Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Outsider (1961) - Part 2

Return to Part 1

Review from the New York Times

Trailer from Turner Classic Movies:

More Screen Caps:

The Outsider (1961)

The Outsider is purportedly the "true" story of Ira Hayes, the Pima Indian who as a U.S. Marine during World War II was one of the famous flag raisers on Mt. Surabachi at Iwo Jima. While its accuracy a serious biography has been questioned in many areas, the movie is nevertheless a moving portrait in several respects - as a military coming of age story, of an "outsider" finding acceptance through the bonds of wartime friendship, of survivor's guilt. Tony Curtis plays Hayes in what is generally regarded as one of the finest performances in a career that included many great performances.

Franciscus has the supporting role as Private James Sorenson, a "composite character" (and therefore one of the many inaccuracies pointed to by critics) who represented the men Hayes served with. Sorenson is everything Hayes is not, at first - athletic, sociable, popular, capable of handling the rigors of training. After Hayes nearly drowns in a swimming evaluation, Sorenson, such a good swimmer that his commanding officer calls him "Esther Williams", is ordered to teach him to swim. This role is extended to being Hayes's caretaker throughout basic training.

"Quack Like a Duck" Episode from Turner Classic Movies:

At first, Sorenson hates this role and mocks Hayes, calling him "Chief", but after a fistfight between the two men and their subsequent reconciliation, they become good friends, each having the other's back during combat. It is when Sorenson is killed that Hayes begins his long descent into survivor's guilt.

"Esther Williams" Episode from Turner Classic Movies:

Stills and Posters from the Movie:

Screen Caps:

Father Knows Best - "Bud, the Willing Worker (1959) and Hennesey - "The Annapolis Man" (1960)

In his early career, James Franciscus largely played dramatic roles, especially in police and western TV shows. However, he was also a good comedic actor, as shown in two sitcom appearances he made early in his career. His comic acting ability showed up from time to time in his movies, for example, the slight comic relief scenes in Cat O’ Nine Tails. He was also the original choice for the father in The Brady Bunch; originally the male family was going to be blond and the female family led by Florence Henderson was to be brunette (the producers became enamored of Robert Reed for the father role and changed the hair color and casting around this choice).

In an episode from the final season of Father Knows Best, "Bud, the Willing Worker", Bud Anderson (the son in Robert Young and Jane Wyatt's TV family) wants to buy a boat and needs a job. His sister Betty, who has a new love interest in service station owner Bill Sheppard (Franciscus), offers to help Bud out by talking to Bill. Father Jim Anderson (Robert Young) doesn’t like this idea, because he wants Bud to acquire the job on his own, and agrees to match Bud dollar for dollar on his boat purchase if he gets the job with no "family connections". To try to get the job, Bud offers his services to Bill for free, and finds that while he works his tail off at the service station on a "trial basis", it doesn’t seem like he’s ever going to actually get hired.


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Hennesey was a TV program, part comedy, part drama, that aired in the early 1960s, about a Navy doctor stationed onshore in California during peacetime. Played by former child actor Jackie Cooper, who had himself served as a pilot in the Naval Reserve, Lt. Charles 'Chick' Hennesey was a World War II Army vet who had attended medical school and signed up as a Navy doctor.

In "The Annapolis Man", Dr. Hennesey is ordered to find an enlisted man smart enough to be presented as a candidate for officer training at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Franciscus plays a sailor named Bobby Williams who is a perfect candidate as he has a genius IQ. However, the young sailor refuses to take the examination. By accident, Dr. Hennesey discovers that the glasses Bobby Williams wears contain miniature hearing aids, designed to cover up for the sailor's defective hearing, caused by a case of the mumps when he was a teen. Cooper's superior orders the sailor discharged, but Hennesey and his assistant arrange surgery for the sailor that may correct his hearing loss.