6 Good Films That Were Not Nominated For Best Picture: The 1940s


Gary Cooper. Joan Fontaine, Mary Astor, and Donald Crisp at the 1942 Oscars.

Continuing our look at good films that were not nominated for best picture, here are 6 films from the 1940s.

Shadow of a Doubt (1943, dir by Alfred Hitchcock)

Amazing, Alfred Hitchcock never won the Best Directing Oscar.  In fact, it was rare that his films were even nominated.  (Though Rebecca did win Best Picture, it could be argued that film’s style was as much to due to David O. Selznick as it was to Hitchcock.)  One of the best of Hitchcock’s unnominated films was Shadow of a Doubt.  With its dark sense of humor and wonderful performances from Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright, Shadow of a Doubt was Hitchcock at his best.  It was also, perhaps, a bit too darkly subversive for the Academy.

Detour (1945, dir by Edgar G. Ulmer)

The ultimate film noir nightmare, Detour was actually well-received when it was originally released, though it would take a while for the film to be recognized as a true classic.  Still, there was no way that the Academy was going to nominate a low-budget B-movie about a guy who hitchhikes across America and manages to accidentally kill two people.  Detour was far too nightmarish and surreal for the Academy but it’s remained one of the most influential films ever made.

Gilda (1946, dir by Charles Vidor)

Another classic film noir, Gilda is the film that, for many, will always define Rita Hayworth.  Through the film was a financial and critical success, it was ignored by the Academy.  The success of this film and the popularity of Hayworth’s performance led to the fourth atomic bomb to ever be detonated being named Gilda.  Rita Hayworth was reportedly not happy to hear it.

Black Narcissus (1947, dir by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)

One of the most visually stunning films ever made, Black Narcissus won Oscars for Best Cinematography and for Art Design but it received no other nominations, not even for the outstanding performances of Deborah Kerr and Kathleen Byron, as two nuns who have very different reactions to the Himalayas.

Out of the Past (1947, dir by Jacques Tourneur)

A world-weary private investigator (Robert Michum) is hired by a slick and psychotic gangster (Kirk Douglas) and ordered to track down the gangster’s girlfriend (Jane Greer).  So beings this rather melancholy and introspective film noir, one that is distinguished by wonderfully shadowy photography and which features one of Mitchum’s best performances.  Sadly, the Academy recognized neither the film nor Mitchum’s performance.

Portrait of Jennie (1948, dir by William Dieterle)

This haunting and dream-like fantasy stars Joseph Cotten as a painter who meets, paints, and falls in love with a mysterious woman (Jennifer Jones) who may not be what she seems.  The film was apparently not a huge success when it was first released but, seen today, it’s hard not to get swept up in the film’s romantic sadness.  Though it received a nomination for Best Cinematography, it was otherwise ignored by the Academy.

Up next, in about an hour or so, the 1950s!

Horror on TV: Thriller 2.14 “Portrait Without A Face” (dir by John Newland)


For tonight’s televised horror, we have another episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted anthology series, Thriller!

In Portrait Without A Face, an arrogant painter is murdered.  No one knows who murdered him but don’t worry.  Just because he’s dead, that doesn’t mean the artist has to stop painting!  In fact, his first post-death painting might just be a picture of the person who killed him…

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.10 “Dispute Between Brothers” (directed by Tina Rathbone)


The 10th episode of the 2nd season of Twin Peaks opens with a shot of Laura and Leland Palmer’s pictures on the mantle and a title card telling us that it has been three days since Leland’s death.

At the Palmer house, Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) is preparing to bury her husband.  Doctor Hayward (Warren Frost) tries to give her a shot, which she refuses.  Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) assures her that Leland did not actually kill her daughter.

(It’s interesting to note that this episode was directed by Tina Rathone, whose last episode also featured a funeral.)

At Leland’s wake, the entire cast has shown up and they’ve all brought food.  Nadine (Wendy Robie) is dressed like a 1950s teenager.  Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn) wonders if people are invited to wakes or if they just show up.  Hank (Chris Mulkey) grabs all the food that he can.  Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) tells Ed (Everett McGill) that James is blaming himself for everything that happened.  Ed promises Donna that James will eventually come back.  Speaking of coming back, Doctor Jacoby (Russ Tamblyn) has finally returned from Hawaii and arrived just in time for the wake.

Cooper tells Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) that he has some vacation time coming up so he will be sticking around town for at least a few more days.  The Major invites Cooper to go night fishing.

Twin Peaks’s elderly mayor, Dwayne Milford (John Boylan) throws a swing at his equally elderly brother, Dougie (Tony Jay), the owner of the town’s newspaper.  As Harry and Ed pull them apart, Pete (Jack Nance) tells Cooper that Dougie and Dwayne have had a running feud for over 50 years.  Cooper says he’s really going to miss Twin Peaks.

Fade to commercial.

When the show returns, Ed and Jacoby are at Twin Peaks High School and trying to talk the vice principal (Don Calfa) into admitting 35 year-old Nadine as a member of the senior class.  Nadine runs into the office and tells them to hurry up because class is about to start and she wants to try out for cheerleader.

Cooper is in his hotel room, packing.  Audrey comes in, says that she’s from customer relations, and asks if his stay has been satisfactory.  Audrey asks if Cooper’s just going to leave and break her heart.  Cooper explains that he can’t get involved with anyone who was involved in any of his cases.  Cooper explains that he once fell in love with a material witness.  He was supposed to protect her but, when the attempt was made on her life, he was not prepared and she died in his arms.

