Monday, September 26, 2022

Charles Bronson Seeks The Stone Killer

Charles Bronson as Torrey.
Made two years after Dirty Harry (1971), The Stone Killer stars Charles Bronson as a Harry clone named Lou Torrey. After being suspended for his violent behavior, police detective Torrey transfers from New York City to Los Angeles. After two quiet years, Torrey arrests a former mob hitman who warns that "something big" is about to happen. Torrey expresses little interest until the retired mobster is assassinated at an airport by a professional killer.

As Torrey investigates the case, he learns that Vietnam veterans are being recruited and trained to execute a series of mass killings. But who are the targets and who is behind this nefarious plan? And how is it linked to a series of mob killings that took place in 1931?

An interesting plot and a cast peppered with familiar faces highlight this middle-of-the-road gritty crime drama. The former can be credited to John Gardner, who wrote the source novel A Complete State of Death (a line uttered by Bronson in the movie).

Bronson is adequate as the lead, though there's no depth to his character. An opening scene reveals that Torrey is divorced and has an estranged daughter--but she appears to have been written out of the rest of the screenplay. 

Balsam heads the supporting cast.
Fortunately, the supporting cast include a bevy of seasoned veterans, such as: Norman Fell as Bronson's boss; Martin Balsam as a Sicilian crime boss; Stuart Margolin as a mercenary; Alfred Ryder as a mob gunman; and Ralph Waite as a lousy excuse for a police detective. Waite appears in one of the best scenes. When Torrey hops in a police car to chase a baddie, Waite's stranded detective calls headquarters to find out if he has to pay for a taxi back to the station or whether he can claim it as a business expense. Discerning viewers might also recognize a young John Ritter (yes, appearing in a film with Norman Fell three years before Three's Company).

Director Michael Winner, who teamed with Bronson frequently, heightens the action with a nifty downtown chase scene involving a car and a motorcycle. It's one of those crazy sequences in which a police car plows through a street market and crashes through a showroom window. One can only imagine the number of lawsuits subsequently filed against the city! There's also a decent shoot-out at a desert training facility and a better one inside a parking garage (though it's hard to tell the good guys from the baddies).

The Stone Killer doesn't rank with the decade's best crime dramas (e.g., The Taking of Pelham One Two Three) nor is it even the best collaboration between Bronson and Winner (that'd be Death Wish). However, it's an easily watchable action film with a good cast and a crisp, exciting plot. For the record, the title is mob slang for a professional killer.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Pamela Franklin Reveals the Third Secret and Takes on Miss Brodie

Actress Pamela Franklin.
With the exception of Hayley Mills, Pamela Franklin may have had the best 1960s career of any young actor. She started the decade with a spellbinding performance in The Innocents (1961). She sparkled in the offbeat Disney film A Tiger Walks (1964) and Hammer's underrated suspense film The Nanny (1965). However, Pamela Franklin's best performances were reserved for the unusual thriller The Third Secret (1964) and the Maggie Smith classic The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969).

The Third Secret opens with the apparent suicide of renowned British psychoanalyst Dr. Leo Whitset. It's an unexpected event that shakes American journalist Alex Stedman (Stephen Boyd), one of Whitset's patients, who is convinced that the doctor wouldn't take his own life. When Whitset's teenage daughter, Catherine (Pamela Franklin), seeks out Alex, she expresses the same doubts. The two eventually team up to find Whitset's murderer, focusing their investigation on three patients: an art gallery owner (Richard Attenborough), a secretary (Diane Cilento), and a barrister (Jack Hawkins).

Pamela Franklin and Stephen Boyd.
The core of The Third Secret is the somewhat disturbing relationship between Alex and Catherine. At times, it projects a father-daughter vibe, but then it lapses into an uncomfortably adult-like friendship between a 33-year-old man and a fourteen-year-old girl. It's no wonder that Catherine's uncle assumes the worst when he finds the two of them alone in Catherine's bedroom in her empty home.

As she did in The Innocents, Pamela Franklin gives a remarkable performance as a youth who behaves well beyond her years. She keeps The Third Secret afloat as it rambles occasionally towards its surprisingly satisfactory conclusion. Incidentally, the first secret is what we don't tell other people and the second secret is what we don't tell ourselves. And the third secret is....well, I'm not telling (a good print of the movie is currently on YouTube).

