THE WILD WILD WEST  @ wildwildwest.org
THE WILD WILD WEST @ wildwildwest.org
Home | Profile | Active Topics | Members | Search | FAQ
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?

 All Forums
 Wild Wild West - Chat and Play
 Wild Wild West General Discussion Board
 The Night of the Torture Chamber
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

couldron
SS novice field agent

1444 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2003 :  12:42:07  Show Profile
The Night of the Torture Chamber is the last of Fred Freiberger’s episodes. There are gorgeous women in this episode Angelique (Viviane Ventura), Helva (Nadie Sanders), and Miss Piecemeal (Sigrid Valdis). Miss Piecemeal we first met in The Night the Wizard Shook the Earth. She was the secretary of the Governor of California. We are told that Jim and Artie met her and Governor Bradford (Henry Beckman) a year ago. At the end of this episode the agents offer to show the women the Barbary Coast, it must be California. Why would they want to go to such a notorious place that was described as being rough and tumble malnutrition, plague, scarlet fever, meningitis, typhoid, and tuberculosis place? That it is the same governor and a different actor is probably the case. It should be no surprise that Miss Piecemeal works for the bad man. She worked for Dr. Loveless which the agents never knew. Sigrid does a wonderful job. Although the way she talks, reminds me of Marylyn Monroe which I always thought was too much acting or perhaps not enough.

The adversary comes in the form of Prof. Bolt (Alfred Ryder). He is good in this role. He is menacing wielding a blade on a picture then turning it on Miss Piecemeal. The ring that must be the right temperature is a nice touch of megalomania. Being pressed in a wine vat, having a look alike that is first seen as a painted statue may not be bizarre for today but it qualified in the 60’s. Is the wine vat the torture chamber?

Artie and Jim’s friendship is getting stronger. Artie is beginning to emerge as a partner and not as hireling. His disguise is well done as the expert who sees only counterfeits frustrating the Professors plans of a great collection of art. I appreciate the part where Jim is admiring Angelique at the unveiling of the statue. As I do the scene where Jim is looking at the picture, trying to figure out what is wrong.

The stairs are familiar they were used in Dancing Death. They strike me because they look so steep.

For Freiberger's last episode I give


Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2003 :  14:54:32  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
not one of my favorite eps, can't really pinpoint why though, perhaps when they jab Bradford with the needle is why, I'm cool with darts but if I see a needle get the smelling salts!

I must say Artie's disguise in this ep revived me from that ucky needle I the whole scene, Artie convincing Bolt he had forgeries, he almost convinced me and then when Bolt starts laughing out of relief when he finds out it's Artie and that he really doesn't have fakes is one of my favorite spots, he's more relieved that he doesn't have fakes than concerned over the pistol Artie has against him

And isn't Artie a devil at the end? That's so funny how he gets Helva to give him a massage only to find her hands are too cold (which ties us right back into the begining of the ep with Bolt saying her hands too cold good writing there) lol, a small 'poor Artie' seen that is, and I giggle with Jim (well, Jim doesn't giggle) over that

Jim's power of observation is great in this one that he can figure out that he is dealing with an imposter Bradford with the help of the painting. Amazing, score a point for Jim! Also being able to ward off Temptress Miss Piecemeal in his dedication to his job! Score another point for our 'epic hero' Jim!

for this ep (that needle really struck out the fourth for me; )

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
Go to Top of Page

ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2003 :  17:51:48  Show Profile
I dunno; maybe it's just been a hard week. Still, this and "The Dancing Death" are my least favorite Freibergers, so I'll even up my score: Too bad Fred was forced to cash in his chips with this one.

As with all the first season episodes, there are some nice touches. Alfred Ryder plays villainy well, even though he hasn't much to do in this one except be eccentric. The supporting cast is generally good. Sigrid Valdis is a real honey; love that sexy gown she wears from the end of Act II through Act IV. Pierre from Paris is a real hoot ("Old Woolwebber"; "La-la-la-la—carefully"; "ma grande tante Maude"). This is Alan Crosland's first directorial outing, and he nicely stages claustrophobic episodes. Markowitz's musical cues, mostly taken from "Terror Stalked the Town," are a pleasure to hear again. So what's not to like?

First, the teaser: It's surely one of the series' weirdest and most memorable—but what exactly is it supposed to mean? Presumably, a real bust of the governor exists (see Act II). So what's the point of painting the person, paralyzed? To get him out of the Bolt Museum? But they don't; they imprison him in its cellar. And what's the point of having the imposter painted? What is this thing called Love, this funny thing called Love? Just who can solve its mystery?

