Tag Archives: Robert Quarry

Young Couples Only (1955, Richard Irving)

Young Couples Only is really good. Especially when you consider how Bill Williams is so weak in the lead and how director Irving never does anything special. He never does anything bad, he just doesn’t do anything special. He certainly doesn’t keep Williams in line. It’s probably a very good thing Williams’s real-life wife Barbara Hale plays his TV wife here. She can carry the scenes for him. And the other scenes usually have Peter Lorre, who does a phenomenal job implying all sorts of depth to his quirky character.

Hale and Williams live in a very nice apartment building. Furnished for–adjusted for inflation–about $600 a month. The only rules are the residents have to be couples, they have to be young, they have to be fit. Williams is an illustrator who isn’t particularly insightful; there’s a brief subplot about Hale not getting his humor (but other men do) but since it turns out Hale is right about everything in the world, maybe Williams doesn’t know what he’s doing.

See, Hale thinks there’s something funny about Lorre, who’s playing the janitor. He gives Hale and the other wives in the building the creeps, even though he’s never really done anything. Other than be Peter Lorre. Williams dismisses Hale–her exasperation at his inability to get past dismissing her because, well, she’s a woman is phenomenal–while she gets more and more suspicious. Especially after their dog disappears.

There are a series of reveals in the second half, each better than the last. Not sure if Lawrence Kimble’s teleplay had the plot twist smarts or Richard Matheson’s short story, but they come off beautifully. Once Williams is in crisis mode, he’s a lot better. Until then, he’s just either having Hale carry his proverbial water for him or Lorre carry it. Young Couples Only sort of plays like a sitcom, with broad, affable performances from Hale and then Williams, only it turns out the show’s just getting warmed up and Hale’s along with the changing tone…and Williams isn’t.

But it still works out beautifully. Thanks to Lorre, thanks to Hale, thanks to the perfectly competent, unambitious technical execution. Young Couples Only is good.

3/3Highly Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Richard Irving; teleplay by Lawrence Kimble, based on a story by Richard Matheson; “Studio 57” presented by Joel Aldrich; director of photography, Herbert Kirkpatrick; edited by Edward W. Williams; aired by the DuMont Television Network.

Starring Barbara Hale (Ruth), Bill Williams (Rick), Peter Lorre (Mr. Grover), Danni Sue Nolan (Marge), Robert Quarry (Phil), and Paul Bryar (Officer Johnson).



amoktime

THIS POST IS PART OF THE 5TH ANNUAL FAVOURITE TV SHOW EPISODE BLOGATHON HOSTED BY TERENCE TOWLES CANOTE OF A SHROUD OF THOUGHTS


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Count Yorga, Vampire (1970, Bob Kelljan)

Count Yorga, Vampire is a retelling of Dracula, modernizing it to the then-contemporary 1970 and changing the locale to Los Angeles. It’s also incredibly low budget–not so low budget it has bad acting (its acting is actually the strong-point)–but it has blacked out windows on houses and cars (so night scenes can be shot at day), obviously day-lighted shots in cars standing in for shots at night, really boring and unbelievable sets (the final showdown takes place in what appears to be an under-decorated hotel hallway). The best is when two of the characters go for a walk and talk and talk. It’s two guys touring L.A., having a five minute conversation, in about fifteen locations with the camera never getting close enough to “reveal” their dialogue’s been dubbed over. Oddly, besides that conversation, it’s never poorly done. The sets are lame, but reasonably excusable.

I didn’t know Yorga was intended to be a straight Dracula retelling until after I’d started watching it. The opening scene is actually the worst, with only the vampire, played by Robert Quarry, turning in a good performance initially. Michael Murphy’s in it, which is why I watched it, and he’s fine–likable and everything, but his role’s obviously light since it’s a low budget vampire movie. It isn’t until Roger Perry, as the doctor who knows the truth about vampires, shows up the film really gets going. Perry and Quarry have a couple fantastic scenes together and those alone might make it worth watching. Quarry’s a great vampire, certainly the best vampire performance I can think of. He’s thrilled to be a vampire and the performance is playful and entertaining, even though he’s obviously, you know, a bad guy.

The rest of the cast is fine, but totally uninspired. According to IMDb, one of the actors used to star in commercials, which makes sense. She delivers lines and exhibits some emotion, but she’s flat, just like a commercial. The director, Bob Kelljan, occasionally makes some good directorial decisions–though it’s obvious he didn’t do them intentionally. Low budget film making can encourage some really innovative work. Kelljan isn’t innovative at all, but the effect of doing this shot or doing that shot does sometimes work itself into something nice, especially during conversation scenes. Mostly, though, the film’s all about Quarry and Perry. It’s just too bad there’s so little (comparatively) Quarry, not to mention it taking forever for Perry to show up.

Oh, and I should say something about the narration, I suppose. It’s really stupid.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Written and directed by Bob Kelljan; director of photography, Arch Archambault; edited by Tony de Zarraga; music by Bill Marx; produced by Kelljan and Michael Macready; released by American International Pictures.

Starring Robert Quarry (Count Yorga), Roger Perry (Jim), Michael Murphy (Paul), Michael Macready (Mike), D.J. Anderson (Donna), Judy Lang (Erica) and Edward Walsh (Brudah).


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