FILM REVIEWS, COLLECTION UPDATES, COMMENTS ON CINEMATIC CULTURE

Thursday, January 19, 2023

HONEYMOON WITH A STRANGER (1969)

 

In celebration of Barbara Steele's recent birthday (She was born in Ireland on December 29, 1938. Some sources say 1937. Discretion is advised.), I would like to showcase this ABC Movie of the Week that debuted on American television in December of 1969. It was filmed in Spain and directed by Joseph Peyser. Steele has a strong supporting role among an international cast of actors: Janet Leigh, Rossano Brazzi, Joseph Lenzi, Cesare Danova, and Eric Braeden.

The plot is based on the French play Piege pour un homme seul (Trap For a Lonely Man) by Robert Thomas. An American woman, Sandra Latham (Janet Leigh), is honeymooning in Spain with her new husband, Ernesto DiCardi (Joseph Lenzi). After their first glorious, passionate night together, Sandra awakens in the morning to find her husband gone. When several days pass without his return, she goes to the local police station to report him as missing. She enlists the help of Captain Sevilla (Rossano Brazzi). But then, Ernesto suddenly returns. However, it's not the same man she married. She swears to Captain Sevilla that this second man (Cesare Danova) is an imposter. But Ernesto DiCardi's best friend and lawyer, Frederico Caprio (Eric Braeden) and Ernesto's sister, Carla (Barbara Steele), show up and identify the second Ernesto as the real one. Sandra is near hysteria, swearing to Captain Sevilla that the family has organized some sort of heinous plot against her. And so, the plot indeed thickens! Things are not what they seem to be, and nearly everyone is guarding a mysterious secret.

Janet Leigh and Cesare Danova

This movie is a fun watch, even if the story seems somewhat familiar. The location shooting in Spain adds sort of an exotic atmosphere, although the landscape tends to be quite dry and desolate. Still, this was a nice diversion for American television, especially with the international cast. Top-billed Janet Leigh had been a major movie star for quite a long time by 1969, although her career was beginning to slow down a little. To keep working, she turned to television. She's quite good in this film. As the story moves along and we learn more about Sandra, one is tempted to think that Marian Crane from PSYCHO (1960) had managed to escape that little shower incident and morphed into a hardened, determined female mastermind. The Italian gentlemen are as suave as one would expect, and the handsome German actor Eric Braeden is forceful and masculine, threatening to steal every scene he's in.

Eric Braeden and Barbara Steele

Of course, for a Barbara Steele freak like myself, this lovely actress is the whole show. Her American fans were surprised and delighted to see her in this movie. She had done very little work in this country. In 1960, while briefly under contract to 20th Century-Fox in Hollywood, she appeared in one episode of the TV series Adventures In Paradise. In 1961, she appeared in THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM for American-International Pictures as well as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents about the same time. Most of her films were made in Europe; Italy, France, Germany, etc. Only a few of her stylish Gothic horror films, and Fellini's art house classic 8 1/2 were seen in the US. She remained largely an enigmatic figure for most of us. HONEYMOON WITH A STRANGER gave us the chance to see her in a contemporary setting, working with distinguished co-stars. Her dark beauty adds a dramatic and mysterious flair to the film.



Steele made this film at a time of great change in her life and career. After many years of living in Rome, she returned to the United States sometime in 1968 or 1969 with her new-found love, screenwriter James Poe. He was preparing a script for a film entitled THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY?, and was writing one of the parts for Barbara. He was also planning to direct the film. When they came to Hollywood and signed with a production company, James Poe must not have bothered to read the fine print in the contract. The producers gave themselves the right to make any changes they desired. The first thing they did was bring in another writer to work on Poe's script, taking it out of his hands. They didn't want Poe to direct, so they hired Sidney Pollack. Barbara was replaced by another English actress, Susannah York. It was a devastating experience for James and Barbara. Her career slowed down considerably, as did Poe's. After working in HONEYMOON WITH A STRANGER, Barbara returned to Italy for a very strange movie called FERMATE IL MONDO...VOGLIO SCENDERE aka STOP THE WORLD...I WANT TO GET OFF (1970). After that, she and Poe were married, settled in Hollywood, and she didn't make another feature film until her comeback in Jonathan Demme's cult favorite CAGED HEAT (1974). 

