut)

One of my favorite eps - except for that croc scene!



AdorableBlue
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/27/2003 :  22:01:35  Show Profile
Last night, I reviewed this episode (and the next), and I agree with the emerging consensus. "The Night of Sudden Death" (notice there's only one "the" in the title) is a first-season gem. Flawed, perhaps, but still sparkling.

Tracked with Richard Markowitz's thrilling music, the teaser is slam-bang terrific. No cutaway cheats: Stunt men are actually climbing all over each other, shinnying up and down all those walls and and posts and pipes. Plus, this teaser is a real tease: We have to wait until after opening titles and commercial break to understand the reason for everything we've seen (the substituion of bogus plates and the theft of real ones).

From there, the episode is filled with very nice touches:

* Stock shot of the circus parade, followed by a clever overhead shot of West entering the hotel—anticipating the peril that soon will befall him from overhead, in his room. BTW: This episode features a double for Conrad—Chuck O'Brien, I think—more often than in later episodes. I'm pretty sure that's a double who gets hit by the masked marauder from the hotel-room ceiling. I know it's a double for the quick shots, in Act IV, when West tumbles off the skin-trap stage—the scene Adorable worried about—and that marvelous surprise shot when "Crusher" leaps onto West from the veldt promintory, just before the attacker gets Trevor's arrow in the back.

* Notice the sly eye a passing nurse gives West as he and the doctor approach Foxx's hosiptal room. Ditto the dangling trapeze artiste who greets West as he enters the circus grounds. (The Freiberger episodes are filled with these female come-ons.) Notice also the sly look that West gives Hugo, after he's unable to bend with his biceps the metal tube to which Crusher has applied his thighs.

* West's being led down the jungle path—on CBS's Gilligan's Island set—to the croccodile pool is great, cued to slightly sinister source music (a calliope playing, appropriately, "The Daring Young Man") underscored by Markowitz's deep and strange marimbas. Cossette, the young lady we've referred to as "the ballerina"—actually, I thought she was a high-wire artist, given the music and her parasol (for balance on a wire)—is weird; but when has West ever refused a reasonable invitation from a beautiful woman? Her hearty laughter as Ol' Pepsodint prepares for a hearty meal is chilling. (Another question of interpretation: Does she later avert her eyes because she think croc has the better of West, or because she's disappointed that West is getting the better of croc?)

* Is it just me, or is anyone else impressed by the way the actors interact with that very real tiger? Yes, I know, there was a genuine wild animal trainer on the set, just out of camera-view. Still, look again at the scene where Conrad collapses, wet and exhausted, on the beach—and how close that tiger comes to pawing him. Throughout the episode, Antoinette Bower, playing Janet Coburn, actually looks at ease with that big cat. You know she couldn't have been!

* Is it just me, or is anyone else impressed by how much innuendo the CBS censors let this episode's producers get away with, in the scene during and just after West's dressing in Janet's bedroom? All that byplay about "hunger," while Janet belts West? The two of them nuzzling, with cutaways of the tiger fondling and chewing a toy on Janet's bed? Then, when West and Janet enter Trevor's dining room, both are wearing the same revealingly cut, silver lamé shirts? I think all this is a thousand times sexier than the obvious crap all the networks fling out nowadays! FYI: I replayed several times the disputed line that West whispers into Janet's hair. I still don't know what he's saying—but after all this other business, I really don't care!

* Speaking of sex, Mr. Gordon is positively lascivious in the cage with Miss Coburn. "Do you know some nights I actually roar? Roar!" (I bet he does.) Beyond his escape prowess with a hair-pin, the tag's ending is also cute and sexy: notice how Janet does a little double-skip, to exit in step with Mr. Gordon and Corinne, as the image freezes to a cut on three cute round butts.

