Saturday, November 27, 2010
Recently Viewed DVD's: No Way Out and The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes
Netflix Summary: When rabid bigot Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark) and his brother Johnny (Dick Paxton) are admitted with gunshot wounds to the county hospital's prison ward, they balk at being treated by black physician Luther Brooks (Sidney Poitier, in his film debut). But the racial tension only escalates after the doctor performs a procedure meant to save Johnny's life -- and he dies on the operating table. The lead doctor at the hospital is portrayed by Stephen McNally and the supporting cast includes Linda Darnell.
My comment: A powerful movie made long before the sinister concept of Political Correctness turned most movies and novels into squishy soft pablum, No Way Out tackles all of the issues related to race at that volatile time and which still plague American society. So many people have been called racist and so many events given that hideous label, especially in the last decade (thanks to the race baiters), that many people (black and white) today don't really know what the term means any more. Viewing this DVD will remind you of what real racism is and, in comparison, also put the lie to many such claims made today. The great Richard Widmark gives a superbly vicious, and uncompromising performance as the ugly bigot; Linda Darnell is stunning as the doomed woman from the projects; and a very young Sidney Poitier is exceptional in his debut role. 5 stars *****
2001NR 3 discs
Netflix Summary: Behind the crime fiction of Sherlock Holmes, the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson) formed the true sleuth alliance of mystery investigation.
My Comment: This British TV series with very high production values is based on the premise that Arthur Conan Doyle had a real life model for his famous Sherlock Holmes character: Dr. Joseph Bell. The episodes in this series are (from last episode to first):
– The White Knight Stratagem (2001)
– The Kingdom of Bones (2001)
– The Photographer's Chair (2001)
– The Patient's Eyes (2001)
– Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle, The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000) Robert Laing plays Doyle in this, the first one; Charles Edwards takes over the role in the other 4 episodes.
The Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle: Dark Beginnings episode is one one disc (the first one you should view). The next two are grouped together on one disc, as are the last two. Three discs in all, and they should be viewed in order. Joyce and I really enjoyed this series. The late Ian Richardson is great as Dr. Bell, who serves as the model for Sherlock Holmes and as the mentor to Doyle; actors Robin Laing and Charles Edwards are more than up to the task as his apprentice and developing mystery writer. As noted earlier, the production values are excellent and the episodes all make for great viewing on a cold winter night. It was so good we wished there were more. Five stars. *****