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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.

L - Z

Last of Sheila (1973) as Anthony [****]
This movie is so deliciously wicked. James Coburn plays a big shot movie mogul who's wife Shelia was killed by a hit and run driver a year ago as she left a party. He invites the same guests from that party on a little holiday aboard his yacht where he gets them all to play a game. The game is all about secrets. The plot thickens (and twists) as the body count rises - is one of the guests a murderer? If so, which one? The thief? The pedophile? The ex-con? You'll be hard-pressed to figure it out before the end, but maybe, if you pay close attention, you can follow the clues yourself. The ending is so wickedly fun, I love it!

McShane plays the adorable slacker husband of has-been Hollywood bombshell Raquel Welch. Kind of mean-spirited, but then they're all mean-spirited. All the back biting and cat fighting - they're like children. An accurate portrayal of the movie biz? According to reviews I've read, yes!

The Letter (1982) as Geoff Hammond (TV Movie) [***½]
I was quite disappointed when I watched this and saw that the very first scene of the film is Ian McShane's character being killed - not in it much, is he?! But no, it's okay - they go back and explain the circumstances that lead up to the shooting - several different versions, in fact. He's charming and gorgeous, but is he a drunken rapist? Maybe, maybe not, but whatever he may or may not have done, he didn't deserve to be shot six times in the back! Okay, FOUR times in the back after two in the front, but still, Lee Remick's character is a total bitch and fear not, she will get her just deserts at the end. Unfortunately, my copy is kind of dark, but I still enjoyed it - loved cussing out the murderous slut through the whole thing.

Okay, it takes place in Malaysia in 1939, I think. Lee Remick's husband is a rubber farmer. When she kills Ian McShane, she explains how he showed up drunk while her husband was away and attacked her, tried to rape her, so she grabbed the gun and just kept firing till it was empty. The letter in question is a note she wrote to him asking him to meet her at her place that night. Could be damning evidence against her - they need to get the letter back before the prosecution gets ahold of it. Why did she write the letter, how will they get it back, who has it now - did he really try to rape her, will she get convicted, should she be convicted - it's all batted back and forth till the whole truth comes out. Yeah, it infuriated me, but it was a lot of fun hating Lee Remick's character. I'll watch this one again.

Life of Shakespeare (1978) as Christopher Marlowe [****] (TV Mini Series)
Christopher Marlowe is one of my fave playwrights, so what could be better? How about Tim Curry playing Shakespeare? This is a fun romp through Shakespearean London. It is a six-part mini-series and unfortunately, Ian is only in the first episode. Marlowe is portrayed as quite a flamboyant character, though, so it's a fun hour - you know, up until Marlowe is murdered, of course. (And, come on, I'm not giving anything away - you knew that, right?)

Christopher Marlowe is the poet/playwright who gives the young Will Shakespeare his big break in the theatre. Unfortunately, his boredom leads to a dallyance with international intrigue and his poor choice of lovers leads to his ultimate murder - a very ignoble death ending up face down in the mud with a knife in the face outside the local pub.

There is a weird scene of Marlowe in the bath - with his hair and beard caked with mud. Was that some sort of Elizabethan beauty secret? He is carrying on a conversation and no one bats an eye at the mud, so THEY obviously don't think it's weird, but I do. (See image to the right)

Lovejoy (1986-1994) as Lovejoy (73 Episodes) [*****] (TV Series)
Oh, what can I say about Lovejoy? Lovejoy - "No mister, just Lovejoy" - is an antiques dealer in East Anglia. Not just any antiques dealer, though - he's a divvy. That means he just has to stand next to an antique to know whether it's genuine or not. Great fun. McShane produced the series and even directed a few eps. Seems a fan gave him one of the books to read on a plane and he loved it - decided to make the series. Now, the TV Lovejoy is a much nicer guy than the book Lovejoy. Have a look at my Lovejoy the Books page and my Lovejoy the TV show page for more info. And here is a small article that came with a photo I purchased on eBay: Why Ian Chose Antiques To The Stardom Of Dynasty
Magnum P.I. (TV Series)
You know Magnum, right? Tom Selleck? Former Naval Intelligence Officer turned Private Investigator in Hawaii?

Two different Episodes:
* Skin Deep (1981) as David Norman [*****]
McShane is a film producer in this one. His ex-wife (or maybe ex-girlfriend? - He made her a star anyway) has apparently killed herself with a shot gun - the same way the character she was signed to play does it in the movie script she was rehearsing. It becomes evident that it was not suicide afterall ... Does David Norman know more than he's saying? Yeah, he's a baddie.

* Black on White (1982) as Edwin Clutterbuck [****½]
In this one he's playing one of the "lads" who served with Higgins in Kenya. Edwin was no more than a teen when he and the other lads (Higgins was wounded and not with them) perpetrated a heinous massacre of Mau-Mau women and children. Now, someone is murdering each member of the unit one after the other - with a Mau-Mau spear. McShane's character may seem a little over the top at first, but that's bluff to cover up his insanity. And he positively smoulders with angst, fear, madness - great to watch. And, he ends up wearing nothing but beads and this sort of loin cloth thingy. Yeeeeeah.

A Month in the Country (????) as Beliayev [****]
I did enjoy this. A simple tale of love and deceit, Ian isn't really in it all that much, but he's the catalyst for everything that happens - the total breakdown of idyllic life at a little country estate ... Okay, Suzannah York is Natalia - vaguely dissatisfied housewife with an older husband who's always away and a lover who's beginning to feel the strain of all the sneaking around. She has a pretty young ward who is just coming of age and a little son who has just gotten a new tutor. Ian McShane plays the tutor for whom, it seems, the entire female population of the estate soon swoons. This poor guy has no idea what havok he is wreaking. There are some very amusing moments in this - like two guys having a serious discussion in a row boat while it inexplicably sinks. They have no reaction at all - they just finish talking and then calmly climb out of the water as if they're not dripping wet. And then there is Ian up a tree trying to get his kite down. Suzannah York is a bit of a manipulative bitch, while Ian is fantastically innocent in this - all shy and smirking - it's great!

Now, IMDb dates this TV production at 1985, but that can't be right. He would have been in his early 40's in 1985. The character he plays is 21 and, frankly, he looks about 21 - no way was he 40. I have an original press kit for the 1979 film The Great Riviera Bank Robbery which lists this among his credits, so it was made BEFORE 1979. There is no copyright date what-so-ever on the copy I have, but judging from the way he looks here, I'd say it was probably filmed in the late 60's. Anyone know for sure??

