I apologize for not posting anything last week. It was a rough week for me – I lost both my cat and my father the previous weekend. I promise to get back on track this week!
The third of the four titular convicts was Timothy Carey, an oddball supporting actor usually cast as a psychopath. Carey’s large frame, sad eyes, and drawling voice made him memorable even when playing bit parts. Shortly after his work on Convicts 4, Carey set out to broaden his horizons by sheer moxie – producing, writing, directing, and starring in The World’s Greatest Sinner (1962). That B-movie epic finds Carey playing a rock-n-roll atheist evangelist who sets out to become a dictator (the film is even weirder than this description makes it sound).
The Warner Archive Collection is a great source for several of Timothy’s films on DVD, including Waterhole #3 (1967), Chain of Evidence (1957), The Outfit (1973), Rumble on the Docks (1956), Convicts 4 (1962), and now this one. Way to go, WAC!
In honor of today being the 84th birthday anniversary of the late great Ben Gazzara, today’s pic is another from Convicts 4 (1962), directed by Millard Kaufman. John Resko ponders his predicament after unexpectedly meeting up with his childhood friend Nick in the prison yard at Dannemora.
Tim and Gazzara would meet again in John Cassavetes‘ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). Unfortunately Tim only garners a passing mention in Gazzara’s autobiography, In the Moment: My Life as an Actor (2004). I was hoping for some great stories! Gazzara’s presence on the silver screen is highly treasured and greatly missed.
Our pic today is another from House of Numbers (1957), the prison drama with a twist directed by Russell Rouse. Timothy is uncredited as Frenchy, colorful cellmate to Arnie Judlow (Jack Palance). I’m fairly certain that’s supposed to be a hearing aid he’s fiddling with.
Strangely enough, Tim also sported a hearing aid-like device (or maybe it’s a transistor radio?) in another of his prisoner roles, that of genial Nick in Convicts 4 (1962). A year after this film, he would manhandle Palance’s wife Virginia Baker in the Gunsmoke episode “The Gentleman” (6.7.58).
This week’s video is a compilation of scenes from Millard Kaufman‘s Convicts 4 (1962). The fellow who posted it doesn’t think much of the film or Timothy’s lock-jaw acting technique, which I admit is pretty over-the-top.
Tim’s scenes begin at about 3:55. Enjoy with a huge slice of cake and a bean sammich!
After stuffing ourselves yesterday, we deserve a rest. And where better to put up our feet than in the clink? We close the holiday week with another look at Convicts 4 (1962), Millard Kaufman‘s prison biography of artist John Resko (Ben Gazzara). Unbeknownst to Resko and his old pal Nick, they’re about to have an unfortunate encounter with Iggy (Ray Walston, with his back to the camera), not one of Resko’s favorite people.
Award-winning Walston was one of the most beloved character actors around, working steadily from the 1950s up until his death in 2001. I’m sure we all know him best from his role in the comedy series My Favorite Martian (1963-66). He, however, wished that we didn’t. “I never should have done My Favorite Martian,” he told USA TODAY in 1995. “I didn’t work in TV or film for three years after. Everyone thought of me as a Martian. Do you know what it’s like to go to Madrid, Spain, on vacation and have a guy yell out, ‘Hey, Martin!’ and put antennas behind his head? When that happens, you know your career is dead.”
Thanks to the kind folks at Hulu (sorry about the ads), our video this week is the It Takes a Thief episode “Fortune City,” first airing on February 2, 1970. Watch Timothy make a pass at Stefanie Powers and watch her pretend to be interested! The leader of the gang is the great Broderick Crawford, who appeared along with Tim (not at the same time, unfortunately) in Convicts 4 (1962).
Here’s hoping that more of Tim’s television episodes become available for online viewing. Enjoy!
Sure, this is a true story, but writer/director Millard Kaufman (who penned BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK) turns it into B-movie pabulum, right down to a groan-inducing finale. The actors try hard, but it’s a lifeless gig. In fact, the only humor comes from the always-reliable Timothy Carey in an all-too-brief role as inmate Nick Pukalski – talking through clenched teeth and with his eyeballs spinning, he steals every scene as a pal from Resko’s old neighborhood. Location scenes were filed at Folsom Prison, but that’s the closest this ever gets to hard-hitting realism.
– Steve Puchalski, review of Convicts 4 (1962), Shock Cinema magazine #19 (Fall/Winter 2001)
Today, the eighty-third birthday anniversary of the amazing Ben Gazzara, we present again a clip from the prison biopic Convicts 4 (1962), directed by Millard Kaufman. It features Timothy’s first appearance in the film, and it is certainly memorable.
As we all know, Tim and Gazzara appeared together again fourteen years later in John Cassavetes‘ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976). I think they made a great pair.
Ending the work week is another look at Lobo, the scarred henchman of “Big Jessie,” the Cimarron Strip episode that first aired on February 8, 1968. Lobo likes to while away the time throwing knives at things.
The star of Cimarron Strip, Stuart Whitman, was a frequent co-star of Tim’s. They both appeared in Convicts 4 (1962), ShockTreatment (1964), Rio Conchos (1964), and the Ellery Queen episode “The Adventure of Caesar’s Last Sleep” (1976). I do believe they were friends off-screen as well.