McCLOUD: ENCOUNTER WITH ARIES (TV) (1971, USA) ***½
Crime, Drama, Mystery
Network: NATIONAL BROADCASTING COMPANY (NBC) (USA); production company: UNIVERSAL TELEVISION; director: RUSS MAYBERRY; writer: PETER ALLAN FIELDS; producer: DEAN HARGROVE; associate producer: PETER ALLAN FIELDS; director of photography: WILLIAM MARGULIES (Technicolor | 35mm | Spherical | 1.37:1); music: DICK DEBENEDICTIS; film editor: BYRON ‘BUZZ’ BRANDT; art director: WILLIAM H. TUNTKE; set decorator: JOSEPH J. STONE; costumes: GRADY HUNT; sound: EDWIN S. HALL (Mono); broadcast date: 22 SEPTEMBER 1971 (USA); BBFC cert: PG; running time: 76 MINS.
Cast: DENNIS WEAVER (Sam McCloud), J.D. CANNON (Peter B. Clifford), SEBASTIAN CABOT (Sidney Cantrell), PETER HASKELL (Richard Stevens), SUSAN STRASBERG (Lorraine), LOUISE LATHAM (Emily Cantrell), ALAN OPPENHEIMER (Mervin Simmons), TERRY CARTER (Det. Joe Broadhurst), ROBERT HOGAN (Detective Finnegan), JILL JARESS (Gloria), BOOTH COLMAN (Hines), WOODROW PARFREY (Elmer), ELISHA COOK JR. (Mr. Rafer), FORREST LEWIS (Old Man), FRED HOLLIDAY (Intern), ELIZABETH LANE (Nurse), ATHENA LORDE (Floor Nurse), NANCY JERIS (Marie), JAMES GAVIN (Policeman).
The kidnapping of a woman (Latham) who is married to a wealthy astrologer (Cabot) — and the appearance of her kidnapper (Haskell), who claims she is being held in a room with a ticking time bomb — spur the woman’s husband to bash in the kidnapper’s head with a vase. This leaves McCloud (Weaver) with a limited time to determine where the woman is and who is really behind the kidnapping. This was the first episode following the transition of McCloud from its one-hour slot as part of the Four-in-One wheel to a regular rotation as part of the NBC Mystery Movie series. The story is a strong one with elements of mystery and humour. By now the role of McCloud fits the charming Weaver as well as his cowboy boots and his sparring with Cannon is always a joy to watch. A good script by Fields, tight direction from Mayberry and the casting of Cabot as the astrologer also help make this an above average mystery movie.
CANNON (TV) (1971, USA) ***
Action, Crime, Mystery, Drama
dist. Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS); pr co. Quinn Martin Productions / Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS); d. George McCowan; w. Edward Hume; exec pr. Quinn Martin; pr. Arthur Fellows, Adrian Samish; ass pr. Howard P. Alston; ph. John A. Alonzo (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. John Carl Parker; ed. Jerry Young; ad. Philip Barber; set d. Ray Molyneaux; cos. Dorothy H. Rodgers, Eric Seelig; m/up. Richard Cobos, Gloria Montemayor; sd. Robert J. Miller (Mono (Westrex Recording System)); rel. 26 March 1971 (USA), 21 October 1972 (UK); cert: PG; r/t. 98m.
cast: William Conrad (Frank Cannon), J.D. Cannon (Lt. Kelly Redfield), Lynda Day George (Christie Redfield), Murray Hamilton (Virgil Holley), Earl Holliman (Magruder), Vera Miles (Diana Langston), Barry Sullivan (Calhoun), Keenan Wynn (Eddie), Lynne Marta (Trudy Hewett), Norman Alden (Mitchell), Ellen Corby (Teacher), John Fiedler (Jake), Lawrence Pressman (Herb Mayer), Ross Hagen (Red Dunleavy), Robert Sorrells (Tough in Blue Moon bar), Pamela Dunlap (Laverne Holley), Jimmy Lydon (Betting Clerk), William Joyce (Ken Langston), Wayne McLaren (Jackie / T.J.).
William Conrad stars as portly private detective Frank Cannon who investigates the murder of his ex-girlfriend (Miles)’s husband and gets entangled in small-town corruption. This is the pilot for the long-running series, which ran for five seasons from 1972-76. The story may be a standard mystery, but Conrad’s colourful performance and a strong guest cast make it an enjoyable movie. McCowan directs with some flair and adds a gritty realism through his frequent use of hand-held camera. A reunion movie THE RETURN OF FRANK CANNON (1980) appeared later.
ALIAS SMITH & JONES: THE LEGACY OF CHARLIE O’ROURKE (1971, USA) ***
net. American Broadcasting Company (ABC); pr co. Universal/Public Arts Production; d. Jeffrey Hayden; w. Dick Nelson (based on a story by Robert Guy Barrows); exec pr. Roy Huggins; pr. Glen A. Larson; ass pr. Steve Heilpern, Jo Swerling Jr.; ph. Gene Polito (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); th. Billy Goldenberg; ed. Gloryette Clark; ad. Robert Emmet Smith; set d. Joseph J. Stone; cos. Vincent Dee; sd. Robert R. Bertrand (Mono); tr. 7 June 1971; r/t. 51m.
cast: Pete Duel (Hannibal Heyes (alias Joshua Smith)), Ben Murphy (Jed ‘Kid’ Curry (alias Thaddeus Jones)), Joan Hackett (Alice Banion), J.D. Cannon (Harry Briscoe), Guy Raymond (Sheriff Carver), Billy Green Bush (Charlie O’Rourke), Erik Holland (Kurt Schmitt), Hank Underwood (Vic), Steve Gravers (Parson), Gary Van Ormand (Clyde), Al Bain (Townsman (uncredited)), Roger Davis (Narrator (uncredited)), Ben Frommer (Townsman (uncredited)), Joe Phillips (Townsman (uncredited)), Bill Walker (Townsman (uncredited)).
