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Thank you for your impressions of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, Miss W.

While I often like Tennessee Williams, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of this one. I often don't care for Williams' depictions of women either, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE comes to mind.

Williams' women are sometimes needy & weak, but that's a charactorization for his story. You can't always like the charactors or agree with their motivations. (Shelly Winters charactors in Lolita or Patch of Blue comes to mind)

My opinion is the story is just "dated", in the same way GUESS WHOS COMING TO DINNER is dated; the theme of the story just isn't relevant anymore. This is just another honest look at the past, it's mores & how far we have come.

I suppose that's the theme of the story-empty vanity. I think modern women, often having to take charge of their lives just don't have any interest in a spoiled, infantile woman. We think of all WE could do with Leigh's beauty, health, dough in such an exotic location and therefore are bored & disgusted by her vapidity.

Although several of Williams' stories are among my favorites-

Suddenly Last Summer

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

The Rose Tattoo

Sweet Bird Of Youth

So don't write off Tennessee Williams altogether. He had a LOT to say & write about, you can't expect anyone to be perfect (except Billy Wilder)

 

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I agree, Karen Stone is not an interesting woman.

She has no resources - except youth and beauty which have faded now.

I don't know if Vivien Leigh could have deepened her approach to the role.

She is at the end of her rope.

There is no way to go.

Her quickest exit - Paolo and the stalker.

Paolo has done his job.

Now, let the stalker take over.

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17 hours ago, misswonderly3 said:

Thanks for your take on the film, rayban.

Yes, I believe everything you said about it is true. I had those same insights as I watched it (except for the final scene, where I really thought there was a strong chance she was going to be, quite literally, murdered. But degradation will also suit the purposes of the story...)

Here's the thing though: I don't care. I don't care about characters who are self-absorbed and "don't have the resources to invent a new life" for themselves. A leading character in a film doesn't have to be "good" (often I prefer them not to be), or even likable, for me to be engaged in their story. But they do have to be interesting. And Karen Stone is not in the least bit interesting. She is, as you say, unable to cope, because "it's always been all about her", and she doesn't know how to manage now that she's lost both her youth and her husband.

She doesn't even want to continue her friendships, and the one she had with Meg (Coral Browne) seemed worth keeping. Meg is the only character who seems to genuinely care about Karen, and the only one who is honest with her. But of course, because of that very honesty, Karen Stone avoids Meg. She never wants to have "real" conversations with anyone.

She never developed an interest in anything else - not even the theatre, it seems. Her acting career was, apparently, just a way for her to get the adoring attention she sought. Mrs. Stone is a completely uninteresting person, and as such, her story did not interest me.

For me, there's nothing about The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone that moves or even provokes me. 

I don't know if you're familiar with the Helen Mirren TV adaptation, which was far more faithful to the novella.

Sex was a far more important component in the original material and in the TV adaptation.

Paolo ravished her - totally.

The stalker exposed himself.

But can sex keep you "alive"?

Not for long, I'd say.

 helen-mirren-olivier-martinez-the-roman-

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11 minutes ago, rayban said:

I don't know if you're familiar with the Helen Mirren TV adaptation, which was far more faithful to the novella.

Sex was a far more important component in the original material and in the TV adaptation.

Paolo ravished her - totally.

The stalker exposed himself.

But can sex keep you "alive"?

Not for long, I'd say.

 

Interesting. Yes, I was aware there was a remake, but I haven't seen it. Maybe, if the original film had been less reticent about the sex you say is in the novella and in the remake, it might have been a more effective movie. But if Helen Mirren plays Mrs. Stone the way Vivien Leigh did - which is to say, completely passive and lacking in ideas or any kind of joie de vivre (don't get me wrong, I like Vivien Leigh) - I still probably would not enjoy it.

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13 minutes ago, misswonderly3 said:

Interesting. Yes, I was aware there was a remake, but I haven't seen it. Maybe, if the original film had been less reticent about the sex you say is in the novella and in the remake, it might have been a more effective movie. But if Helen Mirren plays Mrs. Stone the way Vivien Leigh did - which is to say, completely passive and lacking in ideas or any kind of joie de vivre (don't get me wrong, I like Vivien Leigh) - I still probably would not enjoy it.

Helen Mirren had more material to play with - she played the sex scenes well - and without shame, too.

But you did get the feeling - quicker than in the film - that she was on a quicker slide into oblivion.

When the stalker appproached by opening his fly, well, what can I say?, the end was in sight.

Next stop, degradation!