Steele's devoted fans can only wonder what she may have been able to accomplish during this period when she was at the peak of her beauty and dramatic power. But at least we have this enjoyable movie to watch her in, holding her own among equally talented actors. This is another one of those made-for-TV-flicks that isn't yet available on any kind of commercial release. It can be found on Youtube, and also on DVD-R from a few online sellers. The imagery is not terribly good, unfortunately. Let's hope it eventually gets a little bit of much deserved love and remastering.






THE SILVER CORD (1933)

 

THE SILVER CORD is one of my favorite films from the 1930's pre-code era. I first saw it quite a few years ago when I still had Turner Classic Movies. It's not available on any commercial DVD or Blu-ray release in the US, but it can be found from online sellers that make bootleg copies from television or VHS tapes. My copy is quite watchable. The film is based on Sydney Howard's 1926 play of the same name. John Cromwell, who directed the play, was brought in by RKO to direct the film also. Distinguished actress Laura Hope Crews repeated her stage role as Mrs. Phelps, the overly possessive mother who tries to manipulate her two adult sons. The play was considered controversial for its critical attitude toward motherly love.

The story opens in Heidelburg, Germany. Biologist Christina Phelps (Irene Dunne) is working on an experiment in her laboratory. Her husband of a few months, Dave (Joel McCrea), comes into the lab to tell his wife about a good job offer he's received from an architectural firm in New York. Christina is pleased and tells Dave that she can continue her work in New York as well. They make plans to return to America.

One big unhappy family. Eric Linden, Francis Dee, Laura Hope Crews, Irene Dunne, Joel McCrea

Upon arrival at Dave's childhood home, Christina is introduced to her new brother-in-law, Robert (Eric Linden), and his fiancĂ©, Hester (Frances Dee). The two couples are enjoying getting acquainted. 

And then Mother shows up.

If one word was needed to describe Mrs. Phelps, it would be "fluttery". The lady appears to have emerged right out of the nineteenth century. Upon entering the house, having seen the car Dave and his wife drove up in, Mrs. Phelps flutters around with breathless enthusiasm, calling her son's name. "Dave! Dave Boy! Where are you? It's Mother!!" After finally latching on to Dave Boy, remarking about how bad he looks, Mrs. Phelps is introduced to Christina. Mrs. Phelps is friendly to her new daughter-in-law, describing her to Dave as "splendid". But when the two women sit down for tea and conversation, Mrs. Phelps expresses regret that Christina and Dave plan to live and work in New York City. Mrs. Phelps, who owns several acres near her rural home, had dreamed of Dave's taking charge of developing the property while living in his mother's home, "with a complete love to sustain him", meaning a mother's love, of course. She accuses Christina of trying to take her son away from her. 

Having successfully interjected herself into Dave's marriage, Mrs. Phelps then goes to work on her younger son's engagement. Conferring with Rob alone, she manages to convince him that he doesn't really love Hester and Hester doesn't love him. Soon after, Rob breaks his engagement to Hester and the young woman becomes hysterical. Christina comforts her. These pleasant family interactions take place on the first night of Christina and Dave's visit. On the second day, Christina confronts her mother-in-law in an attempt to save her marriage.

Mother managing her sons. 

I don't want to give away too many plot details, because there are some important surprises as well as some splendid dialogue and characterizations. I don't know how closely the film follows the play, but the film makes Christina the central character of the story. She is the voice of the modern woman, one who is educated and career minded, but still wanting a happy marriage and family life. As played by top-billed Irene Dunne, one of the most popular stars of the sound era, she emerges as the sensible heroine who saves her husband from a cloying, dominating mother. To me, however, the marvelous Laura Hope Crews makes Mrs. Phelps the most fascinating character in the story. She makes this determined woman into a genteel monster, a woman who covers the knife with sugar as she happily plunges it into a person's chest. Crews laces her deviousness with a sly, sophisticated humor. A less gifted actress might have broadened the humor and turned the story into a drawing room comedy. Crews applies just the right touch. Mrs. Phelps seems unable to realize just how pathetic she is for wanting to keep her grown sons clutched to her bosom. She manipulates every situation to make herself look like the victim. After causing the breakup of Hester and Rob's engagement, the distraught Hester tries to call a taxi to take her to a hotel. Mrs. Phelps, concerned about appearances, rips the telephone cord right out of the wall. She says to Hester, with great indignation, "You are the only person who has ever caused me to do an undignified thing! I shall not forget." 

Laura Hope Crews and Eric Linden share an uncomfortable moment.

