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141. The Outer Limits: O.B.I.T.
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142. Star Trek - The Original Series,
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143. Road to Avonlea - Return to Me
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145. Wisdom
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154. Star Trek - The Original Series,
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160. Bird

141. The Outer Limits: O.B.I.T.
Director: James Goldstone, Felix E. Feist, Byron Haskin, Leonard Horn, László Benedek, Abner Biberman, John Brahm, Paul Stanley, Gerd Oswald, Charles F. Haas, Leslie Stevens, Leon Benson, Robert Florey, John Erman, Alan Crosland Jr.
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Asin: 6301971973
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Sales Rank: 41631
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Morality makes its own decisions
One of the best episodes in the Outer Limits series, this one has an intellectual and moral theme that is directly relevant to today. The story is set at a government research center called Cypress Hill and opens with a scene of a technician sitting in front of a circular display screen. The technician is viewing, apparently real-time, a research professor, Dr. Anderson, who is voicing complaints about his superior, which, the technician notes, is the "12th occurrence". The technician's attention is then shifted to the presence on-screen of what appears to be a "monster", and he then is strangled to death from behind.

In the next scene, a Senator Orville appears at Cypress Hill to investigate the murder and the general morale situation at the center. Inquisitive and intolerant of evasiveness, Orville sets up a board of inquiry and calls several witnesses, the first one being Clyde Wyatt, an investigator from the CID. When questioned by Orville, he notes only that the technician was strangled to death but that he is "not competent to say" regarding any morale and psychological problems at Cypress. Wyatt's evasiveness angers Orville, and he quickly dismisses Wyatt from the stand.

The next witness is a Dr. Philip Fletcher, an elderly man who has been employed for five years at Cypress as a research consultant in astrophysics. Fletcher had sent a letter to Orville, addressing the morale problems at Cypress. Apparently he had written several more letters but did not send them, having been questioned by the military police about the letters. Questioned by Orville as to how Cypress knew he was writing the letters, Fletcher responds by saying that "they know everything" and speaks of rumours and fear at Cypress. Cypress is a "ghost town" he says, and a place where "no one laughs".

After being notified that the head of Cypress, Dr Clifford Scott, was unavailable for questioning due to suffering a physical breakdown, Orville calls a Dr. Lomax. Lomax states that morale is no better or worse than any other government facility, but Orville rebuts by stating the statistics: divorce up 400%, rampant alcoholism, and three suicides. Also, reports of a "peeping Tom machine" have been related to Orville, but Lomax refuses to discuss the machine. Orville then demands all information on the machine, and gets a demonstration of it the next day.

Called OBIT for "Outer Band Individuated Teletracer", Lomax explains its operation to Orville, and illustrates its use by spying on a draftsman who is located somewhere in Washington D.C. Lomax states that "those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear from OBIT", but this is dismissed eloquently by Orville, who expresses worry and revulsion over the ability to use the machine to spy on himself when engaging in commentary on the President, his wife, or other senators.

A fourth witness, Col. Grover, is then questioned by Orville, but Grover has no knowledge of OBIT's manufacturer or who authorized its deployment. Again Orville demands all information about OBIT and its history of deployment and when threatened by Grover as to his political future, dismisses any concern with it, stating that "morality makes its own decisions".

Orville then calls Mrs. Clifford Scott, who states that the morale has been unbearable at Cypress and was left completely in the dark about the location of her husband.

Grover is later recalled, and speaks of 18 OBIT units deployed in the military as well as many more in industry and education. He describes painfully OBIT as being the most "hideous creation ever conceived", and one that saps the spirit, and indulges in using it himself, not being able to resist its temptations.

After insistence from Orville, Orville questions Dr. Scott, who describes his opposition to OBIT, and how he is always at odds with Lomax, who for some reason cannot be monitored by OBIT. The reason becomes rapidly apparent, as Lomax is transfigured to an alien being, who represents a race of beings who have deliberately placed OBIT machines on Earth to create rips and tensions in society and demoralize humanity, as preparation for their eventual invasion. He disappears suddenly from the scene.

The episode ends with the announcer explaining that all of the OBIT machines have been found and destroyed and that whether OBIT can live up to its reputation "depends on you".

The OBIT machine, with its ability to spy real time on citizens within a 500 mile radius, and even then through solid rock or steel, is certainly a technological marvel. Such a machine does not exist of course, but its abilities can be emulated. Governments can now engage in data mining and Email and business transaction monitoring, coupled with citizen spies whose sole function is to report "suspicious" behavior, can certainly have the same devastating effects as OBIT. The resulting suspicions and extreme paranoia accompanying these strategies of spying can indeed make life unbearable and demoralizing.

We must make sure we have senators who think like Orville, and refuse to allow this kind of privacy-robbing technology to be employed unless in very extreme life-threatening circumstances. "OBIT-like" projects like TIAA and its children must not be allowed to progress and must be kept in check. Thankfully there are many in government who are taking steps to insure that these kinds of projects do not get implemented. Eternal vigilance among citizens, government officials, and the military must be unrelenting in insuring that these kinds of projects never be put in place. Such an attitude should be part of our consciousness and automatized in our belief structures and in our machines, for this is the proper morality in the information age: a morality which makes its own decisions.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't Look Behind You...
...but someone is watching. And they're not human. If you thought the NSA was bad...

One of OL's few truly evil E.T. entries, a murder mystery performed as a courtroom drama. The script is highly literate, but the suspense is half-shot from the beginning by showing too much. It's still worth it for the opening murder scene and the dramatic finale alone, though the interesting analysis of intrusive government spying on its own citizenry along the way is quite good, too (and, for the time, eye-opening, as well).

Typically great OL cinematography, one of the creepier and more memorable monsters, and good performances all around, especially by Jeff Corey.

5-0 out of 5 stars OL masterpiece with Orwellian overtones
An army security man is strangled under mysterious circumstances at Cypress Hills, a top secret military installation where a sinister new snooping system (the Outer Band Individuated Teletracer) is being tested. This audio-video spying device can tune in to the individualized biorhythms of everyone on the base, except for the murderer, it seems. The frightening implications of this new device for depriving personnel of even the slightest shred of privacy and dignity are unravelled in the course of a congressional investigation conducted by young, charismatic Senator Orville. His persona is tough as nails, but smooth-edged with dashes of wisdom and self-deprecating wit, a la JFK. This portrayal comes across as an intriguing reflection of the Camelot era, and we know from the moment we meet him that he is going to get to the bottom of things. Likewise, we are shown from the opening scene that the murder was committed by a Thing Not of This World, a monstrous, gangly, one-eyed creature of obviously alien origin. Our attention is also directed early on to one Byron Lomax, a sinister character who is in charge after the rightful director of the base is sent away to a mental institution, in Kremlinesque fashion we find out. These plot threads are woven together in a tense, moody script with expert direction and stylish noir photography, giving this episode the unmistakable first-season OL signature. The shattering and dehumanizing effect of invading privacy, feeding upon dark, all-too-human impulses, is the moral center of this story: we must rise above our lower impulses and temptations, or be dragged down by them. In the latter case, we become easy prey for an invading alien race that easily sets us up, and can take over without a single shot ever having to be fired. This is OL at its characteristic, intelligent best, with solid story and thought-provoking themes convincingly elaborated (e.g., we are our own worst enemies, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, etc.); plus loving homages (intentional or otherwise) to schlock 1950's scifi cinema, most notably Wyott Ordung's hilariously inept "Robot Monster". But it bridges the lowbrow appeal of such juvenile material with the prescience of George Orwell's writings. The kind of sheer range on display here is breathtaking, and puts to shame what passes today as scifi cinema, with its monotonous emphasis on artless techno special effects and characters targeted to audience hang-ups and attitude.

3-0 out of 5 stars I.C.U.
This Outer Limits is unusual to feature a courtroom hearing as a series of talking heads, when otherwise episodes feature a lot of action. The scenario by Meyer Dolinsky centres around the titular surveillance machine, which Meyer used to parallel the House Un American Committe and Senator Joseph McCarthy witchhunts of the late 1940's and early 1950's. However the Senator who comes to the defence department site where a murder has been committed, ironically acts as arrogantly (and humourlessly) as McCarthy. The only seemingly intentional laugh in the whole episode is when a doctor is heard to make a derogatory remark about his superior - "He doesn't know the difference between a periodic table and a timetable". The obligatory series monster here is seen on the OBIT screen, which deliberately resembles the early round TV sets, and it is the sighting which accounts for the witnesses death. The monster itself is quite bizarre. The initial long shot view has it wearing a diaphonous gown, and it's mask face is half Halloween pumpkin and half unformed baby head. When the monster attacks another witness, it is unintentionally funny. Since the hearing's talking head structure relies upon testimony it becomes a series of performances, the best being Konstantin Shayne and Sam Reese, and the worst Alan Baxter. As the administrator of the base and the one associated with the OBIT, Jeff Corey wears distortive bottle-bottom black-rimmed spectacles which give him a great look but his climactic grandiose speech is undercut by it coming out of nowhere, and the maniac way it is filmed by director Gerd Oswald. The narrative also features a few plot holes - an affair has no pay off, and the monster has the unexplained ability to be in two places at once. However Oswald provides some redemptive images - a flashing cheap hotel sign, the ominous placement of Corey's overly hairy hand, and the soft-focus lighting of Joanne Gilbert as the base commander's wife, who still manages to come off as an anorexic transexual.

5-0 out of 5 stars Probably my favorite.
I've always loved this episode. I has good dialogue, a fairly good monster, and a believable premise (except for the monster, of course). The pacing is well done, and it leads up to a fine climax. ... Read more


142. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 73: The Lights Of Zetar
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300988694
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Sales Rank: 39285
Average Customer Review: 2.78 out of 5 stars
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A planetoid called Alpha Memory is chosen to become the Federation's official library, and Lieutenant Mira Romaine (Jan Shutan), charged with transferring records to the site's computers, is en route to that destination aboard the Enterprise. Along the way, she acquires a new beau in the adoring Scotty (James Doohan), and big trouble when the collective consciousness of the Zetars, a lost and disembodied race, attack the Alpha Memory project and take possession of her and her voice.

Not surprisingly, the story was written by someone who knew a lot about projecting personalities and voices into hapless third parties: puppeteer Shari Lewis and her husband Jeremy Torcher, both big fans of Star Trek. Typical of the original series' troubles with ever-shrinking budgets, the Zetar entities are represented as mere colored lights, an adequate effect improved immensely by the scary-dramatic context in which they appear and by a good vocal performance by Barbara Babcock (lately of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) as the merged creatures. Shutan is just fine as the comely librarian, and Doohan is great in his impassioned-Scotty mode. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (9)

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst episode of them all?
I'm sorry, but it doesn't get any worse than The Lights of Zetar. I have always thought this one was neck-and-neck with The Mark of Gideon for worst episode, but I watched it recently and really tried to like it. But come on... First of all, Spock says one ridiculous non-Vulcan thing after another through the whole episode. The whole cast appears to have given up...Scotty's assessment that one more phaser blast will kill Mira is thereafter taken as fact, even by Spock. The first half has some potential to be spooky...a planet full of dead people, a dying lady turning colors and talking weird (nice respect for the dying, Kirk, as he points at her like she's a freak). But nothing is ever developed, and it's not like they didn't have time...that scene in the briefing room where they match the brain waves is interminable! Seriously, that has to be the longest, most boring scene they ever shot. The whole episode drags on with pointlessness instead of exploring any interesting storyline. Even affectionate Scotty, endearing at first, get a little old. Weak.

2-0 out of 5 stars Better than That Which Survives
Yet another dull and pointless episode, this one sees Scott's newfound-love (Mira Romaine) possessed by an alien life form represented by shimmering lights. Scotty's romance plays only slightly better than McCoy's earlier in the season; whereas McCoy's romance seemed flat, Scotty is over the top, acting out of character. At least Jan Shutan's stiff performance provides some counterpoint! The episode has few highlights other than the romance and the disturbing scene on Memory Alpha. While the concept of the 'distilled spirits' of a dying race is interesting enough, the cold-hearted treatment of the aggressors (see Wink of an Eye for a similar example) betrays the shows loss of idealism. Compare this to the humanity Kirk showed in say, Space Seed or By Any Other Name, in seasons 1 and 2. The episode simply has no message.

Plot gaps are also intolerably large even by Star Trek standards. Why do the Zetarians do so much more damage on Memory Alpha than on the Enterprise? What is special about Memory Alpha to the Zetarians? How does Kirk know pressure may kill them?

One plus about the episode is that it has the quirky style of many early 3rd season shows; although there is no original music here, this episode features music and even shots from a variety of episodes (revisiting the Where no Man has gone Before soundtrack was an interesting decision [given the parallels to that episode], and they were running out of money after all). The close up shots of her eye were also kind of interesting. When such minutiae are the best thing going for an episode, it's got problems.

The final scenes features the type of repartee and character discussion that were almost absent from season 3. Noteworthy though is a lack of warmth in the dialogue, which actually seems to extend to the actors themselves (excepting the irrepresible Shatner). Perhaps the others could no longer put their hearts into these weak shows and their improbable dialogue; perhaps the weak shows further strained the relationships between the cast.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wh at Am I Missing?
I am sorry, fellow Trek fans. This is one episode that I simply can't stand. Don't be mad! Maybe I have no taste! But I do find it schlocky and the music is so terribly repetetive!