Four years after The Third Secret, Pamela Franklin played one of the "Brodie Girls" in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was written by Jay Presson Allen (Marnie) and based on the 1961 novel by Muriel Spark. 

Maggie Smith as Miss Brodie.
Maggie Smith stars as the title character, a forceful teacher at a girls' boarding school in Edinburgh in the 1930s. Popular with her students and armed with tenure, Miss Brodie defies the school's headmistress and teaches whatever she wants (e.g., she sings the praises of Mussolini and Franco). Miss Brodie enters into a relationship with the school's conservative choir teacher (Gordon Jackson), but still harbors passionate feelings toward the married art teacher (with whom she had a brief fling).

As the years go by, Sandy (Pamela Franklin), one of Miss Brodie's favored students, becomes disillusioned toward her mentor. She becomes the art teacher's mistress, but breaks it off after learning he is still infatuated with Miss Brodie. Following the death of a fellow student, Sandy decides that Miss Brodie has become a dangerous influence and takes matters into her own hands.

Pamela Franklin as Sandy.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is Maggie Smith's movie and her tour-de-force performance earned her both Oscar and BAFTA best actress awards. However, Pamela Franklin holds her own in the climatic confrontation between Miss Brodie and Sandy. She earned a BAFTA supporting actress nomination, but lost to her co-star Celia Johnson, who played the schools' headmistress. (For the record, Rod McKuen's song "Jean" was also Oscar-nominated; the singer Oliver's cover of it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 later in 1969.)

Pamela Franklin's career stalled unexpectedly in the 1970s after a move to the U.S. She appeared in a Green Acres episode that served as a failed backdoor pilot for a sitcom called Pam. She was a frequent guest star in TV shows like Cannon, Medical Center, and Fantasy Island. She occasionally starred in movies, with The Legend of Hell House probably being her best film during this period. Pamela Franklin retired from acting in 1981 at the age of 31.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Classic Film Photo of the Week: Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon with Their Daughter

Embed from Getty Images

Cary Grant and Dyan Cannon with their three-month-old daughter Jennifer in 1966.

Monday, September 12, 2022

William Holden Seeks Revenge!

William Holden as Mr. Benedict.
Between 1969 and 1972, William Holden made three Westerns: the first was a bona fide classic (Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch); the second was taken out of the director's control and became a notorious flop (Wild Rovers), and the third was a conventional revenge tale that borrowed its premise from The Dirty Dozen (1967). That last film, creatively titled The Revengers, is the subject of today's review.

Holden plays John Benedict, a former Cavalry officer who has settled down to raise horses and a family. His idyllic existence is shattered when a band of ruffians kill his wife and children while he's hunting a wounded cougar. Consumed with vengeance, he tracks down one of the murderers and learns that their leader has retreated to a well-protected hideout in Mexico.

Knowing that he will be outnumbered, Benedict visits a prison camp where the crooked commandant "sells" prisoners to work in mines. Benedict agrees to pay a premium if he can select his laborers--which he intends to use for his personal posse.

Ernest Borgnine looking grubby.
The relationship between Benedict and his men is the most interesting aspect of The Revengers. When he frees them, most of the former convicts abandon him...only to return the next day. Having spent their money, they have nothing more interesting to do! But as time passes, they develop respect and loyalty to Mr. Benedict and his quest becomes their quest.

The youngest rider, a Mexican named Chamaco, imagines that he is Benedict's son (conceived when the older man visited his birth town as a Cavalry officer). When he mentions this unlikely possibility to Benedict, the older man--who is still grieving the loss of his son--angrily rejects Chamaco. The young Mexican then shoots Benedict, apparently killing him. This paves the way for a much-too-long rehabilitation sequence with Susan Hayward, which supposedly causes Benedict to reevaluate his motives.

Woody Strode looking stoic.
William Holden lacks fire as Benedict, displaying none of the intensity that he captured so well in The Wild Bunch. Most of the supporting cast makes little impact, although Ernest Borgnine (Holden's brilliant co-star in The Wild Bunch) is colorful and Woody Strode exudes a powerfully calm screen presence. Mexican actor Jorge Luke is also convincing as the young Chamaco.