At the Johnson house, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) is trying on Leo’s (Eric Da Re) suit.  Bobby is going to try to convince Ben into giving him a job.  Shelly (Madchen Amick) is already getting bored with her new life.

At the sheriff’s station, Harry walks into his office and finds Catherine (Piper Laurie) waiting for him.

“Hello, Harry,” Catherine says.

“Forgive me for saying so, Catherine,” Harry replies, “but aren’t you dead?”

Catherine shrugs.  She explains that, after the explosion at the mill, she woke up in the woods with no knowledge of how she got there.  She says that a guardian angel must have rescued her.  She spent a week living in the woods, eating only tuna fish.  Harry asks what made her come back.  Catherine says that she ran out of tuna fish.

In the lobby, Dick (Ian Buchanan) tells Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) that he wants to talk about their “bambino.”  Dick says he wants to be a father, he believes the child is his, and that he’s enrolled in parenting classes.  After hiding around the corner and listening to the conversation, Andy (Harry Goaz) walks into the lobby and says that, for the sake of the baby, they should all be friends.  As Andy later explains to Hawk (Michael Horse), the key to Lucy’s heart lies in “morals and manly behaviors.”

Cooper stops by Harry’s office to say goodbye.  Harry gives Cooper a parting gift of a special fishing lure and a Book House Boy patch.  Cooper then says goodbye to Hawk, Andy, and Lucy.  However, the goodbyes are interrupted by the arrival of FBI Agent Roger Hardy (Clarence Williams IIIand Preston King (Gavan O’Herlihy) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

(Long before they both appeared on Twin Peaks, Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton co-starred on The Mod Squad.  Gavan O’Herlihy is the son of Dan O’Herlihy.  Best known for playing Conal Cochran in Halloween III, Dan will join the cast of Twin Peaks in one more episode.  As for Gavan, he is probably best known for playing Chuck Cunningham during the first season of Happy Days and getting shot by Charles Bronson in Death Wish II.)

Roger tells Cooper that he has been suspended from the FBI.  Cooper’s raid on One-Eyed Jack’s was a violation of FBI policy because it involved crossing the border into Canada.  Roger says that there are other allegations as well but they’re waiting for the evidence to arrive.  Roger explains that King was involved in a sting operation to capture Jean Renault and that Cooper’s actions screwed it up.  Also, the cocaine that King was using as a part of the operation disappeared after Cooper’s raid.  Roger tells Cooper that he has 24 hours to assemble his defense.

At the Great Northern, Audrey helps Bobby get into Ben’s office but Ben (Richard Beymer) immediately has Bobby tossed out.  Audrey saves Bobby from Ben’s goons.  In order to thank her, Bobby buys Audrey an ice cream cone.  “I like to lick,” Audrey says.

At Twin Peaks High School, Nadine tries out for cheerleader.  Nadine now has Hulk-like super strength now, which she demonstrated by picking up a student and throwing him through the air.

Bobby calls Shelly to tell her about the meeting.  While Shelly talks on the phone about how they have to put Leo in a home, Leo moves forward in his wheel chair.  “He moved!” Shelly says, shocked.

At the diner, Norma (Peggy Lipton) takes the fancy table cloths off the tables and complains to Vera (Jane Greer) about a bad review that the Double R got from the mysterious travel writer, M.T. Wentz.  Vivian reveals that she’s M.T. Wentz and she gave her own daughter’s diner a negative review.  Vera says that she can’t violate her professional ethics.

At One-Eyed Jack’s, Hank and Ernie (James Booth) are chasing women and acting like fools.  Hank is pressuring Ernie to steal Vera’s money.  Ernie says he could never do that, he’s gone straight.  That’s when Hank introduces Ernie to his new employer, Jean Renault (Michael Parks).  Jean is looking for someone to serve as a money launderer and Ernie agrees, bragging that he has set up deals for everyone from the Colombians to the Bolivians.  Jean is pleased and introduces Ernie to his other partner, Preston King of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

That night, Harry is woken up by someone knocking on the door to his cabin.  When he opens the door, Josie (Joan Chen), who was supposed to be in Seattle, stumbles in and collapses.

In the woods, Cooper and Major Briggs are camping, roasting marshmallows, and discussing right and wrong.  Briggs says that it is some men’s fate to face great darkness.  Briggs asks if Cooper has ever heard of the White Lodge.  Cooper says he hasn’t but he looks forward to hearing more about it.  Cooper then goes off to relieve himself.  There is a flash of white light.  “Cooper!” Briggs shouts as a hooded man appears in the woods.  Cooper runs back to the camp, just to discover that Briggs has vanished.

This uneven episode finds Twin Peaks struggling to establish an identity after the conclusion of the Laura Palmer storyline.  For me, the highlight was Leland’s wake, which showed Twin Peaks as a community.  Nadine’s adventures in high school may be cartoonish but they hold up better than I thought they would.  Finally, this was the first episode to mention that all-important White Lodge.

Tomorrow, both David Duchovny and Dan O’Herlihy join the cast in Masked Ball.

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  18. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter) by Lisa Marie Bowman

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law” (dir by Tim Hunter)


“Fire, walk with me!”