I have made these comments before for what they are worth but I have always loved the incidental music on Star Trek on some episodes but I find this episode is overkill.

For fans only. Not particulalrly bad but definitely not a masterpiece.

3-0 out of 5 stars The closest thing to a Star Trek horror story (with holes)
As a kid, I always thought this episode was one of Star Trek's scariest, with pseudo-demonic possession, malevolence galore, and the ever-present Star Trek drama. As an adult, I find the episode still scary, but you must be willing to suspend disbelief and ignore the gaping plot holes.

"Lights of Zetar" had the potential to be one of the best episodes ever, but I believe third-season budget constraints and the pressure to deliver the script on time may have damaged it's credibility. How could a hyperbaric chamber "kill" gaseous entities capable of warp-speed? Too many plot holes; nevertheless, this episode still gives you the willies. A Trek-lover must-have.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Enterprise encounters another killer cloud in space
"The Lights of Zetar" finds the Enterprise heading for Memory Alpha, a repository of accumulated knowledge which must be the Federation's version of Asimov's Foundation facility, when an energy cloud appears. After knocking out Lt. Mira Romaine on the ship, the cloud attacks Memory Alpha, kills most of the researchers and wipes out the computer memory. When the Enterprise finally catches up with the killer cloud it is clear that there is some weird link between it and Romaine. Eventually Kirk gets around to exploiting it in order to figure out what is going on and what to do about it. This is one of those Star Trek episodes that just strikes me as rather lame. Although the set up is certainly interesting, the explanation is unsatisfying and the resolution is a bit extreme on several levels. I know for sure that Jean-Luc Picard would not have wiped out an entire race of beings like this, even if they are already "dead." Besides which, I do not think energy clouds would be that easy to defeat. "The Lights of Zetar" was just another nail in the coffin for the show during its third and final season. ... Read more


143. Road to Avonlea - Return to Me
Director: Paul Shapiro, Harvey Frost, Richard Benner, Graeme Lynch, Charles Wilkinson, William Brayne, Stuart Gillard, Bruce Pittman, Allan Eastman, Gilbert M. Shilton, Robert Boyd, Graeme Campbell, Kit Hood, Stacey Stewart Curtis, Allan Kroeker, Stephen Surjik, Otta Hanus, Allan King, Eleanor Lindo, George Bloomfield
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Asin: B00004ZBHH
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 10450
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars The saga of Felicy King, Gus Pike, and Avonlea finally ends
When Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote about Sara Stanley and her King cousins in "The Story Girl" and the "Golden Road," her readers came to understand that the high and mighty Felicity King was fated to marry Peter Craig, the hired boy on her father's farm. On the television series "Avonlea," (a.k.a. "Road to Avonlea"), the character of Peter Craig was phased out but the idea of the fate of Felicity (Gema Zamprogna) clearly remained the same, although now with Gus Pike (Michael Mahonen), a young fisherman who arrives in Avonlea and decides to stay, smitten with young Felicity and in awe of school teacher Hettie King (Jackie Burroughs). However at the end of season six Gus was believed lost at sea, and when the show came to the end of its seventh and final season, it was necessary to bring their story to a resolution.

The two pivotal episodes are collected on "Return to Me." First up is "Return to Me," which finds Felicity only a few days away from her wedding to Stuart McCrae (David Ferry), the local banker. But then she gets a mysterious phone call that sends her and Aunt Hetty in search of Gus. Amazingly, they find Gus alive in South Carolina. He was not killed in the shipwreck, but he did lose his eyesight. Both Felicity and Hetty insist that Gus has to come home to Avonlea, but he stubbornly refuses. However, there is no way Gus can stand up to two women who are not only more stubborn than he is, but who are the two that he cares most about in the world.

The grand finale is "So Dear to My Heart," where Gus returns to Avonlea and stuns the entire King family. But now the question is whether Felicity will go through with her wedding to Stuart. Meanwhile, in the wake of the disastrous cannery fire, Jasper (R.H. Thomson) and Olivia (Meg Ruffman) have decided to leave Avonlea, which infuriates Hetty so much that she refuses to attend Felicity's wedding. However, this is the final episode of this beloved television series, which means that everybody is going to end up at this wedding (yes, that means everybody including you know who).

Gus being blind is a bit melodramatic for my tastes, but there is such a thing as destiny and the sight of Felicity running through town in her wedding dress to drag Aunt Hetty to her wedding certainly makes up for that. There is really no better final storyline "Avonlea" could have had to bring everything to a close.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fitting end to a amazing series...
Road to Avonlea~Return to Me, features two episodes from the poplular Disney series Avonlea. Return to Me features two episodes, So Dear to My Heart and Return to Me. Two of the last episodes of Avonlea. In these last two episodes Felicity is engaged to be married to a man named Stuart, when she learns that the love of her life, Gus Pike, is alive. She travels to South Carolina to find him. She then convinces Gus to return to Avonlea with her. A grand wedding takes place in which many characters return to the show. Sara Polley redeams her role as Sara Stanley after a couple years of absence from the show. As well as characters such as Racheal Lynde, Davy and Dora, and Ms Stacy from the Anne of Green Gables Series. This episode is a much have for any fan of the TV show Avonlea or Anne of Green Gables! ... Read more


144. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 29: Operation-Annihilate!
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300213331
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Sales Rank: 11752
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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"Operation: Annihilate" is undoubtedly the only science fiction drama inhistory in which the requisite Scary Monster resembles a three-dollar itemfrom a novelty store--specifically, a rubber puddle of fake vomit. Moreover, theshooting locale for much of the story, which is set in a research community onthe Federation planet Deneva, brings to mind the plush, friendly, L.A. exoticaof Frank Capra's Shangri-La in Lost Horizon rather than anextraterrestrial outpost. Having said all that, however, this episode isdeservedly a minor classic that becomes most interesting in its final act.Rushing the Enterprise to Deneva is Captain Kirk (William Shatner), whosebrother Sam and his family are among the victims of an unknown invader thatfeeds on human nervous systems, driving people wild with pain and ultimatelykilling them. Once arriving, Kirk's problems are compounded when Mr. Spock(Leonard Nimoy) is attacked by one of the nasty "flying pancake" killers (blobbycritters of the aforementioned fake-vomit variety). The script (by Steven W.Carabatsos) feels as if it did not survive the series' editorial committeeprocess intact. There's a certain amount of obvious padding in the action, whilenext to nothing is made, dramatically speaking, of Kirk's discovery of his brother's fate. The best bits are reserved for a story twist in which Dr. McCoy(DeForest Kelley) develops a cure for Spock's ailment that is almost as bad asthe affliction. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Flying Pancakes
The string of winning episodes finally came to an end in the final show of season one, which concerned pancake-like creatures that attack Spock's central nervous system. This was by no means trek at it's worst incidentally; just a step down from the prior six shows produced. The episode feels more like a second season episode in that it lacks the complex themes of its precursors; still it manages to work in a loss for Kirk and the effects that physical pain can have on the way we present ourselves. (As an aside, one thing that does connect this episode with season one is the slow pace at which the story develops.) This is one of those shows though that despite a disturbing premise doesn't have a lot to say in the end, and relies on a gimmick for the ultimate resolution of the conflict. Also dulling are the absence of significant guest performances and the un-engaging sets; both may well have been due to both empty coffers and fatigue at this point. Virtually everyone involved had certainly laid it out there in season one, both in terms of effort and sincere emotional investment; it wouldn't always be that way.

Tidbit: Both of the dead Kirks would appear in other episodes: the elder 79 times as Captain Kirk, and the younger once as Tommy Starnes in And the Children Shall Lead.

4-0 out of 5 stars Attack of the giant brain cells on the planet Deneva
In "Operation--Annihilate!", the last episode of the first season, the Enterprise arrives at the planet Deneva in time to see a spaceship fly into the sun after the pilot cries out that he is finally free. Things are equally strange on the planet, where a mob attacks the Away Team. Then Kirk learns that his brother Sam is dead and his sister-in-law and nephew have been infected by strange creatures that sort of look like killer blood cells with little tails. While trying to capture one of the creatures for testing, Spock is attacked; the creature tries to control the Vulcan through his nervous system, causing great pain. So it turns out the creatures are more like giant brain cells (with little tails). Meanwhile, McCoy tries to figure out why flying close to the sun freed the Denevan pilot from the creature's control. On the one hand this episode has several very emotional moment, when Kirk discovers his brother is dead and when McCoy realizes he did not need to blind Spock to free him from the creature. But on the other hand this "inner eyelid" bit is just too damn convenient, even for television/science fiction. You would think between the Science Officer and the Chief Medical Officer they would know enough about the scientific method and the correct way to perform scientific experiments in your own lab to avoid making such a horrible mistook.

4-0 out of 5 stars Can Kirk and the crew make this a successful operation?
"Operation-Annihilate!" is a solid episode for the original Star Trek series. Captain Kirk and the crew beam down to the planet Deneva and find out that Kirk's brother, Sam, has been killed and that his nephew has been injured by some alien force. They soon find a bunch of little creatures that are one-celled organisms. One of them get Spock and he is immediately taken to Sick Bay onboard the Enterprise. Being a Vulcan, Spock learns to control himself and says he must get one of the creatures onboard to study it. Kirk, Spock, and McCoy later decide that they are only cells of some larger alien. They must find a different way of destroying the creatures on the planet without having to kill every person that has been infected by them.

I recommend getting "Operation-Annihilate!" so you can find out how the U.S.S. Enterprise crew will destroy the creatures and cure Spock of the disease. My only complaint is that you never get to see the alien that these cells come from. But other than that it's a good episode. It features some of the best acting by Spock.

3-0 out of 5 stars This episode gets a C+ grade and is ranked 47th out of 80
Arriving at the planet Deneva, home of Kirk's only brother Samand his family, the U.S.S. Enterprise picks up a transmission from aDenevan pilot who has steered his craft into the sun to destroy some unknown menace. ... Read more


145. Wisdom
Director: Emilio Estevez
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Asin: 6302878829
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 17318
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Description

An ex-con and his girlfriend embark on a bank-robbing spree and give the money they steal to farmers who are about to lose their farms. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Wisdon is as Wisdom was...
I got to thinking about this movie the other day while cracking open my new "High School Reunion Collection' DVDs. The last time I saw it was on ridiculously late night television about ten years ago. Even on awfully edited television it still had a certain rawness to it. It wasn't bad raw but, good raw. Very intense. Not to mention close to home with the Farm issues. (Nebraska ex-pat here.) Sadly, Wisdom is as Wisdom was...only available on VHS. Emilio! Bring this back to us on DVD!

5-0 out of 5 stars Underrated - Great movie with an important message
I was working in a video store in 1987 when this movie was released on VHS - otherwise I might have never even heard of it. I was intrigued to learn that Emilio had written and directed it himself.

Having recently seen Emilio, Demi, et al in "St. Elmo's Fire", I was anxious to view this film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's interesting to note the scenes that Emilio *directly* borrowed from the film in which his father starred with Sissy Spacek - "Badlands". The premise of the movie is different, but the story does revolve around a young couple "on the lam". I say "Bravo!" to Emilio's first foray into movie-making. I was and still am very impressed!

Now, let's just get it released on DVD and I'll be even happier!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Good Effort
Emilio Estevez showed talent above the rest of his Brat Pack peers in 1985 when he wrote That Was Then, This is Now, a decent film. But he topped that with this mini tour de force in Wisdom. Which he wrote, directed and co-starred in (with then fiance Demi Moore). The film isn't a masterpiece, and was generally panned by critics. But it has a very gritty feel that seemed to capture a bridge between the present day emptiness of youthful adolesence and what happens when fantasy goes awry.

Some may look at the film like a weak, modern recreation of Badlands, or Bonnie and Clyde, and Estevez could have really pulled the emotions further in showing the characters attempt at good deeds was mistaken, then ultimately malicious. He takes the film in that direction, but it's almost like he didn't want to go over the edge, so he backed off some. However, what the film attempts to do, to create a darker look at the post teen world, in an era when John Hughes films dominated the landscape, it does capture quite well. And is tinged with a certain hopelessness that will stand with you.

It's a shame that Estevez wasn't more highly praised for his efforts here, and the film should be released on DVD, hopefully with commentary by Emilio himself.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent film with a great ending!
This is one of the best movies of Estevez's career. The character of John Wisdom is brought to life as he becomes a criminal for the people in this greatly written film. The concept and story of the film is unparalleled to any film since and delivers riveting performances by both Estevez and Moore. A definite sleeper hit!!

3-0 out of 5 stars Not great---Not bad
This is a good "Emilio Estevez" movie. He has had some stinkers, but don't include this one... Good movie for a cold or rainy day when you are caught indoors. Good moral lesson for youngsters, although they probably won't pick up on it. ... Read more


146. One Against the Wind
Director: Larry Elikann
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Sales Rank: 1590
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Please put this film on DVD!
I have owned two copies of "One Against the Wind"--because I wore out the first one! You can get the story from other reviews. I show this movie to college freshman in a writing class where we talk about being your highest and best self and making moral choices (among other things). It's entertaining, riveting, and a great springboard for discussion. I don't want to have to buy another VHS--Hallmark, please, transfer this movie to DVD as you have with "The Love Letter" and "What the Deaf Man Heard."