The film is mostly confined to the house, although there is some dramatic action that takes the camera outside. I don't find this film slow or static in any way. The dialogue comes along fast and furious and all of the performances are well done. In spite of the depressing nature of this domestic situation, there was a happy real-life outcome. Joel McCrea and Francis Dee fell in love during the filming and were married soon after. Their marriage lasted fifty-seven years, until McCrea's death. 




Thursday, November 24, 2022

REFLECTIONS OF MURDER (1974)

 

John Badham directed this remake of the classic French thriller LES DIABOLIQUES (1955) for the ABC Television Network. It was one of those dark, sordid Movie of the Week presentations that were beamed regularly via cathode ray tubes into the living rooms of the American population. One can probably connect these depressing little photoplays to the growing instability of family life and the gradual decline of Western Civilization. But hey, we all needed something to do, right? And many of these TV flicks were quite well done. REFLECTIONS OF MURDER was one of the best. Its top-billed star is one of my favorite actresses, Tuesday Weld. She is joined by the equally talented Joan Hackett and Sam Waterston.

Hackett plays Claire Elliot, the owner of a large island estate off the coast of Seattle. She and her husband, Michael (Waterston) operate a private boy's school. Michael is a cruel, abusive husband. He hates living on the island and wants Claire to sell the property to a real estate developer so the couple can divorce and split the money. Claire refuses, as she grew up on the property and has a strong attachment to it. She also loves running the school. Michael has been openly having an affair with Vicky (Weld), another teacher at the school. As Vicky begins to experience abuse at Michael's hands, the two women form a bond. Vicky conceives a plan for them to murder Michael and make it look like an accident. 

Screen goddess Tuesday Weld, up to no good.

There is plenty of tension, sexual and otherwise, between these three characters. And the execution of the murder plot gets quite physical and surprisingly graphic for a prime-time TV show. Miss Weld, one of the most celebrated sex kittens of the 1960's, is deglamorized considerably. Her hair is cut short, she is reed thin, and her clothing is understated and plain. Still, her beauty and sensuality shine through. Weld gives one of the most controlled and disciplined performances of her career. She is a perfect contrast to Hackett's character. Claire's emotional turmoil keeps increasing, leading to a complete psychic break. Hackett is excellent in her very difficult role. As for Waterston, he plays Michael as a completely one-dimensional character, a stereotypical toxic, abusive male. Fortunately, that one dimension is all that's required, and the actor plays it quite well.

A not-so-happy threesome. Tuesday Weld, Sam Waterston, and Joan Hackett

 

Vicky (Tuesday Weld) and Claire (Joan Hackett) find that murder is more complicated than they thought.

While Michael's anger and aggressiveness bring a lot of excitement to the film, the relationship between the two women is the centerpiece of the story. In some scenes, Vicky appears to have an attraction to Claire, one that is not reciprocated. Weld plays these moments with subtlety, and there isn't any sort of suggestive dialogue, which wouldn't have gone over well on 1970's network television. But these moments add another layer of tension and complication to the story. Vicky and Claire make an engaging team until their plans began to fall apart and Claire pushes Vicky away.

Also featured are Lucille Benson, R.G. Armstrong, Michael Lerner, and Lance Kerwin.

John Badham has a long list of credits in film and television, including SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977), WHO'S LIFE IS IT ANYWAY? (1981), and WAR GAMES (1983). Miss Weld would find more success on television. She played Zelda Fitzgerald in F. SCOTT FITZGERALD IN HOLLYWOOD (1976), did a remake of MADAME X (1981), and received an Emmy nomination for THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT (1983), among several others.

This movie has not yet been given a commercial DVD or Blu-ray release, which is the case for many made-for-TV movies. I got my copy from an online seller who records directly from television or VHS tapes. The visual quality isn't anything like a remastered product but is still quite watchable. It also might be available on Youtube. Try to see this one if you can. It's worth the effort!



Sunday, October 23, 2022

JUDY: IMPRESSIONS OF GARLAND (1972)

 

"I think you knew her best when you understood that you didn't understand, when you realized that she was to everybody what everybody wanted her to be. She was a brilliant chameleon."

Liza Minnelli


"Judy Garland was just a normal abnormal great talent."

