Monday, January 03, 2011

Two odd films on New Year

Tennessee Nights
Watching Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels over New Year’s weekend seemed to be a good idea except most New Year's revellers felt the same way, so a visit to the nearest theatre or multiplex was out of the question. Who wants to watch Gulliver wrestle with the Lilliputians in the midst of a bunch of noisy kids? So you did the next best thing: catch cinema on cable.

You caught two films on television—Tennessee Nights (1989) and The Mating Game (1959)—with a 30-year gap between them and absolutely nothing in common but reasonably entertaining nonetheless.

In the first one, British actor Julian Sands (A Room With a View, 1985) and Stacey Dash (Renaissance Man, 1994), pair up in this high-voltage drama about a kind lawyer, Wolfgang Leighton (Sands), who, on an innocuous fishing trip, gets entangled in a murder he did not commit and moolah he did not steal. His only hope is Sally Lomas (Dash), a poor teenage girl who hitches a lift in his car, and almost into his heart. The sexual chemistry between the gentlemanly Wolfgang and the provocative Sally plays out through the better part of the film, till Wolfgang is arrested and is briefly thrown into a cell of hardened criminals. Eventually, Wolfgang is freed and he heads home but not before telling Sally at the airport where to find the hidden loot—in the boot of his car. She walks away with it.

The Mating Game, starring Tony Randall and Debbie Reynolds, is a delightful romantic comedy about IRS agent Lorenzo Charlton (Randall) who visits Sidney 'Pop' Larkin's sprawling farm to collect unpaid taxes and is promptly "snared" by his eldest daughter, Mariette Larkin (Reynolds). Papa Larkin (Paul Douglas, Panic in the Streets, 1950) hasn't the faintest idea of the seriousness of Charlton's mission—he says he pays "taxes" to God through the church. The Larkins are a happy and close-knit family who welcome the tax collector into their home, as well as into their hearts, with wide and open arms. Just your kind of family...

Next up on cable—Gulliver's Travels.


  1. Great and weird combination all at once Prashant - not seen TENNESSEE NIGHTS but am always partial to a bit of neo-Noir so thanks for that!

    1. Thanks, Sergio, and you're welcome. I saw these films nearly two years ago. TENNESSEE NIGHTS particularly was an unusual suspense drama and I enjoyed it much. Wonder what happened to Julian Sands?