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite "Hallmark Hall of Fame" movies!
Judy Davis and Sam Neill headline this Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. The story is set France during the early days of Nazi occupation. Davis plays an outspoken, brash, high-profile, American-born French countess (by marriage). She and her two children, a son and a daughter, plunge into peril when Davis compulsively decides to help Neill, a British flier shot down over France. Their first interaction is classic -- Davis packs quite a wallop!

Davis goes on to become a player in helping downed allied fliers escape from occupied territory.

In the meantime, a Nazi officer is bound and determined to make an example of Davis...and thus the story develops and continues through the end of the war.

This is a "must-watch" movie. There is action, intruige, and incredible courage in the face of danger.

5 stars all the way! Whatever you do, don't miss this movie!

Alan Holyoak

4-0 out of 5 stars Judy and Sam together again...
Judy Davis and Sam Neill have appeared together in a number of films. They work so well together you think they must be like Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy--married in real life--but alas they are not. I first saw them in a film made 'down under' (I think they are both Australian) "My Brilliant Career." Sam was chasing Judy, and as usual she was spurning him.

In this wonderful Hallmark Hall of Fame production, Judy Davis plays the Comtesse Mary Lindell, two-time winner of the 'Croix de Guerre' and Sam Neille plays a British pilot shot down over France in the early days of WWII who goes on to become a Brigadier General. The Comtesse Mary Lindell inadvertantly saves Neill--the downed pilot--and thereby hangs a tale.

The Comtesse Lindell is a heroine girls can look up to. As a French citizen and a Comtesse, she was relatively unmolested by the Germans when they invaded France and would not have appeared to have had a stong motive to do the things she did and risk her life and the lives of her children. Lindell's daughter actually became involved with a German officer. However, Lindell had been a Red Cross nurse in WWI, for which she was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her assistance to both French and German soldiers alike, and she was a compassionate and caring person.

In WWII, Lindell developed a stake in the salvation of British, American, Canadian and other Allied pilots, because she accidently saved the life of a single British pilot. He spread the word, and before she knew it, she was inundated with downed pilots seeking her assistance. She could not stand by and watch the Nazis shoot them in the street, in the churches, anywhere they found them. When she was captuered and imprisoned for assisting the enemy, her son stood in for her. Eventually, she was released and resumed her underground career. Her son and her daughter, her friends and a host of other partisans helped her form the "Marie" underground network which smuggled countless Allied airmen out of harm's way through the southern border of France. For her heroism, Lindell was awarded another 'Croix de Guerre' at the end of the war.

This is a fine video, well constructed, and a joy to watch. I think you'll watch it more than once.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Hallmark Gem
In the days of occupied France during World War II, an English born French woman finds herself in the position of helping downed flyers escape German occupied territory. This is the story of a stubborn, driven woman, the countess de Melville, Mary Lindell, as played by Judy Davis, and her part in the French Resistance. The movie captures well the flavor of occupied France, and moves between action there, and London, where the first man she helps escape back to freedom, played by Sam Neil, works to coordinate her efforts with British intelligence. Her son, who was present on the set when it was being filmed, and whose life is also featured in the film, said that Davis perfectly captured the character of his mother. This Hallmark production is all dialogue and interaction, a classic war film. It is a crown jewel in any video collection. ... Read more


147. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 5: The Enemy Within
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300213099
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Sales Rank: 9775
Average Customer Review: 3.79 out of 5 stars
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Written by renowned novelist-screenwriter Richard Matheson (The Incredible Shrinking Man), the outstanding episode "The Enemy Within" proposes a transporter malfunction that results in Captain Kirk being divided into two versions of himself, one aggressive and brutal, the other sensitive and good. Essentially, the personality mix that makes Kirk an effective leader and balanced man is scattered like so many marbles, and the result is one captain running around mauling women and wreaking havoc while the other is frightened and indecisive. The production is very effectively done, and William Shatner's performance is among his most interesting. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Good Kirk Plus The Bad Kirk Equals Captain Kirk
"The Enemy Within" proved early on that William Shatner could certainly act when the spirit moved him; maybe the key factor was not playing Captain Kirk, per se. When Kirk beams back from Alpha 177 a transporter malfunction splits him into two halves: one good, the other evil. When Spock and the others catch on that there are two Kirks they are forced to leave Sulu and the rest of the landing party stranded on the freezing planet. Meanwhile, Yeoman Rand finally has a close encounter with the Captain, which turns out to be not all that enjoyable. Yes, it makes absolutely no sense for the transporter to split Kirk's personality in half like this, but that is why they call it science fiction (besides, the transporter was just a cheaper way of showing the crew getting to planets than doing special effects with shuttle crafts). Plus we get the philosophical discourse on how Kirk needs his "evil" side to be a good starship captain. "The Enemy Within" is an above average episode.

4-0 out of 5 stars Human psychology clashing with technology
Human psychology takes center stage in this episode. A transporter malfunction creates a second Captain Kirk by siphoning out essential characteristics of his personality. Since only negative characteristics are placed in the copy, it is a feral creature, dominated by lust and other primitive emotions. The episode is well acted by all three of the principle characters, Shatner as the good Kirk appears properly drained, showing progressive weakness as he loses the will to command. However, his best performance is when he is playing the feral Kirk, fearful, yet full of animal vigor. Spock serves as psychoanalyst, properly dissecting the Kirk personas as he physically observes both parts. The crankiness so characteristic of McCoy begins to emerge.
It is in this episode where we are introduced to two fundamentals of the show. The first is the appearance of the rivalry between Spock and McCoy and the second is the first use of the Vulcan neck pinch to subdue the evil Kirk. The first time we see the rivalry is when Spock goes to the captain's quarters to investigate McCoy's assertion that Kirk is acting like a "wild man." Kirk's response is that the doctor is putting you on again, stated so routinely that it speaks volumes about the relationship between Spock and McCoy.
However, it is the mind of the captain that makes this story. We see the powerful Kirk vulnerable and afraid, and it is easy to see those two sides in our own personalities when we watch it. We all have our animal sides, and for most of us it rarely surfaces. Which is quite healthy, as a normal person is as repulsed as Kirk when it appears.
An episode that begins to flesh out the two other major characters and also the first time we hear the memorial McCoy line, "He's dead Jim!", it takes an old theme of good and evil and packages them in one person, but two separate bodies. While it is not one of the very best episodes in the original series, it shows us a new way in which a classic story can be told. It also points out that human psychology will remain what it is and clash with whatever technology we manage to develop.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Just give me the brandy!"
On the surface, "The Enemy Within" looks like another re-telling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale with the timid Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the animalistic Captain James T. Kirk filling in for the good doctor and his beastly half. However, this first season episode is actually more than that. It is a philosophical exploration of the complex duality of man and an illustration of how his good and evil sides taken together define his very being. It is also a gimmicky way to squeeze in double the Shatner for your viewing pleasure. Talk about getting good value in return for your viewing time.

The U.S.S. Enterprise experiences a transporter malfunction while beaming up a crewman from Alfa 177. After the transporter is inspected by Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), Captain Kirk is cleared to beam aboard. However, remnants of the planet's magnetic ore have been caught in the transporter system and leads to the materialization of a second Kirk. It turns out the two Kirks each embody distinct traits of the original - one personifies his good attributes while the other personifies his sinister attributes. Soon the crew finds itself racing against time to save the two Kirks and the remaining members of the landing party still stranded on Alfa 177 because of the defective transporter.

It may not be one of the essential episodes in the Star Trek canon but "The Enemy Within" still has a lot going for it. You get to see the good Kirk devolve into a whimpering mound of jello. You get to see the evil Kirk swilling down brandy. You get the see the two Kirks modeling different Captain Kirk outfits. You get to see what an alien planet looks like when your television series is working on a limited budget. You get to see a nice alien dog and a mean alien dog. Yet when you get right down to it, the bottom line is that you get twice the Kirk than you usually get. What more can anyone ask for?

3-0 out of 5 stars Getting there
The Enemy Within-With this episode, in which a transporter malfunction creates two wildly different Kirk's, the show begins to hit its stride. Like many first season shows, this one is sharply focused on dynamics of human personality and interaction. We are shown subtle aspects of both the two Kirks, and the thought process of the rest of the crew as the relate to the new Kirk's. Such attention to internal details, for better or worse, really fell off in the 2nd and 3rd seasons as the show become more extroverted. As others have noted, Shatner turns in a nice performance here, although that absurd make-up they put on the male crew members for the early shows is kind of distracting in the close-ups. One other nice thing about this episode is that its central theme, concerning our dual nature, is not presented in an overly simplisitic way; by this I mean that even each of the two sides of Kirk are somewhat nuanced, and the description of how the two parts need to be together not overly cliché. Nevertheless, the show like many early ones, is way too talky. While the show was beginning to hit it's stride, it wasn't there yet; this episode does drag, and feels somewhat clunky despite a fair amount of action.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kirk must face both death and his darker side
After a transporter decides to go haywire, Captain Kirk gets split into two halves: an evil, unforgiving half and a nice, intelligent half. Not only does the real Captain Kirk have to worry about his other, animal-like half, but he also has some men that are trapped on a freezing, icy planet with nowhere to go. Is it possible to manage a double take of the captain and get the two halves to equal one again?

"The Enemy Within" is compelling, and it provides good entertainment the whole way through. It also has great acting like always from William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, and a memorable line from Spock. Not to mention that you'll see a now-famous maneuver from Spock the very first time it was performed, and something else in this episode that you'll never see in another show of Star Trek.

We must all face our darker side every now and then, but I don't think any of us have ever had to face ourselves the way Captain Kirk must do. I recommend any Star Trek enthusiast to add this episode to their collection. ... Read more


148. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 40: The Deadly Years
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300213447
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 12630
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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While on the planet Gamma Hydra IV, Captain Kirk (William Shatner), Mr.Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and Scotty (James Doohan)are infected with an unknown disease that causes rapid aging. The only member ofthe party unaffected is Chekov (Walter Koenig), who becomes McCoy's guinea pigwhile searching for a cure back on the Enterprise. A nifty idea with somepoignant overtones, the story by David P. Harmon startles a viewer with thesight of these familiar folks rapidly graying, wrinkling, weakening, andsuffering memory loss. At the same time, Harmon is careful to age each characteras a unique individual, as in real life. Kirk slows down more than the longer- lived Spock, while McCoy remains mentally keen if physically brittle. As forpoor Scotty, well...the dramatic subtext in "The Deadly Years" concerns theperennial conflict over when and how to decide that someone has become too oldto carry out crucial responsibilities. In that sense, this episode feelsconstantly relevant and uniquely entertaining: Let's just say that some of theseactors play "old" a little better than others. (Director Joseph Pevney hasreported that there was a lot of conflict over who was stealing old-guy movesfrom whom.) With all this going on, one might not notice that guest star CharlesDrake is a truly familiar face, having appeared in such classic films as The Maltese Falcon and Now, Voyager. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another strong show
This episode, in which the crew experience accelerated aging, is another winner. The best thing going for this show is the most simple; it's a good story. Add to that the fact that it is developed nicely and at it's own pace, and you have another thoroughly engaging show, in which we actually feel suspense as to how the crew will get out of this jam. The acting performances are also enjoyable from the big 3 in particular. Certainly the best job done by the make-up team as well; the aging was quite convincing given how low budget and low-tech Trek was.

While Commodore Stocker predictably fails, at least he is presented as a reasonably likeable Starfleet Official and one capable of being self-critical. The court-martial scene was a good idea, but it was far too drawn out at 10+ minutes; we did not need to have each of Kirk's recent foibles pointed out to us again!

This episode does a really good job of exploring how aging not only affects one's mental performance but also one's ability to gauge their mental performance. When we are young and thinking clearly it is so difficult to accept that as we approach death some of us will not accept that our capacities have significantly diminished, and will go on driving, living on our own, etc. even when it is no longer safe to do so.

4-0 out of 5 stars Where's Planet Viaga IV when you need it?
In this one the crew faces rapid aging like Spock did in Star Trek III. Only in this one it only lasts one episode. I wonder if the the actors compare the way they look in this and the way they look today. They are in as old as they were supposed to be in this episode. It's a good overall. It's a silly concept but has a good gimmick to keep you watching. I don't see how the process was reversed to keep the crew to their current ages, however it works for Star Trek.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kirk might be old, but he's still got grit and gumption!
In "The Deadly Years," the Enterprise discovers everyone on Gamma Hydra IV has either died or is in the process of dying from old age. Back onboard their ship, Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Scott all begin to age rapidly as well because of some unusual kind of radiation. Meanwhile, there is a Commodore Stocker on board who forces Spock to relieve Kirk as being unfit for command and then does the same to Spock. But the Commodore has been flying a desk his entire career and in no time at all he has the ship in the Neutral Zone, surrounded by Romulans. Seeing all the senior officers in old person make-up is a bit hokey, but this is redeemed by Kirk's performance during his competency hearing and the way Kirk uses his earlier mistakes to save the day in a nice ironic touch. Usually when the writers come up with a gimmick like this they do not come up with a worthwhile story in which to play it, but that is not the case with "The Deadly Years."

