Tag Archives: Robert Walker Jr.

Beware! The Blob (1972, Larry Hagman)

Could Beware! The Blob be less competent? Possibly not.

Screenwriters Jack Woods and Anthony Harris approach Beware! like a spoof. It’s a comedic early seventies handling, complete with hippy jokes, racism, some cracks at small businessmen, pot, Eastern Europeans… Woods and Harris cover just about everything they can except maybe feminism. Some of these jokes are funny. Not many, but some of them. For the most part, they flop. Why? Because Larry Hagman cannot direct a movie.

Beware! is clearly low budget, but Hagman’s completely incapable of working around those issues. There wasn’t, apparently, money for establishing shots. Not just of the Blob, but of the locations in general. Daytime long shots are rare in the picture; one imagines the crew running up and filming and running off before the cops show up. Except, of course, that approach would have led to some enthusiasm, something Beware! desperately lacks.

Shelley Berman and Godfrey Cambridge are the two biggest guests. Berman does a little better than Cambridge, though Hagman’s lack of comedy timing hurts his scene too. Cambridge is supposed to be this goofy, drunk black guy who hangs out with the hippies we later meet. It’s terrible, terrible stuff and his opening “cameo” takes like fifteen minutes.

Of the main actors, Gwynne Gilford is easily the worst. Both Richard Webb and Richard Stahl have okay moments. A few anyway. Lead Robert Walker Jr. is occasionally good. Cindy Williams is in it for a second, probably giving the best performance.

It’s wretched.

0/4ⓏⒺⓇⓄ

CREDITS

Directed by Larry Hagman; screenplay by Jack Woods and Anthony Harris, based on a story by Richard Clair and Jack H. Harris; director of photography, Al Hamm; edited by Tony de Zarraga; music by Mort Garson; produced by Jack H. Harris; released by Jack H. Harris Enterprises.

Starring Robert Walker Jr. (Bobby Hartford), Gwynne Gilford (Lisa Clark), Richard Stahl (Edward Fazio), Richard Webb (Sheriff Jones), Shelley Berman (Hair Stylist), Godfrey Cambridge (Chester Hargis), Marlene Clark (Mariane Hargis), J.J. Johnston (Deputy Kelly Davis), Rockne Tarkington (Deputy Williams), Gerrit Graham (Joe), Carol Lynley (Leslie), Randy Stonehill (Randy), Cindy Williams (Randy’s Girl), Dick Van Patten (Scoutmaster Adleman) and Tiger Joe Marsh (The Naked Turk).


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The Passover Plot (1976, Michael Campus)

For the first few scenes, Alex North definitely composes The Passover Plot like a big Biblical epic of the fifties. It’s not, of course, and not just because Plot’s from the seventies. It’s cheap and director Campus uses that reduced budget interestingly. Maybe not well, but definitely interestingly. Actors get close-ups when they don’t need them, there aren’t any establishing shots for scene transitions (not right away anyway) and there’s no expository dialogue. The only frames of reference for the viewer are the opening and closing text scrawls. Plot feels like a low budget, subversive seventies movie, which is actually an exact description.

It just happens to be about Jesus.

Or Yeshua. I’m not sure if they went with Yeshua for accuracy or to be less controversial. Even though the film–with Plot right there in the title–is about how Yeshua (played by Zalman King) decides to fake his resurrection, he’s still really cares about people. It’s like if Jesus wasn’t magic and was just a good guy.

King’s effective, but not exactly good. There isn’t a lot of room to act in Plot, not with Campus’s strange choices regarding pacing and then there’s the script. It jumps all over the place and never gives the viewer a comfortable grounding.

Harry Andrews is a lot of fun, chewing away at the scenery, and Donald Pleasence is pretty good.

For what the filmmakers attempt, Plot’s a moderate success.

Except Adam Greenberg’s photography; he lights it too dark.

1.5/4★½

CREDITS

Directed by Michael Campus; screenplay by Millard Cohan and Patricia Louisianna Knop, inspired by the book by Hugh J. Schonfield; director of photography, Adam Greenberg; edited by Dov Hoenig; music by Alex North; produced by Wolf Schmidt; released by Atlas Film.

Starring Harry Andrews (Yohanan the Baptist), Hugh Griffith (Caiaphas), Zalman King (Yeshua), Donald Pleasence (Pontius Pilate), Scott Wilson (Judah), Daniel Ades (Andros), Michael Baseleon (Mattai), Lewis Van Bergen (Yoram), William Paul Burns (Shimon), Dan Hedaya (Yaocov), Helena Kallianiotes (Visionary Woman), Kevin O’Connor (Irijah), Robert Walker Jr. (Bar Talmi) and William Watson (Roman Captain).


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