Mickey Rooney


Documentaries about beloved show business personalities tend to be either overly worshipful or gleefully iconoclastic. The best such programs manage to present a balanced, overview of the individual. The BBC Ominbus production JUDY: IMPRESSSIONS OF GARLAND, which debuted three years after the singer's tragic death in 1969 at the age of forty-seven, is an excellent, unsentimental, straightforward look at her life and career. The two quotes listed above were provided by the two people who probably knew Judy Garland better than anyone else: her oldest daughter, Liza Minnelli, and her friend and most frequent collaborator, Mickey Rooney. They share their stories and memories with love and humor, as do the other interviewees, Garland's show business colleagues and friends, some of whom knew her as a child. 


From her years as an MGM contract player (1935-1950), there are memories from producers Arthur Freed and Joe Pasternak, lyricist E.Y. Harburg (THE WIZARD OF OZ), co-stars Peter Lawford and Ray Bolger, and Dottie Ponedel, her personal makeup artist and friend. Vincente Minnelli, her second husband and frequent director, provides some insightful comments about Garland's experience as a child star, saying that "it was a dreadful thing to grow up in that atmosphere". Charles Walters, the director and choreographer who worked with Garland and was a close friend, has some of the best stories to tell. One rather surprising thing he says is that Garland started taking singing lessons during the last five years of her life in order to preserve her voice because that was her "rent money". 

Other individuals interviewed include George Folsey, a cameraman at MGM, Mort Lindsey, her frequent conductor and arranger, and Mickey Deans, her fifth husband. Also included are two dedicated Garland fans: Wayne Martin, who turned his home into "Judyland", a storehouse of Garland memorabilia, and fan club founder Albert Poland, who discusses Garland's status as a gay icon during the 1950's and 1960's. Actor Dirk Bogarde is also interviewed. He was a close personal friend and also co-starred with Judy in her final film I COULD GO ON SINGING (1963). 

    A dramatic scene from I COULD GO ON SINGING with Dirk Bogarde and Judy Garland.

Bogarde obviously had a lot of love and respect for Garland, but he is honest about the difficulties she caused for the cast and crew during the making of the film. In spite of those difficulties, he praised her work as an actress. A clip from a crucial scene from the film is included in the documentary. In the scene, singing star Jennie Bowman (Garland) is confronted by her former lover (Bogarde), who tries to convince her to go to the theater where she is already hours late for a concert. It was a true-to-life situation for the singer. Jennie swears that she's not going to the theater "ever, ever again", and that "It's not worth all the deaths that I have to die." And she asks: "Do you think you can make me sing? You can get me there, sure, but can you make me sing?" As Bogarde describes the scene:

"That was the actual woman saying the actual truth, acting it brilliantly, and being it, which is a very different thing. She knew exactly that it was a playing scene, but it was about her. It was her."

Indeed, this scene is one of the best examples of Garland's acting talent in her entire career. It goes on for over three minutes, an unbroken, unedited stream of emotional dialogue between the two characters. Her work in this film is so marvelous, both the dramatic scenes and the musical numbers, that it makes a memorable finish to her film career. Other segments from the film are included, as well as clips from many of the actress's musical films. 

Judy performs "A Great Lady Has An Interview" in ZIEGFELD FOLLIES (1946).


One of the biggest treats in the documentary is the entire "Get Happy" number from SUMMER STOCK (1950), Judy's last film at MGM.


The documentary also chronicles her post-MGM years as a concert performer. Judy Garland left MGM in 1950 after making twenty-seven films in fourteen years. She was twenty-eight years old. In 1951 she debuted at the London Palladium. This was followed by a nineteen-week engagement at the Palace Theater in New York. More legendary triumphs would follow over the years, including two Academy Award nominations and an amazing comeback concert at Carnegie Hall in 1961. 




For those who love Judy Garland, this documentary will provide a perfect tribute. And for those who aren't familiar with the scope of her career beyond yearly viewings of THE WIZARD OF OZ, this is a wonderful way to get to know her. The final interview segment is, fittingly, from Liza:

"All I know is, she was always alive. She still is. I don't think she'll ever die, and I don't think we'll ever find out exactly everything about her. I don't want to. She's a marvelous mosaic to me of places and times and love and anguish, all of the supreme feelings that are allowed only to human beings. She was a monster person. Totally human."




Friday, September 30, 2022

CAREER (1959)

 

Films about show business, especially focusing on the complicated lives of actors and actresses, are some of the most enjoyable films ever made, especially for those of us who are obsessed with the myths of Old Hollywood. Quite a few classics are included in this particular sub-genre. Hal Wallis' 1959 production CAREER may well be considered at least a minor classic. The film was inspired by the off-Broadway play of the same title, produced in 1957. 

