Movie Diary 1/29/2009

andersonville2The Andersonville Trial (George C. Scott, 1970). Done in the style of live TV, from Saul Levitt’s play (which Scott had starred in on Broadway ten years earlier). William Shatner and Jack Cassidy play the oppposing lawyers in the trial of Captain Henry Wirz (Richard Basehart), who commanded the dismal POW camp at Andersonville, Georgia. The idea of a moral imperative for a soldier (or a citizen) to disobey orders was freshly relevant in 1970, as ever; I first saw this as a 12-year-old, and it made a huge impression on me. Plus, Cassidy and Shat were two of my favorite TV actors. You can see the thing was directed by an actor, because everybody’s off the leash and shouting like mad. But there are good actors in there — even among the non-speaking roles, strangely enough. The sound quality of the DVD is bad. But it’s worth seeing.

Cash McCall (Joseph Pevney, 1960). Truly clumsy concept for a film, tracking the ins and outs of a corporate raider (James Garner) with a love story (Natalie Wood) on the side. Garner’s bachelor pad is agreeably hep, but this is more for fans of Lou Dobbs than fans of Natalie Wood. (It’s part of the new Natalie Wood box set.)