Murders in the Rue Morgue (1986) as The Prefect of Police [***]
Everyone knows the Edgar Allen Poe story, right? Mysteriously vicious deaths, locked room - whodunit? Said to be the very first detective story written? Anyway, George C. Scott is the detective in question in this version. McShane plays the Chief of Police who forced Scott's character into retirement - they hate eachother. Not a bad rendition of the story. The end is funny when Scott solves the case and McShane suddenly claims he assigned the detective to the case - yeah, they're great friends - worked together on this case - you get the idea. (grin)
Nemesis Game (2003) as Jeff Novak [***½]
Creepy movie about a mysterious puzzle game that will lead the winner to ultimate knowledge - you know, life, the universe and everything kind of thing. Mostly, though, it seems to lead to madness. Or death. Or both. McShane is a detective who's wife was killed in a car crash. His daughter was in the car with her mother and didn't get hurt, so the girl is struggling with "why not me" sorts of issues. She's in college, but she is becoming preoccupied with word games, which leads her to Adrian Paul's shop. They become friends and get involved in the weird game. Will she find all her answers? Or will she end up dead? McShane is good as the concerned father and hard-boiled detective.
Nine Lives (2004) as Larry [*½]
Okay, this is boring. It is basically about 10-12 minutes in the lives of nine different women and yes, the snippets do interact somewhat, but there is no ... I don't know, no conclusion. I mean, a couple of the stories do actually suck you in, but most of them are mind numbingly dull. I admit, I fast forwarded through some of them. The scene with Ian has him in a wheel chair, though it is unclear what illness has put him there. I thought maybe a stroke, but then they mentioned the year he was diagnosed, so I dunno, but his daughter has given up going to college in order to stay home and help care for him. This one was a little disturbing to me because of my own baggage, but that's just me. The scene where the guy makes out with his ex-wife at his wife's funeral, however, was just disturbing no matter how you look at it. Anyway, I doubt I'll be watching this one again any time soon.

One interesting thing, though, was that each segment was shot in one continuous take - in real time. So far as I know, there have only been TWO films shot completely in real time with one take - Alfred Hitchcock's The Rope with James Stewart and Josh Becker's Running Time with Bruce Campbell. It's not easy to do, as the behind the scenes extra showed, and they were just doing 10-15 minute segments here! It evidently won some indy film festival awards and would make an interesting study for film makers, but as entertainment, it's just too bland.

Ordeal By Innocence (1984) as Philip Durant [***½]
An Agatha Christie mystery starring Donald Sutherland, Christopher Plummer and Faye Dunaway. The unclear photo to the left is from the video box. Donald Sutherland plays Dr. Calgary, who returns to England after two years in Antarctica and tries to return an address book left in his car by a hitchhiker, only to find the hitchhiker has been executed for killing his mother (Faye Dunaway), a crime he couldn't have committed because he was in Calgary's car at the time of the murder. Calgary wants to clear the kid's name, but the family (especially the father, Christopher Plummer) want to leave well enough alone. His probing prompts a few more killings till he uncover's the real killer. Ian McShane is the executed guy's brother-in-law. He is wheel-chair bound and grows orchids - very smooth with slicked back hair. Alas, he is only on screen for all of 3 minutes. We see him briefly looking out a window at the opening of the movie and then he has a brief three minute conversation with Donald Sutherland about 40 minutes in and that's it till he's found dead about 40 minutes later. No one actually mentions the cause of death, but the killer had a scalpel, so presumably he was killed with the scalpel.

I never much cared for Agatha Christie - always found her books to be rather tedious, but her stuff does make good movies. I understand the reason for the original murder and the first new murder, but why kill Philip? What threat could he possibly have presented? Anyway, it's a nice little mystery.

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, I Love You (1970) as Fred C. Dobbs [***]
Not much of a plot here, but plenty of eye-candy. Fred C. Dobbs is a playwright living in Rome with his long suffering wife Millie (Ann Calder-Marshall). He's never met a woman he didn't like and the film is basically him trying to juggle his wife, his mistress, his girlfriend, his sister-in-law, his housekeeper, his secretary - all the while trying to find time to write his next script AND seeing a scalp therapist because he thinks he is losing his hair - it's crazy! Which is where the comedy is supposed to come in. McShane is adorable and naked most of the time, so I certainly enjoyed it, but some of the comedy kind of falls flat. The situations he finds himself in are amusing - especially when he sneaks into the all-girl spa and gets found out, but some scenes (usually ones withOUT Ian) are just unfunny. For instance, there is a fight scene between Doctor Farquat (the self proclaimed scalp therapist played by Severn Darden) and his wife (a sort of fem-Nazi played by Joyce Van Patten). Now, we all know fight scenes are correographed, but they're not supposed to LOOK correographed. What could have been a bit of slap-stick fun is just annoying because they play it like, "Look how funny we are, isn't this fun?" You've got to play it straight or it doesn't work and this scene doesn't work. There's another big fight towards the end that could have been funnier if it hadn't been filmed in such a weird freeze-framed way. The fight on top of the stage coach is pretty darned cool, though. If those are stunt men, they are brilliant! Then there is the gorilla - honestly, I have to ask - WHY?! I gave it three stars because Ian is such an adorable scamp. The photo above is his patented Troubled Puppydog I'm-So-Adorable-You-Gotta-Love-Me look.
Rocket To The Moon (1986) as Willy Wax [**½]
This is a stage play done for Television and takes place in New York during the depression. John Malcovich plays Dr Stark - a dentist who is hen-pecked by his over-bearing wife (Connie Booth) and who falls for his secretary. Unfortunately, his father-in-law (Eli Wallach) falls for her too, but the flighty Cleo (Judy Davis) has eyes for playboy entertainment producer Willy Wax - very sleazily played by Ian McShane. For the most part, it's pretty slow-paced, but interesting and there is a wee spot of violence I did not see coming. I really don't much care for John Malcovich, but otherwise, it was great! And Ian does do sleaze well. The photo to the left is him pointing to the scratch Cleo gave him for being a 'wolf.'
Scoop (2006) as Joe Strombel [****]
Funny stuff. Woody Allen is irritating, but that's what he does best, right? And I mean that from the bottom of my heart, with all due respect, he's a credit to his race ... Okay, McShane is Joe Strombel, journalist extraordinaire, and the film opens with his funeral, so I'm not giving anything away by telling you he's dead. As the boat is crossing the Styx, he gets into a conversation with a fellow traveler who tells him about her suspicions regarding her own death and her former employer who may be the famed Tarot Killer. Well, it's the scoop of a lifetime, isn't it? Except he's dead, isn't he? He can't let it go, though, so he slips off the boat and swims back to shore.

Meanwhile, Sondra (Scarlett Johansson) is a college journalism major visiting friends in London when she goes to see a sort of vaudeville show. She is chosen from the audience to be part of a magician's act. Sid (Woody Allen) puts her into a box to make her disappear, but while she's in there, Joe appears out of nowhere! He says he was concentrating all his energy for a journalist and hopes she's a journalist and tells her who he is and that he has a big scoop about the Tarot Killer etc before he vanishes again. Back home, she googles the Tarot Killer and Joe Strombel and it all adds up, so she returns to the stage and demands to see the box again. Sid humors her for a while, but then he really has to insist that she leave so he can get on with his business. But Joe appears again and they both see him!

