It’s a month of racing trains, heart-pounding terror and Texas-sized tension coming down the hi-def Blu-ray tracks originating from Twilight Time and reaching their final destination inside movie lovers’ home players. Grab your ticket to daringly different movies from the prodigious respective outputs of directors Robert Aldrich, John Frankenheimer, Andrei Konchalovsky, Arthur Penn and Martin Scorsese as preorders open today at 4 PM EDT/1 PM EDT for Boxcar Bertha, The Chase (1966), Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte, Runaway Train and an encore edition of The Train. All aboard!
The rich gallery of curmudgeons, fat cats and smooth operators left behind by the versatile actor William Windom (1923-2012), born 93 years ago today, runs deep in the memory of a half-century career, mostly in television. A crafty character player in 13 Broadway appearances between 1946 and 1960, he came to prominence in three well-remembered series as Congressman Glen Morley opposite Inger Stevens in the three-season comedy charmer The Farmer’s Daughter (1963-1966), James Thurber-surrogate John Monroe in the critically cheered but short lived My World and Welcome to It (1969-1970), for which he won a Best Actor/Comedy Emmy, and irascible but reliable Dr. Seth Hazlitt opposite Angela Lansbury’s sleuthing Jessica Fletcher in later seasons of the long-running Murder, She Wrote (1995-1996). On rare forays on movie screens, he impressed as the hard-hitting prosecutor in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), a slippery Houston bureaucrat in Robert Altman’s antic Brewster McCloud (1970) and a calculating Secretary of State determined to unseat James Earl Jones’s newly invested first African American President in The Man (1972). He also memorably turns up in the daring-for-its-time part of a closeted homosexual responsible for the murders NYPD lieutenant Frank Sinatra investigates in The Detective (1968). As the world-weary, guilt-ridden Sinatra, repelled by unsavory corruption and bigotry among his police colleagues, slowly comes to realize that the suspect he arrested and was later executed for the grisly crime may have been innocent, he focuses on Windom, a seemingly mild-mannered businessman, and turns the screws to flush out his secret. And an unraveling Windom proves luridly effective in a thriller full of vivid performances. Though he excelled at crusty, Windom could be equally adept at sleazy, a mark of a truly effective, always reliable presence. To make the case for Windom’s way with a role, sleuth out The Detective on Twilight Time hi-def Blu-ray.