Anthony Franciosa, in an intense, energetic performance, stars as Sam Lawson, a WW2 veteran from Lansing, Michigan, whose dream is to try his luck as an actor in New York. He leaves behind his fiancé, Barbara (Joan Blackman), promising to send for her when he finds success. Barbara later shows up in New York unexpectedly and she and Sam get married. Sam struggles to find work, finally getting involved with a theater group called the Actor's Rostrum, which is run by Maury Novak (Dean Martin), another struggling actor and director. Maury is romantically involved with Sharon Kensington (Shirley MacLaine), the alcoholic, rebellious daughter of powerful Broadway producer Robert Kensington (Robert Middleton). Sam becomes the client of Shirley Drake (Carolyn Jones), a former struggling actress, who gave up the rat race to become a theatrical agent. Sam goes through many difficult years of personal and professional disappointments trying to achieve success as an actor.

This is one of the movies I remember seeing at the drive-in with my family back around 1959 or 1960 when I was eight or nine years old. My folks didn't seem to have any qualms about taking my sister and me to see movies with adult themes, for which I am eternally grateful. Given the era, and the prevailing standards of censorship, there was nothing graphic regarding language, etc. But the film made a lasting impression on me. There was a downbeat, cynical tone to the story, typical of the times, and CAREER was one of the first movies to deal with the Blacklisting of show business figures who were accused of subversive political connections.


Since Sam Lawson is included in practically every scene, the film's success depends heavily on Anthony Franciosa, and he doesn't disappoint. I will say, however, that the man is a little too physically robust and healthy looking to give the impression of being a starving actor who's trying to survive. But Franciosa makes his characterization work by the force of his talent and sincerity. Top billing goes to Dean Martin, who threatens to steal the picture from Franciosa with his fine work as the complicated, conflicted Maury Novak. Considering Martin's image as a light comedian and congenial television star, it's easy to forget how good he could be in serious film roles. Shirley MacLaine was one of the hottest actresses in films at the time, having received an Oscar nomination for SOME CAME RUNNING the previous year. MacLaine's quirky acting style and unconventional looks bring an edgy, desperate dimension to the character of Sharon. The film's second leading lady, the excellent Carolyn Jones, had a unique look and style that made her another one of the most fascinating actresses of the 1950's. Jones achieved a solid reputation as a character actress, and won an Oscar nomination for BACHELOR PARTY (1957). While watching the film again recently, I found myself wondering what Jones might have done with the role of Sharon Kensington. Not that MacLaine wasn't perfect for the role herself. But Jones could have burned right through the screen playing such a woman.

Joan Blackman is moving and convincing as Sam's wife, who tries hard to accept and understand her husband's ambitions. Also in the supporting cast we have Jerry Paris, known forever as Jerry Helper from The Dick Van Dyke show, as Sam's hometown friend. The elegant, beautiful actress playing his wife is none other than Donna Douglas, looking strikingly different than her Ellie Mae Clampitt persona that she would adopt a few years later for The Beverly Hillbillies. There are also two other familiar, very welcome faces: Frank McHugh, a prolific character actor from the Golden Age is seen as a waiter, and diminutive, gravel-voiced Marjorie Bennett is briefly seen as a Hollywood reporter.

The film's director, Joseph Anthony, was not only an accomplished actor, but also a thrice nominated director in the theater. He also directed the films THE RAINMAKER (1956), which he had directed on stage, and THE MATCHMAKER (1958). The striking Black & White cinematography was done by Joseph LaShelle, the Oscar winner for LAURA (1945).

CAREER won three Oscar nominations: Best Cinematography (LaShelle), Best Costume Design (Edith Head), and Best Art Direction. Anthony Franciosa won the Golden Globe for Best Actor.


 


Monday, September 26, 2022

THE SKULL (1965)

Amicus, one of Hammer Films' chief rivals in the production of horror movies in the 1960's, combined the considerable talents of director Freddie Francis with that dynamic acting duo, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, to create THE SKULL. The result was a work of art that can be called a prime example of Gothic horror. 

