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Ian McShane

Ian McShane

Ian McShane - Gorgeous AND Versatile - Heck, he even sings! What's not to love?


 

A select Filmography and my reviews - SPOILER WARNING!
    Many of the photos on this page were gleaned from the web (I've colorized a few of them), while others are from my personal collection or screen captures I've made myself. A few were graciously donated by fellow McShane fan KT - Thanks, KT! Some of them, though, are greatly enlarged images from the video boxes and I apologize for the bad quality of these. They'll be replaced as soon as I find better ones.

A - K

Agent Cody Banks (2003) as Dr. Brinkman [***]
He's the baddie. He's funding a scientist's research into nanobot technology. The scientist wants his nanobots to break down oil from spills - protect the environment, but Brinkman forces him to program his little bots to eat through anything - including organic material (ie flesh). It's a cute movie - the teenage spy is fun stuff. McShane's character faces a really gruesome end, though - YUCK! (He won't be back in a sequal, kay?)
Babylon 5: The River of Souls (1998) as Robert Bryson, Ph.D. [***½] (TV Movie)
Ian McShane is Dr. Robert Bryson, an archeologist who has spent some 20 years of his life in search of Life Eternal - immortality. He thinks he has found the secret when he uncovers a Soul Hunter Whisper Chamber. He brings an over-sized soul orb with him to Babylon 5 for a meeting with Garibaldi (Jerry Doyle), who has taken over the company which has been funding Bryson's research for the past 3 years. And this is where the trouble starts. The Soul Hunters want their orb back and Martin Sheen arrives to retrieve it. Dr. Bryson, though, has quickly fallen under the influence of the embittered souls entrapped in the orb who want revenge for their imprisonment and they're willing to destroy the station in the proccess. Great stuff. The side story of the holo-brothel is quite amusing too.
Battle of Britain (1969) as Sgt Pilot Andy Moore [*****]
Oh, but this is a classic. One of the most amazing battles of WWII - the RAF were outnumbered like, five to one, but they faced down the invading Luftwaffe and won. Boasting an all-star cast, McShane is one of the Spitfire pilots. He gets shot down and ends up in the channel. ("Where the hell have you been?" - "Learning to swim."). He had relocated his wife and kids to the country where they'd be safe, but they got bored and returned to London. The area where they lived was bombed, but he found them in a church hall where everyone was congregated to keep safe. He yells at his wife, gives his two little boys the Spitfire models they wanted and then gets called away to help rescue a family buried in the rubble. When he returns, he finds the church in flames - it has been bombed. The last time he'd seen his wife, he was angry with her. How do you just pick up and go back to work after that? But he does. The image to the left is him discovering the church in ruins.
Bollywood Queen (2002) as Frank [***]
How does he get involved in these things? This is an odd little film. The box says West Side Story goes East and that's what it is alright. It's a musical - the irritating kind where people spontaneously break into (Hindi) song and dance at the oddest times, but it's fun. Geena (the lovely Preeya Kalidas) and Jay (James McAvoy) are the star-crossed lovers. Geena is an East Indian girl who's family owns a fashion business in London while Jay is a white boy who works for a rival fashion business and never the two shall interact, right? It's funny - when they first meet, they both rise up and float on air for a moment and some of the sort of dream sequences are hilarious, especially the one that has Jay dressed in a ridiculous cowboy outfit - LOL!

Okay, the story is, Geena is in college, but she wants to sing with her R&B Girl's group, something her traditional father forbids, so they must practice in secret. Her eldest brother is running the business and to make more money, he is engaging in some less-than-legal activities behind his father's back - namely, making counterfiet designer suits. Jay has just arrived in London from his native Somerset and has taken a job with his brother at this other clothing outfit which has just found itself undercut in the knock-off suit department - hence the conflict. The two kids are instantly smitten, but his brother and boss don't like it and her brothers are furious so they must sneak around to be together.

One night, Jay's brother, Dean, drags him out on a late-night job, which involves breaking into the Indian warehouse and slashing all the suits. They get caught, though and Dean is slashed in the arm before they get away. Well, this is it, Jay is determined that he and Geena will be together and he begs her to come away with him. He goes to the hospital to get some money from Dean and Dean tells him his next of kin has been notified of his injury and he's on his way there. "The old man?" Jay says with some alarm. "I'll make sure I'm not here, then." Too late, though, as in walks Ian McShane as their father, Frank. His entrance is priceless. (grin) The double doors push open and in steps a scruffy, curly haired guy in dark sunglasses, black leather jacket and cowboy boots. "Ma Boiz!" he exclaims, arms outstretched in jovial greeting. His accent, by-the-way, is not bad, but James McAvoy trying to do a Somerset accent is hilarious! Jay seems to have a problem with his Dad and they have a little confrontation before Jay storms out and steals a van from the place where he was working.

Geena is being kept under guard by her brothers, so there is a pretty impresive escape involving yards of brightly coloured material flung out the upper story window, but they make it and are on their way to freedom. They go to Somerset and end up at his father's place where Frank is sprawled over the easy chair and Dean is stretched out on the sofa and they're watching the big screen TV and eating something out of cartons. When Jay turns up with his girlfriend, he is surprised that Frank welcomes them warmly. It's funny when Frank takes Geena aside and asks, "Where're you from, then?" "EastHam," she answers. "No, no, no, that's not what I meant ..." but he realizes what an ass he's about to be and suddenly clamps his mouth shut and then grins and offers, "Cuppatea?" LOL! Dean tells him their former employer wants their van back, but luckily they don't know where they live. Jay pays back what is left of the money he took from Dean and says there are suits out in the van they can flog. So, after storing the suits, Dean gives the wad of bills back to Jay and Frank tells Geena to take good care of his boy and the two lovebirds head back to London where Geena has some unfinished business. She shows up for her cousin's wedding where her and her gal-pals don skimpy clothing and perform a modern, yet traditional song and dance to show her Dad what she can do. Meanwhile, her Dad seems to know what the elder son has been up to and he's putting his foot down so far as the business is concerned, but he still won't accept Jay, so the young couple take off for parts unknown.

It's a cute film and the part Ian plays is so amusing, I love it. The photo above is when he is explaining to Geena that his boys are named James and Dean after James Dean - "A true rebel." Oh, and Ian is seen drinking an IRN-BRU soda - Phenomenal!