He has a little more time to explain now and he tells her to write it down. Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman) is the Tarot Killer and he killed his secretary when she figured it out. But Peter is the son of Lord Lyman and you don't just accuse someone like that without proof. He tells her "You get the story first, but first, you get the story right." Words to live by, so to speak. At this point Death comes to take Joe back - kind of an impressive scene, really, but he'll pop back now and then to help. And thus, Sid is roped into helping because he saw the ghost too, didn't he?

As she investigates, Sondra falls in love with Lyman and decides, he can't really be the Tarot Killer - especially when the Police finally catch the REAL killer. But, okay, so he isn't the Tarot Killer, but maybe he used the Tarot Killer's MO in order to get away with a murder of his own. Sondra could be in a whole lot of danger and Joe doesn't think he can come back anymore. "You can only cheat Death for so long and I've used every trick I know." It's up to Sid to rescue the girl. Yeah, that might not work out so well.

It's funny and it's touching at times. Hugh Jackman spends half the film half naked (that can't be a bad thing) and McShane is sexy all scruffy and passionate. Definitely worth seeing. The photo above is the "Oh my God, this is the scoop of a lifetime and I'm freakin' dead" look - the moment he realizes what he's got.

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising (2007) as Merriman Lyon [***]
I've finally been able to see this and let me say, McShane is dead sexy as Merriman Lyon. I have to admit, I kind of like the facial hair - he does look good with a beard. Based on the novel by Susan Cooper, I thought this film left a few loose ends dangling. I haven't read any of the books yet, so I don't know if these loose ends are inherent in the literature or not. Judging from other reviews I have read, though, it would seem the film does not follow the book very closely ...

Well, first the story, then the nit picky problems I had with it - Will Stanton is an American boy in Britain. His father is a physicist who got a teaching job at an English university and his huge family has moved across the pond. It is the Christmas holidays and Will's 14th birthday brings big changes to his life. Puberty? Well, yeah, but that's the least of his worries. You see, the moment he turned 14, he gained the ability to sense the signs and, unfortunately for our young hero, the Dark also gained the abilty to sense him. Will is the last of the Old Ones to be born into the world - he's the Seeker of the Signs - the only one who can find and gather the six signs needed to unleash the full power of the Light once more - the only chance they have to defeat the Dark and save mankind again.

Okay, The Old Ones are servants of the Light and the Dark Rider (played with delicious menace by Christopher Eccleston) is the servant of the Dark. Old Ones is kind of a misnomer because they are neither old nor young - they live outside time. I don't guess they're actually immortal, though, as it seems they CAN die. Anyway, a thousand years ago, the Dark was defeated, but not destroyed. I guess it went into hibernation? I don't know, but the power of the Light was stored away in six artifacts called signs and scattered throughout time. (Sounds like the 'Key to Time' series from Doctor Who, doesn't it?) Now, the Dark is Rising - gaining in strength - and the Old Ones must gather the signs in order to stand any chance of defeating him/it again. And poor bewildered Will only has 5 days to get this done because that's when the Dark's power will reach it's peak. Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas.

Possible spoilers to follow: Will is the seventh son of a seventh son - WHEW! Like I said, big family. He doesn't believe this at first because his older by several minutes twin brother was kidnapped fourteen years ago and he never knew he had a twin - he thinks he is a sixth son. The reason someone (okay, the Dark Rider) had the chance to snatch the kid was because Will's father was distracted by a study he was obsessively involved in - a study of the physics of light and dark. Thus, he knew about all this - about the struggle, so why is he so totally clueless when things start happening? And the aforementioned other son - Thomas - what's up with him? Will rescues him and reunites the kid with his family, but seriously, this kid has been kept prisoner in a snowglobe for 14 years, would he have any verbal or social skills what-so-ever? And the Old One named George is killed, but after the Dark is defeated once more, he's suddenly alive again. Are the Old Ones immortal? And if so, why is Will's ancestor - the Old One who actually made the signs - still dead? Merriman mentions that Will's ancestor made his choice, maybe hinting that the elder Thomas Stanton deliberately gave up his immortality in order to protect the knowledge of the signs? Maybe, maybe not. Little things like that irritate me.

Overall, though, I enjoyed the film. There are some pretty cool effects and the scene where Will shows up at the manor late at night and wants to talk of his guy problems with Lyon is priceless. Merriman Lyon is completely clueless. He doesn't know anything about kids - presumably never having been one himself (or maybe it's just been so long he doesn't remember as I think he is actually the FIRST Old One). And when the Dark Rider pops into Will's house as the village doctor is almost as amusing as when he shows up at church with his old mum. Ha! I do kind of hope they film the rest of the book series - maybe explain a few things.

The photo above is Merriman looking around suspiciously wondering what foul creature will attack them. Turns out to be snakes - lots and lots of snakes. I'd really like to know if any of the hundreds of snakes writhing all over him were real - GAH!

Sexy Beast (2000) as Teddy Bass [****½]
MAN! This film packs a punch! Ben Kingsly plays Don Logan, one of the most reprehensible villains ever to grace the silver screen. Don arrives in Spain to recruit his old pal Gal (short for Gary??) for a heist back in London. Gal is very happy with his calm life in Spain and doesn't want to go, but Don is totally psychotic and won't take no for an answer. Don is one scary dude! The heist in question was planned by "Mr. Black Magic Himself" - Mob Boss, Teddy Bass - played by McShane. He is such a hard ass! He is very smooth, very menacing and very, very nasty. Great stuff!

You know, I've read several reviews of this film and they all say it's about a bank heist that goes wrong. No, it's not! Nothing went wrong - they got away with it! Do people actually watch the films they review?

Shrek the Third (2007) as voice of Captain Hook [****] (Animated)
Thanks to KT for the screen cap image of Capt Hook! This edition of the Shrek franchise has Shrek in search of Prince Arthur to take over as King of Far Far Away, so he doesn't have to take on the job after Fiona's dad dies. I must have missed something, though, as when did the King become a frog? Anyway, Prince Charming is still fuming about everything and he rounds up all the villains in one last ditch effort to destroy Shrek and take the throne for himself. We've seen Captain Hook before, but he never spoke - till now. It's a fun film.
Space 1999 (1975) One episode "Force of Life" as Anton Zoref [***½] (TV Series)
I was never a fan of this show - it replaced UFO, which was a far superior series, so I was always biased. I did watch it sometimes back in the day, if there was nothing else on, but I didn't remember this episode. I've found it now, though, so here goes.