Second, the story: There's really not much to it, and what there is seems, frankly, small potatoes for the Secret Service's finest. I'm delighted that the Professor wants a world-class art collection. I'm happy his fraud is exposed, his extortion scotched. But this is the sort of plot that Professor Cadwallader would have sniffed at. General Grimm would have whipped the oils off all the canvases. Please.

Third, "Torture Chamber" falls into the same trap as "Dancing Death": When you don't have much of a story, P - A - A - A - D it way out there. Let's use up five minutes translating a secret telegraph code, then salivating over Miss Piecemeal. Don't cut from Bolt at Gordon's pistol-point to the wine-press; let's walk him out. Then down. Then up. And one scary, abortive attempt on West's life isn't enough. Let's have two. Three. Four. Let's lose count, because we all know that West isn't going to be offed, anyway.

Enough already. There's more sizzle than steak in this one. I'd not rip it apart with ninja blade, but I'd probably store it down in the basement.
Go to Top of Page

Elaine
SS 1st assignment - desk job

356 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2003 :  19:55:31  Show Profile
ccb: As always, thanks for a fine and witty review.

I don't know what you teach, but I would love to be in your class!
Go to Top of Page

n/a
deleted

243 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  09:43:54  Show Profile
quote:
I don't know what you teach, but I would love to be in your class!



Our quizmeister is also a perfesser!! Who knew? The secret lives people lead!!!
Go to Top of Page

ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3908 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  11:02:05  Show Profile
Elaine: I don't know what you teach, but I would love to be in your class!

I appreciate the compliment. If you were in my class, however, I would encourage you to speak up more often. I'd really like to know what you make of these episodes. I'd bet others would, too!
Go to Top of Page

Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  16:26:17  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
what do you teach ccb? just curious I'm an aspiring community college english teacher

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
Go to Top of Page

K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  16:44:31  Show Profile
I didn't think college professors actually taught anymore. I thought they had grad assistants to do it!
Go to Top of Page

n/a
deleted

243 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  17:57:07  Show Profile
...That spells two questions for the quizmeister: what does he teach and... where? (university or school level?)
We could turn this into a quiz. My guesses would be (a) history and (b) university.
Go to Top of Page

K Mills
SS novice field agent

849 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  18:05:19  Show Profile
Sometimes I forget that you puppies (said with much affection) weren't around when we did the Who am I survey. It is in the Archives, somewhere! K
Go to Top of Page

MonkeeMaven
SS 1st assignment - desk job

393 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  19:14:48  Show Profile  Visit MonkeeMaven's Homepage
http://www.wildwildwest.org/forum/topic.asp?ARCHIVE=true&TOPIC_ID=86
Go to Top of Page

Redhead1617
SS novice field agent

USA
1393 Posts

Posted - 10/19/2003 :  19:31:20  Show Profile  Visit Redhead1617's Homepage
wow, ccb's in the same state I'm in! I remember doing the Princeton P-rade when I was in my high school marching band, forget which class we represented... that was fun

Well, K, I'm going to be a grad student the year after next year, so I'll have my share of that too

~Red

*sigh...where's MY Ross Martin?
Go to Top of Page

JimPhelps
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
417 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2003 :  11:32:34  Show Profile
TNOT Torture Chamber

An enjoyable final outing for producer Frieberger, and although I can’t seem to find the “torture chamber” it’s still a lot of fun and with one of my most favorite musical segments of the series.

This episode has many moments and characters that are classic West. We begin with the teaser, of course, when you sit down to think about it, the plan to kidnap the governor seems needlessly elaborate (but what do I know about convoluted plans ), why go through the trouble of disguising your doppelganger as a bronze bust then replacing him with the real McCoy, as ccb said it would be a good idea if the governor needed to be moved out of the building but he is only taken to the basement. However, it is an effective teaser and does come out of the blue for the first time viewer: the music, zooming in on the “bust” the eyes pop open, cut to a hypodermic injecting the governor, immediately we cut to a wide shot, actor Henry Beckman is now the doppelganger removing his hat and makeup, while the guards slip the hat on Beckman’s stand-in and place him behind the podium. It’s all choreographed very well, flowing very smoothly, and then we cut back to Beckman in the podium being painted as his own bust. Ultimately, it makes no sense but it sure gets your attention. What’s going on here?

