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Welcome to William Schoell's GREAT OLD MOVIES blog. Feel free to leave a comment regardless of the date the review was posted -- I read 'em all. Or if you prefer -- and especially if you have any questions directly for me -- email me at tawses67424@mypacks.net and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Click on a label link (labels can be found at the bottom of each post) to find other movies from that year, the star, that director or genre and so on. Or enter a title, director, genre, star or supporting player in the small Blogger "search blog" box at the far left up above and click search blog. [NOTE: While this blog mostly reviews films -- and TV shows -- that are at least twenty-five years old, we do cover films up until the present day.] HAVE FUN AND THANKS FOR DROPPING BY. William.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL

Dean Jagger and Glenn Ford
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE BELL (1970 telefilm). Director: Paul Wendkos.Screenplay by David Karp.

In one of the first and best of the made-for-television movies, Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford) is the long-time member of the "Brothers of the Bell," a secret society associated with a fraternity at the College of St. George. The society helps its members get a leg up in the world, and in return they are on occasion asked to do a favor for "the Bell." But now Patterson has been asked to blackmail a dear friend of his (Eduard Franz) from accepting a certain post and has been given the names of people who helped this man defect -- of course revealing those names will mean their torture and deaths. Although Patterson tries his best to dissuade his friend from taking the post before revealing that he has the list of names, his actions nevertheless lead to tragedy. A guilt-wracked Patterson decides to take action by exposing the brotherhood, but finds his life turning into a nightmare as almost everyone thinks he's crazy. Although at times he could have been a bit more impassioned, Ford gives a notable performance in this; one of the best of his latter-day career, in fact. Eduard Franz as the blackmailed professor; Dean Jagger as a higher-up in the Bell; Rosemary Forsyth as Patterson's wife; Will Geer as his father; and Maurice Evans as his father-in-law, are all excellent, but the whole movie is nearly stolen by William Conrad as a Joe Pyne*-like talk show host who has Patterson on his show just to berate and humiliate him [this is also one of the best scenes in the movie.] Virginia Gilmore [in her last film role]  also scores as a nutty woman in the audience who calls herself "Patriot." Also notable is the uncredited black actor who says the Bell is simply the White Power Structure that has always oppressed black people. Jerry Goldsmith contributed an unusual baroque-like score.I didn't spot Robert Clarke of The Hideous Sun Demon and The Man from Planet X as a psychiatrist.

* Joe Pyne was a forerunner of Jerry Springer.

Verdict: Ultimate paranoia and a darn good movie. ***1/2.


2 comments:

Phil Cardenas said...

How does one get a copy of this film? --sounds great. Not available on Netflix--any solutions? Thanks in advance.

William said...

Although the quality isn't great, the whole movie can currently be seen on youtube. They are also offering several non-retail DVDs of it on ioffer.com. at varying prices. I think you can get one for under ten bucks. William.