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

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Richard Egan and Al Hirt with his trumpet
FANFARE FOR A DEATH SCENE (1964). Director: Leslie Stevens.

"An intelligent enemy is better than a foolish friend." -- Lord Kahn

This telefilm certainly has an intriguing title, but it's actually just the unsold pilot for a series called Stryker. Richard Egan [Wicked Woman] plays an agent in an ersatz spy movie (somewhat reminiscent of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) who is up against a mysterious evil figure named Lord Kahn (Telly Savalas). The opening scene is a macabre one in which dozens of poisoned corpses are found in a sanitarium after a harried Professor Bannermann (Burgess Meredith) has made his escape. Both the good guys and the bad guys want Bannermann's formula. The interesting cast includes trumpeter Al Hirt (playing a trumpeter); a pre- Mary Tyler Moore show Ed Asner; Tina Louise from Gilligan's Island; J. D. Cannon [An American Dream]; Joseph Ruskin: and Viveca Lindfors [Silent Madness], who nearly walks off with the whole movie as a kind of femme fatale, along with Savalas.

Verdict: It's just as well this didn't become a series. **.

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