— Leland/Bob (Ray Wise) in Twin Peaks 2.9 “Arbitrary Law”

Well, this is it.

This is the episode where the “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” storyline was finally resolved.  So, let’s jump right into it:

Following the haunting opening credits, the show opens with a shot of the dead body of Maddy Ferguson (Sheryl Lee), still wrapped in plastic.  A flashlight shines on her face.  It’s a very disturbing shot, for all the obvious reason.  It is perhaps not a coincidence that this episode was directed by Tim Hunter, who previously directed River’s Edge, an entire movie that revolves around a lifeless body that is dumped next to a river.

This fades into a shot of Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan), Harry (Michael Ontkean), Albert (Miguel Ferrer), and Hawk (Michael Horse).  It’s the morning and they are walking through the woods.  It’s an interestingly framed shot and the fact that it’s done in slow motion gives it a dream-like feel.  It’s as if they’re four gunslingers walking towards some alien version of the O.K. Corral.

Albert is holding the letter “O” that was put underneath Maddy’s fingernail.  Albert tells them what they already know.  The same man who killed Laura also killed Maddy.  White strands of fur, perhaps from a rug, where also found on Maddy’s body.

Harry says that they need to call Maddy’s family.  “Leland should have their number…”

NO, HARRY, LELAND’S THE MURDERER!

Fortunately, Cooper speaks up.  He asks Harry to give him 24 hours so that Cooper can “finish this.”  Albert says that only Cooper knows where he’s going but that he needs to do whatever needs to be done “before this beast bites again.”  Albert has such a way with words.

Cut to a restaurant that I don’t think we’ve seen before.  Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) is sitting in a booth when James (James Marshall) comes to meet her.  Wait — are Donna and James meeting somewhere other than the Double R or the Roadhouse!?  Well, just stab Norma in the back, why don’t ya?

Anyway, James is all happy because he went for a drive on his motorcycle.  He then gives Donna a ring and says that he just feels that they should be together all the time.  Donna agrees but I have a feeling that this won’t last.

Meanwhile, at the Double R, Norma (Peggy Lipton) is probably wondering where Donna and James are.  She’s also having to deal with Vivian (Jane Greer), who is eating her food and being just as critical as ever.  Norma complains that nothing she does is ever good enough.  Vivian, who is pretty obvious M.T. Wentz, gives Norma advice on how to make the perfect omelette.

Andy (Harry Goaz) eats a slice of pie and keeps repeating “I am a lonely soul,” in French.  Donna and James walk up to him so I guess they were at the diner all the time.  That’s weird because that booth that they were sitting in earlier looked nothing like anything we’ve ever seen in the Double R before.  Anyway, they want to know what Andy’s talking about, like it’s any of their business.  Andy tells Donna that he’s repeating the words of Harold Smith’s suicide note and that, of course, reminds Donna that she’s essentially responsible for Harold killing himself.  Donna says that she needs to find Agent Cooper.

Apparently, she manages to do just that because, in the next scene, Donna is leading Cooper up to the house of Mrs. Tremond.  Fortunately, for all of us who had forgotten, Donna explains that Mrs. Tremond told her about Harold Smith and, also, that Mr. Tremond had a strange grandson who performed magic and said the same French phrase — J’ai une âme solitaire — that Harold used in his suicide note.  Donna says that the note had to be a message.

(Yes, Donna, the message was probably something like, “Someone who pretended to be my friend totally betrayed me and now I’m dead.”)

Reaching the Tremond House, Donna is shocked when the door is answered by a woman that she’s never seen before.  Yes, the woman is named Mrs. Tremond.  No, there is no old woman or little boy living in the house.  However, this Mrs. Tremond does have an envelope that was left in her mailbox on the day that Harold killed himself.  The envelope is addressed to Donna.

And what’s in the envelope?  A page from Laura’s secret diary!

Laura wrote that, on February 22nd, she had a strange dream.  She was sitting in a chair in a red room, with a small man (Michael Anderson) and an old man.  Laura wanted to tell the old man who BOB was but she couldn’t make herself understood.  Cooper realizes that he and Laura had the same dream!  Laura also wrote that BOB was only scared of one man, a man named MIKE.

On February 23rd, Laura wrote, “Tonight is the night that I die.  I know I have to because it’s the only way to keep BOB away from me.”

(If you’re not already totally disturbed by all this, just reminds yourself that Laura is writing about her father.)

Cooper goes to see MIKE (Al Strobel).  Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) is there, which is not surprising since Doc Hayward appears to be everywhere.  He explains that Gerard/MIKE is in pretty bad shape.  Cooper asks how he can find BOB.  MIKE says that Cooper must ask the Giant but he is not clear on just how exactly Cooper can find the Giant.  MIKE tells Cooper that 1) he has all the clues that he needs and 2) Cooper has “so much responsibility.”

Cooper steps out into one of the Great Northern hallways and sees the old waiter (Hank Worden) carrying a tray that has one glass of milk on it.  “I know about you,” the waiter says.  “That milk’ll cool down on you but it’s getting warmer now.”

“Getting warmer now,” Cooper repeats before heading over to Ben’s office.  Harry is in the process of searching Ben’s office and is super excited because he thinks that he’s found more evidence proving Ben’s guilt.   Both Harry and Cooper notice the white fox rug, which would seem to indicate that Maddy was in Ben’s office.