Cheaper to Keep Her (1980) as Dr. Alfred Sunshine [****]
Ian & Gwen
Then and Now

Ian & Gwen in 1981

Ian & Gwen in 2008

This is a funny movie. It's terribly unPC and a little stupid, but it is funny as hell. Mac Davis stars as a recently divorced private investigator who goes to work for a female divorce lawyer (Tovah Feldshuh) - trying to get the goods on other hapless joes like himself. It's a rotten job, but he's desperate. At one point, he goes undercover as a homosexual - a performance sure to piss off gays everywhere, but it's still hilarious. Anyway, Ian McShane is Dr. Alfred Sunshine - yeah, I said Sunshine (grin). He seems to be equal parts guru/psychologist/chiropractor and boy, is he a sleaze. Gorgeous as ever, but such a slimey character. He is cheating on his wife and on his taxes too, evidently, and plans to run away with his mistress (Gwen Humble) and a ton of undeclared cash, but our hero isn't about to let that happen. The secondary story is a hoot too, about a crazy crime family (Jack Guilford and Rose Marie). Oh, and I think McShane sports an earring in this one.

Stupidest line: Sunshine's wife actually says "What's it all about, Alfie?" (GROOOOOOOOAN)
Greatest line: Sunshine screeching "Will you stop, you stupid queen!" I rolled with that one. (giggle)

Ian McShane and Gwen Humble first met on the set of this film and later got married. And some 25 plus years later, they're still together - isn't that sweet?

Chillers (1989??) One Episode "Sauce For The Goose" as Steven Castle [***] (Anthology Series)
I don't see this one listed at IMDb, but I told them about it, so it should show up soon. It was a series of stories based on the novels (or short stories) by Patricia Highsmith and introduced by Anthony Perkins. Synopsis from the video box:

There is desire. There is craving. Then, there is obsession. Olivia Emery [Gwen Taylor] has a new obsession ... and his name is Steven Castle [Ian McShane]. Dashing crooner by night, dangerous lover by day, Steven draws Olivia into his web. Slowly their passion becomes a psychological nightmare full of double-cross and distrust. But which one is going to get it in the end? Sauce for the Goose proves that sometimes, too much of a good thing can be deadly.

Heh heh, this one is devious. McShane is a little over the top as the lounge lizard, Steven Castle, but that's all part of his charm. Oh, to give away the ending or not to give away the ending, that's the question ... They kind of ruin it by showing you part of the ending in the opening previews, but there's more to it than you see in those previews .... so ... what to do ....

No, I won't give away the ending, but I will say that Steven Castle comes to town for a small local show, but has nowhere to stay - everywhere is booked and the one little inn that isn't full is closed due to the owner's bad back. Well, the owner has a vaguely dissatisfied wife (Olivia) who falls for Steven like a ton of bricks. They conspire to murder the husband and then they get married, but they do not live happily ever after. Instead, they begin to distrust each other. Is Steven really plotting to kill Olivia? Will Olivia kill Steven in a fit of paranoia? Whatever will happen? Lots of fun twists - no sooner had I decided I knew what would happen next, then it threw me a curve. And Ian really is a good singer, wish I had that tape he made for her. Overall, this is just a fun ride.

Code Name: Diamond Head (1977) as Sean Donavan/Father Horton/Colonel Butler/Basil Philips [**½] (TV Pilot)
I've seen the Mystery Science Theatre rendition of this, but I recall very little other than Roy (He-With-The-Most-Kissable-Lips) Thinnes wearing such tight pants that Tom Servo could tell he carried 35 cents in his pocket. I've got an old video of the actual movie and have transfered it to dvd now, so I can make screencaps! Ian is absolutely gorgeous in it. He wears several different disguises in this, as seen below:


As Father Horton | Becoming Colonel Butler | and as Basil Philips

Here's the story:

Roy (HWTMKL) Thinnes is Johnny ... something or other - playboy gambler in Hawaii. But that's just his cover - he is really a government agent, code name: Diamond Head - hence the title, you see. It is never made clear just what agency he works for, but he was pulled from the Navy, so, what? NIS? CIA? FBI? His boss is known as (ahem) Aunt Mary (insert exasperated eye roll here). Are they trying to be funny? A little tongue-in-cheek stab at The Man From UNCLE and The Avengers? (You may recall on The Avengers, their boss was known as "Mother.")

Anyway, it starts with a plane landing in Hawaii, the passengers disembarking - one of them a particularly handsome Jesuit priest named Father Horton - slicked back hair, wire-framed glasses - adorable! (Yes, this is Ian McShane) At the Customs desk, he is recognized - the Custom's guy is evidently an agent for Aunt Mary. As soon as the good Father walks away, this guy gets on the phone and calls it in - an enemy agent has just arrived - code name: Tree. Now, they know everythig about this Tree - they have a photo and a real name (Sean Donavan); they know he was a British agent when he betrayed his entire network and went into business for himself - they have a whole file on him. So, this agent follows him to a church where one of Tree's men konks him on the head and brings him to Donavan. The guy is still alive and semi-conscious when Donavan wraps a bell rope around his neck and casually shoves him off the balcony. I do believe this would be the only killing he actually does himself.

So, Aunt Mary turns to Diamond Head with the mission of finding out why Tree is here and stopping him. Diamond Head pays a visit to his gal pal (France Nuyen, though darned if I can recall the character's name) who runs a hot spot in town and who also happens to be a former agent who's cover was blown and her whole family was wiped out because of it. DH seems to think Tree will try to take her out eventually, so he's warning her. Then he finds his big Hawaiian friend named Zulu - and the only reason I remember that name is because it is evidently the actor's real name. Not sure how they find Tree's two goons - it may have been Muldoon (the requisite drunken charter boat captain snitch) - but Zulu keeps watch while DH breaks into their hotel room and plants an obvious bug in their phone. He almost gets caught, but he hangs out a window till they pass. They find the bug like DH knew they would and he's hoping they lead him to Tree when they go to tell him about it. Tree knows it's a set-up, though, so that doesn't work.

Meanwhile Father Horton checks into a hotel. When he gets to his room, he takes the glasses off and runs his hands through his slicked back hair, ruffling it all up so the curls fall all over the place as they're meant to (sorry, but I LOVE his long curls!) Then he sits down to don his next disguise. First a little old age makeup which, really, wouldn't it be noticeable close-up and personal? But then, his mark wears big plastic framed tinted glasses, so that would hide the obviousness of the lines around the eyes, I guess. A small grey mustache and a short grey wig are topped off with an Army officer's uniform. He checks himself out in the mirror and he looks just like the photo. Great, cause a couple Navy guys have arrived to pick up Colonel Butler. The real Colonel answers his phone and says to tell the Commander he'll be right down, hangs up, dons his cover, picks up his briefcase and opens his door, walks right into a snoot full of knock-out gas. THUD! He hits the floor. Tree takes his glasses, watch and wallet and declares his disguise pretty darn good, even if he says so himself. And it should be good, since McShane plays the REAL Colonel Butler too - LOL! He tells his men to take the Colonel for a little swim and then heads down to meet the Navy. (BTW, wouldn't it be hard to see through someone else's prescription lenses??)