McShane is Anton Zoref - a hapless nuclear technician on Moonbase Alpha. Wait, is there anyone who doesn't know the series? Okay, an explosion has ripped the moon out of Earth's orbit and so it, along with Moonbase Alpha sitting prettily on it's surface, is hurtling through space encountering strange new lands and strange alien beings. And it's called Space 1999 because it all happens in September of 1999. Hey, it was 25 years in the future when the show was made.

Right, back to the episode: So, Anton is rudely awakened at 4:30 in the morning - or maybe it's evening; no sunrise or sunset now that they're in deep space. Anyway, he reports for work at the nuclear reactor room and is going about his tedious tasks when a strange blue ball of light invades his personal space. He tries to call for help, but everyone else on Moonbase is frozen in time, so all Anton can do is stand with his back against the wall and hope for the best. The blue ball of energy evidently invades his head because Anton grabs his head in agony and then collapses to the floor unconscious, at which point everyone else on base wakes up again.

They check him out back in sick bay, but all they find is a malfunctioning monitor, so the doc (Barbara Bain as Helena) sends him home to rest, but rest doesn't come easily. He's cold, for one. He turns the heat up full blast in his quarters, which prompts a small argument with his wife Eva. Then his head starts to hurt again and the lamp suddenly burns out. He's antsy all cooped up, so he goes for a walk and ends up back at the reactor room. He goes in and talks things over with his pal Mark who tells him everything seems to be functioning correctly. While finishing up some paperwork, Anton's headache returns and then he gets cold again - really cold. He's freezing and Mark, concerned, gets him a nice hot cup of something or other (coffee or tea?). Before he can drink it, though, it freezes right there in the cup in his hands. What's the deal? He feels woozy and starts to faint again, but Mark catches him. Bad move for poor Mark, who is instantly frozen to death as soon as he touches his friend. Anton doesn't know what is going on and he flees in panic, back to his quarters.

Which is where Eva finds him brooding. He warns her not to touch him and tells her Mark is dead and he's just not feeling well - he's gonna go back to the medical centre. As he approaches the med center doors, though, his head starts acting up again and he staggers to the wall. A med tech is just leaving and asks him of he's alright and when he doesn't answer, she makes a wide berth around him and glances over her shoulder at him like she's afraid. Now, maybe I'm old fashioned, but when a doctor, nurse or medical technician - at a medical clinic - sees someone in obvious distress, shouldn't he/she stop to help said person? What made her think he was dangerous? I mean, he is, but she has no way of knowing that yet. So, he follows her, corners her in a deadend corridor and touches her. That's two down.

Eva, worried about her hubby, goes to the med center and asks to see Anton - isn't he here? He was distraught after Mark died and said he was coming to the med lab. Well, that leads to the connection finally being made - Anton must be rsponsible for the two deaths. Next, he makes his way to the solarium, where, it seems, scantily clad Alphans go to lounge under the sun lamps. He contemplates touching the half naked woman lying there, but more tempting fare exists in the heat lamps. He lies down and starts soaking up the rays, which kind of makes him glow a bit. It also starts to drain power from the room, making the other lamps burn out, which alerts the two lounging woman that something is amiss. Evidently, a glowing man is reason for concern - or maybe it's just that he's fully clothed, but they sense something is up and call security for help. Said security arrives just in time, as Anton has set his sights on the gals now, but Commander Koenig (Martin Landau) orders the power to the room be cut. Anton collapses unconscious, which makes no sense to me - he has just sucked up all the energy from dozens of heat lamps - there can't be much more power left in the room to begin with, so what difference would shutting it off make for him now?

Okay, SPOILER WARNING because I'm gonna reveal the ending ...

But that's what happens. He's still alive, but what to do? They can't move him without touching him. Koenig takes a chance and touches him, which wouldn't happen - what sort of underling lets the COMMANDER take a risk like that? (He kind of smacks him in the face - wonder if they'd had a tiff? Or maybe it was take 52 and Landau was just fed up, I dunno, but it amused me slightly). Anyway, he's not sucking up energy now, so they bring him back to the medical centre where they strap him down and lock him in a ... what? Some sort of observation room with heavy security locks. It's hilarious, though - they strap a little reading light to him as an "early warning system" - when the light goes out, it means he's sucking energy again. But no one is watching anyway, so why bother? (Notice the Visible Man and Visible Woman models on Helena's desk? They came out around 1960 or so.) The light does go out and Anton breaks free of the steel restraints and proceeds to knock the door down. He never moves fast, so it's easy for Helena to run circles around him and call for the security guard outside. Good place for him, right? The doors won't open on command because Anton has drained all the power from the room now, so the guard has to shoot his way in. He should be wearing a red shirt, because this guard walks right into Anton, gets flash frozen and drops like a stone. Now that the door is open, Anton strolls out without a backwards glance.

Obviously Anton - or the energy being living inside him - needs heat, so he's probably heading for the reactor room again, right? But if he gets there and absorbs all that power, he'll be unstoppable and nothing will be able to keep him away from the other reactors. If he shuts them all down, they're dead. So Koenig warns everyone on Alpha to be on the lookout for Anton Zoref - don't touch him and shoot to kill. Then he does something that makes no sense to me what-so-ever - he orders all power to Alpha base cut. For a space station in the future, they have pretty crappy medical equipment on Alpha. Without power, patients start dropping like flies. Don't they have manual respirator bags? Anyway, why did he cut power anyway???? All this does is ensure that Anton will head for the reactor and isn't that what Koenig wanted to avoid??

Meanwhile, Eva wants to find Anton and bring him back alive. It's so funny to me that she finds him in a hallway next to a decorative shelf full of moon rocks - LOL! Anyway, the energy beast may have control of him, but Anton is still in there and he resists killing his wife. "Stay away!" he tells her. "He'll kill you!" (And I do believe he says HE will kill you). She won't listen, though, and I guess she thinks he's coming to get help when he starts lumbering towards her. Luckily, Carter (Nick Tate - the main reason I used to watch the show, as I recall) jumps in and grabs her away just in time. Like I said, Anton doesn't move very fast so it's easy to evade him.

So, now that this little tasty tidbit is out of his reach, he heads for the reactor again, but by the time he gets there, he's too weak to open the doors. (Power has been cut station-wide, so no automatic door opener). Koenig and company find him whimpering on his knees, but he senses a new source of heat and turns towards them. So they shoot him with a laser, rendering him a veritable crispy critter. (YEOWWIE!) Okay, I guess that was the plan? Shut off all power so he would HAVE to go to the reactor and then shoot him before he could get in? If so, it didn't quite work out that way. The energy from the laser empowers him. I guess any part of Anton that had remained was fried by the laser - at least we can hope. His eyes now aglow, what was once Anton rises and opens the reactor room doors. Nothing for Koenig and company to do now but run. Anton beast opens the reactor door and walks into the core of the reactor. There is a big explosion, which also makes no sense to me as wouldn't the Anton beast absorb all the energy??? The reactor whould have just died like every other piece of equipment he has drained.