“He killed Maddy here!” Harry says.

As if by magic, Albert pops up and reveals that Maddy died the night before last, between 10 pm and midnight.  “That fits,” Harry said, “we didn’t take Ben in until after midnight…”

Cooper nods but you can tell he’s thinking, “Nope, the Giant would totally disagree with you on this point.”

At the Sheriff’s station, Andy approaches Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and says he wants to talk about “his” child.  Not now, Andy!  I mean, I think you and Lucy are a cute couple and all but there’s some important stuff going on….

In the holding cell, Ben (Ricard Beymer) is visited by Catherine (Piper Laurie), who is still poorly disguised as a Japanese man.  (So, I guess anyone can just wander around the sheriff’s station whenever they feel like it?)  Not realizing that he’s talking to Catherine, Ben says that he cannot proceed on the Ghostwood Estates deal until he gets a better lawyer and gets out of prison.  Catherine then reveals her painted toenails and says that she intends to make the rest of Ben’s “pathetic existence” miserable.  Ben signs over the mill and Ghostwood Estates to Catherine, hoping that she’ll give him an alibi for the night Laura was murdered.  Catherine says she’ll consider it and then leaves.

(Silly Ben!  You should have signed over the Mill first and then held off on Ghostwood until after Catherine talked to the Sheriff.  Of course, if Twin Peaks took place today, DNA testing would have already gotten Ben out of jail.)

At the Palmer house, Leland (Ray Wise) greets Donna, who is dropping off a tape of a song that she and Maddy did with James.  Donna is wearing a pair of Laura’s old sunglasses.  She also lights a cigarette in the Palmer house.  Donna’s the best!

Anyway, Donna tells Leland about Laura’s secret diary.  Needless to say, Leland is disturbed by the news.  Suddenly, he gets a call from Maddy’s mother.  Maddy hasn’t shown up in Montana.  As Donna listens, Leland says that he took Maddy down to the bus station.

After hanging up, Leland pops a stick of gum in his mouth and announces that Maddy never made it home.  (“That gum you like is going to come back in style.”)  Anyway, Donna is worried but Leland tells her not to worry.  He goes over to a mirror and straightens his tie.  BOB (Frank Silva) stares back at him.

Leland goes to get a glass of lemonade.  When he returns, Donna is staring at all of the pictures of Laura on the mantle.  Leland walks up behind her and — AGCK! — strokes her hair.  He tells her that he knows the “cure for what ails you.”  He puts some cocktail music on the phonograph and, suddenly, we’re no longer seeing Leland.  Instead, we’re seeing BOB and he is pure nightmare fuel.  However, Donna still just sees Leland acting like goofy old Leland.

Leland starts to dance with Donna in the middle of the living room but suddenly, he yanks her close to him and violently embraces her.

The doorbell rings.  Leland goes to answer it, leaving a very shaken Donna.  Fortunately, it’s Harry at the door.  He explains that they need Leland’s help.  There’s been another murder.  Harry says he can’t go into specifics but he needs Leland to go with him.  Leland and Harry leave and Donna is able to make her escape.

Donna meets with James at the park.  (James rides up on his motorcycle and — well, I’ve defended James in the past but here, he just looks like kinda dorky.  Sorry, James.)  Donna tells James that Maddy’s dead.

“I gotta go,” James says, “Nothing matters.  Nothing we do matters.”

Having discovered ennui, James jumps on her motorcycle and leaves Donna behind.

Night rolls in.  Thunder.  Lightning.

At the otherwise deserted Roadhouse, Ben sits in a booth.  Cooper and Albert sit at the bar.  Everything important happens at the Roadhouse, apparently.

Leland, escorted by Harry and Ed (Everett McGill), enters.  After telling Leland that they are going to be meeting someone, perhaps the killer, Cooper has all the tables and chairs cleared off the floor.  While this goes in, Hawk enters with the catatonic Leo (Eric Da Re) and Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook).  Everyone who has been a serious suspect in the murder of Laura Palmer is now in the Roadhouse.

“Hail, hail,” Ben says, “the gang’s all here.”

Cooper then proceeds to do the Agatha Christie thing, announcing that the killer is someone in the room.  He talks about his duty as a member of the FBI.  He seeks simple answer to difficult questions.  (Don’t we all?) Dale says that, after employing all of his other deductive techniques, he is going to try to something new.  “For a lack of a better word,” he says, “magic.”

Suddenly, Major Briggs (Don S. Davis) shows up with the waiter.  Major Briggs says that he was on his way home when the waiter flagged him down and asked for a ride to the roadhouse.

The waiter gives Cooper a stick of gum.  Leland/BOB smiles and says, “I know that gum.  I used to chew it when I was a kid.”

(That’s an interesting line, for many reasons.  Last episode, Jerry wondered how he and Ben had grown up to be who they were.  Leland is now talking about the gum that he used to chew as a child, which presumably would be the same time that BOB was living next door to his summer house.  Throughout Twin Peaks, the innocence and hope of youth is contrasted with the dark secrets of adulthood.)

The waiter tells Leland that the gum is going to come back in style, which leads to several freeze frames.  Time has stopped for everyone but Cooper, who is now seeing the Man from Another Place dancing in the room with the red curtains.  Laura is whispering in Cooper’s ear but this time, he hears what she has to say.  “My father killed me.”  The Giant appears and hands the ring back to Cooper.  The Giant vanishes.

