Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


FALCON CREST Season 3. 1983. CBS-TV.

This nighttime soap opera continued to be very entertaining for its third season, and netted star Jane Wyman a well-deserved Emmy for her role of ruthless, if somewhat human, Angela Channing. This season introduced two new major characters, only one of whom would prove long-lasting: Cliff Robertson was brought in to play Chase Gioberti's cousin, Michael, and Laura Johnson was cast as Maggie Gioberti's younger trouble-making sister and ex-call girl, Terry. Many scenes were devoted to the [literal] trials and tribulations of Angela's daughter, Julia (Abby Dalton), both in and out of prison, and a battle over a race track that Richard Channing (David Selby) wants to build. The sinister secret organization, the Cartel, rears its ugly head and makes trouble for Richard and his new personal assistant, Pamela (Sarah Douglas), and there's an ugly custody battle for little Joseph, the son of Cole (Billy Moses) and Melissa (Ana Alicia). Although more "moral" than his half-brother Richard, Chase (Robert Foxworth) proves to be a bit priggish  and hypocritical, and at times almost as "it's my way or the highway" in his attitude as his Aunt Angela, while both he and Maggie (Susan Sullivan) develop serious health issues [all of which are dispensed with rather quickly]. Terry and Angela's likable if odd daughter Emma (Margaret Ladd) struggle for Michael's love, but it's really no contest. In other developments Angela's lawyer Philip (Mel Ferrer) has quite a few tricks up his sleeve, and handsome sheriff Dan Robbins (Joe Lambie) gets more to do than in previous seasons, as does Chao Li-Chi as Angela's very helpful manservant. There's skulduggery regarding the late Jacqueline Perrault's (Lana Turner) will and rather hateful background, and more intrigue surrounding Chase's doctor, played by Ron Rifkin of Alias. Other guest-stars include Pat Crowley as an anesthesiologist, Ken Tobey as a family court judge, Geoffrey Lewis as a boyfriend of Julia's, and Whit Bissell as a businessman who is threatened by the loathsome Lance (Lorenzo Lamas) during the custody hearing. The most hilarious scene has the nutty Julia going to confession [talk about the blind leading the blind!] and the most tiresome storyline has to do with a kidnapping late in the season. The performances are all pretty solid, with Robertson doing a good job as Michael, but Wyman as Angela definitely rules the roost. Dalton is okay delineating the twists and turns of her weird character, but ultimately she's just not that impressive.

Verdict: This soaper continues to be much fun. ***.

No comments: