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08 June 2013 @ 09:22 pm
Review: The Devil's Sleep (p2 of 2)  
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Scene 37: It's sometime later when Dave arrives and Rosalind is upfront about Scalli's implied threat to tarnish her image. She shows Dave the picture that Scalli delivered into her hands.

She sums things up, but decides rather than drop the investigation into Scalli, she's willing to resign instead. Dave makes her promise to wait 48 hours, so that he can find the negative and destroy it, thereby stripping Scalli's power over her before she turns in her resignation.


Scene 38: Dave goes straight to Jerri's to talk to Bob about the party the night before. After the explanation, Dave explains the set up and the amount of trouble the picture is going to cause if they don't find the negative, including Judge Ballentine being forced to resign her office to avoid scandal.


Scene 39: In his office, Scalli is complimenting someone on the other end of the phone for being a smart girl. He informs her that he has a little present for her and to come over. I'm assuming it's the girl who slipped the pill box into Margie's purse.

There is a knock at his office door, which turns out to be Pug who tells Umberto that Bob Winters is there to see him. Bob introduces himself as a friend of Hal, a name that Scalli pretends he's not heard of before. Bob counters by telling Scalli that Hal told him to ask for Mr. Simmons if he wanted to pursue a business proposition and that Hal told him he should mention "Fred Smith". Scalli wonders what else this "Mr. Holmes" had to say.

Bob spins that Hal told him that Umberto was looking for employees in a field sales context. He admits that he knows all about "the goofies" too.

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At first Umberto believes that Bob is there as a plant and threatens him, but Bob plays it off as he just wanting to make some money and he didn't care what the detective or some judge thinks. But, if Scalli has somebody else for the position, then fine and he starts to walk away. Scalli unwisely stops him to talk about this opportunity further, instead of going with his first instincts.

Umberto agrees to give Bob a try, but after the kid leaves, he sends Pug to keep an eye on him and find out what his angle is -- whether he's legit, or trying to pull some sort of spy job.


Commentary: And, right about here, I'm starting to get bored. It's obvious that Umberto Scalli is a soft-handed criminal who isn't actually going to go ruthless on anyone. The entire pill scheme seems to have more possible holes than a strainer. Dave, instead of putting Bob at risk in such an obvious ploy considering who his future brother-in-law and possible future mother-in-law is going to be, should have just gotten a wire tap on Scalli's phone from Judge Ballentine. The man isn't all that careful about blabbing incriminating information over the telephone.

And, the entire Mr. America thing is obviously a red herring for the gimmick of having him in the movie, rather than actually having a plot specific reason for being there. I'm suspecting that he'll have a hero scene, probably against Pug but for playing up his inclusion in the film, he's been absent from it for quite a bit of the running time and has done basically nothing in the one scene he's been in.

The story isn't really bad, but like a lot of movies of this period it would probably make a much better 45 minute television episode than it is making a 72 minute movie. I guess I should be grateful that it isn't stretched to 90 minutes -- but a little death and mayhem could really have helped this thing out a lot.



Scene 40: Across town, Margie has dropped in on her mother's office. The Judge is in court and Margie plays with the intercom system while rifling through her mother's desk. She's talking to the desk sargeant, when her blood runs cold as she sees the picture that was taken of her at the party the night before. She cuts her jokey conversation with desk sargeant short to run out of the office in tears.


Scene 41: Over at Diana Health, Mr. America gets his ladies ready to have their butts worked off. Jerri walks in, and Mr. America calls her out for holding up the class. Jerri tries to explain she isn't in the group, but he cuts her off to tell her to hurry into her gym clothes so they can get started, which she then plays along with until he goes down the aisle of women and reaches her to find that he doesn't have her name on the list.

She explains that she was there to apply for a job, not as part of his class. He apologizes for the mix up and offers to see if Scalli is in the office.


Commentary: And, yeah... it probably was better that he wasn't given a larger role in things....


Scene 42: After the most self-conscious walk on the planet to the office door, George knocks to be let into Scalli's office where he had, once again, been meeting with Ruby.

Scalli invites George to show her in, no questions asked.


Commentary: Time wasted.


Scene 43: Back at home, Bob is calling for his sister only to find her not home. He finds a note from Jerri telling them both that they're not the only ones who can play detective, and she's gone to Scalli's office to find a way to locate the negative of the blackmail photo.

