Brian Keith

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The Yakuza Review


Good
In 1974, the advertisements for Sidney Pollack's Americanized Japanese gangster movie The Yakuza stated, "A man doesn't forget. A man pays his debts." Well, not in today's economy. But in 1974 paying debts meant something else. It meant honor and obligation and a code of duty among hired killers and thugs. The Japanese yakuza action movie was a staple of Japanese cinema in the 1970s, the films packed with high energy, low budgets, and gratuitous violence. Pollack's westernized version of the genre tamps down the action and examines the yakuza film like an English literature grad student, looking for subtext as characters engage in slow and ponderous dialogues about honor and duty before they erupt and pull out swords and shotguns and turn rooms into abattoirs. Neither a Japanese nor an American action film nor really a philosophical discourse over tea and sushi, The Yakuza doesn't know what it wants to be.

Robert Mitchum plays Harry Kilmer, a retired detective, called back into service by old World War II army pal George Tanner (Brian Keith), who asks for his help in rescuing his daughter, who is being held in Japan by the yakuza. Tanner knows Kilmer is owed a debt of honor by ex-yakuza member Tanaka Ken (Ken Takakura, the big Japanese star of all those '70s yakuza films) and convinces him to travel back to Japan to see if Ken will honor his obligation to Kilmer by infiltrating the yakuza gang holding his daughter and bringing her back home (significantly, the daughter is no more than a unconscious blip on the radar in The Yakuza). Once there, events spin out of control, and Kilmer and Ken become embroiled in ritual obligations and mayhem.

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Family Affair: The Complete Series Review


Weak
If the 1966-'71 sitcom Family Affair is remembered at all these days, it's for the jaunty theme music and for Mrs. Beasley, a doll that had at least as much personality and a longer shelf life than most of the cast. Hauled out of the video vault and dusted off for a DVD box set, it's TV to nap by.

The show, sort of an all-white Diff'rent Strokes, finds successful New York engineer Bill Davis (Brian Keith) volunteering to adopt the three orphaned children of his suddenly deceased sister. Teenage Sissy (Kathy Garver) and adorable young twins Buffy (Anissa Jones) and Jody (Johnny Whitaker) arrive from Terre Haute, Indiana and quickly settle in at Uncle Bill's sprawling apartment, a lovely home managed by his "gentlemen's gentleman" (what we would call a butler), Mr. French (Sebastian Cabot).

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Reflections In A Golden Eye Review


Excellent
Based on a Carson McCullers novella, Reflections in a Golden Eye is a sordid Southern Gothic melodrama that peeks into the bedroom windows of the officers of a rural army base and finds... depravity! With an A-list cast and the leering directorial eye of John Huston, it's lots of dirty fun.

Huston's most interesting decision was to riff off the title and shoot the entire picture in a golden sepia tone with only occasional splashes of color. The print was pulled from theaters when people didn't get it, but on DVD you can see it the way Huston intended, and it's unlike anything you've seen before.

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Brian Keith

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Reflections in a Golden Eye Movie Review

Reflections in a Golden Eye Movie Review

Based on a Carson McCullers novella, Reflections in a Golden Eye is a sordid Southern...

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