The True Story of Lynn Stuart (1958)

vt The Grasshopper; vt The Other Life of Lynn Stuart
US / 78 minutes / bw / Columbia Dir: Lewis Seiler Pr: Bryan Foy Scr: John H. Kneubuhl Story: newspaper articles by Pat Michaels Cine: Burnett Guffey Cast: Betsy Palmer, Jack Lord, Barry Atwater, Edmund G. Brown, Kim Spalding, Karl Lukas, Casey Walters, Harry Jackson, Claudia Bryar, John Anderson, Rita Duncan, Lee Farr, Louis Towers, Carter James Maloney, Carlos Romero, Artie Lewis, Gavin MacLeod, Madeline O’Donnell, Betsy Jones Moreland, Than Wyenn, Snub Pollard.

Despite the title, and despite the claims in the opening address delivered by California’s Attorney General at the time, Edmund G. Brown, this movie is at best loosely based on reality. There really was a woman who, under the moniker “Lynn Stuart,” infiltrated California’s narcotics gangs, but most of the details of the story have been changed for the purposes of the screen. Contrary to what you might expect, the real-life “Lynn Stuart,” who served as a consultant during the making of this movie, was actually far braver and more dogged than her fictional counterpart: she risked her life as a police informant among the gangsters for six long years.

Betsy Palmer as Phyllis/”Lynn”

When the teenage son of Nora (Bryar) dies in a drug-related incident, Nora’s sister, Phyllis Carter (Palmer), is spurred into offering her services to the Santa Ana PD as an undercover agent to bring down the drug gangs—or some of the gangsters, at least. At first Lieutenant Jim Hagan (Atwater) and his sidekicks treat the offer as a joke; Continue reading

Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974-5), episodes #17-#20

Episode 17: Legacy of Terror

Aired February 14 1975

US / 50 minutes / color / Francy, Universal, ABC Dir: Don McDougall Pr: Cy Chermak Scr: Arthur Rowe Cine: Ronald W. Browne Cast: Darren McGavin, Simon Oakland, Ramon Bieri, Pippa Scott, Sorrell Booke, Victor Campos, Jack Grinnage, Erik Estrada, Carlos Romero, Udana Power, Sondra Currie, Cal Bartlett, Ernesto Macias, Robert Casper, Mina Vasquez, Dorrie Thomson, Merrie Lynn Ross, Scott Douglas, Craig R. Baxley, Mickey Gilbert.

Four “heroes” are savagely murdered and their hearts cut out: footballer Lenny Strahan (doesn’t appear), war hero Staff Sergeant Rolf Anderson (Baxley), pioneering female USAF officer Captain Madge Timmins (Power) and award-winning cop Earl Lyons (Bartlett).

Udana Power as Captain Madge Timmins.

Feisty investigative journalist Carl Kolchak (McGavin) traces all this activity to the mummy of bloodlusting ancient Aztec demigod Nanautzin (Gilbert), now stored in the basement of the Continue reading

Deadly Duo (1962)

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Identical twins, one a sweet young widow and the other a sexpot stripper, and the fortune that only one of them wants!

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US / 69 minutes / bw / Harvard, UA Dir: Reginald LeBorg Pr: Robert E. Kent Scr: Owen Harris Story: The Deadly Duo (1959) by Richard Jessup Cine: Gordon Avil Cast: Craig Hill, Marcia Henderson, Robert Lowery, Dayton Lummis, Carlos Romero, Irene Tedrow, David Renard, Marco Antonio, Peter Oliphant.

Deadly Duo - 0 opener

Racecar driver Robby Spence dies in a spectacular crash. A month later, unsuccessful California lawyer Preston “Pres” Morgan (Hill) is recruited for a mysterious task by highly successful corporate attorney Thorne Fletcher (Lummis), acting on behalf of the mighty Spence Industries—or, more accurately, for that company’s steely owner, Leonora Spence (Tedrow). Leonora was appalled when, a few years ago, her late son Robby married Sabena Corwen (Henderson), one half of the dancing act The Corwen Sisters, the other half being Sabena’s identical twin sister Dara (Henderson again). The irate mother cut her son off without a penny. Now she wants to take her grandson, Billy (Oliphant), from Sabena and raise him herself as future CEO of Spence Industries. Pres’s task is to take a contract to Acapulco, where Sabena and Billy live, offering the mother $500,000 to relinquish all rights in the child.

Deadly Duo - 1 Leonora is initially suspecious of Pres

Leonora (Irene Tedrow) is initially suspicious of Pres.

There’s a quite effective scene in which Pres, his righteous indignation roused, tells Leonora firmly what she can do with her offer of employment, that he would never stoop so low as to collaborate in what he sees as the buying and selling of an infant . . . then discovers that his fee for the service will be $50,000.

Arrived in Acapulco, Pres goes to Sabena’s home. There he meets not just Sabena but twin sister Dara and Dara’s husband Jay Flagg (Lowery). There he marvels over the fact that the two sisters are not just beautiful but so very identical except that Sabena has shortish brunette hair while Dara has longer blonde hair. He soon notices, too, that there are behavioral differences between the rather prim Sabena and the clumsily vamping Dara.

Deadly Duo - 2a Nasty . . .

Naughty Marcia Henderson . . .

Deadly Duo - 2b . . . or Nice[Q] -- sisters Dara and Sabena

. . . or nice Marcia Henderson?

Sabena refuses Leonora’s contract point-blank—no way is she going to give up her son—and throws him out of the house.

This is to the huge displeasure of Jay and Dara, who desperately need the money. After the breakup of The Corwen Sisters, Dara struggled along on her own as best she could, which Continue reading