5-0 out of 5 stars Radiation Sickness ages the Crew.
While making a routine at a small science outpost near the Federation/Romulan border, A Landing Party discovers that the scientists have died of old age from some form of radiation sickness and now the same fate will happen to Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Scotty unless a cure can be found within 48 hours. Makeup artist Fred B. Phillips does a great job with applying make-up to the actors to have them look older in every new scene. Guest stars Charles Drake and Sarah Marshall also give good performances. Written by David P. Harmon. Directed by Joseph Pevney. Music Composed and Conducted by Fred Steiner and Sol Kaplan.

5-0 out of 5 stars An episode you won't forget
"The Deadly Years" is definitely one of the best episodes of the original Star Trek. Kirk and the crew find some old people on a planet that say they are only 25 and 28. However, they look like they're in their 90's. Soon afterwards, the crew beams back onboard the Enterprise and discovers that everybody, with the exception of Chekov, that beamed down to the planet is turning old quickly. Dr. McCoy or somebody must find a cure for the disease before they die of old age in only a matter of a few days.

"The Deadly Years" features some of the best makeup of any TV show or movie from the 60's, and also some of the best acting. Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy put on the two best performances, they will make you think they really are old and frail. "The Deadly Years" is a classic episode of the series and Kirk does some of his best commanding at the end of the episode. This is one episode you won't forget. ... Read more


149. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 18: The Squire of Gothos
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300213226
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 35029
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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A real treat for long-haul Trekkers: "The Squire of Gothos" is an entertaining program in its own right and the obvious blueprint for "Encounter at Farpoint," Gene Roddenberry's pilot episode for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Guest star William Campbell plays Trelane, a bratty, impulsive alien given to wearing costumes appropriate for an 18th-century French aristocrat. Equipped with godlike powers that allow him to alter and manipulate the world around him, Trelane is the prototype of The Next Generation's beloved quasi villain, Q (John de Lancie). Like Q, Trelane regards the crew of the Enterprise as playthings, and when Captain Kirk (William Shatner) disrupts his games, the omniscient boy-man puts humanity itself on trial. Great stuff. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is wonderful.
I like this movie because it's cool. I also like this movie because it introduced me to Trelane in the novel of Q Squared by Peter David. I also like how Trelane uses the enterprise crew as bate. I also like the surprise ending of this episode. I highly recommend this to future Star Trek fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the original series and a harbinger
There are two ways in which this is one of the best episodes in the original Star Trek series. The first is that the crew of the Enterprise encounters a creature (Trelane) that can command great power, and that considers the Enterprise crew to be playthings. This premise is a very interesting one, because it is so plausible. We humans are culturally conditioned to consider ourselves to be higher level beings, but the law of averages as played out in the universe dictates that we are most certainly not. Our foibles, nature and actions could very likely be a source of amusement for beings capable of easily moving planets.
The other way is that it sets the table for some of the best episodes of Star Trek, The Next Generation, as the Q character is obviously modeled from Trelane. "Encounter At Farpoint", the first episode of TNG, involves humanity being placed on trial, much like Trelane's placing Captain Kirk on trial in this episode. Trelane has studied Earth history, but somehow doesn't quite get it right. Q and the members of the continuum also never seem to quite be able to accurately solve the human equation, despite their ability to treat time and space like some of us use a television remote.
I went back and watched this episode again after viewing the TNG episodes that involved Q. The episode is so well acted and the repartee dialog so well written that I found myself enjoying it more than I ever had before. I found myself wishing that Trelane had made a second appearance in the original series.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Ill-Mannered Spock & A Nubian Prize
This is a delightful episode for those of you who like the conceptual side of Trek. This is the heart of Roddenberry's world. Abstract "beings" that represent life and energy unknown and quite different from ourselves, but at once sharing common ideas and situations that all living things encounter.

My favorite Trek intellectual "smackdown" comes from this episode. Leonard Nimoy's performance as Spock is priceless here. With deft coolness, pure Vulcan disdain, and a hint of human irritation, Spock says to Trelane, "I object to you. I object to intellect without discipline. I object to power without constructive purpose." This is perhaps one of Star Trek's most consistently repeated and implied underlying themes. A venomous, vitriolic jab - true - but totally eloquent and one of my favorite lines of the 20th century. Bravo, Mr. Schneider.

Also of note is Trelane's encounter with the lovely Lt. Uhura. He describes her as "A Nubian Prize." Bravo again Mr. Schneider. In 1966 I can think of many less than appropriate ways such dialogue might have been handled. This is timeless - even the little joke about "raids of conquest" is witty, clever, and charming. Not at all racist as it very easily might have been.

A fab episode, low budget to be sure, but jam-packed with smart stuff. A-plus!

3-0 out of 5 stars Greetings and Salutations
Another bizarre and campy episode, this one features a spoiled child who has designed himself a baroque castle. Like the former episode, this one presents us with a phantasmagoria of seemingly random, if stereotypical, scenarios. The tone is more ominous here, however, thanks in large part to some well-conceived shots (such as the shadow of the noose during Kirk's trial). The castle's blend of gilded glitz with incomplete realization increase the sense of unreality.

Unlike later shows (most notably 3rd season ones), the unreality here is not dreamlike however. There is a sharpness about this episode; the dialogue is literal and more crisp than in most 3rd season shows, which often felt more detached non-commital and ambivalent, while being softer-edged and more atmospheric.

Campbell, who later returned for The Trouble With Tribbles also gives a strong performance. After a while the gags start to lose their novelty though, and the episode seems to struggle to fill time. Another possible critique (although it doesn't really bother me) is that the episode ultimately doesn't have a lot to say. Still most of us, at some point in our lives, have had the experience of having to jump through hoops at another's whim; there isn't always a lot of meaning behind that either.

5-0 out of 5 stars Before Q there was Trelane
Long before the Next Generation there was a god like being who was Kirk's foil for once. Too bad he wasn't a regular character. Perhaps this is what Gene wanted with the original series and tried for this in NG...who knows. This episode is fun because Kirk has to outsmart a god who knows no bounds. He wants to keep the crew of the Enterpise as pets for his amusement. From a historical perspective you can see how Q in Next Generation is very close in character. ... Read more


150. The Trail of the Pink Panther
Director: Blake Edwards
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Sales Rank: 10473
Average Customer Review: 2.85 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (20)

2-0 out of 5 stars I Hope You Enjoy The 3,000 Pounds Of Jell-O!
Some people have entertained this as a tribute to Peter Sellers, and I don't want to judge the motives of Blake Edwards and crew, but for the record I am highly suspect when it is asserted that this wasn't a quick money grab.

The first part of the film is a rehash of some scenes from earlier "Panther" movies and outtakes cleverly edited to try to resemble a story. The truth be told, there are some individually hilarious clips in the first half, which is why I gave the film two stars.

Hands down the best scene in the movie involves a nightmare that Herbert Lom has regarding a birthday present from Clouseau, and his attempts to swim in it. In fact, the only truly great moments in the film all star Lom, the most gifted of any of the "Panther" co-stars. I was also amused that the name of Hercule's (Seller's friend and regular of the series, Graham Stark) boat was "The Moth", of course pronounced "Muuuth" as homage to Sellers.

The second half (after Clouseau's plane disappears...) is devoted to annoyingly self-important reporter Marie Jouvet, played by the pretty but untalented Joanna Lumley, looking for clues about Clouseau's disappearance. She takes the opportunity to interview Dreyfus and Cato, and as well as Sir Charles and Lady Litton (David Niven and the late Capucine, who, the back story reveals are now married), and most embarrassingly of all Clouseau's "father" and nanny. The scene with Clouseau, Senior and "Nanna" is utterly painful to watch and is nothing but a bad caricature of Sellers. The childhood flashbacks which follow are even more wretched, particularly the dismal "Good, Bad, and the Ugly" parody of Clint Eastwood with a cap gun. Finally, to add insult to injury, the friendly reporter tangles with the mafia in a pointless plot cul-de-sac and fights with Cato, in what may have been the worst single idea in an otherwise artistically bankrupt movie.

This film is now available as part of the "Pink Panther" DVD set, so I would watch it if only for Dreyfus in the Jell-O, but I wouldn't seek it out.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent tribute to a comedy legend
Critics hated this movie and called it a cheap moneymaking ploy. They also said it was offensive to Peter Sellers fans. Well, I'm a Peter Sellers fan and I consider this a superb and timely tribute to a master comedian. I don't find it even remotely offensive nor do I think it's a cheap moneymaking ploy. Director Blake Edwards says goodbye to his favorite star with some interesting out-takes and recollections of Clouseau from Pink Panther stars in character. Some of the later scenes could have been better, and Joanna Lumleys' terrible French accent could be considered a cause of offense! Nevertheless, this deserves to be in any Peter Sellers video collection. The last of the really funny Pink panther movies.

2-0 out of 5 stars WHICH ONE WAS PETER SELLER'S LAST MOVIE?
The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu or this blob of bloopers? That is the question.

3-0 out of 5 stars My explanation for this movie's plot
We don't get to find out whether Closeau is ever found again or not because Edwards had a sequel (Curse of the Pink Panther) coming up just around six months later and the point of that movie was to find the missing inspector. I admit the film gets weak in the second half with reporter Lumley trying to find a Clouseau-story but the film stiil was richly entertaining and lumley makes a pretty good leading lady.

2-0 out of 5 stars A disappointing Panther
Make no mistake, I am a Peter Sellers fan and I enjoy his Clouseau character in particular, but this entry was a real letdown. It did have some amusing moments but overall, I simply didn't appreciate The Trail of the Pink Panther. One of the silliest things about this movie is that there is no plot; the Pink Panther is stolen, Clouseau is sent to find it and goes missing. After that both him and the diamond are forgotten and all we see after that is a bunch of interviews with people who knew Clouseau. Aside from that, the old footage is, for the most part, not particularly funny. The only outtakes I laughed aloud at were a few from The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Blake Edwards should have waved the white flag after this movie but instead he goes on to make 2 more Panthers. It's too bad that Peter Sellers last appearance in the Pink Panther series was such a poor film. Stick with the original five films only. Forget this episode, as well as the next 2 movies and the Inspector Clouseau movie. They aren't worth your time. ... Read more


151. Innocent Prey
Director: Colin Eggleston
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152. M*A*S*H - The TV Series, Season 4, Vol. 1
Director: E.W. Swackhamer, Hy Averback, Gabrielle Beaumont, Burt Metcalfe, Michael O'Herlihy, Stuart Millar, Charles S. Dubin, Tony Mordente, Bruce Bilson (II), Harry Morgan, Mike Farrell, Norman Tokar, Mel Damski, Terry Becker, James Sheldon, Gene Reynolds, Alan Alda, Jamie Farr, Lee Philips, Larry Gelbart
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Asin: B00008WJE7
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 15024
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars M*A*S*H adds B.J. and Colonel Potter to the comedy mix
At the end of the third season of "M*A*S*H" the character of Colonel Henry Blake was killed while flying home. At the start of the fourth season of the military situation comedy Trapper John McIntyre went home as well, which meant that the show had to replace two of the three most important characters on the show. As we see from these first eight episodes from Season 4 (including the one-hour season premier), "M*A*S*H" not only replaced those two character, it evolved into the first and still one of the finest dramadies in television history:

Episode 1-2, "Welcome to Korea" (Written by Everett Greenbaum, Jim Firtzell, and Larry Gelbart, Aired September 12, 1975) has Hawkeye (Alan Alda) returning from R&R only to find that Trapper has just been shipped home. Grabbing Radar (Gary Burghoff) and stealing a jeep, Hawkeye races to Kimpo hoping to catch Trapper before he leaves. They arrive too late to say goodbye to Trapper, but they do get to meet his replacement, B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell), from Mill Valley, California. On the way back to the 4077th the new M*A*S*H surgeon is introduced first hand to the Korean War. The transition to Hawkeye's new second banana is awkward and that awkwardness is made a part of this episode. Of course Frank Burns (Larry Linville) dreams of molding Hunnicutt into his sort of officer, but by the time the new Swampmates make it back, it is too late. 4.5 Stars.

Episode 3, "Change of Command" (Written by Jim Fritzell and Everett Greenbaum, Aired September 19, 1975) heralds the arrival of Colonel Sherman T. Potter (Harry Morgan), Regular Army, as new C.O. of the 4077th. Despite the fears of the others that Potter will not fit in, the old man proves himself to be exactly what this group needed. I remember thinking at the time that "M*A*S*H" should have left Frank Burns in charge for a few episodes, but it is hard to fault them for wanting to take advantage of having Harry Morgan in the cast each week. 4.5 Stars.

Episode 4, "It Happened One Night" (Story by Gene Reynolds, Written by Larry Gelbart and Simon Mutner, Aired September 26, 1975) finds the 4077th being shelled while the surgeons try to carry on. Clearly the function of this episode is to further initiate Potter and Hunnicutt into the world of meatball surgery under pressure. 4 Stars.