The screenplay, by Milton Subotsky, is based on Robert Bloch's short story The Skull of the Marquis de Sade. The era is the 19th century. Cushing plays writer Christopher Maitland, whose main interest is the occult. He has a large collection of occult artworks. One of his sources for antiques is Marco (Patrick Wymark), a less than honest dealer. Marco brings him the skull of the notorious Marquis de Sade. Maitland is strongly drawn to the strange object. He learns that his friend and fellow collector Sir Matthew Phillips (Christopher Lee) once owned the skull, but it was stolen from him. Phillips warns Maitland to get rid of the thing, as it is possessed by demonic powers. Maitland comes under the skull's power, leading him to his destruction.

There is so much to praise here. THE SKULL is a compelling and frightening meditation on the nature of evil and packs quite a bit of tension and atmosphere into its relatively brief 83 minute running time. The art design, the cinematography, and the musical score all work together to provide what may be called the typical ambience of so many Gothic horror films of the era. But this film is executed in such a superior manner that it can almost be regarded as a celebration of, a study of, the Gothic horror genre itself.

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee

The performances are all excellent. Peter Cushing has done possibly his best work here. Much of his acting is done with no dialogue, so he has to convey the spiritual and mental degradation of his character with gestures and facial expressions, as if he were in a silent picture. Christopher Lee is as convincing and compelling as always in his supporting role. Patrick Wymark threatens to steal the picture with his nuanced portrayal of the crooked, creepy antique dealer who brings the accursed skull into Maitland's life. Also in the cast are Nigel Green, Patrick Magee, Michael Gough, and George Coulouris. Jill Bennett manages to stand out in her brief screen time as Maitland's wife.





Thursday, September 15, 2022

CELEBRATION AT BIG SUR (1971)

 

There were two legendary outdoor rock festivals in 1969. In August, there was the out-of-control, soggy, mystical mess known as Woodstock. And in December, there was Altamont, the anti-Woodstock, featuring not only music, but also paranoia and murder, courtesy of the Hell's Angels. In between these two events, there was another, lesser known, communal gathering called Big Sur Folk Festival. It was held on the grounds of the Esalen Institute, a non-profit organization specializing in humanistic, alternative education. The festival wasn't a one-off production like Woodstock and Altamont. Esalen sponsored folk festivals from 1964-1971.

There were other details that set the Big Sur fest of 1969 apart from the other aforementioned gatherings. Approximately 10-15,000 people attended Big Sur, as opposed to over 400,000 at Woodstock and over 300,000 at Altamont. Big Sur was well-organized and had all of the necessary facilities and human comforts. In plain English, there was plenty of food and water. And restrooms that worked.

The documentary film showcasing the festival was directed by Baird Bryant and Johanna Demekrakis. It wasn't released to theaters until 1971, whereas the films about Woodstock and Altamont were both released in 1970. CELEBRATION AT BIG SUR focused on the musical performances, but also featured scenes of the mostly young, hip crowd enjoying themselves. Since Big Sur wasn't a qualified disaster like the two more famous rock festivals, there was no serious drama or hardship to document. It had more in common with the beloved Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 and the excellent film it inspired. 

John Sebastian, Graham Nash, Joni Mitchell, David Crosby, and Stephen Stills



The list of musicians was quite impressive. Joan Baez had appeared at most of the Esalen Folk Festivals. The film opens with her stirring rendition of I Shall Be Released. Other highlights: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young perform Sea of Madness and Down By the River. Stephen stills goes solo with 4 + 20 and jams with John Sebastian on Mobile Line offstage. Joni Mitchell sings her song Woodstock and joins with Crosby, Stills & Nash and John Sebastian for Get Together, the anthem of peace and love in the 1960's. Dorothy Combs Morrison (One of the lead singers in the Edwin Hawkins Singers.) and the Combs Sisters sing their single All of God's Children Got Soul. The sound quality of the musical performances is first rate. John Sebastian goes solo with Rainbows All Over Your Blues.

The only moment of discord in this laid-back film occurs when a man starts heckling Stephen Stills when the artist is trying to perform. Since the sound quality of conversations isn't nearly as good as that of the music, I wasn't able to make out what the guy was saying. but the altercation turns physical when Stills throws a punch. Who knew Stills had it in him? But in no time, the atmosphere of peace and love is restored. This very enjoyable film concludes with everyone clapping their hands together and singing Oh Happy Day. There were no rainstorms, no mud slides, and even the police were having a good time. Maybe it was all that fresh mountain air. Whatever the case, this film is a loving look back at some of the positive things about the culture of the 1960's. And, as a huge fan of CSNY, it's wonderful seeing the guys young, healthy, and getting along with each other!