Sunday, August 17, 2008

On TCM: Monday with Jack Palance

I just posted on tomorrow's "Summer Under the Stars" salute at the Mobius Home Video Forum, with an entry on the actor's third and final collaboration with director Robert Aldrich, the Hammer Films production Ten Seconds to Hell (1959). I then realized I was stepping on my own schtick, so I'm bringing it back to base camp. Ten Seconds, which I've never seen, proved a trying experience, but their two, much more essential pictures, Attack! and The Big Knife, a movie-about-moviemaking that drips real venom, are also on. So is the fine, last hurrah for the Old West drama Monte Walsh (1970), with he and Lee Marvin giving warm and sympathetic performances as aging cowboys heading out to pasture. (They're on opposing sides in the all-star The Professionals, also airing.) And, revisiting another topic, Palance and Alain Delon (and Ann-Margret) co-star in 1965's Once a Thief, which is either a French crime drama gone Hollywood style, or vice versa. However you look at it, Delon never caught fire here. But Palance, whose facility from part to part wasn't truly appreciated till his Oscar-winning comic trail boss in 1991's City Slickers, walked tall whatever company he was keeping.

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