Bob is appalled and annoyed. He begins to phone the police precinct and ask for Dave, but Pug has somehow gotten ahead of him and is already in the house.

Pug comes up behind Bob with a blackjack....


Commentary: And, right here, they so need to have Bob killed ... but they won't.


Scene 44: In Scalli's office, Jerri explains that she's always wanted to work in a gym and that she knows she'd love to work... for him. The way she says it suggests that she's being flirty about it. Scalli invites her to fill out an employment form and then leaves the office for a moment.


Scene 45: In the outer office, Tony is manning the phone when he gets a call from Pug. We see that Bob is lying on the floor, unconscious. Pug reveals to Tony that Bob was definitely working with the cops, and that isn't all. He also found the crumpled note that Jerri left explaining what she's up to....


Scene 46: In Scalli's office, Jerri is clumsily going through Scalli's desk.


Scene 47: Meanwhile, George has seen enough around the gym to raise his suspicions about the honesty of his new employers. He's alone in the locker room, so takes advantage of the opportunity to twist a gym lock off the door with his bare hand to investigate. I believe this is probably Ruby's locker.

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He's unshocked to find the stash of illegal drugs being pushed on the frumpy housewives around the gym.


Scene 48: In the outer office, Tony has revealed what he just heard from Pug and Scalli realizes that "Ms. Summers" is actually Bob's scheming sister.

He resolves to get "Ms. Summers" out of there and then deny that she had ever made it, whatever her intentions.


Scene 49: Meanwhile, Jerri is still going through Scalli's desk as if not a care in the world that he could come strolling in at any minute. She finds the negative, but realizes that since she's in her shorts and bra, she has nowhere to hide it. She quickly shoves it back under the mat on the desk when Scalli and Tony return to his office and she's caught sitting at his desk.

Jerri realizes a bit late that her nascent career as an amateur spy was probably doomed from the start.

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Before he can strangle Jerri, George comes into the office. Seeing Jerri obviously menaced and with Tony immediately attempting to mandhandle him, our buff hero springs into action. Scalli tries to grab the gun in his desk, but Jerri distracts him by yanking at his arm and getting in the way, as George beats up Tony.

Jerri fails at that too, leaving George at gunpoint... at least until Tony pulls out his own blackjack and hits Mr. America over the head.


Commentary: Which pretty much shows you how fucking stupid it was to invite a name-star into a gym where illegal activity is happening and trying to keep it secret. Now, what is he going to do? Obviously, George is going to have to be eliminated along with Jerri, which is only going to draw even more scrutiny on Diana Health where all of the illegal activity is focused.

Scalli really should have kept with being a small time hood, running small time games.



Umberto sends Tony for rope. He doesn't immediately render Jerri unconscious with a blow to her head, nor does he choke her out. He's just not a very good ruthless criminal mastermind.


Scene 50: Meanwhile, back at the Judge's house, Margie comes in to find her mother reading. Mother and Daughter have to discuss the picture of a naked Margie at the party. Margie explains that she was given a drink and then everything goes kinda blurry about the rest of the night.

Judge points out that she's been preaching against children partying and trying to warn parents, and the whole time her daughter was one of the partiers. She blames herself for not being a better mother, being consumed with her career and all, but Margie tells her it's all her own fault for running around with a wild bunch, instead of being... uh... boring and locked in her room, I guess.

She starts to weep that she's embarrassed her mother by turning into a juvenile deliquent somewhere along the line. She rushes to her bedroom, thinking of the implications of her name being dragged through the mud when the picture comes out.

Judge looks after her sadly, but doesn't know how to respond.


Scene 51: In her bedroom, Margie throws herself on her bed. She grabs her purse, only to suddenly find the pills that bitch-faux!friend slipped in there.

Margie resolves to take a handful of the pills to do herself in.


Commentary: Which actually leads me to a question about what faux!friend was trying to accomplish. I figured she was going to call in an anonymous tip after Hal's arrest, and have the police find the pills on Margie destroying her mother's reputation on behalf of Scalli... but no. Apparently, she just felt the need to sneakily share happy-pills with Margie on the offchance she may want to take a handful of them later...?