The Revengers marked Susan Hayward's return to the screen after a five-year absence following 1967's Valley of the Dolls. Alas, she has little to do as a lonely nurse who becomes attracted to Benedict.

I saw The Revengers with my parents when it was released theatrically. If it seems like an odd choice for a family film, I can explain. My mother would go see any movie with William Holden! Although Dad didn't say it, I'm sure he was disappointed. This Holden movie didn't have Kim Novak.

Monday, September 5, 2022

An Interview with Sunset Blvd's Nancy Olson Livingston

Actress Nancy Olson Livingston shot to fame at the age of 22 when she earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Sunset Blvd. (1950). She subsequently became one of the most in-demand actresses of the 1950s, starring alongside William Holden (Union Station, Force of Arms, etc.), John Wayne (Big Jim McLain), Jane Wyman (So Big), Bing Crosby (Mr. Music), and Van Heflin (Battle Cry). Nancy reduced her workload in the late 1950s to spend more time with her family. However, she made occasional guest appearances on TV series such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Big Valley. She also starred on Broadway in The Tunnel of Love, Send Me No Flowers, and Mary, Mary. Starting in 1960, Nancy Olson Livingtson appeared in five Walt Disney films over a 12-year period, including Pollyanna, The Absent-Minded Professor, and Snowball Express. Her autobiography A Front Row Seat: An Intimate Look at Broadway, Hollywood, and the Age of Glamour will be published this November.

Café:  How would you describe your experience of working with director Billy Wilder on Sunset Blvd.?

Nancy Olson in Canadian Pacific.
Nancy Olson Livingston:  It was a profound experience because I had only done one picture before Sunset Blvd. That was Canadian Pacific (1949) with Randolph Scott, who was old enough to be my father. At least, I had the experience of being in front of the camera and knowing what the set-up was and how it operated. I was also going to UCLA and majoring in theater arts. I was under contract to Paramount, which lent me to 20th Century-Fox to do Canadian Pacific. I was fascinated that I could walk around the Paramount lot and go to the commissary to have lunch. I did that to get acquainted with what the studio was all about. I certainly knew who Billy Wilder was. I had seen his films and I was a great admirer of his work. He would stop me on the lot and engage me in long conversations: “What was it like to be born and raised in the Midwest? Your father is a doctor, what was that like? Tell me about your college life at UCLA.” It was bizarre. Why in the world would Billy Wilder want to know all these things? When I was cast in Sunset Blvd. and read the script, I realized that my character, Betty Schaefer, was an aspiring writer. She had to innately have a way of speaking that would make you believe she was a writer. She had to be able to speak well, to use language well, to be confident. I eventually came to understand that’s why I was cast. I would visit the set before I started my scenes and was always warmly welcomed. I worked with Edith Head, who did the wardrobes, and I was wearing what she wanted me to wear. And Billy said: “I don’t like that. I like what she wore yesterday when she came to visit.” So, I wore my own clothes in Sunset Blvd. I had not been in California long enough to know where to shop. I did not have a great wardrobe. What was absolutely clear was that Billy Wilder wanted me to be me. Betty Schaefer was me.

Café:  What was your biggest challenge in Sunset Blvd.?

Nancy Olson Livingston:  The first day of work. It’s my first scene in the movie where Betty comes into the office of this producer and asks about the script that Joe Gillis (William Holden), who was sitting there, wrote. Betty didn’t know who Joe Gillis was, so she was very honest about what she thought about the script. We rehearsed that scene several times. When I said that we were ready, Billy said “Shoot!” and we started the scene. There was a moment where I kind of stuttered a little, but I kept going. When the scene was finished, I said: “Please, Mr. Wilder (eventually I called him Billy), could we please do it again?” I didn’t feel totally comfortable at that moment. But he said: “Nope. It was fine.” Now, this is something that Shirley MacLaine and I talked about years later. He never wanted to shoot a scene more than once. You often had the feeling that you could do it a little better, that you didn’t bring something into it that you wanted to. I was upset about that. But I learned that you better know what you’re doing from the beginning.

Café:  Why do you think Sunset Blvd. continues to resonate with film fans over 70 years after it was made?

