I had been hoping that Kidnapped was a movie along the lines of Treasure Island – you know something involving a guy with one leg and a murderous little kid who didn’t fret over stabbing some scurvy sea dog in the face when the chips were down.
What I got was Oscar-winner (not for this movie obviously) Peter Finch hamming it up as Alan Breck Stewart and Hawaii Five-0‘s James MacArthur as David acting all despondent after having to plug some scallywag while he and Stewart were trying to take over a ship. More
Dean Jones, who appeared in every single movie the Walt Disney Company made from 1965-1975, stars as a scientist who is trying to teach animals stuff. For reasons never adequately explained, he is fixated on trying to teach an obviously dull-witted duck how to do something. His boss ridicules him for this, but once you get a gander at Dean’s home life, you begin to understand why he feels a duty to try and help the brain damaged of the animal kingdom. More
The poet/philosopher Tupac once opined “a coward dies a thousand deaths… a soldier dies but once.” You know who else only dies but once in The Ghost Of Cypress Swamp? Lonny’s brave dog who got eaten by the evil panther named Weakfoot while the wimpy Lonny stood around doing nothing to save him! More
The movies culled from re-editing multi-part episodes of the old Disneyland TV series are a mixed bag. Some of them like Dr. Syn, Alias The Scarecrow stand with any of Walt’s theatrical projects in terms of story, production values, and execution. Others, such as Mystery In Dracula’s Castle suffer from weak scripts and a decidedly workmanlike effort both in front of and behind the camera. Escapade In Florence falls somewhere in between these two extremes as it’s hampered by a lousy script, but is made bearable by the location shooting in Italy and the winning performances of stars Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello. More
I always suspected that those snobby British goons who tried to stifle all our basic human rights by laying a big tax on our imported tea were defeated through the interference of some plucky kids.
Since the novel this movie is based on won a Newbery Medal, I have to assume that it’s the God’s honest truth and that the colonists were such great guys that after they stormed the ships in Boston Harbor and dumped all the tea overboard, that they then took time to swab the decks and generally cleaned up the boat when they finished with their consumer protest. More
Menace On The Mountain (another two part Disney show from the 1970s taped together into a TV movie) is as toothless as one of the old coots that hung around town cowering before the villainous Poss Timmerlake.
The story of an ugly red headed kid (Jed) with big pouty lips who constantly whines about how his pa was last seen gutshot at some Civil War battle and that he wished he was man enough to take on this Poss dude, doesn’t generate much interest beyond the questionable thrill you get from watching Jed chase after his pet pig. More
At the risk of having one of the wee folk put the come hither on me and replace my kids with changelings, I’m going to go ahead and declare that Darby O’Gill And The Little People was nothing so much as a lot of potato-breathed blarney that even an Irishman full of cheap stout could not have enjoyed. More
Jules Verne plus Walt Disney equals really bad special effects and a disjointedly confusing story. Most of the blame surely rests with Disney since I doubt very much that Verne’s novel included an aged and slumming Maurice Chevalier sitting on a fake horse and singing about climbing mountains. More
I suppose that when a TV show runs something like 35 years, you’re bound to run into some episodes that feel like they were just thrown on the air to fulfill whatever commitment the production company had to the network for original programming. Disneyland, after all, couldn’t exactly run Pinocchio, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Pollyanna once a month. Sometimes you had to rely on that tried and true variation of kids getting mixed up in small time crime that could be resolved in two one hour long episodes.
You can have Dr. Seuss’s If I Ran the Zoo with its totally made up monsters, exotic lands, and that praise-craving brat Gerald McGrew. If I ran a freaking zoo, I’d do it just like Mitch Collins (Hal Holbrook) did in Wacky Zoo of Morgan City with its run down and surely dangerous and inhumane cages, toothless lion that has low blood pressure and eats oatmeal, camel who can only eat a couple of carrots at a time due to digestive issues, and penguin who demands to swim in warm water. More