“Ben Horne!” Cooper announces, “I would like you to accompany me back to the station!  You might like to bring along Leland Palmer as your attorney.”

At the station, Ben is forcefully led to down to interrogation.  Leland/BOB follows behind them.  However, once they reach the interrogation room, Harry suddenly shoves Leland into the interrogation room, slamming and locking the door behind him.

Leland/BOB starts to howl like a wild animal while pounding on the walls.  Cooper tells Hawk to release Ben.

“Leland?” a stunned Ben says.

“That’s not Leland,” Cooper says.

Cooper then explains that Laura told him that Leland killed her in a dream.  Always the master of the understatement, Harry says, “We’re going to need stronger evidence than that.”  That’s okay.  Cooper’s sure that he can get a confession.

While Hawk aims a gun at Leland’s head, Cooper interrogates him.  It quickly becomes obvious that Leland is now totally possessed by BOB.  BOB taunts Cooper about something that happened in Pittsburgh and then says that Leland was a good ride but he’s too old and weak now.  BOB says that it’s time to “shuffle off to Buffalo…”

(The implication, throughout both the show and the feature film that followed, is that Leland — as BOB — had been molesting Laura since she was a child.  Since most child molesters were themselves molested as children, the suggestion that BOB used to live next door to Leland would suggest that BOB previously possessed someone who molested Leland.  Twin Peaks has such a reputation for being a “strange” show that I think people overlook just how disturbing its portrait of the “perfect” family truly was.)

Having gotten their confession, Harry, Cooper, and Hawk leave Leland alone in the interrogation room.

Meanwhile, Dick Tremayne (Ian Buchanan) shows up to see Andy and … no, I’m sorry.  I love Andy and Lucy and I enjoy Ian Buchanan’s performance as the hilariously shallow Dick but now is not that time for the baby subplot.  There’s some serious stuff going down with Leland/BOB right now…

(Lucy does say, “I’m going to keep my baby.”  Papa don’t preach…I’m in trouble now…papa don’t preach…)

Outside the interrogation room, Cooper reveals that 1) Ben had the wrong blood type and 2) both Leland and the Man from Another Place danced.  In other words, it’s a pretty good thing that they got that confession because I’m not sure dream dancing would hold up in court.

Uh-oh, Leland/BOB is shouting in the interrogation room.  It’s the fire walk with me poem!  That’s never good!

“I’LL CATCH YOU WITH MY DEATH BAG!” Leland/BOB shouts, “I WILL KILL AGAIN!”

Suddenly, the smoke detector goes off and the sprinklers come to life.  With water raining down upon him, Leland/BOB rams his head into the door, leaving a mix of blood, skin, and probably brains behind.

Harry and Cooper rush into the room, to discover Leland lying on the floor, dying.  Leland, who now seems to be Leland again, cries for his daughter and begs for forgiveness.  Leland says that he saw BOB in a dream and that he invited BOB in.  And when BOB “came inside” him, he made Leland kill Laura.  As Leland died, Cooper tells him that it’s time to walk down the narrow path and enter the light.  Leland says that he can see Laura and then dies.

(That may sound silly but I had tears in my eyes.  MacLachlan and Wise are brilliant in this episode.)

We cut to daylight.  Cooper, Harry, and Albert walk through the woods, where they run into Maj. Briggs.  Harry says that Leland was insane but Albert argues that people actually did see BOB in visions.

Maj. Briggs says, “Gentlemen, there is more in Heaven and Earth, than is dreamt of in our philosophy.”

Harry says he’s having a hard time believing that BOB existed.  Cooper asks — and this question gets to the heart of the David Lynch aesthetic — whether it’s any more comforting to believe that a man would, of his own free will, rape and murder his own daughter.

Major Briggs asks if it matter what causes evil.  Cooper says that it does.  “It’s our job to stop it.”

Albert suggests that BOB may have just been “the evil that men do.”

(Meanwhile, the spirit of Shakespeare looks up and says, “I sense that I am being quoted without attribution…”)

“Where’s BOB now?” Harry wonders.

Cut to an owl flying straight to the camera.  End with a freeze frame!

AGCK!

Seriously, that was a great episode.  I wonder how people reacted to it in 1990.  From what I’ve read, a lot of people stopped watching before this episode, which is a shame.

Well, Laura’s murder has been solved.  I guess the show’s over now.  Thanks for reading everyone and…

What?

Oh.  Apparently, the show did go on and we’ve got 13 more episodes to review.

So, join us tomorrow for another review!  And until then, why not check out the story so far:

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  17. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman

What do you think, Cooper?

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With A Dead Girl” (dir by Caleb Deschanel)


“In our world, he’s a shoe salesman and lives among the shadows.”

— Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in Twin Peaks 2.8 “Drive With a Dead Girl”

As always, this episode of Twin Peaks starts with the opening credits and, after 15 episodes, Angelo Badalamenti’s theme music has never sounded more haunting and the images of life in Twin Peaks — that mix of machinery and nature — has never seemed more ominous.  Things that seemed quaintly beautiful when they were first seen — like the waterfall or that bird sitting in trees — now seem threatening.

