Tag Archives: yvonne de carlo

Liar’s Moon (1980)

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 3 out of 10

4-Word Review: Couple harbors dark secret.

During the summer of 1949 in a small Texas town Jack (Matt Dillon), who has just turned 18, falls for Ginny (Cindy Fisher) who is 17. Jack is from the poor side of town and helps out his father (Hoyt Axton) on a family run farm while Ginny lives a more privileged life as the daughter of the town’s banker (Christopher Connelly) As Jack and Ginny’s relationship progresses they find stiff resistance to it from their mutual parents particularly Ginny’s father, but they don’t know why. In order to get married they go to Louisiana to elope, but Ginny’s father hires a detective (Richard Moll) to track them down and bring his daughter back no matter what the cost.

The one aspect about the movie that I did like is that it paints its small town characters in a generally positive light. Too many times movies that deal with stories that took place in a bygone era always seem to portray the characters as being more dopey than people of today, or more racist and meaner especially if it takes place in the south, but fortunately that doesn’t occur here. Instead we get shown regular, everyday people that you could easily meet today that just so happen to have lived a long time ago.

The film also has a nice leisurely pace to it and the romantic angle doesn’t seem quite as rushed, which is good, but the film also lacks finesse. The only part of the movie that has any atmosphere or cinematic flair is the opening flashback sequence, which gets done in black and white, while the rest of it pretty much flat lines. The scene where three men get royally drunk on some strong whiskey and another one where the town’s young men try to tackle a baby hog at the fair are the only times when there’s spontaneity or verve.

The story itself is too obvious and too many clues are given away, so by the time the ‘shocking’ secret get revealed you pretty much had guessed it way earlier. A few extra twists are thrown in during the final 15 minutes, but overall it becomes soap opera laden and too similar to the tragedy tinged teen romances of the 70’s that gives the whole thing a formulaic feel.

The eclectic cast is really the only interesting aspect about the film with Dillon giving a solid performance and Fisher looking quite beautiful even when she is constantly crying, which is pretty much all she does during the final third. Academy Award winning actor Broderick Crawford, whose last film this was, gets completed wasted in a pointless role that has very little screen time and the same goes for Yvonne De Carlo who speaks here in what sounds to be an Irish accent. Susan Tyrrell though is strong playing another one of her fringe characters, this time in the form of a prostitute, who comes off as cold and snarky at first, but eventually becomes surprisingly sympathetic.

Spoiler Alert!

Two different endings were filmed and distributed and which ending you saw depended on which theater you attended. One has the main character dying while the other one doesn’t, but both come-off as rather cheesy and make you feel like sitting through this thing really wasn’t worth it.

My Rating: 3 out of 10

Released: September 2, 1982

Runtime: 1 Hour 46 Minutes

Rated PG

Director: David Fisher

Studio: Crown International Pictures

Available: DVD, Amazon Video.

The Power (1968)

the power 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Who has the power?

Professor Jim Tanner (George Hamilton) is the head of a scientific research group who come to realize that one of their members has strong telekinetic powers and is slowly killing off the other members one-by-one by fantastic and bizarre means. It is up to Jim and his assistant Margery (Suzanne Pleshette) to find out who it is and try to put a stop to it before they become his next victim.

There are definite shades to Agatha Christie’s classic mystery novel ‘And Then There Were None’ and in fact that title even gets mentioned here. Despite a pace that ebbs and flows Director Byron Haskin gives the proceedings a flashy and creative flair. Watching Jim getting attacked by toy soldiers in a display window is cool as is the part where he gets stranded in the middle of a desert. The ending features visuals of faces melting and skeletons dancing that reminded me a bit of the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I also enjoyed the scene showing an actual heart inside a man’s body getting squeezed and forcing it to stop.

The supporting cast is fabulous and almost of half of the film’s entertainment alone. Yvonne De Carlo is terrific in a brief, but fun bit as the tipsy wife of one of the victim’s. Gary Merrill is solid as a hard-bitten police detective and Aldo Ray is good as a menacing bad guy. Michael Rennie better known for his starring role in another sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still is effective here as the mysterious Arthur Nordlund, but my favorite of them all would have to Arthur O’Connell as the nervous and high-strung Henry Hallson. The look on his face after he is spun around at high speeds in a space compressor is probably the film’s best moment.

Where the film fails is that this mysterious person’s powers are much too broad with no limitations of any kind. I can handle the idea of telekinesis, but this guy can also make walls of buildings grow and make doorways disappear. He can even change the words on street lights to go from ‘Don’t Walk’ to ‘Don’t Run’. To me this made it seem too fabricated and far-fetched. Even in sci-fi there needs to be same perimeters and basis of logic of some kind and this film offers none. The fact that there is never any explanation given for how this person got these amazing powers, or what might have caused it makes it even weaker and hurts what is otherwise an interesting idea.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: February 21, 1968

Runtime: 1Hour 48Minutes

Not Rated

Director: Byron Haskin

Studio: MGM

Available: DVD (Warner Archive)