 

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Angel Baby (1961)   -  5/10

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Half-baked drama with Salome Jens as "Angel Baby", a mute girl in the Deep South who gets "healed" by tent-revivalist George Hamilton. She joins his ministry, preaching the Word, quickly inspiring jealousy in Hamilton's wife Mercedes McCambridge. Also with Joan Blondell, Henry Jones, and Burt Reynolds in his movie debut. Obviously inspired by the success of the previous year's Elmer Gantry, the script for this is weak, the direction flat, and the performances either too much (Hamilton, McCambridge) or too little (Jens). Reynolds plays a Florida good 'ole boy, which he was. 

Source: internet

 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Angel Baby (1961)   -  5/10

220px-Angel_Baby_'61.jpg

Half-baked drama with Salome Jens as "Angel Baby", a mute girl in the Deep South who gets "healed" by tent-revivalist George Hamilton. She joins his ministry, preaching the Word, quickly inspiring jealousy in Hamilton's wife Mercedes McCambridge. Also with Joan Blondell, Henry Jones, and Burt Reynolds in his movie debut. Obviously inspired by the success of the previous year's Elmer Gantry, the script for this is weak, the direction flat, and the performances either too much (Hamilton, McCambridge) or too little (Jens). Reynolds plays a Florida good 'ole boy, which he was. 

Source: internet

 

I think that Salome Jens, who didn't have a movie career, moved over to television dramas.

In person, onstage, she was gorgeous - I saw her in "The Balcony".

But somehow, that beauty did not translate onto film.

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Armored Command (1961)  -  4/10

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Shoddy WWII drama featuring Earl Holliman as the leader of a small US Army squad during the latter part of the European campaign. His squad rescues an injured woman (Tina Louise) found near death in the snowy hills, and they bring her with them to the small town where their division is massing for an upcoming offensive. While Earl falls for Tina, commanding officer Col. Devlin (top-billed Howard Keel) tries to get all of his men ready, while also dealing with a spy in their midst. Also featuring Warner Anderson, Carleton Young, James Dobson, Marty Ingels as "Pinhead", and Burt Reynolds as "Skee". The melodrama with Holliman and Louise is amateurishly written and acted, while the scenes with Keel are just dull. Reynolds plays the squad heel, and he gets to manhandle a woman much like in his previous film. He wouldn't appear in another movie for four years.

Source: internet

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Black Tights (1961)  -  5/10

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If you like the French, and you like ballet, then you may enjoy this French ballet movie. Maurice Chevalier hosts four segments: "La Croqueuse de diamants" features Zizi Jeanmarie as a pickpocket who falls in love with furniture mover Dirk Sanders; "Cyrano de Bergerac" tells the tale of the title fellow (Roland Petit) with a big nose who assists friend Christian (Georges Reich) in his efforts to woo the lovely Roxanne (Moira Shearer); "Deuil en 24 heures" has rich wife Cyd Charisse witness her husband (Hans von Manen) duel another man (Roland Petit); and finally, in "Carmen", a soldier (Roland Petit) falls for a gypsy girl (Zizi Jeanmarie). The film was put together and choreographed by Paris Ballet, under the supervision of Roland Petit, while the film was directed by Englishman Terence Young. None of this is my cup of tea, and I watched it simply because it was included in a box set that I have.

Source: Mill Creek DVD

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2 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Black Tights (1961)  -  5/10

43586_1_front.jpg

If you like the French, and you like ballet, then you may enjoy this French ballet movie. Maurice Chevalier hosts four segments: "La Croqueuse de diamants" features Zizi Jeanmarie as a pickpocket who falls in love with furniture mover Dirk Sanders; "Cyrano de Bergerac" tells the tale of the title fellow (Roland Petit) with a big nose who assists friend Christian (Georges Reich) in his efforts to woo the lovely Roxanne (Moira Shearer); "Deuil en 24 heures" has rich wife Cyd Charisse witness her husband (Hans von Manen) duel another man (Roland Petit); and finally, in "Carmen", a soldier (Roland Petit) falls for a gypsy girl (Zizi Jeanmarie). The film was put together and choreographed by Paris Ballet, under the supervision of Roland Petit, while the film was directed by Englishman Terence Young. None of this is my cup of tea, and I watched it simply because it was included in a box set that I have.

Source: Mill Creek DVD

The segment with Cyd Charisse and Roland Petit is breathtakingly danced. 

