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

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Ross Martin and Robert Conrad
THE WILD, WILD WEST Season 3.1967.

Secret Service agents James West (Robert Conrad) and Artemis Gordon (Ross Martin) are back for a third season in this still viable action-adventure-spy series. One change in the series is that, in general, the stories seem a little more "reasonable" than they often were in the past -- in other words, West never gets shrunk to doll-size [as he did in the second season] nor anything along those lines. Among the more memorable episodes are: "Bubbling Death," which involves the stolen Constitution and an acid bath; "The Hangman," in which the boys race to prove the innocence of a man about to be hanged; "Montezuma's Hordes,"  regarding a dangerous treasure hunt in Mexico; "The Cut-Throats," in which a bitter man wants to simply erase an entire town, with some good twists and fine performances from Bradford Dillman and Beverly Garland; "The Legion of Death," featuring an outstanding performance by Anthony Zerbe as the boys take on a territorial governor (Kent Smith); "Iron Fist," in  which Jim tries to bring in a Russian with an iron hand for extradition; "Vipers," in which a hooded gang raids towns and robs banks; and "Underground Terror," about a group of tortured men who seek vengeance against their tormentor, with Nehemiah Persoff. Arguably the two best episodes are: "Death Masks," in which an old foe toys with Jim in a deserted town and Patty McCormack plays the villain's daughter, sort of The Bad Seed grown up; and the suspenseful "Running Death" [with Jason Evers and an excellent T. C. Jones] in which the fellows trail a notorious assassin via wagon train. Some viewers may be amused/turned on by the leather britches Conrad wears over his pants and which cover everything but his waist, crotch and backside.

Verdict: Basically maintains the quality of the first two seasons. ***.

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