These guys take him to a top secret laboratory where a couple yabbo's have "accidently" discovered a potent biological/chemical explosive by mixing some neurotoxin squeezed out of poisonous snails with digoxin. Huh? you say? Yeah, me too. Anyway, this stuff must be kept under pressure or it explodes and melts rock! They do a little demonstration and think that should be enough for the Colonel to make a decision (I think he's supposed to decide what to do with the stuff and they think he should destroy it), but the Colonel says he was told there would be TWO demonstrations and he's not authorized to make a decision until he sees em both. They'll be ready to do the next test at noon the following day. Great!

Now, Tree knows his cover was blown as soon as he landed - that agent he killed ID'd him, so he knows he has to act fast. He also knows there is an agent in town called Diamond Head, but he doesn't know anything about him. So, he becomes Basil Philips, upstanding British citizen, and pays a visit to a certain nightclub, confronts the ex-agent woman and offers to leave her alone if she tells him the identity of Diamond Head. She stalls - doesn't know what he's talking about - it's all very civil. Johnny, the gambler shows up and he and Philips exchange a few words and Philips leaves. DH is going to follow this guy now and find out what he's up too, but Tree isn't stupid and he now knows Johnny is Diamond Head and he also knows he'll be following him, so he arranges to have one of his goons nearby to spray a poison gas at him. The woman yells his name just as the gas is released and DH goes over the little bridge and into the water, where he floats there long enough for the guy to think he's dead. Things are cookin' up now, eh?

Next day, a certain body washes ashore (the real Colonel Butler) and DH and company now know Tree's target! Meanwhile, back at the lab, they're preparing the next test, when a fountain pen releases a knock-out gas and everyone drops likes stones. Heh, they even think it is their explosive gas leaking out and panic big time before they pass out. But, of course, Tree has a gas mask. He gets the remaining explosive sample and high-tails it out of there, just moments before agents swarm the place. Well, he knows DH isn't dead - otherwise, they wouldn't be just minutes behind him, so he kidnaps the woman as leverage and gets on his catamaran, heading for open waters. Maybe there is a sub waiting somewhere, I dunno. Aunt Mary can't let him get away with that explosive gas and he wants to order the Navy to destroy that boat, but the woman is on it - DH convinces Aunty to give him a half hour to get her out of there.

Muldoon brings em out on his boat, DH fires a flare gun into Tree's sails and while he is momentarily distracted, the woman smacks him and knocks him down. He's quick, though, and pulls a gun, but he's not quite quick enough - I think she kicks it out of his hands. Then he grabs a spear gun and almost skewers DH, but misses and grabs some sort of big hook thing, like a wooden staff and he's about to clobber someone, when DH yells at him and explains how he's going to shoot him if he moves. Ah, well, the jig is, as they say, up, so Tree drops the pole and surrenders quietly. "I was never one to back a lost cause," he says philosophically. I guess he could conceivably have returned in future episodes if it had gone to series. He did quite a lot of pilot films, didn't he? It's like, producers pondered and decided, "If we want this series to make it, we need a GREAT villain - get Ian McShane!"

Now, this isn't ALL bad - it could maybe have succeeded, but it was kind of hokey. It came before Magnum P.I. and after Hawaii Five-Oh. I think it maybe could have been about as good as the latter (if they toned down the hokiness factor), but that had already been done and it certainly lacks the character chemistry of Magnum. The characters just don't mesh. Tree and his goons interact more smoothly than DH and his gang and frankly, I think the whole Aunt Mary business was stupid enough to blow it out of the water.

Bottom line, though, is you have Roy (HWTMKL) Thinnes looking pretty good - his hair probably should have been shorter (long curls don't look quite as good on a man who is balding on top) - and Ian McShane is gorgeous, so what's not to love? Tune in for a little eye-candy (grrrwwwwllllll).

Con Man (aka Freelance) (1971) as Robin "Mitch" Mitchell [*****]
LOVE this movie!! Freelance makes a more logical title for this. Mitch is a wheeler-dealer - "Freelance Dealing" as the title song says (Love the title song too). He witnesses a mob hit - well, sees a guy beating up on another, chases the bully only to corner him in an alley. Then what? The guy (played by Alan Lake who beat the crap out of poor Ian in Gypsy Girl a few years before) is huge and has a weapon, so Mitch backs down and walks away. But the mob boss who ordered the attack doesn't want witnesses regardless, so he wants Mitch taken care of. The rest of the film has Mitch trying to get this big deal to go through, trying to keep his girlfriend from leaving him, trying to avoid being whacked by the mob - lots of running around terrified, which he does so very well with his great facial expressions. McShane is gorgeous as Mitch and there's no happy-sappy Hollywood ending here - GREAT STUFF!

A lot of bio's and filmography listings mention this being a brief return to film for Ian in 1992. What the heck? People don't seem to think before they write this stuff. And once it's out there, other people repeat it all over the place. Maybe the US video release as Con Man was in 1992, but come on - all you have to do is watch it to see he is 20 years younger here. The original title was Freelance and it was released in 1971. Check your facts!

Deadwood (2004-2006) as Al Swearengen [*****] (TV Series, 36 episodes)
I don't have HBO and was never able to see this show when it was on, but I FINALLY got my hot little hands on season 1 on dvd. Deadwood is a makeshift town that has popped up in the Dakota hills in the 1870's because of the gold rush. There is no law in Deadwood. Technically, they're all there illegally to begin with, as it is supposed to be Indian land. Al Swearengen (McShane) is the town's ersatz leader, being one of the first to arrive and one of the more ruthless to survive. He runs the Gem Saloon, providing everything a weary prospector would need to wind down after a tough day - namely, drugs, drink, women and gambling - and he's making a killing, so to speak. He's got some of the best lines - it's like, "Did he really just say that?" - it's hilarious sometimes. His love interest is Trixie (Paula Malcolmson), one of his whore's to whom he is pretty abusive, but it is obvious he has feelings for her just the same. And while he is ruthless - not above getting his own hands bloodied - he is also one of the more compassionate characters in town. Certainly more likable that Cy Tolliver.

Tolliver (Powers Boothe) is a rival inn keeper (read: Pimp) who runs the Bella Union Hotel across the street. Talk about ruthless - he's just mean for mean's sake. His joint is more upscale and he likes to maintain a civilized veneer, but he's a bastard pure and simple. When a friend of his comes down with small pox, he has him dragged out and dumped in the woods rather than treat him! And he thinks nothing of murdering a couple kids in an effort to keep his madam, Joanie (Kim Dickens) in line. If he can be said to have a love interest, it would seem to be Joanie, but I'm not sure he truely cares for her or if he's just looking out for his property.

Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) is an ex Marshall who, along with his pal Sol Starr (John Hawkes), have opened a hardware store in town. He desperately wants to avoid town politics, but can't help being drawn in. Beginning with his friendship with Wild Bill Hickock (Keith Carradine) and on to his attraction for a wealthy widow named Alma Garret (Molly Parker), his hot temper and self righteous morals get the better of him. He ends up acting as Sherrif.

Then there is E.B. Farnum (William Sanderson), a scruffy hotel owner who acts as sort of informer for Swearengen. He's a weasle who becomes mayor and he has some good lines too, especially talking to himself about how badly he is treated. I expect him to turn on Al eventually. And Brad Dourif plays Doc, the town doctor. He may drink a little too much, but he seems to know what he's doing. I like him - he really cares, as evidenced by him haveing a leg brace made for Al's gimp cleaning woman, Jewel (Geri Jewell).

Anyway, there are other characters, but you'll just have to watch to meet them all. (Or wait for me to make a seperate page for the show). The foul language turns a lot of people off and the raw situations turn off plenty of others, but it's worth it.

The Dick Francis Mysteries (1989) as David Cleveland
He plays British Jockey Club investigator ("Security Consultant") David Cleveland in these movies based on the books by Dick Francis. He's cute as ever in these. I've read various reviews that sort of pan these because they're not enough like the novels on which they're based, but I've never read the books so I can only take them at face value and I enjoyed them well-enough.
Three made for TV movies:
* In The Frame [****]
Cleveland is visiting friends in Canada when all hell breaks loose. One woman goes home to fetch something only to find the place emptied - robbed of everything. While on the phone to her husband, there is an explosion - she is killed when the house blows up. While Cleveland and company are at the other house finding out what's going on, his pal's house is being done over. I mean, what's the deal, right? Cleveland and his friend want to know and their investigation leads to Germany and a massive art scam.
* Blood Sport [*****]
This one is my fave of the three. In Canada again, Cleveland finds himself investigating the theft of a stallion worth millions. The trail leads to a dude ranch up in the Canadian Rockies where he poses as a hick visitor. One of my fave scenes is where the baddies knock him on the head, tie him to a horse and send him down the mountain - assuming he will be smashed against the rocks on the way down. Obviously, they don't realize he is an expert horseman. Cleveland takes a beating in this one, though - several, in fact. There are some great fight scenes and Walt, the Canadian insurance investigator, is a hoot.

Obviously, I've watched this one more often than the other two and I've made some fun nit-pick observations to prove it:

  • On the boat, Cleveland is wearing a bright blue denim jacket. Later, when he's hunting the bad guys, he's wearing a dark indigo blue denim jacket. Who the heck packs two light weight denim jackets for what was supposed to be a simple over night trip? In fact, he also has a black leather jacket and a fleece lined denim jacket - he packed FOUR jackets?!
  • Oh, and when he's careening down that mountain? Take a look at the center image above - he is supposed to be about half way down the mountain there, leaning down to get the ropes off securing his feet in the stirrups. (Probably the stunt man, right?) Anyway, see the jean-clad legs behind him? Cameraman? Safety supervisor? Beats me, but I don't think that person was supposed to be seen. And in one scene it looks like his hat is knocked off - and really, considering the circumstances, it should have been, right? But he still has it when he arrives back at the hacienda.
  • Ian McShane doesn't have a big tattoo on his lower back, does he? (And the answer is, no, he doesn't - he "gets his kit off," as they say across the pond, often enough in his films that we would know if he did). During the final big fight, the stunt man looks pretty good - right build, correct hair (it is usually the hair that gives em away), but his shirt rides up and we can plainly see a huge tattoo at the small of his back! I mean, as you can see above, it isn't clear enough to make out what the tatt is, but you can definitely see it's a tattoo. Afterwards, when it's Ian McShane again, his shirt is tucked in again.
* Twice Shy [****]
Cleveland heads for Ireland in this one. His nephew is staying with friends while training to be a jocky, but Peter Kiethly has just died in an apparent rock climbing accident. When baddies start threatening the widow (Cleveland's old flame), it becomes personal and Cleveland investigates. Very soon, it becomes obvious there is more going on than meets the eye. There is a great scene where Cleveland confronts his friend's former business partner. He threatens aggro and has to slap him around a bit. McShane is a small guy - relatively speaking, but he is so darned convincing as a tough. You just KNOW   he's capable of throttling this guy ...
Disraeli (1978) as Benjamin Disraeli [****½] (TV Mini Series)
Doesn't he look quite like the real guy? Right down to the little curl over his forhead. This is a very interesting series - I never knew much about Disraeli. He was a sort of foppish writer of romance novels who went into politics and became the first Jewish Prime Minister of Britain. Ian did a great job with this character and he ages like some 40 years as the story goes on. There were some lovely costumes in this - I hope to get some screen caps soon and make some wallpaper (haven't had the time yet).
D.R.E.A.M. Team (1999) as Oliver Maxwell [**½] (TV Movie)
This was obviously a pilot film and I can definitely see why it never made it to series - it's awful! (The box even touts it as a "cross between Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible," as if that's a good thing). Our hero is Zap Brannigan - no, sorry, I mean Zack Hamilton. James Bond he ain't, although, he does actually introduce himself as "Hamilton, Zack Hamilton" - I kid you not! The women are indeed beautiful, but stupid! They're supposed to be these big-time, well trained secret agents who happen to be beautiful, but hey, at one point, one of them is trying to defuse a bomb? She is supposed to know what she's doing, but so far as I could see, all she did was snip wires randomly, hoping one would work!

So, once again, the best thing about this stinker is Ian McShane. He is (ex) Sir Oliver Maxwell who had his knighthood revoked for being such a baddie - fraud, arms and drug dealing, et cetera. Anyway, he is actually a rarity among TV villains - intelligent! He is immediately suspicious of the group who becomes too friendly too quickly. And he doesn't hang about waiting for the good guys to stop him either. Which begs the question - how did they stop him? By the time they busted in on him, he'd already transmitted the codes, so what gives? The final fight scene is laughable - very poorly edited. It is so obvious when it's the stuntman and when it's McShane - they even show the stuntman's face! (The stuntman is trimmer and has poofier hair). His demise in this one is messy. SPLAT - yeah, very messy. That stuntman sure earned his pay.

Okay, the story is that Maxwell has gathered together a Russian biological weapons expert and an IRA bomb expert and is devising a deadly weapon of mass destruction which he plans to sell to an Arabian prince for 5 billion dollars. Target - The World Trade Center in New York. But why limit the deaths to Americans? Why not hit London and Paris too? Not sure why Maxwell is feeling so destructive, but there you have it. So, the DREAM Team (Dangerous Reconnaissance Emergency Action Mission) is posing as a model company doing a photo shoot in Puerto Rico where Maxwell owns an island. (And no, no sharks with freakin' lasers on their heads). Like I said, it's bad, but it's so bad, it's funny and it's worth watching just for Ian's performance alone, which is why I gave it two and a half stars. The beautific smile above is because he's just killed someone with his funky security system/video game. Don't even ask - you have to see it to believe it. And he wears this suit at the end - it's GORGEOUS! I guess it is actually the shirt - it is such a vibrant blue and it really sets off his eyes. (see below)

Exposed (1983) as Greg Miller [***]
Did I give this movie three stars? Why did I give this movie three stars? It's an odd film. Nastasia Kinski is a young pianist who moves to New York to make her own way in life (against her father's wishes). While working as a waitress, she is "discovered" by famous fashion photographer Greg Miller (McShane). She becomes a famous model and life is great till she meets Rudolf Nureyev. He stalks her. McShane tries to tell her the guy's a crazy stalker, she should stay away from him, but she becomes intrigued with the guy. Is he a refugee? A terrorist? A killer? McShane is adorable, but not in it enough.
The Fantastic Journey (1977) One episode "Vortex" as Sir James Camden [**½] (TV Series)
I think this was a pilot film - did it make it to series? This isn't bad, though it is awfully dated with the bell bottoms and the high hippiness factor. It's about a group out yachting when their boat gets sucked into a time vortex in the Bermuda Triangle. They wash ashore on an island full of interlocking time zones. They get seperated, of course, and the first time zone we encounter is the 16th century where the crew of a British war ship has been stranded since battling a Spanish ship some 11 years before. Naturally, the men want to ravage the woman, but the Captain - Sir James Camden (Ian McShane) comes to the rescue whereupon a sword fight ensues between him and his first mate. He's absolutely adorable here with long curly hair and super short tunic. Pre-Highlander episodic television usually didn't do sword fights justice, but this one is pretty impressive. We don't get to actually see the fatal thrust, of course, and there is no blood - it's a family show, after all. While the men are quietly locked up, Camden woos the woman in an effort to get hold of her ship and get the heck off this cursed island, but she doesn't have a ship anymore and she doesn't understand what's going on regarding the time zones. She accuses him of pretending, insisting it is actually 1976, at which point, he gets peeved, accuses her of being a witch and orders her burned. That's when the others come to the rescue. Jared Martin appears as a pacifist from the future and Gary Collins plays a devious cultist from Atlantium.

Oh, one major complaint I had - HA! Camden has a huge pile of treasure that was rescued from the Spanish ship before it sank (The Spanish crew all perished because the British couldn't very well carry the treasure and the Spaniards). Anyway, he has a cobra guarding the treasure. The fake cobra is laughable. From a distance, it's not bad, but up close - and they linger on close-ups for way too long - it is so obvious that the tongue slithers out from the creatures nose for crying out loud!

The Fifth Musketeer (1979) as Fouquet [***½]
This is your typical swashbuckling Musketeer faire - fluffy fun. Nothing stands out as particularly great or horrible. Ian McShane is Fouquet, the King's advisor. He's not really evil, just sort of scheming and a bit slimey. He has grey hair in this one - it's all wigs, of course. The screencap to the left is the best I could do, unfortunately.

Well, we know the story, right? Twins seperated at birth - Louis is King of France and Philip is training to be a Musketeer. Well, it is Fouquet who comes up with the plan of setting Philip up as King to be assasinated so Louis can miraculously return - proof of his divinity. Yeah, well, it doesn't work that way and Philip ends up in the Bastille, face hidden behind an iron mask and it is up to his friends, the Musketeers, to rescue him. Alas, Fouquet's demise is both somewhat gruesome and well deserved. (He's the baddie, what'd you expect?)

That A&E interview I posted mentions Ian chasing all over Europe after actress Sylvia Kristel. Well, she plays the Spanish Princess in this, so maybe this is how they met?

The Golden Compass (2007) as the voice of Ragnar Sturlusson [**½]
Ian is the voice of the evil and somewhat stupid Polar Bear. The big fight is gruesome, but awesome. I read the book on which the film is based and wasn't all that impressed, but the film is actually better than the book - it is certainly visually stunning, that's for sure. Hmm, let's see, what is it about? Basically, it's about Lyra - a little girl spoken about in Witch and Gypsy prophecy. She has a major role to play in the coming war, but we don't know what or even just who will be fighting this war. (Well, those of us who have read the books know, but we're not supposed to). Anyway, she's an orphan kid growing up at a stuffy old Oxford college and she's about to learn about Dust and Gobblers and about trust and loyalty and at least the gratuitous violence is kept to a minimum in the film, which ends on a high note, I was surprised to see. I guess they're saving the book's horrific ending to start off the second film. Oh, and in Lyra's world, people's souls (daemons) are on the outside and take the form of animals - hers is named Pantalaimon and is the cutest little thing - each shape he shifts into is more adorable than the last!

The two Ian's (McShane and McKellen) play members of a giant warrior Polar Bear race. They have fought each other once and Iorek (McKellen) lost and has been exiled. When he returns to rescue Lyra, the two face off again and, of course, Iorek wins this time. Not sure how, really, as Ragnar is a lot bigger and fitter, but maybe he's a little over confident and somewhat drunk as well.

Anyway, it is worth seeing if only for the stunning landscapes and adorable daemons - and the armoured bears are pretty darned cool too.

Grand Larceny (1987) as Flannagan [**½]
I suspect this was a series pilot that never made it and I think I had seen it before - some things about it were familiar as I was watching. Okay, Pierre (Louis Jordan) was a cat burglar who became an insurance consultant - he stole things back that were stolen. He made loads of cash, but now he's dead. The film starts with his only living heir - his daughter Freddy (Marilu Henner) arriving in the south of France at the request of someone named Flannagan who turns out to be Pierre's right hand man (McShane, cute as ever). Pierre and Flannagan met in prison - Flannagan is a safe-cracker extraordinare. Pierre has left everything to his daughter - IF she agrees to take over the family business. Otherwise it all goes to Flannagan. The gimmick? Well, before Pierre died, he recorded hundreds of hours of video - everything he knew about the business, an answer to every question he thought she may ask - and Flannagan wrote a computer program to access it all and keyed it all to her voice print, so all she has to do is ask and the computer brings up the pertinant video. Not sure how they got her voice print, as she and her father hadn't seen each other in 18 years, but that's a minor technicality.