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Bridge to the Sun (1961)  -  6/10

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Wartime drama starring Carroll Baker as a Tennessee girl who marries Japanese diplomat James Shigeta sometime before the outbreak of WWII. Shigeta is against the aggressive posture of his government, but he and his wife and young daughter are sent to Japan soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They struggle to survive in a hostile environment as the war rages on. Also with Tetsuro Tamba, James Yagi, Yoko Takahashi, Hiroshi Tomono, Yoshiko Hiromura, Sean Garrison, and Ruth Masters. Baker attempts to establish her dramatic cred with this true-story romantic drama that only partially works. I thought she was good in some scenes, dreadful in others, and the script is a bit too glib. However, it's an interesting story, and the interracial romance angle had to have been risky film material at the time.

Source: TCM

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38 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

Bridge to the Sun (1961)  -  6/10

220px-Bridge_to_the_Sun_FilmPoster.jpeg

Wartime drama starring Carroll Baker as a Tennessee girl who marries Japanese diplomat James Shigeta sometime before the outbreak of WWII. Shigeta is against the aggressive posture of his government, but he and his wife and young daughter are sent to Japan soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They struggle to survive in a hostile environment as the war rages on. Also with Tetsuro Tamba, James Yagi, Yoko Takahashi, Hiroshi Tomono, Yoshiko Hiromura, Sean Garrison, and Ruth Masters. Baker attempts to establish her dramatic cred with this true-story romantic drama that only partially works. I thought she was good in some scenes, dreadful in others, and the script is a bit too glib. However, it's an interesting story, and the interracial romance angle had to have been risky film material at the time.

Source: TCM

Carroll Baker was very desperate to get rid of her "Baby Doll" image.

And she certainly reached that goal with this film.

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By Love Possessed (1961)  -  5/10

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Glossy, sluggish soap opera melodrama. Alcoholic Lana Turner is having an affair with attorney Efrem Zimbalist Jr., a partner in the law firm of her emotionally-distant husband Jason Robards. Meanwhile, Zimbalist's son George Hamilton is also struggling with romance as he woos nice-girl Susan Kohner. Featuring Barbara Bel Geddes, Thomas Mitchell, Yvonne Craig, Everett Sloane, Gilbert Green, Frank Maxwell, Jean Willes, and Carroll O'Connor. Action director John Sturges seems an odd choice for this Peyton Place-esque soaper, and his skill with action scenes doesn't really help enliven this dull affair, nor does an obtrusive score by Elmer Bernstein.

Source: internet

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Rampage (1963)

American animal trapper Robert Mitchum and big game hunter Jack Hawkins are hired by a German zoo to travel to the Malayan jungles in order to bring back a pair of tigers and an enchantress, a rare cross between a tiger and a leopard never captured before. Mitchum likes animals alive while Hawkins prefers to mount their heads on his den wall. Another bone of contention between these two men will be sexy Elsa Martinelli, Hawkins' mistress whom sleepy eyed Bob immediately fancies. She almost makes his eyes open wide. Smug Hawkins knows it but is confident that Elsa will always remain his woman.

Phil Karlson, best remembered for his '50s crime dramas, directed this moderately entertaining but predictable jungle adventure. Wherever the location filming was made for this production (one source said Hawaii) it's beautiful and a feast for the eye. Dramatically, though, the film is shaky, and it all leads up to an incredibly dumb melodramatic final 20 minutes. If it hadn't been for the stupid final two reels I'd be calling this an okay adventure. Well, I guess it's still okay but only just.

I must admit a prejudice on my part for the animals whenever I watch a film of this type so, if I see a character venturing into a cave with a flaming torch in his hand to scare a leopard out the back exit into a net and that character gets injured by the big cat, I automatically think "Serves you right. Leave the animal alone."

Sabu appears, looking middle aged and a bit chunky, as a safari assistant. It's good to see that the Indian actor, who had enjoyed a degree of popularity in some colourful adventure films during the '40s, was still getting some film work. Unfortunately he would die of a heart attack less than two months after this film's release. Sabu was 39.

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2 out of 4

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Little Odessa (1994) Story of a Jewish hitman who is sent back to Little Odessa in Coney Island to do a job, complicating things is the fact that it's his home neighborhood and his dysfunctional family is still living there, it all goes to sheet. You can't go home again. Tim Roth, Maximilian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Furlong.  7/10

Little Odessa Poster

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6 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

 

Little Odessa Poster

I saw this when it was new, and I liked it. Tim Roth was on a roll with his career at the time. This may have been the first movie that I saw with the Russian mob as the criminal focus. They'd soon become inescapable in both TV & film crime dramas and action flicks.