Episode 5, The Late Captain Pierce" (Written by Clen Charles and Les Charles, October 3, 1975), finds B.J. getting a phone call from Hawkeye's dad in the middle of the night wanting to know "how and why." In a horrible SNAFU, the Army has declared Hawkeye dead and informed his father. Adding insult to injury, because President-elect Eisenhower is in the area, all communication has been cut off and Hawkeye cannot let his dad know he is still alive. Meanwhile, a guy (Richard Masur) arrives to pick up Hawkeye's corpse. Written by the future creators of "Cheers," this episode is one of the first to sober up Hawkeye's character and his speech about giving up and going home because the wounded will never stop coming is memorable. 5 Stars.

Episode 6, "Hey, Doc" (Written by Rich Mittleman, Aired October 10, 1975) has the gang trying to help out Sgt. Kimble, who wants to go home on a slow boat from Pusan rather than an airplane so he can ship home supplies to open by a Korean Kafe. This is a standard military comedy episode with Hawkeye and B.J. wheeling and dealing to get things done. Okay, but nothing special. 3.5 Stars.

Episode 7, "The Bus" (Written by John D. Hess, Aired October 17, 1975) has the doctors returning from a medical conclave (i.e., poker game) when their bus gets lost and they have to avoid North Korean patrols. Nice little change of pace episode that reminds us there is no situation that Frank Burns cannot make worse. 4 Stars.

Episode 8, "Dear Mildred" (Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, Aired October 24, 1975) finds Colonel Potter writing home to his wife. The "letter home" format serves the series well as it allows Potter's character to be developed as he comments on the oddballs of his new unit. To be followed by B.J.'s "Dear Peggy." 4.5 Stars.

While B.J. works his way into gang, Sherman Potter provides instant revitalization to the series. After all, the man is not going to back down from Frank, Hot Lips, Hawkeye, or anybody else, which really changes the dynamic of the 4077th. What we would clearly see is that Harry Morgan could handle not only comedy, but provide pathos as well. Arguably the most brilliant addition of a cast member in the history of television. Go ahead, argue with that one. ... Read more


153. Paragraph 175
Director: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
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Asin: B00005YURZ
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Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Less a Documentary than a Reminiscence
PARAGRAPH 175 is a beautifully photographed, historicaly accurate, sensitively enlightening film about the Nazi persecution and slaughter of the Pink Triangle, as male homosexuals were designated in Hitler's concentration camps. But for once a documenting film does not focus on grotesque pictures of bodies, wretched camp conditions or images of abuse and torture. The film's makers instead opt for the more sensitive approach of interviewing the few remaining men (and one woman)who survived the period. From these elderly gentlemen we hear memories of how fun Berlin was from 1914 to 1918, the between war period when life was raucous and liberated. We then learn through their words and through film clips of the growing influence of Hitler and his own gay SA General, the response of a people wilted from WWI needing hope for a future and not realizing the depravity of the promises of the Nazi party, the ugly truth. It is this insidious perpetration of evil that becomes most pungent in the faces and words of the survivors. This is a beautifully realized documentary and one that will open eyes to a fact that most people remain unaware of even today.

5-0 out of 5 stars Voices from Our Past
From Common Threads to The Times of Harvey Milk, Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman have documented the lives of gay men and lesbians throughout the 20th century. Adding Paragraph 175 into this collection is a crown lewel of their masterful work.

Documenting the experiences of homosexuals during the infamous Nazi regime in Germany, the filmmakers interviewed the few remaining people who suffered under the infamous paragraph. These men are a brave and stalwart group. As they tell their stories, the pain and horror they are forced to relive is evident. The filmmakers fortunately step out of the way and allow these men to speak. In fact, one of the best things about this documentary is that it is not a slick, clean production, with all of the extra things edited out. It's rough, to allow us to see their humanity. Some of these men had never spoken of their experiences publicly.

The DVD offers an insightful if sparse producers'/director's commentary, along with additional interviews not included in the film. The music is gripping, especially the inclusion of Marlene Dietrich's version of "Falling in Love Again".

So much has been done in the last years to document and remember the experiences during WWII. This film adds an important voice to that chorus, allowing all of those who suffered under the tyranny of one man's dementia, their prominent stanza.

3-0 out of 5 stars i wanted more...
The truth about homosexual persecution in Nazi Germany told by 6 survivors, using real footage from the times and documentary/interview style storytelling.
I find it interesting how they only targeted gay men. Nazis declared lesbianism a "temporary and curable problem."
Anyway, an interesting little documentary... not enough substance to it though in my opinion- although that might be because none of the men wanted to talk about their experiences. I imagine they get tired of all the interviews and having to relive those things...

"Do you want butter or guns?"
And the people cried "Guns!"
And at that my Father became afraid."

5-0 out of 5 stars Painful, defiant, angry, joyous
This is a magnificent piece of documentary filmmaking, not only from the perspective of the production values, but especially of the reportage. It is made clear throughout the documentary how extraordinarily difficult it was to get the extremely elderly men who were the survivors of the Holocaust to think back to what must have been a horrifying period in their lives. The producers managed to get through, however, sometimes with the help of friends, sometimes on their own, and the effect is a devastating one. I cannot agree with the reviewer from Louisiana who carped about "too many Nazi movies". First of all, the Holocaust is a horror which must never be forgotten, and there is no point at which there will be too much information about a "civilized" Western European country which slaughtered millions upon millions upon millions of people at a time which is still in the living memory of countless Europeans, Americans and other citizens of the world. Second, I would have a hard time in coming up with any short list, let alone long list of written, audio or video material which treats the specific subject of the extermination of gay people in Hitler's camps. Gay men were one of the secondary groups of slaughter, of course, in comparison to the breathtaking horror that was visited upon the Jews, but they were a major group nevertheless, and if the critic in Louisiana thinks that this is a story that does not need telling, then I'm sorry, but he's wrong. It does need telling, and the point to this documentary is that not many more years will pass before all of those who survived the terror are gone, gone, gone. The fact that the Holocaust is a throbbing and living thing even in the lives of people in the late 20th and early 21st century was neatly encapsulated in "Paragraph 175" when, if I understood it correctly, a French interviewee said that the interview was the first time that he had ever spoken to a German since World War II. "Paragraph 175" brought tears to my eyes again and again, because I had to ask, again and again, "why, why in God's name, why?" Whether Nazi atrocities have been treated in the media to a greater, lesser, more significant or any other extent than the atrocities of Stalin's Gulag (and as a Latvian, I am perfectly aware of what Stalin did, thank you) is entirely not the point. No human terror can be measured up against any other. This was terror. This was pain. But the survivors also represent a point of joy. They did survive. They had something to say. "Paragraph 175" allowed them to say it. I think that we are better for the story having been told.

3-0 out of 5 stars Infomative, but slow paced for no reason
Paragraph 175 delves into a little discussed aspect of World War II. While Jewish people were the primary target of Nazi Germany, homosexuals were also discriminated against in the worst way. However, while this documentary is informative, it seems like it is a one hour film stretched into 90 minutes.

The most annoying aspect of the film is its moments of long pauses in narration. Since it primarily concerns itself with interviews of homosexuals who survived imprisonment in concentration camps, it's understandable that the survivors have long pauses. After all, they're elderly and the pain the memories bring can make it hard to speak. But the long pauses continue when Rupert Everet does his narration as well. And they're not dramatic pauses, but pauses to fit the length of video provided. The narration either needed more material, or the film needed to condense its video.

Also, as the film jumps back and forth between survivors, it never seems to have any real focus. One interviewee will be talking about one thing, and then it switches to another discussing some other topic. Though the film makes some good points and does serve to be enlightening, it's apparent that it could have done a better job in telling the stories. As it is, it seems like a rough cut of the documentary, not the final film.

Despite my criticisms, Paragraph 175 still has some interesting stories to tell and some moments of true poignancy and sorrow. It's just too bad it's not polished to shine some light onto these disturbing, harrowing tales. ... Read more


154. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 66: Day of the Dove
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars
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"Captain's log. Stardate: Armageddon." Kirk's rather dramatic proclamation comes in the middle of a most unusual battle: Klingons and Federation crew members clash with gladiatorial broadswords and cutlasses on an Enterprise careening out of control. Michael Ansara guest stars as Kang, the fierce Klingon general who accuses Kirk of destroying his warship and killing hundreds of crewmen, while the Enterprise crew blames the Klingons for the brutal destruction of a human colony. Emotions are pitched into a racist frenzy and blood lust grips both crews as a mysterious being of pure energy (a psychedelic lightshow of shimmering colors) both feeds and feeds off their hatred. The Trek take on jingoism, race hatred, and the lies of war is actually more subtle than it first appears (compare the human and Klingon descriptions of one another's "common knowledge" atrocities--they're almost identical!), but nothing beats the sight of Kirk, Kang, and their crews laughing together in the show's first moment of interspecies male bonding. --Sean Axmaker ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Do I see the beginning of the fulfillment of a prophecy?
In the first-season episode "Errand of Mercy", the Organians impose a peace treaty upon the warring Federation and Klingon Empire. As they do this, they tell both Captain Kirk and Commander Kor that one day in the future, the Federation and the Klingons will become fast friends and work together. As we know, this did eventually come to pass with the Khitomer Peace Conference in Star Trek VI and with subsequent peace initiatives. But here, two years after "Errand of Mercy," we see the crew of the Enterprise and Commander Kang's crew *working together* to defeat the Beta XII-A alien.

I've read that they originally wanted John Colicos to reprise his role as Commander Kor in this one, which I think would have been fantastic, but Colicos was not available, though he supposedly really wanted to do it. Even so, Michael Ansara does a masterful job in portraying Commander Kang, and adds another interesting Klingon character to Star Trek lore, which has appeared again in both Deep Space Nine and Voyager.

4-0 out of 5 stars To quote Kang: Only a fool fights in a burning house
In "The Day of the Dove," the Enterprise finds a colony that has been destroyed. Then a Klingon cruiser shows up and Kang, its captain, insists the Enterprise has slaughtered his crew. Unbeknownst to both parties, an energy being has set them up so it can feed off their violence. Back on the Enterprise the entity makes it so that most of the ship's crew is trapped, leaving an equal number of Klingons and Starfleet personnel running around with swords (phasers would kill people and spoil the fun, so the entity changed them into swords). I sort of expected the Organians to show up and deal with the entity, but that is not to be the case. There is something to be said for Kirk and Kang making peace with each other once they realize the alien threat, especially when Spock stands by and encourages them all to make the entity flee from their laughter, so while I do not consider this a classic, it is certainly well above average Star Trek.

4-0 out of 5 stars Another Great "Bottle" Episode
By the time this episode aired, NBC and Desilu had began to realize what TV viewers already knew: Star Trek's "Bottle Shows" -or those taking place entirely or mostly on the Enterprise- were frequently the best ones, and "Day of the Dove" was no exception.

This episode is Star Trek with it's powerful moral subtext at it's best, clearly showing the insanity of race hatred and the futility of war. It has great scenes and lines, beginning with the smack in the mouth Kirk receives from Kang, to the ending scene of Kirk, Kang, and company all making merry to drive out an evil alien that thrives on hate.

Special FX were also quite good for the day, and this episode features a Klingon Battle Cruiser getting blown to bits by the Enterprise (the only episode showing this). But, you won't see this on TV, this scene is frequently deleted in reruns to save time for more commercials. Get the tape!

4-0 out of 5 stars This strong episode could have been even better
This action-packed and creepily atmospheric episode concerns a fight to the death (and beyond?) aboard the Enterprise against the Klingons. We are dropped right into the episode, with immediate violence, which pulls us into the episode's urgency and ominousness. The parties really appear quite powerless to stop their decent into total warfare. We are given our richest depiction of Klingons here, most notably in the thoughtful Kang (played by Michael Ansara). The lighting and nervous score contributes to the sense of doom and insanity aboard the ship.

This episode also has a stronger moral foundation than many 3rd season shows. We see people forced to set aside their differences and mutual suspicion in order to break the cycle of violence. Also present are the ideas that some entities thrive on hate, hate corrupts absolutely, and that laughter is sometimes the best medicine. One of the few negatives to be said about this episode is that the conclusion is ho-hum, convenient, and rushed. Better handled, it could have been one of the few 3rd season episodes to end on an uplifting note. By this point in the show, however, momentum was starting to build, as opportunities were allowed to slip away. more on this in reviews of later episodes.

Tidbits: A fraction of the scene in the corridor between Chekov and Kang's daughter shows up in the movie Koyaniskatsi.