Nancy Olson Livingston:  Sunset Blvd. resonates not only with film fans, but with the general public. I had an experience about a year ago when I went into Saks Fifth Avenue and I walked into the cosmetics department. This man, who was the general manager, suddenly came over to me and said: “I know who you are. I saw Sunset Blvd. three weeks ago. You’re Nancy Olson.” I was 91 or 92. When you watch Sunset Blvd., it’s old-fashioned—the clothes, the cars, everything is of a different era. And yet, it has an up-to-date understanding. It feels today. And that is because it reveals the truth. I wrote about that in my book: “Sunset Blvd. tells the brutal truth about a part of the motion picture business and how it can ruin one’s life. To be exploited for other people’s profit can be both painful and humiliating. Even though one is paid sometimes a great deal and receives tremendous ego-fulfilling rewards, to be portrayed as larger than life is distorting and destroys the delicate balance between reality and fantasy.” Everything about Sunset Blvd. tells the truth. Joe Gillis is a desperate man who is at the end of his rope. He can’t pay his car loan. He can’t pay his rent. And when he gets into Norma Desmond’s house, he decides to sell his soul for his survival. And Betty Schaefer, my character, falls in love with this man who has sold his soul. It’s about human nature. It’s about who we all are and how we conduct our lives. Movie stars were a commodity back then. Marilyn Monroe is a perfect example. She was so exaggerated, but she was also vulnerable. She was created bigger and bigger than she really was. Ultimately, movie stars are thrown away, like Norma Desmond and, to a great extent, Marilyn Monroe. So, Sunset Blvd. survives because it tells the truth about an aspect of life which is kind of generally true.

Café:  I also think Sunset Blvd. has one of the great openings in movie history, with Joe’s body floating in the swimming pool as he provides the voice-over narration.

Nancy Olson Livingston:  You want to know what the real beginning was? It was filmed with bodies in a morgue. Joe is under the sheets with all the other bodies and he starts to talk with them. When the studio showed the movie at a test showing, the audience laughed. People thought it was funny and kind of ridiculous. So, Billy went back and re-edited and started at the point where Joe’s body is floating in the pool.

Café:  You made four films with William Holden, whom you have described as a good friend. What do you think was the secret to the onscreen chemistry between the two of you?

Nancy Olson and William Holden in Sunset Blvd.
Nancy Olson Livingston:  We were very alike. He was from Pasadena. I was from Milwaukee. There was a common ground. We really began to love each other. I was married. He was married. He did make a slight pass at me during the shooting of Sunset Blvd., which I’ve written about. It became so clear to him that nothing was going to ever happen. That was the end of it and we became friends. We loved hugging and kissing (laughs). I don’t know why, but it felt wonderful and comforting to be held by him. We enjoyed each other and we liked each other. Years after Bill and I had stopped working together, I was at an airport with my husband Alan Livingston and, as we were walking to board a plane, I heard a voice from behind me: “Nancy!” I turned around and it was Bill. I cried out: “Bill!” And we spontaneously ran as fast as we could and went into an embrace. He gave me a kiss and said: “My God, how are you? I haven’t seen you for two years. I understand you’re remarried now. Are you happy?” It was one of those things. A man was walking by as we were talking and laughing and he taps us on the shoulder: “Excuse me, but this is better than watching an old movie.” 

Café:  You starred in five Walt Disney films over 12 years, starting with Pollyanna in 1960. What led to your Disney connection?