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7 minutes ago, cigarjoe said:

Little Odessa (1994) Story of a Jewish hitman who is sent back to Little Odessa in Coney Island to do a job, complicating things is the fact that it's his home neighborhood and is dysfunctional family is still living there, it all goes to sheet. You can't go home again. Tim Roth, Maximilian Schell, Vanessa Redgrave, Edward Furlong.  7/10

Little Odessa Poster

I remember this -- I saw Little Odessa when it first came out. As I recall, it was pretty darn good. The best thing about it was Tim Roth, an actor who is oddly charismatic. I've always liked him.

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The Canadians (1961)  -  5/10

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Clunky western about the origins of the Northwest Mounted Police. Canadian soldiers Robert Ryan, Torin Thatcher and Burt Metcalfe try to make peace with Sioux natives led by Michael Pate who have moved north from the U.S. into Saskatchewan following the Battle of Little Big Horn. A tentative peace is made, but it's soon threatened by trigger-happy ranchers led by John Dehner. Also featuring Canadian opera star Teresa Stratas as "The White Squaw", Jack Creley, Scott Peters, Richard Alden, and John Sutton. This was the directorial debut of screenwriter Burt Kennedy, who later admitted to being clueless how to direct a picture at this point. The potentially-interesting material is served poorly by bad pacing, clumsy editing, and weak performances. The copy I watched was pan-and-scan, so the beautiful widescreen location scenery is also lost for the most part. 

Source: Encore Westerns

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At the festival I saw Blood Money (1933) and Merrily We Go To Hell (1932), both of which will probably please pre-Code fans. Here's hoping both of them turn up on the network soon. Blood Money stars George Bancroft as bail bondsman Bill Bailey, not really a bad guy except when he does things like get a poor widow woman to give him the deed to her house to bail out her son. In the past Bill Bailey had a relationship with a sexy nightclub owner/madam played by . . . get ready for this . . . Judith Anderson. Bill falls for a thrill-seeking rich girl who's really more interested in Judith Anderson's brother, a not too intelligent bank robber. Did I mention that the rich girl has pronounced masochistic tendencies? Or that the masochistic rich girl is played by . . . of all people . . . Frances Dee? In the same year that she played Meg in Little Women? And Frances Dee is absolutely terrific. I won't spoil her big scene at the end of the movie, but you will love it. Script and excellent direction by Rowland Brown, who was rumored to have had underworld ties and who lost his directing career because he hit a producer. This would probably make him a hero to some directors.

Alongside Blood Money, Merrily We Go To Hell seems rather normal. Fans of Fredric March, Sylvia Sidney, and/or director Dorothy Arzner will definitely want to see this film. All three do first-rate work. Rich girl Sylvia Sidney, never prettier, falls for newspaper reporter Fredric March, who has a serious drinking problem. He sobers up long enough to write a play, but the star of the play is his ex-girlfriend, a snooty actress well played by Adrianne Allen, and that means trouble for the marriage. Skeets Gallagher has some funny moments as March's best pal, and Esther Howard (who will be so great in Born To Kill) has the Joan Blondell role. When Sylvia thinks about revenge sex, she settles on an actor played by the young Cary Grant. (That would probably work for me, too.) Cary has only a couple of minutes of screen time, but he does the most with what he has. The tone of the film shifts from mostly comic and romantic to seriously dramatic. Arzner's direction of the party scenes early in the film is quite fluid and skillful. Sidney gets top billing over March, by the way.

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Come September (1961)  -  7/10

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Breezy, light romantic comedy with Rock Hudson as a wealthy businessman who arrives at his Italian seaside villa for a rendezvous with his lover (Gina Lollobrigida) only to discover that his butler (Walter Slezak) has rented the place out as a hotel, and that a group of teenage American girls (including Sandra Dee) is currently in residence. When a group of young American men (including Bobby Darin) show up, too, Rock and Gina's romantic getaway turns into a chaperone assignment. Also featuring Joel Grey, Joan Freeman, and Brenda de Banzie. This isn't my usual sort of movie, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, despite the chaste corniness of it all. The cast are all good, and I especially liked Lollobrigida, an actress that I'm normally not too fond of. This was the movie where Dee and Darin met, and they were married before the film was released.

