Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wild Wild West--"The Night of the Falcon"

“The Night of the Falcon” is one of the more interesting episodes of the third season. For those who appreciate who appreciate the more James Bon-like elements of the series, this episode is about as close to a bond film as you will get. Granted, it descends into laughable campy elements towards the end--pictured above is, unfortunately, the doomsday weapon at the heart of the plot--but it is still an entertaining episode nonetheless.

I think it has the best teaser, bar none. The cavalry is clearing out a small Colorado town for reasons which are not yet clear, but everyone in the know keeps looking at their watches, anxiously awaiting the noon hour. When the hour arrives, so does an apparent missile attack which destroys the entire town.

The attack was a test run for a even bigger demonstration set for a few days later. The second attack will destroy Denver before a group of international criminals who will then bid on the weapon. The whole shebang is organized by the Falcon, a wonderfully megalomaniacal villain played by a young Robert Duvall. The story plays out in typical fashion for The Wild Wild West. Artie poses as one of the international criminals after he is killed. Jim eventually gets captured, but escapes. He and Artie wind up at the The Falcon’s secret lair I which they learn he has two of those bird cannons. One he will sell, the other he will keep to take over the United States. Our heroes fight it out with The Falcon’s goofily dressed minions. Ten the how place blows up.

“The Night of the Falcon” is an episode that must be seen to be believed. Dvall plays it completely straight, even when he is wearing a birdhouse. There are a couple really huge goofs. In one, Jim is nearly blown up while lying on a bed in is hotel room. He is wearing a shirt and pants. He jumps out of the window and onto his horse in order to pursue his attacker. Somewhere between the bed and the window, e put on his jacket. Somewhere between getting on his horse and making it to The Falcon’s lair, he put on a pair of chaps. Out of thin air, I assume. The second goof iswhen Jim knocks a uard out I order to escape his prison cell. Theactor apparently did not know he was supposed to stay down, because he gets up and slinks off screen an instant after he was "knocked out," but never stops Jim from escaping!

In spite of all this--maybe because of it--”The Night of the Falcon” is one of my favorite episodes.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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