Nancy Olson in The Absent-Minded Professor.
Nancy Olson Livingston:  I had not done a movie for a long time and figured I wasn’t going to do another movie. I did not want to be a movie star. That was a lesson I learned in Sunset Blvd. Being a movie star was isolating and lonely and unreal. I was 32 and I thought it was over. So, I am in Majorca, picking up my children who were visiting their father and stepmother. And I got a phone call and it was Mr. Disney. He said: “Nancy, this is Walt Disney. We are working on a movie here and are spending a lot more money than we usually do. It’s an all-star cast. Every part has been cast with a star. We have John Mills’ daughter, Hayley, who is fantastic, to play Pollyanna. We have Jane Wyman, Richard Egan, Karl Malden, Adolphe Menjou, Agnes Moorehead…and we want you.” I thought that was interesting. He said they were shooting at the end of August. I was planning on going to California to visit my parents anyway. I was living in New York at the time. But I had to bring the children back to school. Walt said I’d be finished by the middle of September. I said I had a governess who could take the kids back to school. I told him: “You know something…I’ll do it.” And that began my work with Walt Disney. I enjoyed it. My children had fun coming and visiting me on the set. I finished Pollyanna and thought that was the end of it. I never even asked what he was going to pay me. That wasn’t an issue. About a year later, I get a call from my agent saying that Disney is doing The Absent-Minded Professor with Fred MacMurray and wanted me for Fred’s love interest. Fred was twenty years older than me. Casting at that time was really out of whack. I loved Fred MacMurray’s work. He was a brilliant actor. He just had a natural sense for it. I read The Absent-Minded Professor script and decided I'd do it. I made it and then went back to New York. The next year, they decided to do a sequel because The Absent-Minded Professor was a huge success. So, I did Son of Flubber. By the way, sequels are never as good as the original. At least, that’s my opinion. I felt very comfortable on the Disney lot. Walt Disney made everyone call him Walt—including the grips. There was a unique friendliness that pervaded the lot. It was interesting and different from any place I’d ever worked before. I think Walt Disney was from the Midwest, too, and a homespun, middle-class kind of background. He was a Republican. I’m a big Democrat. Fred MacMurray was a big Republican, so the two of them got along wonderfully. Fred grew up in Wisconsin so the two of us had a kind of bond and told stories to each other about our experiences growing up. Because I wanted to work every once in a while, the Disney folks would call me. I did Smith! (1969) with Glenn Ford and Snowball Express (1972) with Dean Jones, which was not a very good film. But if you ever see Snowball Express, that was the absolute best that I ever looked when I was photographed. I saw it the other day and I was amazed. 

Café:  I think the first half of Snowball Express was pretty good, but the second half just turns silly.

Nancy Olson Livingston:  But don’t you agree that I look very well photographed?

Café:  Well, you always looked good in your films. Now, you appeared with many of the biggest stars of the 1950s and 1960s: William Holden, Jane Wyman, Fred MacMurray, John Wayne, Bing Crosby, and Glenn Ford. Who were some of your favorite co-stars and why?

John Wayne and Nancy Olson in Big Jim McLain.
Nancy Olson Livingston: Making Big Jim McLain with John Wayne was an interesting experience. It was a terrible script. When I read it, I thought that nobody was going to see this film. It’ll come out, get terrible reviews, and get shown on Saturday nights with another big film. But I thought I should have the experience of working with a true icon like John Wayne and it was made in Honolulu, which I loved. I found John Wayne to be an amazing person and very mysterious as to who he really was. Everybody called him Duke; I called him John. He never corrected me. We became really wonderful friends. For years, whenever we saw each other, we embraced and were happy to see each other. He was not the least flirtatious. Now, Bing Crosby had cold blue eyes. He put himself at a distance from almost everyone. He had a group of cronies around all the time, buttering him up. However, he and I became friends. The whole cast, crew, and director (of Mr. Music) treated me like I was a kind of charming child and that was odd. I was beginning to date Alan Lerner, my first husband, so it didn’t much matter. But I realized I was much too young to play opposite Bing as his love interest. When I was in Battle Cry, my marriage to Alan Lerner was beginning to have terrible problems. He ultimately married eight times, so he was a man with problems. I was too young and naïve to understand them, because he was fascinating and brilliant and would be with the most interesting people. He knew the best writers and producers in New York and the theatre was extremely interesting at that time. I was very happy to marry him, but it eventually became obvious it was not going to end well. There was a point where Warner Bros. called and asked if I would do Battle Cry. I said yes. There were so many stars in Battle Cry that I had a limited story with Aldo Ray. Aldo, bless him, kind of fell in love with me. I needed that. Please understand that we never had an affair. But when we had a long scene, he would prolong it--and it felt good. 

Café:  Excluding Sunset Blvd., what was your favorite of your films and why?

Nancy Olson Livingston:  The first thing that pops in my head is The Absent-Minded Professor, because it was so much fun and such a wonderful script. Fred MacMurray was marvelous. But there were very few films that lived up to Sunset Blvd. That was just an amazing experience.

Café:  You played Lloyd Bridges’ wife in the 1984 TV series Paper Dolls, which revolved around the fashion industry. How would you describe that experience?

Nancy Olson Livingston:  I only worked one or two days a week and maybe not at all the next week. It was a great cast and we all became friends. It was a nice interruption and just fun to be on a set and act a little.

