Sunday, March 16, 2014

From 'Beautiful Dreamer' to grisly murder

Having spent last Sunday night at the airport waiting for my flight home after the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, I finally got around to watching the season finale of HBO's "True Detective."

It's a fine show, with outstanding performances by Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey and others, but it's definitely not for the kiddies, and the finale had a couple of scenes that made me glad I hadn't just eaten an eight-course meal.

In another scene, the detectives played by Harrelson and McConaughey question an elderly woman in a nursing home.

I was sure I recognized the woman. I thought she might be Jacqueline Scott, who was always showing up in 1960s TV shows, especially "The Fugitive," in which she played Richard Kimble's sister.

After the show, I looked the series up on the Internet Movie Database, and it turns out I was wrong.

It wasn't Jacqueline Scott.

But it was Terry Moore.

Yes, the same Terry Moore who more than 60 years ago starred as the keeper of the giant ape named "Mighty Joe Young." I first saw that movie many years ago on TV and haven't seen it since, but I remember thinking at the time that it was wonderfully tongue-in-cheek. Maybe I'd have a different opinion today. Then again, how can you make a movie about an ape who is always calmed down when Moore's character plays "Beautiful Dreamer" on the piano and not be tongue-in-cheek?

I always get a kick out of seeing older actors in new movies. Some years ago at a mystery conference, I saw a short film called "The Grand Inquisitor," starring the marvelous Marsha Hunt, the quintessential dream girl next door from the 1940s, playing someone you might not want next door. It's a great piece of noir made by Eddie Muller, and you can see it here.

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