Source: Universal DVD

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Come September (1961)  -  7/10

220px-Come_September_-_Film_Poster.jpg

Breezy, light romantic comedy with Rock Hudson as a wealthy businessman who arrives at his Italian seaside villa for a rendezvous with his lover (Gina Lollobrigida) only to discover that his butler (Walter Slezak) has rented the place out as a hotel, and that a group of teenage American girls (including Sandra Dee) is currently in residence. When a group of young American men (including Bobby Darin) show up, too, Rock and Gina's romantic getaway turns into a chaperone assignment. Also featuring Joel Grey, Joan Freeman, and Brenda de Banzie. This isn't my usual sort of movie, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, despite the chaste corniness of it all. The cast are all good, and I especially liked Lollobrigida, an actress that I'm normally not too fond of. This was the movie where Dee and Darin met, and they were married before the film was released.

Source: Universal DVD

The idea of Gina Lollobrigida and Rock Hudson not being able to have sex had its' comic moments.

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The Connection (1961)  -  6/10

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Arthouse drama about a group of heroin addicts hanging around an apartment in Harlem, waiting for their connection to arrive with the day's fix. The characters monologize about their pathetic lives, while a few of them play jazz music. The film is presented as a documentary being filmed by a director (William Redfield) and his cameraman (Roscoe Lee Browne, in his debut). Featuring Warren Finnerty, Jerome Raphael, Jim Anderson, Barbara Winchester, Henry Proach, and Carl Lee. Shirley Clarke directed this film version of a play which structurally resembles the later mockumentary genre, only without the humor. The subject matter and the presentation ensure that this will have little appeal outside of the arthouse crowd, as most audiences will find this tedious, self-indulgent and of minimal entertainment. I applaud the effort and the intent, but the end product isn't something I'd want to revisit.

Source: internet

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Dead Eyes of London (1961)  -  7/10

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German crime thriller featuring Joachim Fuchsberger as Scotland Yard Inspector Larry Holt, who is tasked with finding those responsible for the deaths of several elderly men in recent weeks. His investigation eventually leads to a gang of blind killers controlled by a mystery man. Featuring Karen Baal, Dieter Borsche, Wolfgang Lukschy, Ady Berber, Eddi Arent, Anneli Sauli, Bobby Todd, and Klaus Kinski. This was based on an Edgar Wallace novel that had also served as the basis for the 1939 Bela Lugosi film The Human Monster. I liked some of director Alfred Vohrer's oddball choices, such as having a shot that zoomed in on a drinking glass and then out from the back of another character's head, or another scene shot from inside a man's mouth as he's using a waterpik to clean his teeth. Klaus Kinski looks cool sporting some mirrored shades, and 6'6'' Austrian wrestler Ady Berber, looking like Tor Johnson, is a memorable sight as a blind, hairy, hulking brute.

Source: YouTube

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The End of Summer (1961)  -  7/10

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Japanese comedy-drama from writer-director Yasujiro Ozu. An elderly sake company owner (Ganjiro Nakamura) worries his extended family when his health falters and his financial choices come into question. Featuring Setsuko Hara, Michiyo Aratama, Yoko Tsukasa, Daisuke Kato, Akira Takarada, and Chishu Ryu. Ozu returns to familiar territory, including marrying off unwed relatives, familial obligations balanced against personal fulfillment, and the simple pleasures of domestic life. It all looks nice, each shot meticulously composed, and with added attention to ambient sound effects, like the sound of crickets chirping in the afternoon. Ozu only directed one film after this, 1962's An Autumn Afternoon, before dying in 1963 at age 60. His frequent star, and a major Japanese film fixture of the post-war years, Setsuko Hara, would also only appear in one more film, 1962's Chushingura. She lived in retirement another 53 years, passing away in 2015 at the age of 95.

Source: The Criterion Channel

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LA 2017 (1971)  -  5/10

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Episode of the series The Name of the Game directed by Steven Spielberg, later re-shown as a standalone TV movie. Series star Gene Barry is on his way to a conference when he has a car accident that renders him unconscious. He's awakened in the year 2017 in a dystopian future-Los Angeles that has relocated underground following an ecological disaster that has left much of the planet uninhabitable. Barry tries to learn what exactly led to this nightmare scenario, and is disturbed by the fascist government led by Barry Sullivan. Also featuring Sharon Farrell, Paul Stewart, Severn Darden, Edmond O'Brien, Louise Latham, Michael C. Gwynne, and Geoffrey Lewis. This "glimpse into the future" gets much of it wrong, as usual, but it's still amusing to see the worries of the day, most of which are still present. Some noteworthy touches: the cops are also degree-holding psychiatrists that spout psycho-babble; milk is a luxury and status symbol; a visit to a nightclub features an elderly acid rock band performing for a bunch of geriatric hippies; and a discussion about a "supposed sighting of a real Negro in Cleveland", which hasn't been seen since "the riots of '86".

Source: YouTube

 

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