5-0 out of 5 stars To Bouldly go where no adventurer has gone before!
This film is adventurous. I like the alian entity takes over the Enterprise making the Klingons and the humans fight each other. I like the Klingon commander Kang, and his wife. This film is great. I like it alot. It makes a fine film to listen to. It's highly recommended to any treckie in the future. ... Read more


155. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 74: The Cloud Minders
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 6300988708
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Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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All the signs that Star Trek was creatively strained late in its third season (following the departures of key creative personnel and the absence of Gene Roddenberry's full attention) can be seen in "The Cloud Minders." David Gerrold, author of the hugely popular "The Trouble with Tribbles," conceived an almost Dickensian story about the exploitation of miners, called Troglytes, on the planet Ardana, and the way Troglyte labor enriches the lives of an aristocracy that literally lives in the sky, above the fray. Third-season producer Fred Freiberger wanted fewer ideas and more action, and he had another writer deeply revise Gerrold's notion that Captain Kirk (William Shatner) should broker positive change on behalf of the have-nots. The finished production finds Kirk more irritated than anything that a domestic problem is slowing his mission to retrieve zienite, a medicinal mineral. Meanwhile, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) uncharacteristically sniffs around an Ardanian cutie who flirts with him, and a ridiculous torture-the-space-babe scene belongs in a midnight movie from the 1950s. "The Cloud Minders" is like a junk-food snack: chunky in its organization and cheesy in its production values. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (9)

4-0 out of 5 stars Most Stylish, if not best acted Trek --- Fun!
Kirk and Spock just want to pick up some Zenite antidote from the
planet Ardana, and find themselves in the middle of a class war between aristocratic cloud dwellers and the subservient cave dwelling Troglytes.
Though later in the series, this was one of the more stylish, if not best acted episodes. Just about everyone gets to chew the scenery, (Count how many times different characters exclaim "For What Purpose?") Costume designer William Ware Theiss's creations leave you wondering how they stay on, and Spock gets to flirt with Droxine, the sexy daughter of High Advisor Plasus.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bad Trek, Good Trek
Again, Star Trek, even when it is bad, is still pretty good.

This episode is no exception. It keeps your interest, has social implications, and features outstanding acting by William Shatner (one of Hollywood's greatest).

The Cloud City concept is interesting, and the episode features good use of a NASA photo taken from the Gemini capsule of canyons on earth.... as a Troglyte falls to his death.

I never felt Spock was getting Frisky with Droxine... I merely felt he was feeling his human side come out, and it was at best a mere flirtation. Besides, Spock really does have "exquisite ears."

4-0 out of 5 stars Nothing seriously wrong with this above average show
This episode, concerning a socially and
vertically stratified society of mine and cloud dwellers, temporarily staunched the haemorraging occurring at this point in the 3rd season. While not exactly action-packed (not many 3rd season shows were) this episode has an ebb and flow lacking from many of its contemporaries. The premise is also interesting enough, with obvious implications for our own society. The decision to take on the nature vs. nurture question was all admirable. While they were of course correct to pick nurture, the zenite quick fix was a copout. Obviously those deprived of knowledge for generations will require some time to get up to speed (the same could be said of Uhura's experience in the Changeling).
While the Spock romance was out of character, I didn't find it totally implausible or regrettable. They did seem to have a rapport, at least. The episode is hurt by weak performances from the other two guests though.

Tidbits: Production was getting really sloppy by this point. For example, after the crew have been corralled on the planet's barren surface, Kirk is heard to utter through totally unmoving lips, "Who are you? What is the meaning of this attack?"

3-0 out of 5 stars Mind you head - these clouds are lower than they look
In this, the 74th Star Trek episode, we find the Enterprise travelling to the cloud city of Stratos on the planet Ardana to get a rare mineral to help stop a plague on another planet.

Classic Trek has told stories about two different civiliztions clashing before, and this one holds very little surprises. The upper crust of society lives in a city held above the planet's surface by powerful anti-gravity generators, while the lower class toil in the mines below to gather the mineral wealth of the planet that they are not allowed to enjoy.

The stereotypical plot lines of the story almost detract from the rather heavy handed message that the episode is trying to get across - that all people are people, and should be treated with the same respect. The seperation of the ruling class from the working class is emphasized too much by things like the city floating gently far above the troubles they create.

The reason that the Troglytes (short for Troglodites?) have a retarded intellect and violent tendencies is their constant exposure to a gas that the mineral produces, and not anything actually genetic. McCoy finds out that they are the same race. Plasus, the leader of Stratos, resists giving the Troglytes gas masks to help filter their air until Kirk forces him into a situation that exposes him to it directly, in clear violation of the Prime Directive.

One of the only saving graces of this episode is Spock's obvious interest in Droxine, the daughter of Plasus. Spock get her to finally agree that the Troglytes might be her intellectual equals despite their contant exposure to the mineral gas.

I would have liked to see a story about what happens to this civilization after the major society changes that Kirk and crew just about forces on them, but that is impossible now except in the non-canon Star Trek books.

My score - 5.5 out of a possible 10 (1/2 point for Spock's interest in Droxine).

2-0 out of 5 stars For ST-TOS diehards only
Discovering Amazon's second-hand buying/selling service has allowed me to stock up on ST-TOS episodes that I had deliberately ignored in the past. "Cloud Minders" is one such episode.

In all honesty, 3rd-season ST-TOS episodes are nowhere near as bad -- nor 2nd-season episodes as good -- as the conventional wisdom would have you believe. Nearly all 3rd-season episodes have points of interest, but these disparate elements seldom coalesce to form a meaningful storyline liable to appeal to outsiders.

3rd-season ST-TOS episodes are characterized by increasing verbosity and awkward departures from long-established plot and character guidelines. Budget cuts resulted in a different "look" for the show, but ingenious set-designers did everything in their power to cope with the resulting financial constraints ("The Cloud Minders" illustrates this quite well). William Shatner, unjustly maligned as Kirk, invariably acts with giant conviction in an effort to keep the show on the road. Aside from this, however, one comes across all too many poorly acted and abysmally directed passages of dialogue. In 3rd-season episodes there is an increasingly dreary reliance on sadomasochistic plot devices (obedience collars, torture chambers, etc.), which are a scriptwriter's copout. The actresses' costumes are raunchier, suggesting reduced studio censorship (or interest). This isn't the "kiddie format" which the show's regular staff dreaded; but it comes close.

All of the above trends are exhibited in "The Cloud Minders", which, as I have said, is for hard-core fans only. But 3rd-season episodes, for all their flaws, should not be overlooked: note the interesting treatment of contraception in "The Mark of Gideon;" Spock's sputtering encounter with an ancient vulcan hero in "The Savage Curtain;" the eating of the acid fruit in "The Road to Eden;" and best of all, the web-spinning sequence in "The Tholian Web," a special-effects sequence still unmatched for pure shock value and spine-tingling horror. ... Read more


156. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 11: Dagger of the Mind
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Like the preceding episode "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", "Dagger of the Mind" is another mad-doctor drama. This time, Kirk delivers supplies to a penal colony on Tantalus V, where he meets the renowned Dr. Tristan Adams. Adams has been working on the development of a neural neutralizer to control and manipulate dangerous patients. When Kirk threatens to expose him as a dangerous megalomaniac, Adams uses the technology on the unfortunate captain. This tense piece set in a madhouse atmosphere makes for a riveting episode, with a few unhinged performances adding to the fun. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, THOUGHT-PROVOKING EPISODE
Dagger of the Mind is one of the finest episodes of the original Star Trek series. It was made at the same time Communist China's murderous "Great Proleatarian Cultural Revolution" was getting under way in 1966 in which mobs of young Communist "Red Guards" were dragging unpopular teachers and "capitalist roaders" into the street and frequently beating them to death while mindlessly chanting meaningless slogans from Mao's "Little Red Book". In the 1960's, also memories were still fresh from the horrors of Hitler's genocidal policies against the Jews and Slavs and Stalin's purges of millions of "class enemies". Actor James Gregory gives a fine performance as Dr Tristan Adams, a notal penal reformer and idealist who tragically degenerates into a tyrant controlling the minds of the inmates at his penal colony planet called Tantalus through use of his "neural neutralizer" device. Writer Shimon Wincelberg (pen-name S. Bar-David) is warning us how many well-meaning people who want to help humanity by supporting various universalist utopia schemes (e.g. Marxism-Leninism, Jonestown, etc) can end up being part of a monstrous tyranny because the lust for power and control of large numbers of people overwhelms them. Actor Morgan Woodward puts in a stellar performance as Dr Simon Van Gelder who is a tormented victim of Dr Adams' neural neutralizer (you can see his tortured face on the cover of the box containing the video tape). The names used in the episode give chilling hints as to the nature of the characters and their prison, for example, Tantalus-the name of the penal colony planet, was a figure from Greek mythology who is condemned to hell and his punishment is to have all sorts of desirable food and drink within his view but just out of reach (hence the word "tantalize), Dr Adams' first name is Tristan which is from the famous mideval story from Cornwall of "Tristan and Isolde" in which the hero "dies of loneliness" and finally Dr Adams' mind-controlled assistant is called Lethe, whose name means oblivion. Unfortunately, the resolution of the crisis is a little weak so I give the episode only four stars, but it is still one of the very best.

3-0 out of 5 stars Promising Episode That Doesn't Quite Deliver
Morgan Woodward's standout performance in the first half of this episode makes this an episode worth owning. His character is initially very frightening, but eventually emerges as a character to sympathize. It is a a very effective performance.

Unfortunately, the episode becomes rather silly as Kirk and a none-too-bright psychiatrist, Dr. Helen Noel, investigate the penal colony. After such a brilliant set-up, this story line becomes disappointing. Still, an adequate entry in the Star Trek series.

This is the first episode that uses the Vulcan mind meld.

2-0 out of 5 stars This, or Whom Gods Destroy? Pick your poison!
The first of the insane asylum/penal colony episodes just doesn't work. The early scenes on the planet do convey a sense of unease as we try to figure out just what is wrong here, but the eventual delivery just doesn't pack much (Christmas) punch. Woodward, for one, is way over the top here. Worse though is the poor development of the motives behind Adams' actions. I suppose the question of the potential costs behind the treatment of mental illness are as timely today as they were then, but this episode doesn't contribute much to the discussion. Plus, this episode is convoluted, and just isn't very interesting. To be honest, the coquettish Dr. Helen Noel was one of the best things going for this one.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Dagger of the Mind" - A Solid Episode with Lots of Drama
While on a routine mission to resupply the Tantalus V rehabilitation colony, Kirk and company are shocked to discover that the facility's director is using a mind-control device to control the inmates.

''Dagger of the Mind'' is one of the better episodes from Star Trek's first season. While there are some plot inconsistencies and gaps in the story-line, the episode is quite enjoyable. This episode contains moments of high drama and suspense, as well some action. Here are a few of my observations:

''Dagger of the Mind'' introduces us to the Vulcan Mind Meld for the first time. Spock uses it to probe the mind of Dr. Van Gelder in search of the truth about the Tantalus colony.

The acting is superb--particulary Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock) and the guest actors. Morgan Woodward steals the show with his dramatic portrayal of Dr. Simon Van Gelder. His emotional expressions are enough to convince anyone that his mind has been ravaged by a mind-control device. The interactions between Spock and Van Gelder in sickbay are particularly intense. James Gregory plays the charming yet sinister Dr. Tristan Adams, the director of the Tantalus colony. The beautiful Marianna Hill plays Enterprise psychologist Dr. Helen Noel. While Helen is not the greatest psychologist in the world, she proves her courage by risking her life to save Captain Kirk. She playfully flirts with Kirk during their first few scenes together, and this visibly upsets Kirk (I love it when a woman actually gets the better of Kirk).

A couple of wardrobe items: (1) Dr. Adams and the rest of the Tantalus staff wear the traditional jumpsuits that are common throughout Star Trek. However, they feature a neat patch on the front--a gloved hand holding a dove reaching up to the sun. There is a lot of irony in this symbol, given the sinsiter motives of Dr. Adams. (2) It looks like the wardrobe department gave Marianna Hill (Helen Noel) a Starfleet uniform that is about a size too small for her. The top portion of the uniform seems to fit a bit too tight, and the skirt is a couple of inches too short in the back. I realize that these Starfleet skirts are supposed to be short, but Helen's doesn't quite cover what is supposed to be covered. Whenever the camera films Helen from behind, you can plainly see her ... ummmm ... undies.

The Neural Neutralizer is a powerful device, with the ability to reshape memories and control minds. However, the chair looks like a 23rd century dentist's chair.

Great acting and an interesting story make ''Dagger of the Mind'' an episode that any Star Trek fan will want to own.

4-0 out of 5 stars Like DEATH
Over the years, my sister Cathy and I have used Dr. Simon Van Gelder's description of the Neural Neutralizer as a catch-all description of things unpleasant:

Kirk: "What was it like?"
Van Gelder: "Like DEATH!"

Morgan Woodward did an all-too-convincing job as a man nearly driven out of his mind. It was also refreshing to finally have a woman on the set (Dr. Helen Noel) who did not swoon at the very sight of Kirk for a change. I wish they could have brought her back to trade sarcastic barbs with Kirk on occasion.

