Incident at a Corner (1960 TVM)

US / 49 minutes / color / Shamley, Alfred Hitchcock Productions, NBC Dir: Alfred Hitchcock Pr: Joan Harrison Scr: Charlotte Armstrong Story: Incident at a Corner (1957) by Charlotte Armstrong Cine: John L. Russell Cast: Vera Miles, George Peppard, Paul Hartman, Bob Sweeney, Leora Dana, Warren Berlinger, Philip Ober, Jerry Paris, Alice Backes, Charity Grace, Leslie Barrett, Alexander Lockwood, Jack Albertson, Eve McVeagh, Tyler McVey, Joe Flynn, Barbara Beaird, Mary Alan Hokanson, Wendell Holmes, Hollis Irving, Florence MacMichael.

Based on a Charlotte Armstrong novella, this minor piece of Hitchcockiana was aired as #27 (of 33 episodes) in the NBC TV series Startime (1959–60), one of the first TV shows to air in color. About half the episodes were variety presentations, the other half narrative pieces, usually dramas like this one. Hitchcock got involved because Lew Wasserman, then head of MCA, which had struck a package deal to supply star actors for the series, was also Hitch’s agent. It’s worth noting that Hitch wisely brought with him Joan Harrison as part of the enterprise.

We’re first shown three different versions of an altercation at a street corner next to a school. Mary Tawley (Dana), obnoxious wife of important local stuffed shirt Malcolm Tawley (Ober), owner of the Security First Bank, remonstrates with the elderly crossing guard whose STOP sign she drove past, James “Jim” Medwick (Hartman).

Vera Miles as Jane and George Peppard as Pat

In the third view we discover the scene was observed by two newcomers to the neighborhood, Harry (Albertson) and Georgia Crane (McVeagh). Georgia recognizes Jim and is terrified he’ll tell the neighborhood about her wild youth as Georgia Clooney (sic!) when they both lived in Continue reading

Groundstar Conspiracy, The (1972)

Canada, US / 95 minutes / color / Universal, Hal Roach Productions Dir: Lamont Johnson Pr: Trevor Wallace Scr: Matthew Howard (i.e., Douglas Heyes) Story: The Alien (1968) by L.P. Davies Cine: Michael Reed Cast: George Peppard, Michael Sarrazin, Christine Belford, Cliff Potts, James Olson, Tim O’Connor, James McEachin, Alan Oppenheimer, Roger Dressler, Ty Haller, Anna Hagen.

Groundstar - 0 opener

There’s a surprising number of good science-fiction neonoirs around—you only have to think as far as BLADE RUNNER (1982), STRANGE DAYS (1995) and The TERMINATOR (1984), and you might at a stretch even put The USUAL SUSPECTS (1995) in there because of its fantastication—but there are some that have a great sf plot, one that could have been used as the basis for a tremendous Philip K. Dick-style paranoia-fueled sf-neonoir classic … but Continue reading