Scene 52: We skip forward, and we're with Rosalind sitting at the hospital bed of Margie who was apparently caught. Weirdly, we get no scene with Bob or Dave being updated on this development.


Scene 53: Speaking of Margie's boyfriend, he's broken into Diana Health. And, no, it doesn't make any sense since Pug had knocked him out and he's a police snitch. You'd think he would have been made to disappear. This criminal empire is made of FAIL.

Bob hears voices from Scalli's office and looks through the peephole to see his sister and Mr. America being held under Tony's watch. He quickly slips out to go get help.


Scene 54: Apparently in the hospital, in a doctor's office, Dave is speaking to a medico. Apparently, Dave learned about Margie's near death on the car radio and rushed over. Not to speak to Rosalind, but to Margie's doctor. He tells Dave that Margie is in a coma, but that young people have remarkable rallying power, so she has some hope of recovery.

The doctor explains to Dave that Margie took a handful of one of the hypnotics. He laments the ease with which some people can get these powerful drugs.


Commentary: Wow, and we get a completely ham-handed and awkward plea to politicians to tighten regulation on dieting drugs, hypnotics and other "poisons".


This is interrupted by a police officer arriving to summon Dave with the call from Bob.


Scene 55: About this time, Scalli and henchman-who-is-not-Tony come back. Scalli reports that they're clearing out while the getting is good. Scalli turns his attention at to what will be happening with George and Jerri... which is nothing... since Bob had apparently went to round up a bunch of his friends to help save his sister.

There are general fisticuffs around the outer office as the kids try to overpower Tony and general mook-not-Tony. As this is going on (with mild humor thrown in where it really doesn't belong), the police arrive. They enter the office, where Scalli goes for his gun in his desk, but is stopped by Dave.

As the two engage in more fisticuffs, George uses his Mr. America powers to break free of the ropes holding him. He carries the bound Jerri to safety, as in the outer lobby the kids/police combo overpowers the mooks and while Scalli tries to make a run for it from the pursuing Dave.


Scene 56: Dave successfully beats the hell outta Umberto and everyone is gathered in the outer office. Everyone is arrested, including Ruby who was just hanging out in the back of the gym, I guess.


Scene 57: Later, at the Judge's, everyone goes through the wrap up. The gym has been turned over to the kids as a hangout. Oh, and the city council has come up with funds to turn the confiscated property of Scalli and Hal into a teen club. (OH, RIIIIIGHT)

Oh, and Margie has also recovered and been released from the hospital and is now free to pursue starting a dancing class at the new teen club.


Commentary: And, I'm deeply disappointed that we didn't get to see Mr. America in any fisticuff action against Pug. It seemed like such an obvious scene to have. In fact, Mr. America didn't get to do diddly-squat; Including even calling the police about the drugs he found, or to confront Scalli about allowing them in his gymnasium. Very disappointing with how pointless his inclusion turned out to be.


The Good: Well, there were some decent actors: William Thomason as Dave, Timothy Farrell as Umberto, Laura Travers as Jerri, Fred Smith as Tony, Jim Tyde as Bob, Stan Freed as Hal, and the actress whose name I couldn't find that played Tessie all did a good job.


The Bad: Having Mr. America of 1948 in your film and then doing nothing with him is criminal. He and Pug should have gone to blows in the finale.

Margie's role in this was really short-shrifted. She was the victim of a nude exposer, the cause of a blackmail plot against her mother, and an attempted suicide and yet it really amounted to very little on screen and was basically waved away with little impact on the story.

The ridiculous happy ending was just that.


Other Thoughts: There are several pointless scenes in this one to add to the running time and that causes just a slight pacing issue. There isn't really enough action or threat involved in the film to carry it for its 72 minutes. A death or two was really needed to make Scalli a dangerous presence in the film, and we just never get it.

The few comedy relief moments were weirdly used. They weren't overly painful, but they also weren't necessary or appropriate to the flick since there wasn't enough bad stuff going on to require some relief.

What in the hell was up with the sudden stop of the film to lecture about drug laws needing to be beefed up to stop people from overdosing on prescription meds??


The Score: There really wasn't much here to hold attention, but it was painless enough to watch. I think I have to give it slightly less than average for the lack of anything actually happening to anyone throughout the film.

2.75 out of 5


Next Review: BTVS, Season 9, Issue 5

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