Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: September 19


Taped on this day in 1968: Episode 589

Back at Collinwood, Vicki is uncertain that her assailant was Adam, and Barnabas supports her ambiguity. Meanwhile, at the mausoleum with Willie, Maggie finally remembers what happened when she was kidnapped, and by whom. Finally, Carolyn visits Barnabas at the Old House and reveals that she wants to be the life force.

And then there are times when I have to call shenanigans on the whole thing, and 589 has it coming. Other episodes are shot live on tape, but I feel as if they filmed this one on a Moebius strip. Not only within the episode, but within the series. Maggie remembers… again, I think. She does this in the series for the very first time at least twice. How many times will Julia have to fix this? Can Barnabas get a mind wipe with a warranty? No wonder he wants to kill Julia. The whole thing was humiliating. He has his long lost love. Then, he doesn’t. Then, he thinks he’s killed her! Then, he lives in suspense over whether she’ll talk. Eventually, she’s seemingly happy again, and he turns his attentions to a fresh start with Vicki, only to be faced with her blabbing again. Oh, and everyone wants to be the life force except for the truly expendable. So, think about this when you see Barnabas louring. At least Jonathan Frid is having a good day. His handle on the action is smooth, committed, and confident. We can say the same for Nancy Barrett and an unusually (even for him) charming Louis Edmonds. Kathryn Leigh Scott is put in the unenviable position of playing a broken record very slowly and (successfully) trying to keep the song fresh. The performances of these actors all stand out because John Karlen’s take on Willie in this one is as outlandish as he can make it. No one can fault Karlen for lacking passion, however, in his attempt to summon up Willie’s panic for Maggie, his choices are sometimes so overwrought that the whole thing collapses into unintentional parody. Counter this with other choices, such as his quiet musing when it’s clear that he has no choice in Maggie’s treatment. I suppose he takes this from 4 to 11 as legitimate attempt at texture, but it makes it easy to forget the more surgical work Karlen does at other places. Orson Welles used to tell actors, “Deeper, not bigger.” When Karlen is at his best, few go as far to explore the truthful core of the deepest dilemmas.

On this day in 1968, American audiences were seeing Cliff Robertson elevate minds and break hearts in the groundbreaking film, CHARLY. Harlan Ellison considers it to be one of the best science fiction films ever made. As usual, Harlan’s right. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...