Originally aired: 4/21/10
Starring John Williams, Donald Woods, Edmon Ryan.
Written by Barre Lyndon based on the story by Robert Bloch.
Directed by Ray Milland.
Someone is killing ladies of a certain profession in New York, and Sir Guy (Williams), who is flown in to assist with the investigation, is sure it's the return of Jack the Ripper, right according to schedule. Question is, can he convince a roomful of doubtful cops before it's too late?
PE: John Wiliams, on loan from Vista Records (“I’m sure you recognize this lovely melody as ‘Stranger in Paradise.’ But did you know that the original theme was from the Polovtsian Dance No. 2 by Borodin?”) is about the only thing worth watching in this bland, padded 44-minute journey to a punchline. There's no atmosphere to speak of. The pacing reminded me of one of those insufferable 4-hour French films about two guys sitting at a table talking...and talking...and talking.
JS: I don't think it's fair to say it's completely without atmosphere. It did seem as if someone else shot the scenes with the blonde gal who looks like Gwen Stefani, because whenever she's onscreen I felt it could pass for the finest noir film.
PE: What's up with the disappearing map board? Was it needed across the lot on a Hitchcock episode? The scene must go on for a full two minutes and all we see are four dopes staring at space and holding up sheets to an imaginary board.
JS: Let's face it, the entire group of actors playing the cops were awful. I did laugh when one made the bold proclamation, "We don't really know who we're looking for. He could even be a woman!" But again, I didn't think the episode was completely without redeeming qualities. I found the whole bit in the strip club amusing—Sir Guy couldn't get in there fast enough once he found out exactly what goes on inside.
|Ladies and Gentlemen—Miss Beverly Hills!|
PE: I think it was more than he was expecting, based on the way his cigarette went limp in the middle of Miss Beverly Hills routine.
JS: And once her number comes to an end, you get the sense that a fistfight might break out to see who gets to go backstage to make sure she's okay. Of course, someone left the fog machine on a little too long when they exit the club for the quick, unsatisfying conclusion. I will also admit to being a sucker for movies in which coffins are toppled allowing their occupants to tumble out (although for a show that always seemed to push the envelope, I'm surprised we didn't get to see the corpse).
PE: In a bare•bones blog entry last month, I told the heartwarming story of an 11 year-old boy who picked up a copy of Marvel's Journey Into Mystery #2, featuring a comic adaptation of "Yours Truly." That short illustrated story began my obsession with Robert Bloch. That story, a hip, updated adaptation by comic whiz Roy Thomas, does the original justice. It's still a very good read. The original prose version appeared in the July 1943 Weird Tales, and has been reprinted countless times (including a like-titled collection published by Belmont in 1962). Recently, the story was dusted off by Joe Lansdale for yet another comic adaptation, this time for IDW.
OUR COMMENTS ON THE COMMENTARY:
Thriller inside joke ever: a chalkboard outside a stripper's dressing room that reads "B.J. Call Doris after Late Nite Show." I couldn't figure out if there should have been a period after "call."