(s. 1 ep. 15) Charlie O’Rourke (Green Bush), a friend of Heyes and Curry (Duel and Murphy) from their outlaw days, is about to be hanged for a robbery which resulted in several deaths. He recognizes Heyes and Curry from his jail-cell window and offers them a map to the gold bars he stole, wanting that to be his “legacy” to them. The boys decline, but others — including Bannerman detective Harry Briscoe (Cannon) — steal the map and head after the gold. In the interests of staying honest and turning the tables on Briscoe, an old foe who might be a friend, the boys start trailing the gold hunters. This episode feels like it has a little too much padding and crossing and double-crossing for its own good. That said, it is always a delight to see Cannon as the snake-like Bannerman man. Hackett also has a lot of charm in her role. The main problem with this episode is that everything feels a little too contrived and neat despite the enthusiastic performances and good levels of humour.
Raise the Titanic (1980; UK/USA; Colour; 115m) ** d. Jerry Jameson; w. Adam Kennedy, Eric Hughes; ph. Matthew F. Leonetti; m. John Barry. Cast: Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, Alec Guinness, J.D. Cannon, M. Emmet Walsh, Bo Brundin, Norman Bartold, Elya Baskin, Dirk Blocker, Robert Broyles, Paul Carr, Michael C. Gwynne, Harvey Lewis. To obtain a supply of a rare mineral, a ship raising operation is conducted for the only known source, the Titanic. Flat adaptation of Clive Cussler’s novel is slow-moving and blighted by a bland script. The characters are two-dimensional and there is little opportunity to develop them through the story. There is a distinct lack of suspense and the political conflict is not fully explored. on the positive side Barry’s core is sumptuous and the visual effects are excellent. [PG]
Give My Regrets to Broadway (TV) (1972; USA; Technicolor; 75m) **½ d. Lou Antonio; w. Peter Allan Fields; ph. Harry L. Wolf; m. Billy Goldenberg. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Milton Berle, Barbara Rush, Janette Lane Bradbury, Diana Muldaur, Terry Carter, Eric Christmas, Vic Tayback. An explosion kills an officer filling in for McCloud. The plot here is routine in this McCloud series entry and there is plenty of filler with a musical number for Weaver and also Bradbury. Berle has a guest role as a Broadway producer. [PG]
Sharks! (TV) (1975; USA; Technicolor; 98m) **½ d. E.W. Swackhamer; w. Lou Shaw, Stephen Lord; ph. Ben Colman; m. Stu Phillips. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Terry Carter, Christopher George, Lynda Day George, A Martinez, Dick Haymes, Herb Jefferson, Jr., Pat Hingle. McCloud disobeys a lieutenant to investigate a loan shark he suspects of murder. Good use of NYC locations in this McCloud entry. Story runs out of steam in its final act with protracted plane chase, but Weaver’s easy-going charm and a strong cast make the most of the routine situations. [PG]
42nd Street Cavalry, The (TV) (1974; USA; Technicolor; 96m) *** d. Jerry Jameson; w. Michael Gleason; ph. Ben Colman, Sol Negrin; m. Stu Phillips. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Terry Carter, Julie Sommars, Peter Mark Richman, Rafael Campos, Victor Campos, Michael Parks. The mounted patrol, McCloud and a sergeant probe a weapons robbery and death. Neatly packaged entry in the McCloud series mixing action and humour alongside Weaver’s laconic charm. Transition from location to studio footage sometimes jars, but the cast work hard. Richman played McCloud’s boss, Chief Clifford, in the original pilot before Cannon took the role for the series. [PG]
This Must Be the Alamo (TV) (1974; USA; Technicolor; 96m) ***½ d. Bruce Kessler; w. Glen A. Larson; ph. Alric Edens; m. Stu Phillips. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Terry Carter, Van Johnson, Laraine Stephens, Ray Danton, Eugene Roche, Della Reese, Jack Kelly, Gregory Sierra, Ken Lynch, Teri Garr, Sidney Klute. A football gambling operation begins eliminating witnesses and clues, leading to an attack on police headquarters. One of the best entries in the McCloud series with a witty script and a strong ensemble cast. The formula would be repeated in RETURN TO THE ALAMO the following year. [PG]
Disposal Man, The (TV) (1971; USA; Technicolor; 76m) **½ d. Boris Sagal; w. Mel Arrighi, Dean Hargrove; ph. William Margulies; m. Billy Goldenberg. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Patrick O’Neal, James Olson, Jack Carter, Arthur O’Connell, Nita Talbot, Diana Muldaur, James McEachin. McCloud protects an executive who refuses to believe he is in danger from a killer. This entry in the McCloud series is drawn out and lacks the edge of the series at its best. Olson is a distinctive hit-man, but the plot lacks tension. [PG]
Colorado Cattle Caper, The (TV) (1974; USA; Technicolor; 75m) *** d. Robert Day; w. Michael Gleason; ph. Alric Edens; m. Frank De Vol. Cast: Dennis Weaver, J. D. Cannon, Terry Carter, Claude Akins, Patrick Wayne, John Denver, Ed Ames, Robert Sampson, Farrah Fawcett, Vic Tayback, Austin Stoker. In Colorado to pick up a suspect, McCloud helps a local sheriff catch cattle rustlers. Enjoyable entry in the McCloud series reverses the concept of the series by having NYC cops Cannon and Carter ship out west. A deft blend of action and humour with a strong support cast including an early role for Fawcett as well as Denver as a singing deputy. [PG]