The opening credits give us time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far.  We’ve seen the venal Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) repeatedly ignore his own family in the pursuit of money.  We’ve seen Leo Johnson (Eric Da Re) abuse his wife, Shelly (Madchen Amick).  As of the previous episode, we now know Leland Palmer (Ray Wise), previously one of the show’s most sympathetic characters, not only murdered and raped his own daughter but then killed his niece as well.

You have to wonder if Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) still considers Twin Peaks to be “heaven,” just because it’s a town where “a yellow light means slow down instead of speed up.”

We open with an exterior shot of the Palmer house.  We can hear Maddy (Sheryl Lee), once again, screaming for help.

The next morning, the Palmer house is quiet.  Inside the living room, the camera moves over several pictures of Laura.  One is of her as a child.  Another is that famous homecoming photo.  We hear the sound of Leland laughing and immediately notice that there seem to be a lot of golf balls on the floor.  The camera pulls back to show us Leland, wearing a suit and looking disturbing cheerful, practicing his golf swing.

James (James Marshall) and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle) knock on the front door.  They say that they came by to say goodbye to Maddy but Leland tells them that Maddy has already left.  He tells them that she thought they were going to come by the previous night and that she was a little bit disappointed that she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to them.  Smiling like a father from a 1950s sitcom (and, at this point, it’s definitely not a coincidence that Twin Peaks, as a town, often seems to be a relic of a decade that is often thought of as being both “the good old days” and a symbol of repression), Leland says that they could write to her in Montana if they want.

(Today, Leland would never get away with this.  James and Donna would be texting Maddy like crazy.)

After James and Donna leave, Leland glances in a mirror and sees BOB (Frank Silva) staring back at him.  From upstairs, Mrs. Palmer (Grace Zabriskie), who apparently remembers nothing about the previous night, asks Leland to remember to sign them up for “Glenn Miller Night at the club.”

“Don’t worry, dear,” Leland says, with a big and creepy grin, “I won’t forget.”

Before leaving  for the club, Leland grabs his golf bag out of the closet.  Briefly, we catch a glimpse of Maddy, stuffed inside the bag.

(AGCK!  Seriously, Leland/BOB has got to be one of the scariest things ever.)

In his holding cell, Ben Horne (Richard Beymer) wins my sympathy by 1) being an innocent man accused of a terrible crime and 2) obsessively trying to wipe down the bars of his cell.  Seriously, that’s one reason why I could never handle being arrested.  Put me in one of the filthy cells and I can guarantee you that I’d do whatever I had to do to get out of there.

A cheerful Jerry (David Patrick Kelly) shows up to see Ben and I was happy that he did.  Jerry may be one of the most cartoonish characters on Twin Peaks (and that’s saying something!) but, after spending all that time with Leland/BOB, Jerry’s silliness is a relief.  Jerry has just returned from Japan and he even has a small Japanese flag pinned to his suit.

Jerry explains that, since Leland has been charged with murdering Jacques Renault, he will be handling Ben’s case personally.  (Of course, neither realizes that Leland is also responsible for the murder that Ben has been charged with.)  Unfortunately, Jerry doesn’t appear to be a very good attorney.

However, Jerry is impressed by the fact that Ben has bunk beds, which leads to an odd flashback of Ben and Jerry, as children, watching a woman named Louise Dombroski dancing in their bedroom while holding a flashlight.  (Even as children, Ben wore  suit and Jerry wore a bowtie.)

“Lord,” Jerry says, from the top bunk in Ben’s jail cell, “what’s become of us?”

Meanwhile, Lucy’s (Kimmy Robertson) back!  She shows up with her sister, Gwen (Kathleen Wilhoite), who is telling a long story involving a rusty nail and a purple toe.  (I tuned her out because rusty nails freak me out.)  Lucy asks Hawk (Michael Horse) if he’s seen Andy (Harry Goaz).  Gwen, meanwhile, worries that Hawk “must hate all of us white people after all that we’ve done to you.”

(Did I mention that Gwen had a crying baby with her and how much I was hoping that Gwen would only be around for a scene or two?  She’s kind of annoying.)

At the Great Northern, Harry (Michael Ontkean) and Cooper have just finished talking to the One-Armed Man.  As they walk past the lobby, they see Leland dancing with a golf club.

(Over the course of watching Twin Peaks, one thing that I’ve really grown to enjoy doing is spotting all of the strange guests who appear to stay at the Great Northern.  This episode, the guests appear to be a cross-section of gruff fishermen and Catholic schoolgirls.)

When Harry approaches Leland, Leland apologizes for creating a commotion with his dancing.  “Just call me Fred,” Leland says, which might be a reference to Fred Astaire but could just as easily be a reference to the fact that, at this point, Leland has been possessed for so long that it’s debatable whether Leland Palmer even exists at this point.  He’s either BOB or he’s Fred but he’s definitely not Leland.

Harry tells Leland that they’ve arrested Ben.  Leland says that they’re must be some sort of mistake but then promises Harry and Cooper that he will allow the law to handle it.  Leland stumbles out of the lobby.  As soon as he’s away from prying eyes, Leland starts to cry but then starts laughing.  He is nearly caught by Cooper, who steps up behind him and asks Leland to let him know if he can remember anything unusual about Ben’s behavior on the night of Laura’s death.

(Ray Wise, by the way, gives an absolutely amazing performance in this episode.  I don’t care if this episode aired nearly 30 years ago, give that man an Emmy.)