Well, he - it doesn't go after the other reactors - one was enough and it flits off back out to deep space. What was it's purpose? Why did it need so much energy? We may have just witnessed the birth of a new star. Yeah, whatever - none of it is any comfort for Eva Zoref. After all, she just lost her ever-lovin' hubby, didn't she? ARGH!

You can start reading again here cuz I revealed the ending above ...

It's a riveting episode - can't help wanting to know whatever will become of poor Anton. Not much model work in this episode, but what there is was good. The late great Derek Meddings did the model work on UFO but I don't see his name listed in the credits for this - don't see ANYone listed as modelist, so dunno if he had anything to do with this show or not. Anyway, watching the little Moonbase model explode was fun. And, of course, McShane is once again adorable as always - at least when he isn't tugging at his face in confused agony - LOL! There are two playful moments between Anton and his wife that I found cute: At the opening when his alarm goes off, Eva has to nudge him awake and then he rolls over and gets all smoochy, but she sternly points to the clock that reads 4:30 and he has to get up. When he is sent home to rest, Eva is coming out of the shower and he surprises her and pulls her down onto the sofa - all smoochy. Actually, she snubs him now too - says he is supposed to be resting. What is WRONG with her?

Anyway, I enjoyed it.

Tam Lin (aka The Ballad of Tam-Lin or The Devil's Widow) (1970) as Tom Lynn [*****]
Absolutely LOVE this movie! Maybe the spaced out acid trip is a little cliche'd now, but back then, it was all happ'n'n. Roddy McDowell's one and only outing as director is a rather ingenious modern rendition of the classic old bard's tale. The Fairy Queen is now Michaela "Mickey" Cazaret, an aging millionairess (Ava Gardner) who is trying to keep herself young by surrounding herself with young people and sucking the life out of them - figuratively, if not literally. Her latest favourite is young Tom Lynn - Ian McShane. He's devoted to her, like the puppy the vicar's daughter (Stephanie Beecham) brings round.

MAJOR SPOILERS HERE - I'm going to give a synopsis of the entire film so be warned.

Well, Tom is instantly smitten with young Janet (said Vicar's daughter). After a night of drunken mayhem in Mickey's bedroom, Tom dons Mickey's gold-tinted sunglasses, grabs a bottle of wine for a little hair-of-the-dog and goes for a walk along the moors. Okay, there is no moor - just rolling green Scottish hills, but stopping at a stream, he spies Janet who is supposed to be returning the check Mickey gave her as payment for the puppy. (She didn't want to give it up, so asked for 50 pounds, thinking no one would pay that much for a puppy). In an irritatingly choppy sequence of still images (the only such sequence in the film - not sure what the reasoning was there), it is evident that he has his way with her. On the way back to Carter Hall, they talk about Mickey and how wealthy she is ("She can afford to live in her dreams and she takes us into them for company.") At the gate, Tom tells Janet she must go no further - protecting her from the jealous rage he knows Mickey would feel? Mickey already knows, though - her spy Elroy (Richard Wattis) has already reported the affair. Mickey confronts him in the garden, tells him she loves him, but she isn't as convincing as he is when he tells her he loves her. Already he is questioning the relationship.

Back at the castle (mansion at least), the others have convinced one of the gals to perform some psychic readings. They blindfold her and give her objects to hold - she tells them the impressions she gets. One guy places his ring on the table, but when she reaches for it, she grabs Mickey's sunglasses that Tom had set down. They freak her out. She screams and rips her blindfold off, demands to know who's they are. Tom wants to know what she saw, but she dismisses it and runs away in tears. Tom doesn't know just what to make of this. The following Sunday, Tom goes to church, listens to the vicar's sermon and waits for Janet outside afterwards. He spends the day with her and the little girl who is staying with the Vicar while her mom is in hospital. They have a picnic and take a long walk along the hills - a quiet normal day compared to the wild craziness that is life with Mickey.

His absence has been noted back at the Hall and Tom endures some evil-minded ribbing from Oliver (David Whitman) who is obviously jealous of Tom's position in Mickey's bed. Oliver goes too far, though, and Tom throws a drink in his face, whereupon Oliver backhands Tom, causing a bloody nose, which enrages Mickey. She warns Oliver not to make trouble again or he's out and then she storms away. Oliver pretends to be apologetic, but Tom ignores him, grabs a bottle and wanders away himself. But Elroy, Mickey's part-time spy and full-time personal secretary of long standing, calls Tom into his office for a chat. He shows Tom some files about young men who have been found dead in the wreckage of one of Mickey's cars - seems to happen every 7 years or so (the last one 7 years ago) - he even has photos. This obviously upsets Tom, as it was meant to. He thinks Mickey put Elroy up to it, but I don't think so.

That evening, Tom announces his desire to leave. Mickey won't let him go, though, and his time spent with Janet is tormenting him until he goes back and tells Mickey he's going away for a while - to think. They spend one last happy evening together at a nightclub before Mickey tells him he can have one week to himself and then she's going to hunt him down and kill him. Meanwhile, Janet has found out she is pregnant. She tries to find Tom, but Mickey refuses to tell her where he is, so she decides to have an abortion. Due to an anonymous postcard, Tom finds her outside the abortion clinic in London before she can do anything and they spend a blissful week in his "morbid little caravan" before he spots Elroy spying on them and realizes the week is up and they need to run for it. Too late, though. Tom is jumped, roughed up and dragged back to Mickey for the final confrontation. McShane can broadcast a wide range of emotion with his eyes (and those great eyebrows), so it's no surprise how well he conveys fear, incredulity and defiance all at once, but Ava Gardner does a smashing job of it too. The way she flares her nostils and narrows her eyes - telling him how she's going to put him down like a rabid dog one moment and the next asking him to say something nice to her because "she's feeling rather miserable." That whole scene in her office is precious!

On the set of Tam Lin
On the set: This is just after Tom has been drugged, but before it has taken affect. L-R: Director Roddy McDowell, Ian McShane, Ava Gardner and Richard Wattis.
She drugs him - forces him to drink what I gather is wine laced with LSD. Then the games begin. Mickey's new boy toy, Oliver, is running things. They're going to play "Murder." Usually a child's game, they're going to play it for real. Mickey will be the detective and Oliver the murderer, but who is to be the victim? It's surprising to Tom how ready and willing the other young'uns are to join in the hunt. They were his friends, after all. The subtle look he gives when a sweet girl points him out as the victim is spot on. When the drug starts to take affect, Tom goes from fear to despair to defiance and then passes into oblivion at which point Mickey tells him to go get in the white car and drive as fast as he can. She is going to release her wild beasts and if they catch him, they'll tear him to pieces. So, he runs. Luckily, Janet knew where they were taking him and she shows up in time to jump in the car with him. He's driving like a maniac and almost kills them both (Now we know how those other guys died, right?), but Janet manages to get the car stopped. Back at the caravan (trailer for us Yanks), she had promised to hang on to him ("I love you, I want you and I need you but you must hold on to me"), but she's finding it difficult in his current state. Tom takes off across the field and into the woods, blindly running in terror. At one point, he imagines he's a bear caught in a trap and Janet finds him growling and twisting among the brambles. She gets him loose only for him to take off again. Next she finds him writhing in the mud - imagining his arms are a giant snake strangling himself. She is really struggling here! Again he takes off and runs to the river's edge where he kneels down for a drink, only for the water to turn to flame. She finds him now thrashing in the water imagining he is being consumed by fire. She gets him to shore where he finally collapses into her arms and this is how the others find them.