So, that's why I suspect it was a pilot film - otherwise the gimmick is just too much. Course, it was also not very feasible back then with clunky big vcr's and bigger computers. Anyway, Pierre suggests she go see his insurance company pal who always has a job lined up and ask for an easy job, just to see how she likes it and Flannagan will help her all the way. Her first job? Find a stolen race horse worth 21 million and steal it back. Easy right? Well, it becomes complicated, of course. Also of course, by the end, Flannagan and Freddy are fast becoming an 'item' - if it had made it to series, there would have been romance mixed with thievery each and every week!

It's an okay movie, but dated and with the somewhat silly gimmick of the video dad. The scenery is absolutely lovely - they must have filmed on location. McShane is adorable and charming, Louis Jordan is, well - even dead, he's suave - and Omar Sherrif as the dangerous Saudi princeling is menacing. Marilu Henner is okay as the newbie thief trying to turn on the charm, but not quite making it - LOL! She's really kind of pathetic. So, it's not something I'll watch over and over, but it's a fun diversion. The photo above is from the video box.

Great Escape II (1988) as Roger Bushell [*½]
I think maybe this was originally a mini series, but the tape I have is a 90 minute condensed version. Maybe McShane is in it more in the original format? Cuz he's dead within the first 30 minutes in this version. He plays Roger Bushell, so I'm not giving anything away by telling you he dies. He is really cute all dishevelled with his hands tied, but it's a bit painful watching him and the others get killed - a disgusting war crime. Basically, this is supposed to take up where the orginal film left off and is about the hunt for the murderers and those responsible for giving the order.

Okay, is there anyone who doesn't know about the true story? During WWII, there was a POW camp located in the heart of Germany where the Germans put all their trouble making prisoners. It was supposed to be escape proof. But the prisoners - led by Squadron Commander Roger Bushell - dug a tunnel and 72 of them escaped. Hitler was enraged and wanted them all executed, but his generals convinced him that killing only - ONLY - 50 of them would make a good enough example. Only three made it to freedom - all the others were recaptured and fifty of them - including Bushell - were taken out into the woods in small groups and summarily shot by the Gestapo.

This movie is basically kind of boring. It's interesting that they touched upon the burgeoning cold war and how the US and Russia were competing for Nazi scientists and how this impeded the investigation - some of those Nazi scientists literally got away with murder and it's shameful the way our governemts behaved. The character Christopher Reeve played seemed kind of far-fetched - an American officer serving in the RAF who happened to be Churchill's cousin? Was there ever such a person? Hard to believe. Also, it's creepy to see Donald Pleasance as a Nazi in this, as he was one of the prisoners in the original film. So, the best thing about this movie was Ian McShane and we see precious little of him.

The Great Riviera Bank Robbery (aka Dirty Money or Sewers of Gold) (1979) as Bert, The Brain [*****]
I have finally gotten my hot little hands on a copy of this (thanks, MC!!) and it's GREAT! I so wanted to see this ever since I got a hold of the press kit and it did not disappoint.

Okay, the story: Ian McShane is Bert, The Brain. No one ever actually mentions his name in the film and he's listed only as The Brain in the end credits, but the press kit says his name is Bert, so Bert it is. The film starts with Bert in handcuffs, but he promptly escapes and we flashback to how it all began. We quickly skim through how he was in the army briefly and how he met some of his political friends and how he served ... four years, I think, in prison for running the printing press for this right-wing political organization and now he helps train future revolutionaries who will some day overthrow the leftist governments of the world which brings us to the problem to hand - this organization is running out of money - they need new fund raising ideas.

Well, Nice - the French Riviera - hot spot for the world's wealthy, right? Bert works as a photographer - weddings, barmitzva's, that sort of thing - and one of his clients gives him an idea when he pays him in cash and tells him how he should always get paid in cash and keep it in a safety deposit box so the nosy government won't know how much money he has ... Hmmm, the wheels turn. He goes to the big bank in town and rents a safety desposit box. They have a state of the art alarm system - no way to break in. Except - you knew there'd be an except, right? The alarm is only upstairs. Once you're down in the vaults, there is no security what-so-ever. I mean, no way down there other than through the door, right? Wrong! Bert checks it all out and discovers there's a way in through the sewers. All those safety deposit boxes stuffed with undeclared treasure and all they have to do is tunnel through the sewers. Perfect!

Bert in the sewer
Bert getting ready to tunnel through the sewers to the bank vault
Well, he and his political friends decide they don't quite have all the criminal know-how to pull this off alone, so they bring in a thug named Rocco (Stephen Greif looking hot in the only thing other than Blake's 7 I've ever seen him in) and his men to chip in and help. This would actually prove to be a bad move. It takes a couple months of digging, tunneling and drilling, but they get in and spend a weekend down in the vault. They only manage to break into maybe a third of the boxes during their time down there, but that's okay - it's plenty - Bert is not greedy - and he insists they take ONLY cash and gold bars - any identifiable jewelry is left behind. They also leave behind some tools and that is how the police ID the criminal crowd - Rocco and his boys are rounded up rather quickly, but only a fraction of the estimated 15 million dollars stolen is recovered.

Bert is eventually traced through the gold bars (though I'm not altogether sure just how) and they never do get his share of the loot back. But, like I said, he escapes, which makes you go, "YEAH!" except, when you stop to think about it, he's not really a nice guy, is he? He's a fascist bastard! McShane is adorable and charming, though, so you can't help but cheer him on.

According to the press kit, this is based on a true story and the part of Bert was evidently written with Ian McShane in mind as the writers (Francis Megahy and Bernie Cooper) had worked with him on Freelance (aka Con Man - one of my fave films). He has a back story that doesn't quite come across on screen. For instance, Bert mentions in the film that he was in the Army, but I don't recall him mentioning that he was court-martialed for "single-handedly assaulting a brothel after some friends were robbed." They actually filmed in the sewers and all involved had to get all kinds of shots to ward off any possible diseases - OUCH! Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed watching this, although Ian is so darned skinny in this, I just wanted to bring him home and feed him for crying out loud ... The photo above is Bert checking out the vault when he rents his safety deposit box - casing the joint, as it were.

Gypsy Girl (aka Sky West and Crooked) (1966) as Roibin [*****]
I finally got my hands on this one and what a sweet film! Roibin has a last name, but I sure as heck can't spell it... I'll try, though: Roibin Crzenke. I'm giving a full synopsis, so beware of major spoilers below:

Hayley Mills is Brydie White - a young, sort of slow-witted woman - a result of a head injury as a little girl. She is coming of age now, though, and for some reason, the whole village seems to think she is dangerous. I mean, come on - she and the other neighborhood kids have buried their dead pets in the church yard - how awful (rolling eyes). Anyway, the grounds keeper seems to hate her and I never could figure out why. He tries to force her out of the cemetary where she is placing flowers on a grave, but a young gypsy boy named Roibin (Ian McShane) has been following her - fascinated by the free-spirited girl, he comes to her rescue. Afterwards, they talk and he is enchanted by her beauty and innocence. But it is tea time and she must dash.