Highly recommended for any devout "Classic Trek" fan. ... Read more


157. Star Trek - The Original Series, Episode 70: Let That Be Your Last Battlefield
Director: James Goldstone, Murray Golden, James Komack, Don McDougall, Robert Butler, Marc Daniels, John Meredyth Lucas, Leo Penn, John Erman, David Alexander, Michael O'Herlihy, Jud Taylor, Herschel Daugherty, Ralph Senensky, Gerd Oswald, Lawrence Dobkin, Marvin J. Chomsky, Joseph Sargent, Herb Wallerstein, John Newland
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Asin: 630098866X
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 21399
Average Customer Review: 3.58 out of 5 stars
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There's blunt and then there's really blunt. "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is certainly the latter, a thick fable about the absurdity of intolerance, a story so obvious it becomes energized by its own, sheer audacity. Frank Gorshin, a 1960s television icon for his recurring role as the Riddler on Batman, plays Bele, an extraterrestrial cop pursuing a fugitive named Lokai (Lou Antonio). The latter is chalk-white on the right side of his body, and ebony-black on the left, an arrangement despised as inferior by Bele and his race, whose own color scheme simply reverses the two. While Captain Kirk (William Shatner) decides what to do about Lokai's request for asylum, the old race hatred between both sides looks increasingly ridiculous. Interestingly, the episode originated as an idea from producer Gene L. Coon, who envisioned an endless chase between a devil and an angel. Eventually it was decided that the sheer stupidity of prejudice would be underscored more clearly in the final arrangement and, indeed, several decades after the fact, the show does have a surrealist punch to it. Incidentally, the Enterprise self-destruct sequence seen here was reprised in the feature film Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars I Liked It!
It's not my favorite Classic Star Trek episode but it's a good episode with a very good message and I like Frank Gorshin who played The Riddler on Batman. I recommend this video for any Star Trek Fan!

3-0 out of 5 stars A solid episode
This episode, employing actors done up in half-black, half-white face makeup, is a none-too subtle statement about race relations. While Star Trek is to be commended for not ignoring controversial issues, the show's forays could be grossly oversimplistic; this episode is a case in point. Most viewers will have gleaned the difference between Lokai and Bele long before the crew becomes aware. This is also another talky episode, and while the actors do a good job expressing their choler through some truly acrimonious exchanges, the viewer gets the idea pretty fast.
The second half of the episode is not without its plusses though. The auto-destruct sequence was a nice touch, as were the montages of burning cities (which must have struck a cord in early 1969, as today). The conclusion leaves the viewer with much to ponder, both specifically about Bele and Lokai's fate, and more generally about hatred's powerful momentum. One other welcome aspect was the fact that the Enterprise and her crew were basically powerless here. This thankfully (in my opinion) spares us the need for a pat conclusion to such a complex problem. On the other hand, it is interesting to ask whether a first season episode would have been so pessimistic. The answer is almost certainly no. But a lot had changed in two years, and not just in the Star Trek universe.

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Trek at it's best
I am very surprised Frank Gorshin was never asked to return as a baddie in another Trek episode. It was a real treat to see him argue with Shatner about the plight of their planet. You couldn't tell who was on the right side. Both of them had a convincing argument. There was no way to tell. Anyway, the episode did have another great action sequence where both of them wrestled with 60's style cosmic powers.

4-0 out of 5 stars The importance of being black on the right side
There is certainly nothing subtle about the social message at the heart of "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." The Enterprise stops a stolen shuttle and arrests its pilot, a bichromatic being (white on the right side, black on the left) named Lokai. Then another bichromatic being named Bele (black on the right side and white on the left) beams aboard the Enterprise just as his vessel explodes. Bele (Groshin) explains that he is an officer of the Commission on Political Traitors from the planet Cheron who has come to arrest Lokai for murder. For his part, Lokai insists that his people are enslaved by Bele's race. Bucking this particular headache up the chain of command, Kirk is told by Starfleet not to extradite Lokai. However, Bele will not take "no" for an answer. It was always easy to remember how each side of Bele was colored, because of course the dominant race in this little allegory would be black on the "right" side. At first Kirk does not see the difference, since both Bele and Lokai are half black and half white. But Bele points out the difference and insists how it matters, which sounds just as stupid as any other claim of racial superiority based on skin color you have ever heard. Because the point of this episode is not exactly subtle, "Let This Be Your Last Battlefield" is less than satisfactory, although I do appreciate the attempt to maintain ambiguity as to which one of the two bichromatic beings (you have to love that adjective) is telling the truth.

4-0 out of 5 stars Will this be their last battlefield?
"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is about two humanoids that appear on the Enterprise. One (Loki) is supposedly a criminal who is begging for help from Captain Kirk and the crew, and the other one is out to capture Loki. The only difference between them is that their black and white colors are on opposite sides of their faces. They mainly just fuss between each other, but when they start changing the course of the Enterprise, Captain Kirk decides something has to be done.

"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" is interesting and it isn't a bad episode if you're a Star Trek fan. I recommend anybody who likes Star Trek to watch or buy this episode. ... Read more


158. Party of Five: The Intervention
Director: Peter O'Fallon, Matt Fox (IV), Ellen S. Pressman, Susannah Grant, Arvin Brown, Lou Antonio, Ken Topolsky, Patrick R. Norris, Oz Scott, Richard Pearce, Julianna Lavin, David Dworetzky, Eric Jewett, Rodman Flender, Dennie Gordon, Jan Eliasberg, Vicki Jackson-Lemay, Daniel Attias, Davis Guggenheim, Steven Robman
list price: $9.95
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Asin: 0767832590
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 24698
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars THE BEST Po5 EPISODE EVER!
This episode was, by far, one of the best episodes that they have ever done! Starting out with a family dinner was a good way to lure Bailey, but not the best. The best way to lure Bailey to their house was to get him there by using who he loves most: Owen. I thought the scenes with Lacey were absolutely wonderful. You could really feel her pain as she's talking to him on the phone. Then when he got there, they wanted him to go to rehab. Good acting on Scott's part. But I would have to say my all-time favorite scene in that episode was when Scott lost it with everyone and started attacking them, revealing information about their past. I had only started watching "Party of Five" during the third season, but I have been a faithful viewer...from then to when it was cancelled, and I am sorry it was. Loyal "Party of Five" fans will miss it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Show Never Watched
It's a shame this series struggled for life every season it was on. Party of Five brought some of the most original writing and acting the Fox Televison Network has ever seen. Next to X-Files, this is the single best series they ever produced. I adored every episode of the five years it was on and still miss this show dearly. I felt orphaned when it went off!

My only qualm about the videos is that most of them are pricey and yet contain only one episode-not a good deal at all! Especially "The Intervention" which was a two episode arc and they only delivered the first half to video-who does that? This show never got the respect it deserved while on the air and still is being snubbed by the studio's refusal to release it on DVD. But all is well because we have things like "The Simple Life" to keep us occupied...GET A GRIP FOX!!! PUT PO5 ON DVD THIS MINUTE!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars "Intervention" Rocks!!!
This is no doubt one of the best PO5 episodes of all time! When it's rare to find a television show which deals with family drama, you can look no further than "Party of Five!" When I first got hooked onto the show in the spring of 99, I thought it had great potential, and great characters! It started after I saw Lacey Chabert(Claudia) in "Lost in Space," and since then I wanted to see more of her in other things! She truly does shine in PO5 with this episode! As does Scott Wolf who gives his character Bailey more drama with his alcohol problem! What makes this episode stand out from the other episodes in my opinion is because it's all the characters in a closed surrounding when they try to make Bailey come to terms with his drinking problem! With the other episodes, you jump from one character to the next, and it's often to soap opera at times, and hard to keep up! This is one episode where the siblings all come together to save their brother! My compliments to Scott Wolf, Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell, Lacey Chabert, and Jennifer Love Hewitt for making this episode truly work! It's too bad you couldn't see this movie become like a motion picture event(giggle)! That would have been neat!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have for any true "Party of Five" fan!!!
Simply put, this episode is the hallmark of everything that endeared viewers to this amazing drama that ran on the Fox network from 1994-2000. In the series' beginning, Bailey Salinger was the responsible sibling who put others and their needs before his own, especially when it came to younger siblings Julia, Claudia & Owen. Then Bailey goes off to college, where he has to care for no one except himself. And that's where his downfall begins. Bailey begins to drink--uncontrollably. He cuts himself off from his family, goes out partying and getting drunk every night, and buys liquor with money that was supposed to be used to pay for Owen's birthday celebration. When Bailey shows up at Owen's party stone drunk, the siblings begin to realize just how bad the problem is. So, they stage an intervention. The episode is powerfully written and acted as it walks you through the various stages mof the intervention: the tension beforehand, deciding how to get Bailey to come to the intervention, the emotions that the siblings have in seeing their brother's life in such a mess, Bailey's denial of his drinking problem. In one particularly stunning scene, Bailey feels as if he's being picked on, so he begins fighting back by throwing his siblings' past mistakes right back in their faces: Julia's unplanned pregnancy, Charlie's wedding-that-wasn't, and so on. Then, in the middle of all this mess, Joe, a longtime friend of the family, drops a bomb that catches the whole family off guard: their father was a recovering alcoholic whose drinking nearly wrecked the family. Claudia finds out what made her father to stop drinking, and at the end of the episode, she gives Bailey an ultimatum that leaves the family at a turning point, leaving the viewer on the edge. The writing is exceptionally realistic, as is the acting (especially on the parts of Scott Wolf as Bailey and Lacey Chabert as Claudia). A must-see for any true "Party"-goer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great series....
The attraction with this series as with so many was the chemistry between the characters. The sweetness of these kids in contrast with the harshness of their lives takes you away from reality and as we all need an esape of some sort, this is mine. I am a customer from the UK and doubt that we have had all of the series on our screens and we also don't have these videos released in the UK. I am very jealous of you guys as I would love to have this in my video cupboard to have a weep on a rainy Sunday..... Ahhhhhhh! those were the days.. ... Read more


159. A Perfect World
Director: Clint Eastwood
list price: $9.94
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Asin: 6303058981
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 18277
Average Customer Review: 4.22 out of 5 stars
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This curiously overlooked drama from Clint Eastwood, released just after his Oscar triumph with Unforgiven, concerns a prisoner (Kevin Costner) on the lam with a kidnapped young boy as protection and the Texas Ranger (Eastwood) and federal agent (Laura Dern) on his tail. Eastwood manages a number of nice touches--the boy's innocence is nicely contrasted with Costner's soft-spoken desperado by the Casper Halloween costume he wears, and the law-enforcement officials look vaguely foolish, tooling around the countryside with a high-tech camper in tow. Eastwood gives a grizzled performance that, despite its seen-it-all surface, still feels fresh after all these years, and he coaxes surprisingly sensitive work out of Costner. But it's the sheer, modest scale of this piece that makes it so disarming--no planet lies in jeopardy, there are no cosmic make-or-break consequences here, just committed people doing their job and a well-meaning bad guy hoping things don't get too out of hand while he prevents them from doing it. --David Kronke ... Read more

Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars Touching and Tragic
This film has two of Hollywood's biggest stars - Eastwood and Costner - both of whom give great performances. But it's the young actor who plays the kidnapped boy who steals the show. This drama is set in Texas, early November 1963 - shortly before JFK's fateful visit to Dallas. An escaped convict (Costner) kidnaps a boy and is on the run from the law (Eastwood) and each of their lives are changed forever. The film is especially touching whenever it focuses on the growing relationship between the convict & boy - Costner's portrayal of the tough escapee with a kind heart is great and the boy is so natural and likeable. Under Eastwood's direction the film is controlled and avoids the pitfall of melodrama. The ending is tragic yet inevitable. I think this is one of Costner's best performances and was surprised when the film seemed to be overlooked by the media. I loved the whole feel of the movie and cared about the characters - even some of the minor ones like the sharecropper family. I highly recommend this film.

4-0 out of 5 stars 2 Great Talents...Eastwood and Costner...1 Captivating Drama
This review refers to the Warner Home Video, DVD edition of "A Perfect World"....

Clint fans will really appreciate the director side of Eastwood in this film from 1993, "A Perfect World". He portrays a seasoned Texas Ranger in pursuit of a dangerous escaped convict, who has kidnapped a small boy for a hostage. Kevin Costner is Haynes, the elusive fugitive and it his work in the film that is really showcased here. It's superbly acted by Costner, and beautifully directed by Eastwood. It's more than just a statewide cops and robbers chase, as the character development, and the past play a big part as the film progresses.Laura Dern also stars and the performance by T.J. Lowther the young actor who plays Phillip, the kidnap victim, is absolutely incredible.

This DVD by Warner Bros presents a very good picture, clear with nice color, in a widescreen format. All the action and the wonderful musical score, composed by Lennie Niehaus sound fabulous in Dolby Dig 5.1 surround sound.There's not much in the way of special features. Theatrical trailers and some cast bios.There are subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Eastwood and Costner fans will appreciate the combined talent that will captivate you from the first frame to the last in this very dramatic story. For the Eastwood collector, you may want to consider purchasing this in the Eastwood "Hero" 3 pack offered here at Amazon. In addition to this one it also includes "Heartbreak Ridge" and "Absolute Power". There is a nice savings buying them that way.