The rage in Mickey's eyes when she finds Janet holding him is almost palpable. She wants him dead. She wants them both dead. But Oliver didn't sign on for actual murder - Tom was supposed to kill himself. It didn't work, so he calls the others off, earning himself a sharp backhand from Mickey. The only one who seems rather pleased by this outcome is Elroy. When the others leave, Tom - still pretty out of it - snakes his hand over to take Janet's hand in his. She is the only reason he is still alive - because she held on to him as she promised.

And so Mickey is left with Oliver as her number one. She's doesn't seem overjoyed by that - afterall, Oliver is not quite as young and not quite as beautiful as Tom. And what about Oliver? Shouldn't he feel apprehensive about all this? After all, what he almost did to Tom could so very easily be done to him when Mickey tires of him. Is he just stupid? Or does he really think he's enough to keep her entertained forever?

I like how everything is not explained in detail - giving the audience a little credit for being halfway intelligent. I think Elroy is behind all the help Tom gets. I don't think Mickey told him to show Tom the photos of the dead young men. He expresses what a waste it was, losing those "boys" - he's trying to warn Tom. And I think it was Elroy who arranged for Tom to get to Janet before she could have the abortion - Mickey had refused to tell Janet where Tom was - she especially wouldn't want Tom to know he was going to be a father. And he is the only one who seems cheerful at the end when it has become obvious that Tom has broken free of Mickey's hold. It's quite possible Tom is the only one to have managed it.

Terror in Moscow (2003) - Narrator [****] (TV Documentary)
An HBO production that aired in October of 2003. The tagline reads:

In October 2002, the eyes of the world were fixed on Russia, where a harrowing siege of a Moscow theater by Chechen terrorists threatened the lives of some 700 hostages. Now, through emotional first-person interviews with survivors as well as remarkable video footage taken inside the theater by the terrorists themselves, the events of those terrifying 57 hours are revisited in a riveting new documentary, "Terror in Moscow."

Ian provides the narration and it's an interesting story. I certainly don't recall hearing about this when it happened in 2002, but what a horrifying scenario. Imagine going out with the family to see a nice play and being taken hostage and threatened by suicide bombers. I think it said there were 22 men armed with automatic weapons and 19 women with bombs strapped to their chests. The outcome is the stupidest thing I've ever heard - would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. It's a matter of historic record, so I don't guess I'm giving away a mystery by explaining that the special police eventually piped in knock-out gas where-upon most everyone passed out. A few hostages staggered out before police charged in and killed the remaining gunmen - and I think they killed the unconscious women as well. All the terrorists were killed and not one policeman was lost. Unfortunately, hundreds of unconscious hostages were left laid out to choke on their own vomit or to swallow their tongues! OUTRAGEOUS!!

Interviews were just heartwrenching. One woman was actually shot by the terrorists, but they let emergency workers come get her - she survived, while her husband and daughter did not. Another woman told how her little boy was scared to die because he wanted to know how he would find her in Heaven. She told him if they went to Heaven they would go together because she wasn't letting go of his hand, but she woke up in the hospital only to find out her husband and her little boy did not survive!! She actually tried to kill herself so she could go find her son in Heaven, but didn't manage it. SHEESH! I dare you not to cry!!!!

Ian does not appear in this, so I obviously have no photo, but I've used a fave magazine clipping from around the time he did this - mid 2000's ...

Terrorists (aka Ransome) (1975) as Ray Petrie [***]
And why did I give this one three stars? Maybe because it was kind of an exciting film - right up until the end. Sean Connery is billed as the hero in this, but he's nothing more than a vindictive, spiteful bastard. What he does at the end is despicable. The British ambassador to Norway is being held hostage. Sean Connery is the Norwegian chief of security and is working with the British to resolve the situation. A group of terrorists, headed up by Ian McShane, hijack a plane in order to pick up their fellow terrorists and the ambassador. And the standoff ensues. But all is not as it seems and when Connery realizes how he is being used by the British, he blows the whole situation out of spite - deliberately getting an undercover British agent killed as well as further endangering all the hostages! Crappy ending. McShane is very suave and cool, while Connery is rather a plod.
Too Scared to Scream (aka The Doorman) (1985) as Vincent Hardwick [***½]
No idea why someone decided to call this Too Scared to Scream - The Doorman is much more descriptive. This is a nicely plotted little mystery that could have been better if someone other than Mike Conners had been cast as the detective. Kind of a wooden performance. McShane is great as The Doorman, Vincent. Everyone loves Vincent - he's the night doorman. The day doorman is a sullen sod, but Vincent has class - he's refined - and is charming with the ladies. Unfortunately, resident's start dropping like flies and suspician falls on Vincent. After all, he's weird, isn't he? Always spouting Shakespeare, he lives with and dotes on his crippled old mum. Plus, he cuts birthday cake with a butcher's knife - he must be a psychotic murderer, right? I did figure out who the real killer was before the end, but I had all the wrong reasons - it will come as a bit of a surprise. McShane is cute, but angst-filled - he is one tortured individual. You just want to hold him close and tell him it's all gonna be okay.
Torchlight (1985) as Sidney [*]
Bad movie. Bad, bad movie. Best thing about it is McShane. He's the wickedly slimey drug dealer, Sydney. It's fun to watch just how sleazy he can be. I don't have a good photo from this film - the one to the left is from the video box. Okay, it's about a young couple (Pamela Sue Martin as Lillian and Steve Railsback as Jake) who are introduced to the world of cocaine at a party. Sydney shows them how to freebase - taking a hit and then breathing it into Lillian with a kiss. Heh. Jake declines - he doesn't swing that way, but Sydney says, no, he can have his own pipe. Well, Lillian is not impressed, but Jake quickly gets hooked - and in no time, he doesn't mind getting his hit second hand from Sydney. Everything they have goes to pay for Jake's habit till Lillian has had enough and leaves him. It is supposed to be a powerful message about the dangers of cocaine use, but I'm sorry - Steve Railsback is just not convincing as a sweet newlywed. He's always a mental case, so him on drugs isn't much different than him sober. And Pamela Sue Martin's little tirade about how pathetic Sydney is and how he'll die alone, et -boo hoo- cetera, falls flat. Once again the best thing about this movie is Ian McShane, who wears a cute little earring in this. I wonder if he's really pierced or not.
We Are Marshall (2006) as Paul Griffen [****]
Egads! I blubbered the whole way through this one!! Frankly, I'm not sure I can watch this again. It's about the devestation to a whole town when the university football team is killed in a plane crash. It's a true story about a crash in 1970 that killed 75 people - football players, coaches and fans - from Marshall University in West Virginia. It decimated the whole town. Ian McShane plays Paul Griffen who is evidently president of the college school board and owner - or at least manager - of the local steel plant. His wife had died a couple years before and his son is all he has, so he is pretty desolate when his son is killed in the crash. One of the most heart wrenching moments of the film is when his son's fiance tries to return the ring. It had belonged to Griffen's wife and he handed it down to his son and she thinks it should stay with his family. "What family?" he asks. GAH! I'm telling you, I used up a whole darned box of Kleenex watching this! So, Matthew McConaughey is the coach who comes in to rebuild the football program and ends up helping to heal the whole town - and yes, even Griffen. I'm not sure who's idea it was to have McConaughey always speak from the side of his mouth, but it was damned irritating - and a bit distracting. One of the extra features included an interview with the real coach he was playing and he didn't do that, so what was the point?