Mr. Dacres really hates Brydie - he's angry that she is alive and (gasp) happy while his son is dead. You see, years ago - when the kids were, like 9 or 10, Julian Dacres took his father's shotgun and went to play with Brydie in the field. Somehow the gun went off - killing little Julian and wounding Brydie in the head. She doesn't remember any of this, though, so dear old Mr. Dacres decides to remedy that. He confronts the girl one night with the gun and reminds her how she killed Julian. She remembers Julian and can't believe she could have hurt him - she freaks out and takes off screaming. Well, suddenly Mr Dacres seems to realize what a bastard he has been and is concerned for her, but when he tries to go after her, he falls and hits his head. He's okay, though. But Brydie is screaming into the night and the whole village is roused.

Roibin carrying Brydie
Roibin rescues Brydie from the river after she has hysterically fallen in and almost drowns
The girl runs into the river and almost drowns, but Roibin - out poaching rabbits - hears her screams too, and he dives in after her - rescues her from the water. A couple of the village kids find them and they tell Roibin how the whole village is after Brydie - something happened and Mr. Dacres got hurt. Roibin thinks the law is after the girl and he can't let them get her, so he swears the kids to secrecy and takes Brydie back to the gypsy camp.

Well, the Gypsies are not happy either - why did he bring the girl there? She's a Georgio (evidently their word for the English) and the law will be after them. But Roibin doesn't want to hear it - she is half drowned and freezing cold and she's in trouble. He brings her into his grandmother's wagon and she reprimands him for always going after the women, but she tells him to go get some soup - her way of telling him she is going to take care of the girl. At this point, Roibin tells his grandmother that he has been searching for this girl all his life - all the other women were just him searching for Brydie - she's the one.

Meanwhile, back in the village, all the gossipy, back-biting old bitties are gathered in Mrs. White's house supposedly comforting her for the loss of her girl. It's all too much for her, though, and she collapses - possibly from a heart attack. She dies in hospital.

When Brydie recovers, Roibin is right there. He explains how he fished her out of the river and how she has been sick for several days and nights and he has been right by her side all the time - holding her close when she had bad dreams and cried out. He sits on the bed with her as she is telling him she wants to go home. He tells her she should wait till she is stronger first. She gets a sort of pained expression and he gets concerned. "Are you in pain?" he asks. "My feet," she replies. "You're sitting on them." (LOL! I thought that was cute.)

So, while her mother is being buried, Brydie is in a field with Roibin and he is telling her how he sleeps out there sometimes, under the stars and how quiet it is before the birds wake up. He tells her how when he was a boy, his mother cried all the time because she was in love with a Georgio. How, sometimes, you can just see someone and know they're the one. That's the way he feels for her. She says no one has ever spoken to her this way and she goes on to tell him about Julian - something she has never spoken about with anyone before - and then she cries. He tells her it's okay now - she has spoken of it now, and it can't hurt her anymore. He tells her he loves her, they kiss and he wants her to come away with him - live the life of a Gypsy. For her, he'd even try to be a house-dweller. She wants to go home, but he insists they won't let her return to him if she does. And she won't be able to follow because she won't know the Gypsy signs. "So show me," she says and he does - explains a bunch of signs that indicate what direction they're going.

At this point, the village children find them and tell her that her mother has died. She is overwrought and Roibin comforts her. He gives her a braided ring of hair - some of hers he cut while she was sleeping and some of his twined together. It's so they can be together even when they're apart. And then he kisses her - the wedding kiss of the Romanies. She tells him she will return, but she needs to go see her mother's grave. He doesn't think they will let her return, but he promises to wait there for her.

She goes back and the vicar finds her wailing at the grave and takes her in, calms her down, but she is feverish. She insists, though, that she must return to Roibin - he's waiting for her. The vicar, who really is a nice guy, tells her he'll get a message to Roibin and ask him to come to the vicaridge in the morning. Well, he phones up the grounds keeper and asks him to deliver the message. Bastard that this guy is, though, he goes to the Gypsy camp and tells them all they better move off by morning or they'll all get done for kidnapping. Roibin's family is not amused - they're packing up and leaving and he's coming with them. He refuses, though - he's not going. He promised to wait and he's waiting and that's that. Well, the rest of them have other plans. They try intimidating Roibin, but he's not backing down. He sees what's about to go down, though, so he tries to bolt, but he doesn't make it. My copy of the film is very dark, so it's hard to tell if he is fighting two or three guys, but he gets smacked around a bit, manages to take out one or two of them, but that's not good enough. The biggest Gypsy in the camp comes back for more (played by Alan Lake who would try to kill Ian in Con Man a few years later). Anyway, poor Roibin takes at least 4 solid blows from this bruiser and he's down for the count.

Next morning, Brydie still wants to go find Roibin. He didn't show up, the Vicar reminds her. But she loves him - she wants the Vicar to marry them. And Roibin gave her a ring of their hair so they will always be together. The Vicar is a romantic and he understands what this means. She has no home in the village anymore and she and Roibin really do seem to love eachother, so by golly, he's going to help her find him. They take off and run to the Gypsy camp, but they're long gone. She finds the signs and follows. The Vicar must run back for his bicycle in order to keep up with her.

Brydie and her dog (named Dog) follow the trail, but it sort of dead-ends because Dog grabbed the last sign before she saw it. Brydie collapses against a tree in despair. Dog hears another dog, though and takes off across a field behind the tree. She looks and sees the Gypsy wagons stopped in that field and she takes off yelling Roibin's name. When the Vicar catches up, he sees her running into Roibin's arms and he smiles. "That's the way it should be." And then he hops back on his bike and heads home.

SO SWEET! Guess this would be termed a "chick flick?" I enjoyed it anyway. And Ian McShane is soooooo adorable with those puppy dog eyes. Definitely worth seeing.

Hot Rod (2007) as Frank Powell [***]
Okay, this is stupid. It does have it's funny moments, though, and most of those involve Ian McShane. The story is about Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) and his quest to be a great stunt man like his deceased dad. His step father Frank (McShane) loves his own son - Rod's half brother - unconditionally, but Rod feels he must defeat Frank in a fight before he'll get any respect from the guy. For his part, Frank beats the crap out of Rod every chance he gets. But Frank needs a heart transplant and insurance won't pay for it. Rod is distraught, he doesn't want the bastard to up and die before he can beat him down! So, Rod plans to jump 15 buses (with his moped) to raise the money for Frank's operation.