Harry and Cooper return to the sheriff’s station, where they watch as Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) draws blood from Ben’s finger.  (Twin Peaks was obviously made before DNA testing became commonplace.)

Jerry is there, protesting Ben’s treatment.  It’s obvious that everyone is enjoying making Ben’s life difficult, which actually makes me feel even more sorry for Ben.  Cooper reveals that Jerry graduated last in his class, passed the bar on his third attempt, and that his license has been revoked in several states.  Hey, Cooper — that’s fine and all but Jerry is absolutely right when he says that Ben is being deprived of his constitutional rights.

Cooper tosses Laura’s diary down in front of Ben, demanding to know if Ben knows what it is.  Cooper reads from the diary and tries to goad Ben into confessing.  It’s interesting to watch this scene because it’s hard not to feel that the normally upright Cooper has a hidden agenda here.  Cooper has become a father figure to Audrey and here’s his chance to get rid of Audrey’s actual father.  Twin Peaks is full of bad fathers, both literally and figuratively.

At the Johnson house, Bobby (Dana Ashbrook) listens to that microcassette that he found during the previous episode.  It’s a recording of Ben hiring Leo to burn down the Packard Mill.  Bobby is excite because this is his chance to blackmail Ben.  Meanwhile, Leo (Eric Da Re) spits up all over Shelly and her pretty blue nightgown.  BAD LEO!

At the Double R, Norma (Peggy Lipton) is shocked when her mother, Vivian, suddenly shows up!  Not only does Vivian appear to be rich but she’s played by Jane Greer, who starred in the classic film noir, Out of the Past.  By her presence alone, Greer serves to remind us of the huge debt that Twin Peaks has always owed to the conventions of film noir.

It turns out that Norma’s mom is very critical of both Norma’s cooking and Hank (Chis Mulkey).  It is also revealed that Norma’s mom has married a man named Ernie (James Booth), who appears to still be stuck in the 70s.

Norma says that she’s feeling nervous because there’s a food critic coming and that, with Shelly having quit to take care of Leo, she’s short of help.  “That’s why you made the place look nice,” her mom says.  (Passive aggressive for the win!)

At the Great Northern, the One-Armed Man (Al Strobel) wakes up when his armless shoulder starts to twitch.  “He’s close….” he says.  Unfortunately, the only other person in the room is a nurse and she doesn’t really seem to be paying attention.  The One-Armed Man asks her for a glass of water.  When she leaves the room, she passes a deputy.

Now, we’ve never seen this deputy before so I assume that he’s mostly there so he can be killed later on.  He walks into the One-Armed Man’s room and the One-Armed attacks him from behind.  Bye bye, Deputy Redshirt.  “I’m so sorry,” the One-Armed Man says before climbing out a window.

(Actually Deputy Redshirt is just knocked to the floor and doesn’t die but you can still be sure that this would never have happened to Hawk.)

Hank finally shows up at the Double R Diner, apologizing for being late.  It turns out that Hank has been missing for a few days.  Norma gets mad at Hank but seriously, Hank is the most charming ex-con in Twin Peaks.  Hank gets Norma to forgive him but then realizes that Vivian is working in the kitchen.  Uh-oh!

Pete (Jack Nance) comes by the sheriff’s office and catches Harry birdwatching.  As Pete talked to Harry, I noticed that Harry has a large picture of the other Harry S Truman — the mafia-connected President, old Give ‘Em Hell Harry — hanging in his office.  Pete tells Harry that Josie has left Twin Peaks.  Pete and Harry both talk about how they both loved Josie.  Harry laments that he stood there and watched as Josie left with her assistant.  Pete realizes that the “assistant” was probably Catherine in disguise.  The fact that Harry has yet to realize any of this gives us some insight into why the FBI has basically taken over the role of law enforcement in Twin Peaks.

Andy finally returns to the sheriff’s station and is shocked to see Lucy, holding Gwen’s baby.  Andy sees the baby and, assuming that Lucy somehow gave birth to a 4-month old baby over the weekend, he promptly faints.

Pete sneaks into the holding cells and plays a tape for Ben.  Ben listens to Catherine (Piper Laurie) explaining that she’s alive and that she remembers that Ben was with her on the night that Laura Palmer died.  Catherine is willing to provide an alibi but only if Ben signs over both the mill and Ghostwood Estates over to her.  Pete starts to giggle like a maniac.  (Pete!  I thought you were a nice guy!)  As an angry Ben tears apart his jail cell, another deputy that we’ve never seen before stares in at him.

Meanwhile, Leland is happily driving down a street.  He’s singing.  Sorry, I’m not going to look up which song that he’s singing.  He’d driving rather recklessly, which will certainly bring him to the attention of Cooper and Harry, who are currently driving along the same street.  Cooper is even whistling the same song that Leland is singing, a reminder that Cooper is not quite as upright as everyone thinks.  He has secrets of his own.

(I was tempted to point out that the scenes of Leland driving are shot in much the same way as the driving scenes in Lost Highway but, seeing as how David Lynch did not direct this episode, I’m going to assume it’s just a coincidence.  That said, Caleb Deschanel does a good job of recreating Lynch’s unique visual style throughout this episode.)

Just as I predicted, Leland nearly collides with Harry and Cooper.  They pull him over, right next to the golf course.  As the three of them talk, we hear the sound of golf balls being hit in the distance, and we are reminded that there is a golf bag in Leland’s trunk and that Maddy is currently in that bag.