Café:  Were there any roles you turned down or wish you had pursued during your career?

Nancy Olson Livingston:  No. My acting career was only a third of my life and eventually an eighth of my life. It was interesting, but it was not my life. As I write about in my book, my experiences outside of films were just as interesting or more so. Life is a fascinating, extraordinary experience. I’ve lived a long time and I’ve been extremely lucky. I was lucky having the parents I did, growing up where I did, how I grew up. Even my first marriage, which ended so painfully, had its moments. My Fair Lady was dedicated to me. I sat there and watched it being created. I had the most amazing experiences with my second husband, Alan Livingston, the president of Capitol Records. He started at Capitol after he got out of the Army and college. He went to Paramount, where they wanted him to write children’s albums, which he had never even thought of doing. But he created Bozo the Clown and other albums that became bestsellers. Then, he put Frank Sinatra with the right conductor and changed his whole career. He made Nat Cole a soloist instead of a pianist. Then, he left Capitol and went to NBC television and created Bonanza. After several years, he went back to Capitol and signed The Beach Boys. I gave parties for The Beatles and The Band. Alan Livingston ended up with the first American company in China. So, my life was varied and anybody who lives this long will have success and failure, happiness and heartbreak, sadness and joy. You can’t live this long without having all of it.

Café:  Thank you so much for much for taking the time to talk with us today.

Nancy Olson Livingston:  I enjoyed it.

A Front Row Seat: An Intimate Look at Broadway, Hollywood, and the Age of Glamour by Nancy Olson Livingston will be published by the University of Kentucky Press on November 15, 2022. It's 408 pages and features 44 black & white photos.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Basil of Baker Street is The Great Mouse Detective

Basil, the great mouse detective.
The 1980s was a rocky decade for Disney animated films. Several animators, led by Don Bluth, left the studio to create their own movies (e.g., The Secret of NIMH). Disney's much anticipated adaptation of Lloyd Alexander's The Black Cauldron--the studio's first PG-rated animated film--fizzled with critics and the public. Even The Fox and the Hound (1981) and Oliver & Company (1988) were considered disappointments, though each made a profit. Fortunately, Disney ended the '80s on a high note when The Little Mermaid (1989) redefined the animated musical and won two Oscars.

Yet, there was another memorable 1980s Disney film that seems almost forgotten today: The Great Mouse Detective (1986). Based Eve Titus's book series Basil of Baker Street, it features a mouse detective modeled closely after Sherlock Holmes. In fact, Basil lives in Victorian London at 221½ B Baker Street--underneath Sherlock's famous quarters. In lieu of Moriarty, Basil is obsessed with capturing another diabolical genius: Professor Rattigan.

Professor Rattigan, voiced by Vincent Price.
The fiendish rat has kidnapped an inventive toymaker called Flaversham as part of his plan to become "the supreme ruler of Mousedom." When Flaversham refuses to help Rattigan, the professor threatens to imprison the toymaker's daughter Olivia. What he doesn't know is that Olivia has sought the aid of Basil of Baker Street.

While the screenplay lacks the sparkle and wit of Disney classics like 101 Dalmatians (1961), it's still an entertaining yarn filled with colorful characters and clever details. Anyone who has watched a Basil Rathbone Holmes movie will take delight in the scene in which Basil and Dr. Dawson (the Watson equivalent) use disguises to infiltrate a seedy dive by the docks. However, the film's highlight is the climatic confrontation between Basil and Rattigan, which takes place inside and outside Big Ben during a thunderstorm. I think Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have been pleased!

Miss Kitty performing her number.
The outstanding voice cast features Barrie Ingham as Basil, Vincent Price as Rattigan, Alan Young as Flaversham, and singer Melissa Manchester as Miss Kitty. Price has a grand time as the bigger-than-life villain and even gets to sing in the film's biggest musical number "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" (co-written by Henry Mancini). Although The Great Mouse Detective is not a musical, it includes two songs. The best of those is "Let Me Be Good to You," an amusing dance hall pastiche written and performed with style by Manchester.

Given Disney's propensity to revisit its animated classics, it's surprising that the studio never made a direct-to-video sequel or a TV series for the Disney Channel. I would have watched the further adventures of Basil of Baker and Dr. Dawson.