McShane is pretty intense in this - very convincing as the grieving father. (The photo to the left is him at his son's funeral). And he does a very credible American accent too. I read in some interview or other that the whole situation was a bit surreal for him as when he showed up on set and saw all these MU (Marshall University) banners up all over the place, it kind of flashed him back to the Manchester United (MU) crash of 1958 that killed 23 players, coaches and journalists. His father was still working for the football club then and he knew all the players - it hit Manchester as hard as this crash rocked Huntington. Maybe those memories made it easier for him to get into character? Yes, it is a very moving film, but kind of hard to take. Definitely have tissues handy while watching it.

And I'm telling you, the man's eyes change color! They do! Background, clothing, mood - they change color! Sometimes they're a very pale grey and sometimes they seem so dark they're almost black. Sometimes they have a slight greenish tint and others - like in this film - they are sligtly blue. Watch the close-ups in the diner scene with him and McConaughey (who has such vibrant blue eyes, he MUST wear tinted lenses - no one has eyes that blue!). McShane is wearing a suit that looks to be a bluish grey and I guess the color is reflected in his eyes, because they look a pale blue. Lovely.

Yesterday's Hero (1979) as Rod Turner [**½]
The video box touts this Jackie Collins film as "a story that sports enthusiasts, romance lovers and music ears will enjoy." Not quite right. Music ears will cringe as the soundtrack is absolutely abysmal, and there isn't a whole lot of romance. Sports enthusiasts might like it, though, and Ian McShane fans like myself will enjoy it. And, hey, a dozen naked ball players lounging in the locker room bath is worth the viewing right there!

It's an old story we've all heard before - aging athlete drowns his sorrows in alcohol, but gets the chance to redeem himself for one last big game ...

[I'm gonna use the terms football and soccer interchangably here, kay?]

From Wikipedia :
Strikers, also known as forwards and attackers, and formerly inside forwards, are the players on a team in football in the row nearest to the opposing team's goal, who are therefore principally responsible for scoring goals.


From The Soccerhelp Dictionary :
STRIKER - A scoring forward, usually a center forward (as distinguished from a "wing" forward, whose job might be to cross the ball to a striker) who is very skilled at scoring. There could be one or two of these. The term implies a player who is great at shooting & "finishing". This player will sometimes stay "pushed up" when the rest of the team is back on defense. Many great strikers are poor defenders & if so they are called "pure strikers". You can argue that a great striker is born & that the instincts & quickness required can't be taught.

Okay, McShane is Rod Turner, greatest striker the game has ever seen. Now, I'm not up on my soccer terminology, but I gather the striker is the guy responsible for kicking the ball into the goal? Well, he was the best, but he's in his 30's now, playing for a second - maybe third or fourth - rate football club that evidently hasn't won a game in years. His dad sings his praises at the local pub where Rod no longer has a credit line, but the writing is on the wall - especially now that his friend has just been fired from the team. He's sure to be next. He sobers up enough each day to take a group of orphan boys out to the field for some soccer fun and they worship him - especially one kid he calls Sunshine. His girlfriend is getting fed up with him always being drunk, never calling or showing up when he says he will. He catches her throwing away all his photos of old girlfriends and they get into an argument when she actually suggests they move in together. (Her place is so much nicer than his rat pit).

After she leaves in a huff, he takes his old photos out of the trash and looks through them - lingering on one in particular. It's a photo of a gal named Cloudy Martin. Yeeeeeeeah. Anyway, Cloudy (played by Suzanne Somers who can NOT sing) is now a singing sensation with her boyfriend Clint Simon (played by Paul Nicholas who also can NOT sing - and I don't care how many hits he's had). Well, turns out this guy Clint owns a football club called The Saints which is causing a minor sensation in the soccer world because they're playing so well and they have actually made it to a semi-final no one expected them to make. But their star striker has been injured and they're, like, a 'B' team, so there are no 'A' team players willing to come play for them. What are they to do?

Meanwhile, Rod has a friend visiting from America - soccer is taking off over here (there) and he's hoping his friend can get him on a team. His friend turns out to be played by Alan Lake. Now, this is the third film I've seen them in together - coincidence? Or do they enjoy working together? At least in this one neither attempts grievous bodily harm on the other. He's kind of a creepy friend, though - says Rod is too old to play, but maybe he could get him a job as a coach - and then kind of snickers behind his back.

So, when this guy Clint offers him a position with The Saints, Rod is torn. He's anonymous now, but if he joins The Saints, he'll be all over the headlines - he'll be the aging has-been trying to recapture his glory days and if he blows it, his name will be mudd. Bottom line, though, is that he has nothing better going on, so he takes the job - even though the head coach is a guy he once played with and who hates him. Meeting Cloudy again is a little hard, but they both play it cool.

I'm a little unsure of the time frame here, but I think he only has a week to train for the semi-final. He plays better than he has been, but as he says, that isn't saying much. He does okay, though, and manages to score, but he's caught taking a little nip of scotch during half-time and he and the coach get into it. He is summarily suspended from further games. They win this one, though, which means they're on their way to the finals at Wembley. (This is a big deal).