Leland lies and says that, on the night Laura was murdered, Ben got a phone call and had an angry conversation with someone about a “dairy.”

“A diary?” Cooper corrects him.

“That could be!” Leland says.

Lucy calls for Harry.  While Harry goes back to the police cruiser, Leland asks Cooper if he’d like to see his new golf club.  Leland leads Cooper to the trunk of his car.  While he’s getting the club, Harry shouts that the One-Armed Man has been found.  Cooper looks away from Leland just as Leland sneaks up behind him with the golf club raised…

AGCK!

And yet, I have to admit that I laughed when I saw Leland about to bash the unsuspecting Cooper with that club.  It all comes down to Ray Wise’s brilliant performance as Leland/BOB.  Wise does such a good job of playing the role that we totally believe that he could successfully fool everyone in town.  We know that he was fully capable of killing Cooper at that moment but no one else would ever suspect such a thing to be true.  Even though everyone knows that he killed Jacques, everyone still thinks of him as being Leland Palmer, the somewhat goofy 1950s sitcom dad.

At the police station, Andy has recovered.  Gwen is talking to him about a time that she fainted in the produce section.  “People want terrible things to happen to you,” Gwen tells him, “I know.”  Meanwhile, Hawk leads the One-Armed Man through the police station.

In the interrogation room, Harry, Cooper, and Jerry watch as the One-Armed Man walks in a circle around Ben.  The One-Armed Man announces that “He’s been close but BOB is not here now!”  Jerry demands that Harry either charge Ben or let him go.  That may have been a mistake because Harry promptly steps forward and charges Ben with murdering Laura.

Cooper pulls Harry outside and says that they’re “saddling the horse before we’re ready to ride.”  Now, suddenly, Cooper thinks that Ben is innocent.  Harry tells Cooper that they can’t base the entire investigation on dreams and giants.  They need hard evidence and, what little evidence they have, all points to Ben Horne.

At the Great Northern, Vivian is eating dinner with Norma, Hank, and Ernie and critiquing all of the food.  OH MY GOD, could Vivian be M.T. Wentz!?  While Norma and Vivian excuse themselves to go to the ladies room, we discover that Hank and Ernie were in prison together.   Ernie used to be a gambler but he says that he’s “out of it” now.

That night, in his hotel room, Cooper talks into his tape recorder.  He says that Ben Horne is in custody and that the investigation is nearly done.  The trail, Cooper says, is narrowing but the last few steps are always the most difficult and dangerous.

Someone knocks on the door.  No surprise, it’s Audrey (Sherilyn Fenn).  She wants to come in and talk to the man who will be her new father figure if Ben is sent to prison.  Audrey asks if Cooper arrested her father.  Yep.  Did he do it?  That’s for a court to decide.  (Awww, Dale.  Your faith in the system is so touching, if misplaced.  Never change.)   Audrey says that all she ever wanted was for her father to love her and not be ashamed of her.

I watched that little scene with tears in my eyes, becoming so overcome with emotion that it was a bit of a relief when Cooper’s phone rang.  After answering it, a suddenly alarmed Cooper orders Audrey to go back to her room and lock the door.

At the waterfall, the police are in full force.  Maddy’s body, wrapped in plastic, has been found.

Between Ray Wise’s brilliant performance and that haunting final shot of Maddy, this episode left me exhausted.  As uneven as the second season was, this episode (and the one that preceded it) are as strong as anything seen during the first season.

 

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  15. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Leonard Wilson
  16. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.7 “Lonely Souls” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland

 

 

 

Karma’s a Bitch: THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME (RKO 1947)


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1947 was a peak year for film noir. There was BRUTE FORCE BORN TO KILL , DARK PASSAGE, KISS OF DEATH, THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI, OUT OF THE PAST, and NIGHTMARE ALLEY , to name but a few. THEY WON’T BELIEVE ME doesn’t get the notoriety of those I just mentioned, but it can hold its own with them all. This unheralded dark gem from the RKO noir factory boasts an outstanding cast, and a taut, twisted screenplay from hardboiled pulp writer Jonathan Latimer.

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Larry Ballantine’s on trial for the murder of his wife and his girlfriend. Larry’s a real cad, a lying and cheating weasel. He takes the stand and tells his side of the story, as the film goes into flashback to recount the sordid details. Larry’s stepping out on rich wife Greta with co-worker Janice, who gives him an ultimatum. She’s transferring to Montreal, and Larry…

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Happy Birthday Robert Mitchum: OUT OF THE PAST (RKO 1947)


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One of my favorite actors, the laconic, iconic Robert Mitchum was born August 6, 1917 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Rugged Robert had a wandering spirit, riding the rails in the days of the Depression, and even did time on a Georgia chain gang. Mitchum eventually ended up in California , and was bitten by the acting bug. After small roles in Laurel & Hardy comedies and Hopalong Cassidy oaters, Mitchum got noticed in a series of B-Westerns based on the novels of Zane Grey. His big break came as a tough sergeant in 1945’s THE STORY OF G.I. JOE, which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. But the role that made him a star was world-weary private eye Jeff Bailey in the film noir classic OUT OF THE PAST.

We meet Bailey running a gas station in the small town of Bridgeport, California (an homage to Mitchum’s hometown, perhaps?) He has a mute…

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