Half a Death gets off to a troubled start thanks to Tod Andrews. He’s only in the episode (of “Ghost Story”) for the first scene, but he’s just awful. Watching Eleanor Parker act opposite him is painful. While Henry Slesar’s script is no great shakes in the dialogue department, Parker still turns in a good performance. Andrews just flops.
Then Pamela Franklin–the protagonist–shows up and Death gets quite a bit better. Franklin and Parker are both excellent and they often make Death worthwhile. Slesar has a decent plot, if a bit contrived at times.
But the ending is so contrived, even with good supporting performances from Signe Hasso and, to a lesser extent, Stephen Brooks, it’s hard to get involved. Slesar jumps forward too much in the timeline, making his long scenes the only effective ones.
The ending is summary.
Still, Franklin and Parker give outstanding, complex performances.
Directed by Leslie H. Martinson; teleplay by Harry Slesar; “Ghost Story” created by William Castle; director of photography, Emmett Bergholz; edited by John Sheets; music by Billy Goldenberg and Robert Prince; produced by Joel Rogosin; aired by the Columbia Broadcasting System.
Starring Pamela Franklin (Christina Burgess), Stephen Brooks (Ethan), Andrew Duggan (Jeremy), Tod Andrews (Andrew Burgess), Signe Hasso (Mrs. Eliscu), Taylor Lacher (Charlie Eliscu) and Eleanor Parker (Paula Burgess).
Posted in 1972, Color, Columbia Broadcasting System, English, Horror, Thriller, USA
Tagged Andrew Duggan, Billy Goldenberg, Eleanor Parker, Emmett Bergholz, Harry Slesar, Joel Rogosin, John Sheets, Leslie H. Martinson, Pamela Franklin, Robert Prince, Signe Hasso, Stephen Brooks, Taylor Lacher, Tod Andrews, William Castle
Don Siegel can compose no matter what ratio, so his shots in The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross are all fine. There’s a lack of coverage and the edits are occasionally off, but it’s a TV show (an episode of “The Twilight Zone”); it’s expected.
And Siegel does get in the occasional fantastic shot. He’s got a great lead actress with Gail Kobe and Vaughn Taylor’s all right as her father. The problem’s the lead, Don Gordon. Gordon has some great monologues but when he’s acting or reacting to someone else, he falls apart. It’s probably the script, which concerns a listless thug who discovers he can magically trade physical and psychological conditions with people.
He figures to “improve” himself with the power. But the character has no motivation other than filling twenty-some minutes of a television program.
Still, a single great Siegel shot makes up for the rest.
Directed by Don Siegel; teleplay by Jerry McNeely, based on a story by Harry Slesar; “The Twilight Zone” created by Rod Serling; director of photography, George T. Clemens; edited by Richard V. Heermance; produced by Bert Granet; aired by CBS Television Network.
Starring Don Gordon (Salvadore Ross), Gail Kobe (Leah Maitland), Vaughn Taylor (Mr. Maitland), J. Pat O’Malley (Old Man), Douglass Dumbrille (Mr. Halpert) and Douglas Lambert (Albert).
Posted in 1964, Black and White, Columbia Broadcasting System, English, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller, USA
Tagged Bert Granet, Don Gordon, Don Siegel, Douglas Lambert, Douglass Dumbrille, Gail Kobe, George T. Clemens, Harry Slesar, J. Pat O'Malley, Jerry McNeely, Richard V. Heermance, Rod Serling, Vaughn Taylor