It's a (live action) cartoon. Any one of the crazy stunts Rod screws up would kill him - any one of the fights with Frank would kill him - but it's cartoony and no one REALLY gets hurt. Much. Frank really is a bastard, though, and McShane does that evil glint in the eye oh-so-very well. He seems rather boyish, too, especially in the last climactic fight scene, which is surprisingly well done. I've watched it several times - in slow motion, freeze frame, etc - and I just can NOT tell when it is the stunt men. Fantastic editing! The photo to the left is during that final fight. Frank has pulled off his sweat band and shaken his hair out like some prima donna and he has just tossed a throwing star. LOL! I rolled with that bit - shaking his curls and then the throwing star - I ask you, who carries a throwing star in his jacket pocket?

So, you can groan at the adolescent antics of these stupid guys, but it is funny. Just don't tell anyone you actually laughed and they'll never know.

If It's Tuesday, This Must be Belgium (1969) as Charlie Cartwright [****½]
He is so adorable in this one. Charlie is a happy-go-lucky tour guide who escorts American tourists across Europe - 9 countries in 18 days. He has a gal pal in every port as it were, but this latest group of yanks is keeping him on his toes - and forcing him to sleep alone. One in particular has captured his attention and he breaks his own rules when he starts to fall in love with a client. Samantha (Suzanne Pleshette) is engaged to be married but she has taken this trip to try to decide if she really wants to marry the guy. She resists Charlie's charms at first, but we know that can't last - he even serenades her with a little song and soft-shoe. There is one guy on the tour who is hilariously stealing stuff from every hotel they stay in. Alas, there is no fairy-tale ending for anyone. Over-all, it's a very funny, tender and sometimes bitter-sweet film - not to be missed. Oh, and the music by Donovan is great too!
Jesus of Nazareth (1977) as Judas [****] (TV Mini Series)
Let me just get this out of the way first by saying Ian is drop dead freakin' gorgeous in this. Man! Is it the beard? I dunno, but whew! Once you get past the beauty, though, there's a fantastic performance here. Judas Iscariot, the ultimate broody, angsty character, right? Well, he believes whole-heartedly in Jesus - believes he's the Messiah and believe's his own ideas will be welcomed by Jesus, but eventually, he begins to doubt. Not Jesus - himself. He thinks maybe he doesn't belong amongst the desciples - the rest of them are laborors while he is a scholar and Jesus doesn't seem to need new ideas, so what good is he? But Jesus has said he will be shunned and put to death et cetera and Judas doesn't want to see that happen, so he is determined to save the Savior whether he likes it or not. That's why he falls for the line fed to him by Ian Holm's character (can't recall his name). I'm not really sure what his problem is, as he had seemed to have an open mind, being a scholar like Judas. So when this guy tells him they just want to hear what Jesus has to say and no harm will come to him, Judas believes him. He THINKS he is saving Jesus.

Now, Jesus seems to know everything that will happen and he knows Judas is going to betray him, so he must know why Judas does it, right? And he seems to think everything must happen like this, for God, his Father, has decreed it be thus, so why does he act ticked off when it happens? Judas thinks he is doing good and kisses Jesus before they take him away and Jesus growls, "You betray me with a kiss?" Like, what kind of a creep are you, anyway? Course, Judas is distraught when he tries to find Jesus afterwards - he wants to be there when they question him, but Ian Holm snidely tells him Jesus is on trial for blasphemy and then further demeans Judas by handing him a purse of coins as payment. What gives? Why is this guy such an SOB all of a sudden? He had defended Jesus at first, but as soon as the majority of the others decided Jesus was dangerous, he fervently embraced the idea that he must die. As for Judas, he never even sees just what they do to Jesus, for he hangs himself immediately. It's kind of unclear who has hanged himself in the movie - why are all these old movies so dark? We see someone swinging from a distance and then the camera zooms onto the coins scattered on the ground beneath him. If we didn't already know the story, we wouldn't necessarily make the connection.

Pretty powerful performances by all concerned in this. As well as McShane, I was also impressed by Michael York as John the Baptist and, of course, Robert Powell as Jesus who had the most riveting pale eyes. One thing really, REALLY irked me, though, while watching and that was the costumes of the Roman soldiers. They ALL wore pants - every last one of them. Now, I've made a life-long study of Rome and let me tell you, Roman soldiers never-EVER wore pants. They wore something akin to SHORT pants while in BRITAIN where they were freezing their butts off, but in Judea?? No way! And, most of the soldiers in this wore metal armour. Your average Roman soldier wore LEATHER armour. Oddly enough, the only one I saw with leather armour was Ernest Borgnine who was supposed to be a Centurian who WOULD have worn metal armour - it's crazy! THEN, on top of all that, at least one Roman soldier had a BEARD! They never-EVER had beards. They were required to keep clean-shaven and keep their hair short, so an enemy wouldn't have anything to grab onto when in hand-to-hand combat. Yeah, okay, so it's nit-picky, but the producers evidently prided themselves on the historical accuracy of it all and yet they got this soooo wrong.

Anyway, Ian McShane has about 2 hours of air time - the last half of part 2 through the first half of part three. Even if you don't believe, it's a good story and if you're not sobbing by the end, you're a heartless slob. Wish I had some better images from this, but that'll have to wait till I can get it on DVD.

Kings (2009) as King Silas Benjamin (TV Series) [***½]
This began March 15th on NBC and they only showed a few episodes before cancelling it - didn't EVEN bother to air all the eps already filmed! (grrrrr) I missed one episode because they changed air days and I missed the last one they showed, HOWEVER, they are going to go ahead and show the remaining episodes now - starting June 13th, so at least there's that. (If it comes out on dvd, I'll have to get em.)

Anyway, King Silas is not particularly benevolent - he's a ruthless S.O.B., but he is not wholly unsympathetic either. So far, it would seem that the Money Man is the true villain. One thing I did not like was the portrayal of the King's son. Jack Benjamin is evidently gay and they sort of imply that he's a weak-willed, slimey, back-stabbing weasle because he's gay - like that's only natural - can't have one without the other - just irritated me. Plus, there are HEAVY religious overtones - but, of course, it is based on a Bible story, so who didn't expect THAT? Anyway, there is still a lot of reality here and I can't help wondering if SOMEone at the top can't stand the truth and THAT'S why it was cancelled ... At any rate, if Silas should happen to DIE at the end of this first (and only, now) season, then I probably wouldn't have bothered to watch a season 2 anyway.

BUT!! He DIDN'T die!! Ooooooh, this had such a great ending - season two would have been GREAT! Darn it all! I do think Silas was bordering on insanity, but what an intense character - STOOPID NBC for cancelling it. (pout)

At any rate, here is the Official Website for the show: http://www.nbc.com/Kings/

 

 

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