Go ahead...make your day....enjoy...Laurie

5-0 out of 5 stars Eastwood journeys deeper into the heart of the American male
Continuing his exploration of what makes a man good, bad -- just plain human-- is what this film delves into, even more deeply than in the stunning "Unforgiven" (to his credit, Eastwood never pretends, as some male writers and directors do, that he understands women; instead, he admits that we are mysteries to him, and concentrates his energies on what he does understand: American men). Refusing to subscribe to typical American cinematic over-simplifications of "good vs. evil," Clint Eastwood delivers films that make you realize very quickly that there is no room for such absolutes when dealing with human truths. This thesis, which he has been pursuing for some time now, perhaps starting with "Tightrope" where the line between good and evil blurs to invisibility, he has, with "A Perfect World," given us a translation of John Lee Hancock's brilliant screenplay that is both beautiful and almost too painful to bear. Noted by critics at the time of its relase, but completley ignored by audiences who, it seems, found Kevin Costner as an escaped convict just too unpalatable, this film takes us on a complex journey deep into the souls of two tortured men, Costner's "Butch Haynes" and Eastwood's "Red," the Texas Ranger who is charged with running the escaped Haynes down. The past and its consequences are a continual theme in all of Eastwood's important works, and in this film, the ironies are neck-deep and take time and patience from the viewer to unravel. Even the decision by Red to commandeer the vehicle the Governer intends to ride in the next day when President Kennedy will be in Dallas (this is 1963) brings up the question: would the Governer have been shot had he been in this vehicle instead of in the President's car? This is one subtle example of how decision and consequence are continously explored in this most thought-provoking of films.

Kevin Costner gave probably the best performance of his life, cast against type as a complex man who cannot be called either bad or good, merely profoundly human, whose life has followed a course laid by poverty, homelessness, a suicide mother and a felonious father, a bit of high spirits, and high intelligence with nowhere to go, but most importantly, the Texas penal system as it was managed in the 60's. Haynes' moral center, despite his acts, never wavers, and it is that moral center that propels events which finally spiral out of his control and into tragedy. But we see, clearly, that even a so-called "bad" man can be good enough to inspire genuine, deep love that, in the end, redeems both him and the person whose initial action started the long chain of events that ends with the 36 hours over which this film takes place (we discover who this is along the way, and I don't want to lessen the impact of any discoveries). Another reviewer here implied that it was Eastwood who is responsible for Costner's excellence in this film, but having seen so many interviews with his actors, it is generally understood that Eastwood casts his actors, then leaves them alone to find the character and reveal him without a great deal of interference, so it would seem that the credit is, indeed, Costner's. Sadly, he never again worked against type, perhaps because of this film's commercial failure, but this performance will always stand as testament to what he can do, and never is that performance better than in the house where Cajun music on the Victrola and senseless violence against a boy much of an age as Butch himself was when violence entered his life, combine to send him into a sort of fugue state of memory, pain, longing, rage, and ultimately, the loss of control that brings things to a terrible end.

The boy, Philip, with whom he bonds (played beautifully by the transparent T.J. Lowther) also gives us his heart laid bare, and the rapport between the two of them is completely believable. We understand the child's repeated choices to stay with Butch, and the reasons go far beyond the superficial need for a father (his is gone), and into the realm of love. It is from Haynes that he learns the lesson that exacts the price of Haynes' escape, but then it is his love for Haynes that makes it bearable, and even right, for both of them, as in the end, he becomes the protector--the man--whose job it is to help a loved-one who can no longer help himself.

When a film's characters are torn apart by the end of a film, its viewers should be, too, and we definitely are. It is a difficult, heart-breaking journey that Clint Eastwood insists we take with him, but taking it brings us to the point where we should start each day: from scratch. Red's last line is, "I don't know a da*n thing anymore," and that is exactly the point and the purpose of this story. We should never, ever think we have all the answers; to do so is fatal, as Red learns. Every day we should be willing to examine our beliefs and look back, with honesty, at what we've done, and look forward to what we're about to do with eyes wide open and with some sort of awareness of potential damage, and know, always, that there is no good "us," no bad "them," but that we're all only human beings, deeply flawed and yet filled with the capacity for love and connection, each of us doing the best we can.

2-0 out of 5 stars Below average, a few disturbances
OK...were to start. I didn't recommend this to my fiance and her sister to watch. The scene at the farmer's house before the ending was way too disturbing. It was unbelievable that the film-makers included several instances of child abuse and neglect near the end of the movie (the kid, Cleveland didn't seem to do anything wrong to deserve to be bashed like that by his father). The man played by Costner cared for his kidnapee, but had to be negligant at times to people to avoid being detained by the cops (i.e. stealing a Stationwagon from a family, allowing the kid to steal a costume from a store, being tyrannical enough to duct tape a family that gave them one day of "kind hospitality"). The movie had some decent moments to it, but it was too disturbing to watch. On the positive side...Clint Eastwood did a great role in the movie.

I don't believe that Jehova's Witnesses is a true religon. I believe that Christianity is the only true religion.

3-0 out of 5 stars Quirky little movie
"A Perfect World" is the kind of slow-fuse drama that both Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner are known for. Both filmmakers prefer to focus on character development over fast-paced action; both gradually build their films up to emotionally draining conclusions (see "Unforgiven," "Open Range," and this film).

This movie defies all expectations and emerges as a thoughtful, quirky little drama about the consequences of child abuse and neglect. Though billed as a confrontation between Clint and Kev, the two stars play only one scene together, and that in long shot. The movie consciously avoids over-the-top action and melodrama, finding instead strange moments of humor that emerge when you least expect it. There is violence in the picture, and yet another mature consideration of gunplay (as in "Unforgiven"), but most of the violence is off screen and is not the focal point of the picture. This isn't "Dirty Harry."

Costner gets the lion's share of screen time as Butch Haynes, an escaped convict who takes a little boy hostage. The movie isn't so much about a manhunt, however, as it is the stunningly odd relationship that develops between con and kid. Both have been held captive: Butch, by the penal system, the kid, by institutionalized religion. Both are also without fathers. It's a sad, doomed relationship, but one in which both characters find redemption.

The movie is flawed. Clint's direction is uneven; I think there were some missed dramatic opportunities here. The climax is noticeably protracted; I doubt a man with a gut wound could wander as far out in the country as does one of the characters. You could almost say that, in spite of all the big stars, nothing happens. And Laura Dern is completely out of place and mis-cast; her final scene (a knee in the groin to Bradley Whitford) plays jarringly to the audience.

The saving graces are Costner and T.J. Lowther, as the kid, Phillip. Costner shows that he has true grit as an actor, giving a movie star turn that is far-removed from his Crash Davis in "Bull Durham" and John Dunbar in "Dances With Wolves." We can see that Butch is messed up and not a good person -- but neither, as he himself points out, is he the worst. This is one of Costner's best performances and I really hope he returns to this style of work.

Eastwood is credible as Texas Ranger Red Garnett, but that's about it; I understand his character was extensively re-written so Clint could have more screen time, and it feels that way.

In short, Costner's performance for a change far outshines the movie that it's in. "A Perfect World" isn't bad, but it's not the best, either. ... Read more


160. Bird
Director: Clint Eastwood
list price: $14.95
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Asin: 6301313615
Catlog: Video
Sales Rank: 20302
Average Customer Review: 3.56 out of 5 stars
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Clint Eastwood's moody, evocative direction and Forest Whitaker'sstrong, sensitive performance are the chief proponents to recommend an otherwise muted biopic of '40s jazz legend Charlie Parker, who fell victim to his chemical excesses and convinced the doctor who pronounced him dead that he was a good four decades older than he actually was. The film doesn't try to assign clear blame for Parker's demons, though the era's racism is addressed unflinchingly. Clearly a labor of love, Eastwood's movie structurally attempts to ape the angular music of bebop itself (there are flashbacks within flashbacks, which gets a little confusing), but doesn't quite capture the smolder of the period. Diane Venora registers strongly as Bird's wife, Chan, the woman who can'trescue Bird from the abyss into which he peers. --David Kronke ... Read more

Reviews (16)

3-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing but a disappointment
Jazz aficionado Clint Eastwood's admiration for the legendary Charlie Parker is evident throughout "Bird," but it can't overcome a script that dwells on the great musician's self-destructive drug use at the expense of his musicianship. Why did Charlie Parker die at such a young age? The film answers that question rather explicitly. Why was Charlie Parker great? "Bird" tends to fumble when addressing that question. Still, Eastwood captures the smoky ambiance of Parker's nocturnal world very well, and the music is hard to fault. Though it is ultimately a disappointment, "Bird" is worth a look for admirers of both the director and his subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE OF JAZZ AND DRUG FILM NOIR.
Wow, I can't believe the negative reviews for this MASTERPIECE by Clint Eastwood. Being a big fan of Jazz, I've owned this film for many years in more than one incarnation, and have watched it more times than I care to tally.

Many reviewers said it's overly dark. Yep. Jazz musicians spend most of their time in dark smoke-filled nightclubs. So does BIRD. This is a great MOOD PIECE. It could also be called FILM NOIR.

Many said it doesn't establish why Charlie Parker was one of the greats of Jazz. In one particularly brilliant scene of writing in this film, Parker is talking about himself and the legend of BIRD to Red Rodney, partner in Jazz and fellow heroin addict. He talks about "going inside the melody" of Cherokee, a song he had played many times and was tired of doing. Parker decides to go around the melody with little notes and discovers his style. Thus, a whole new form of music called Be Bop is born. A superb scene.

Many reviewers said it dwelt too heavily on the negative aspects of Parker's drug abuse. This is true. However, heroin played a significant part in early Jazz music in this country. Heavily significant. A majority of the best and brightest Jazz stars were plagued by addiction for many years. Read Miles Davis' autobiography. He lists them all. Eastwood recognizes this in a scene where Parker is in Paris and is debating whether to return to the States. A fellow sideman is trying convince him to stay in France where he can make a decent living. SIDEMAN: "You can't make no living playing Jazz in the States." BIRD: "Dizz can. Duke can." SIDEMAN: "Well you ain't Dizz. And you certainly ain't Duke." BIRD: "So I kick." The Sideman laughs uproariously. BIRD: "I can kick." The Sideman laughs harder. The point of this exchange: the only successful Jazzmen are Duke and Dizzy because they may be the only ones not hooked on heroin. Subtle writing. A brilliant exchange that conveys so much about the world of Jazz. For some Jazz musicians, heroin was used in a creative context whether people will admit that or not. And drug and alcohol abuse DID kill Charlie Parker. Artists can be extremely self-destructive human beings.

Some said it wasn't accurate. Many film biopics use composite characters for dramatic effect and change some history for storytelling purposes. Films can't possibly contain a person's whole history. It's not possible. But BIRD conveys Parker's fame and troubles with amazing grace and skill.

Yes, BIRD is dark and depressing. It is also a brilliantly realized ART FILM. However, the timeline can be very confusing. I screened this for a friend, who was lost in the flashbacks. He did however, enjoy the film.

Another thing I love about the script, is that it portrays Charlie Parker as an articulate and eloquent man, as many Jazz musicians were at the time and still are. (Wynton Marsalis comes to mind.) Even in "the midst of my disorientation," Parker remains articulate. One of my favorite lines of dialogue is when Parker is waking up on the floor after passing out in a wealthy patron's house. She explains to him that he has passed out, and Parker retorts from the floor, "Very undignified of me." BEAUTIFUL WRITING.

I just had to chime in, because this film is an overlooked TREASURE. Forest Whitaker gives us probably the most amazing death scene I've ever witnessed on film. He should have won the Oscar for his performance. It was shamefully overlooked. Diane Venora is superb as are the rest of the cast. And as for Clint Eastwood; this is without a doubt, HIS BEST FILM. And one of my all time favorite flicks. Thanks Clint, for giving me many hours of enjoyment, and taking me back to a time I wish I had lived through, with this WORK OF ART. YOU are a TRUE JAZZ LOVER.

If YOU are A TRUE LOVER OF JAZZ or A TRUE LOVER OF FILM ART, YOU MUST SEE THIS POIGNANT PIECE OF JAZZ HISTORY. THIS IS SUPERLATIVE MOVIEMAKING.

2-0 out of 5 stars This Bird doesn't fly
This movie was a disappointment for me. I had hoped to learn about a creative musician's life but that is not the story here. The acting is great but the threads of plot are just too disconnected. I suspect those who love this film know Mr. Parkers life so well that the holes in the story don't keep them in the dark the way I felt. Clint Eastwood directs this movie like my 15 year old son who doesn't understand how to show me something that he knows really well and I don't. That's the feeling I had watching this movie.

Unless you know Charlie Parkers life very well I'd pass on this movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars Never forgot it
Forrest Whittaker is one of the best actors in Hollywood. It's a shame we don't see more of him but he had a triumph with Bird. Some critics have said it wasn't completely accurate. That's true. Bird spent his adult life as an addict and there's nothing romantic or touching about that. Bird's relationship with Chan wasn't as portrayed in the film but the full, unfiltered story of his life would've been more than most audiences could bear. This is the "lite" version, kind of like Lady Sings the Blues but it's still a great film that gives you an idea of it's subject's genius and it well worth the money.

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning - DVD does not play in computers
I saw this movie a long time ago and liked it. Unfortunately,
the DVD is "copy protected" and will not play on most
computers unless you have CSS cracking software. Too bad.
I don't want to buy a DVD player just to watch a few DVD's
so I play them on my computer. But not this one. ... Read more


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