Whatever it is, it involves Miss Piecemeal who we already know is an evildoer from her previous and very short appearance in “TNT Wizard Shook The Earth”, although her employer seems to have changed. The first scene in Act I is a bit padded with all of the decoding rhetoric, and necessary exposition: The governor is afraid for his life and needs Jim and Artie to protect him. The twist is, we already know that a substitution has been made so the fun is watching the guys figure this out then counter it.

For the second time in the short life of the series we have the doppelganger device, the duplicate is not in the form of one of the agents rather it’s the governor who’s been replaced by a “look alike” actor. Henry Beckman handles the dual roles quite well; as the governor he is dutiful, confident, a man in charge, demanding answers even when he is being held captive by Bolt, as Jamison Beckman is nervous, fumbling, and deferential to Miss Piecemeal, his constant “Yes ma’am” s give away the utter hopelessness of Jamison’s predicament, he is in way over his head and he knows it.

The second guest performance of note is Alfred Ryder who plays Professor Bolt to effete perfection. He has all of the trappings of an eccentric art collector; his “students”, the ring which must be at the correct temperature, the valuable work of art he *****es after listening to all of the positive comments about it, he doesn’t like it so it must be destroyed. Professor Bolt seems to come from that Bond school of villains that was popular in the Roger Moore years, villains like Stromburg or Drax, who keep trying more and more elaborate ways of killing off their arch-enemy only to have each effort end in a miserable and embarrassing failure. The attack by the street gang on Jim and Artie, the spear in the museum, at one point Jim is being held at gunpoint, caught appearing to assassinate the governor, of course he easily neutralizes all threats, and after his escape from the governor’s office he meets up with Artie for one of my all time favorite scenes in the entire series.

It begins with an angry Bolt in his study, Miss Piecemeal has failed on all counts and is on her way out, Bolt confers with Durand and his guards about the situation: the Secret Service knows that we have replaced the governor and are robbing the treasury, however the machinery of the state is still at Bolt’s disposal. Bolt asks his men about West, what would a man of his experience do next…

Quick cut to the museum lobby with Artemus’ theme playing in the background, a sharp knock on the door, a haughty Frenchman walks in announcing that he has come to see Professor Bolt, in Borglike fashion the man begins to walk around the museum examining art pieces completely oblivious to the security guard following him. It is of course: “Gaston LaRousse” the French government’s art expert. The poor guard follows LaRousse around the museum asking: “Sir, who shall I say?” “Sir?” “Who shall I say?” finally LaRousse has been bothered enough that he takes a card from his coat and passes it to the guard, barley acknowledging the man’s presence in the process. It’s a hysterical beautifully done scene, and it’s perfectly contrasted (music and all) with the jump cuts to outside of the museum and Jim’s (physical) infiltration of the museum. We see perfectly the yin and yang that makes WWW work so well, the subtle approach and the direct. both men working at the top of their game.

What follows is classic, as Artie convinces Bolt that he has spent millions on fakes and forgeries, the characters he comes up with are a hoot, the old stone cutter who dies leaving nine children, the way he just smacks one canvas with his cane giving Bolt a heart attack. When he finally reveals himself to the professor it’s clear that Bolt is an art connoisseur first and an evil mastermind second, he has a gun sticking in his ribs and he laughs when he’s told that he’s been fooled about his collection. Bolt does get the drop on Artie (literally) but it’s really a Pyrrhic victory, the wine press is easier to get out of than a cardboard box.
(I noticed the set used for the wine press also made an appearance, wine press and all, in the two-part “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” episode “The Bridge of Lions Affair” available on VHS)

By this time things look pretty bleak for Bolt, his world is crumbling around him, and his only ally seems to be Jamison who’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Jim, knowing where the professor’s heart really lies, uses a Rembrandt to save his own life and bring Bolt into custody.

The tag is a nice one, and interesting to note the character interaction between Jim and Artie in this, the final Frieberger episode as opposed to “TNOT Deadly Bed”, we’ve come a long way. I like the good-natured laugh and slap on the back Jim gives Artie before they leave with their dates.

The commercial break artwork is top notch in this episode. A good variety and free of stock shots. We have Bolt and Miss Piecemeal testing the spear, Jim (once again in the upper right hand) held at gunpoint, our heroes in the wine press, and Jim making an exit. Lovely.

Overall good, I give it three prosthetic noses out of four.



Mr. Phelps
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
THE WILD WILD WEST @ wildwildwest.org © WildWildWest.org - Third Side of the Coin Go To Top Of Page
Snitz Forums 2000