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Saturday, November 21, 2009

WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN (1959)

Budd Schulberg’s tale of Hollywood skullduggery (naturally it’s all about a credit swiping studio exec) never got the big screen treatment, but came to the small screen as a 2-part color spectacular which only survives as a b&w kinescope. Don’t worry, the crummy picture quality just adds period patina to the once shiny production. Larry Blyden is remarkably effective as the mother-of-all machers, Sammy Glick*, while John Forsythe, Dina Merrill, Barbara Rush & Norman Fell have medium luck turning Schulberg’s dramatic ciphers into believable characters. Sidney Blackmer, as the grandiloquently clueless East Coast owner, does considerably better, anticipating the likes of Rupert Murdock & Sumner Redstone long before their reigns. It’s sobering to note that Glick, who’s not a bit overdrawn to those who’ve worked inside studio gates (Glicks to the right; Glicks to the left) is no longer held up as a cautionary type, but as a role model.

*Amazingly, he was currently on B’way starring as Sammy Fong in FLOWER DRUM SONG.

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