At the party afterwards, the coach is being a creep - he keeps coming on to Cloudy, trying to get her to talk to Clint to get Rod thrown off the team. Rod gets drunk, of course, and he and the coach clash, he throws a punch, but misses, ends up on the floor and gets thrown out. Cloudy brings him home (to her home) and sticks him in the shower to sober him a bit. He wants a scotch afterwards, but all he gets is coffee. They discuss what happened to their relationship. He remembers her leaving him - he came back from South America and she was gone. The way she remembers it, she was supposed to go to South America with him, but he went without her. Well, all this predictably leads to sex. He really likes her and wants to turn his life around for her. Next morning, she takes him to his home where his girlfriend Susan is waiting. He was supposed to call her after the game and she's been up all night worrying and in he walks with another woman! Cloudy doesn't want to be in the middle of this, so she leaves and Rod demands his key back from Susan. She obliges and storms out. He runs out to see if he can still catch Cloudy, but she's gone. Not only that, but she won't return his calls and avoids him at every turn. He's in a quandry. He tries to quit boozing, but he's going crazy trying to get in touch with her.

Meanwhile, little Sunshine has heard about him being suspended and thinks he has lied about playing in the finals and getting him a ticket - he won't even come out to the van when he comes to pick up the kids for their daily work-out. Plus, his father is actually getting into fights with his friends at the pub over him. He goes to Clint and begs to be able to play in the final - he admits he was in the wrong and he's even willing to apologize to the coach if it'll help. Clint wants him to play, but the coach has said it's Rod or him - he'll leave if Rod plays. Clint says he can't promise anything. But Rod is serious about this now. He goes home and collects all his liquor bottles (dozens of them!) and throws them away. He starts running in the mornings. He goes to the team training sessions and speaks respectfully to the coach when he says his presence isn't necessary. When Cloudy calls him one night and says she wants to see him, he wants to know what the deal is. She got her own back, they're even now and he doesn't need the pain of being dumped twice, so what does she want? She's leaving for America soon and she just wanted to say goodbye. "So say," he tells her. They say their goodbyes on the phone and that's that. He goes into overdrive with his training now and scenes of his intense workouts are intercut with scenes of the two idiots on stage - their act really sux.

The rest of the team loves Rod, by the way - one guys tells him how he used to watch him play when he was a kid - LOL! They want him to play in the final - they could really use his experience, but he says not to worry about it - nothing to be done - he's not gonna beg (again). Anyway, Clint orders the coach to bring Rod off suspension and put him on sub status. Rod's dad, his old team mate and the little kid all get their tickets and they're at the big game. Rod sits on the bench next to the coach for the first half of the game. They give up two goals right off - not good, but they get one back, so it's 2-1 at halftime. The coach gives em all a little pep talk during the break and then it's back out on the field - or bench, in the case of Rod. The game goes on with no goals. There is like 8 minutes left when a Saints player is badly injured and Rod is sent in. He's playing very well now and he makes a goal, which ties them at 2-2. Then he is fouled by the other team and he gets a penalty kick. The clock has ticked down and I think this one last kick is all that's left. This is it - he can win the game with this one kick. And, of course, he does. YAY!

The movie itself isn't bad and McShane looks pretty good to me out on the field (never mind the communal bath - grrrwwwwllllll), but the music is so horrendously bad and their stage act is so outrageously inane - and since half the bloody film is taken up with the music act, I can't give it more than 2 and a half stars. Definitely worth a look-see for McShane fans, though. Just fast forward through the stupid stage shows.

Young Charlie Chaplin (1989) as Charles Chaplin, Sr. [***½] (TV Mini Series?)
IMDb lists this as a 6 part mini series. The video I have does not say it is part 1, but I guess it is. The box says my tape is 60 minutes, but it actually runs 106 minutes and says "To be coninued" at the end. But since McShane's character dies at the end of this part, I don't need to see the rest.

Ian McShane is Charles Chaplin - small time vaudeville singer with big plans. Little Charlie Jr idolizes his father. It is never really explained, but it seemed to me that Charlie's older brother, Syd, might have had a different father. Charles Sr is a bit of a bastard - out boozing and partying instead of taking care of his family and he eventually leaves them for some floozy named Louise. (And she's a witch with a capital B - what the heck did he ever see in her?) But he does seem to genuinely care about Charlie. Charlie's mom Hannah (Twiggy) tries to take up her stage singing career again, but she can't handle the heckling any more and she and her two sons slip deeper and deeper into poverty until they end up in the poor house. They are separated and I don't really know what they do with her, but the boys are sent to some awful boys school. At 15, Syd leaves to become a sailor and Charlie is miserable until his father returns to get him out of there.

Charles Sr gets the boy a job as a dancer. He teaches the boy some dance steps and then brings him to an audition. It's funny because young Charlie really isn't very good yet, but the guy says he has booked 22 Lancashire Lads (the name of the group) all over Britain and he's only got 5 lads, a midget and a girl with short hair, so he thinks he can find a place for Charlie. LOL! Charlie loves this - he even gets to meet his idol Dan Leno (big shot music hall comedian) who is very gracious to the lad. Unfortunately, when the tour ends, Charlie is sent back to the awful school again. He must 'escape' in a laundry basket in order to go to a theatre audition. He gets the part and now goes on tour in a Sherlock Holmes play. He is making pretty good money now as an actor and he gets his mother out of the poor house to come live with him. He is 12 years old.

But Hannah is no longer right in the head and they come take her away to an asylum, which devestates poor Charlie. He locks himself in his room until the landlady gets ahold of his father and Charles Sr gets him out of there. Some moron has bequeathed the elder Charles a pub and now that he has a steady income (and since Louise has thrown him out), he gets Hannah out of the asylum to come live with him again. But come on, owning a pub just means Charles can drink 24-7 now. He literally drinks himself to death. When he collapses, Hannah is sent back to the asylum. Little Charlie visits his dad in the hospital and unless the color was just way off, the man's liver has been destroyed because he looks severely jaundiced. He tells the boy how much he loved Hannah - he still does - she was so beautiful back then and had such a wonderful voice. He had big plans of booking lucrative gigs and being a real actor etc. He says young Charlie has the talent - he can have it all, just stay the hell away from the booze. And then we cut to the funeral - Charles Sr. has died at the age of 38! Syd shows up in sailor suit at the funeral and Charlie might be getting a job with William Gillette - a Yank - which means he may be headed for America, but we must watch the next part for that story.

I've been to Gillette castle - or so my Mom says. I was an infant, so have no memory myself, but that's what she says. Anyway, this video is labeled a Wonderworks Family Movie and has another label that reads: NO SEX, DRUGS or VIOLENCE Because some things are just more important. Now, a child may not pick up on it and they certainly don't show it, but it's fairly obvious that Charles Sr comes home drunk one night and rapes his wife. As for drugs, Charles Sr drinks himself to death! Alcohol is a drug you know! And violence? Sheesh, at that horrible school, little boys are forced to bend over (someone holding both arms stretched out) and beaten with canes and/or birch branches! It's awful!

ANYWAY! McShane is really fantastic in this. The singing and dancing, the boozing and womanizing, the drunken collapse and tearful confession/advice to Charlie Jr - just wonderful stuff.

 

 

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