The flaws, IMHO: As such, I think Warren Trevor and his scheme to buy Central Africa are pedestrian by West's high standards. The character is redeemed by the actor: Played by someone without Robert Loggia's ability and presence, Trevor would have been an awful bore. Couldron has noted the plot holes about whether the circus is itinerant or located. Here's another: If you were into serious counterfeiting, would you set up your print shop at a circus? (In fact, in the third season episode that also blends counterfeiting with that setting, "The Night of the Circus of Death," West comments to Artie that there's nowhere securely to hide a printing press at a place so public as a circus.) And so you'll say: Well, that's why Trevor pitched a special counterfeiter's tent (!) in the restricted area, the reproduction of the African veldt. So how many working counterfeiters did Wonderful Warren lose every day to strolling croccodiles, lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my!)? And another thing: After West feeds Trevor to Croc #2, and he and Corinne return to the circus grounds, where has everyone else gone? All those other ruffians don't yet know that Trevor was Today's Entreé. It's really lucky for our side, and for the show's producers, that the whole gang ups and leaves with only three minutes left in the episode.

Still, this one shines. Out of a possible five, I'll give it
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AdorableBlue
SS novice field agent

948 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  03:56:19  Show Profile  Visit AdorableBlue's Homepage
Ccb, did they have a group (sorry, if this ain't the correct collective noun to use!) of "regular" animals on the set? I did wonder if that tiger was the same tiger in "Golden Cobra" (and one more eps I forgot which!)? It does seemed harmless. There was a pic of RC holding onto the leash of the tiger -promo pic, I think. A very nice one, too.

And that dog which appeared in Bars of Hell, was also in Inferno and I think Falcon, too. Even the cat seemed "regular".





AdorableBlue
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  05:50:52  Show Profile
Excellent points ccb! This is why I like reading other opinions because no matter how many times I watch an episode myself, I’ll miss stuff. I never really noticed how the overhead tracking shot of Jim entering the hotel room foreshadows the attack from Crusher. Very nicely done. I also missed the nurse in the hospital eying Jim; it is typical of the Frieberger episodes and is taken directly from the Bond movies. I also pondered the type of circus, in the first act it seems the circus is coming into town but then there’s the veldt area and it looks permanent. Also, much credit should go to Robert Loggia’s ability and presence for making the most out of Trevor.
True, there is lots of innuendo in this one. After Trevor heartlessly kills Janet’s tiger (this is the move that makes me totally hate him) he says something along the lines of “I see you’ve also fallen for Mr. West’s charm.”

I have to watch the skins scene again closely to see if I can spot the double. Don’t worry Adorable, I’m sure the sides weren’t cement; most likely it was a wooden platform, covered with papier-mâché.

Thanks ccb for also mentioning the animals in this episode. Antoinette Bower is a good actress but I don’t think she’s an expert with animals however, she looks totally natural and at ease handling the tiger. A pro.

Can’t wait to watch more. I think “TNO A Thousand Eyes” is next.


Mr. Phelps
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2003 :  19:38:42  Show Profile
As usualy ccb your comment provoke a lot of thought. You nailed why I like this episode.
I do have one more question. How did they do the arrow shooting. It looks like it really hit him.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2003 :  08:46:27  Show Profile
How did they do the arrow shooting. It looks like it really hit him.

I think it really did. I'm no expert in stunt magic—let's get Whitey Hughes in here for a professional explanation how they do these things—but my guess is that (1) they used an arrow with a normal shaft and a weighted but dulled head, (2) fired it carefully, just outside camera range, with just enough velocity, (3) belted a good, thick protective pad around the stunt man's back, beneath his shirt, then (4) paid him a lot of 1965 dollars, with a bonus if the gag drew blood!

The stunt that really gets my attention is in an episode that you will soon be bringing to our attention. Thanks for taking the lead in this, mc.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2003 :  15:06:24  Show Profile
There’s one other thing I noticed about this entry. I believe this is the first Wanderer-less episode, there is no train. There are a handful without it.

Mr. Phelps
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2003 :  16:40:09  Show Profile
quote:
I believe this is the first Wanderer-less episode, there is no train.

Good point! I had not noticed. We will have to count them as we go.
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JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2003 :  19:00:21  Show Profile
[/quote]
We will have to count them as we go.
[/quote]
Now that's a great trivia question!

Mr. Phelps
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2003 :  19:38:55  Show Profile
Now that's a great trivia question!

Yeah, I thought so, too—until I asked it many moon ago. I don't remember the chorus rising up to call me blessed.
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lleroy
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
261 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2003 :  03:51:40  Show Profile
Well, it was a tough one, but the team rose to the occasion and solved it cooperatively while ccb was out of the country (or at least away from his computer).

Leslie
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