And we’re slummin’ on Poverty Row, Hollywood again. This time we’ll be sampling one of the low-budget efforts of Republic Pictures.
Tonight’s delight is a forgettable little wisecracking-detective saga from 1946; The Inner Circle. The title has nothing to do with the flick…but it is fun to say out loud in your best funereal voice. There are interesting performances by Ricardo Cortez, William Frawley (the definitive Fred Mertz, Lucy & Ricky’s neighbor), and the almost delightful Adele Mara.
But what makes the film worth watching is Will Wright.
WARNING: a geezer moment is about to ensue.
Will Wright is one of those faces that haunts my TV-watching childhood. To me, his career sounds like a dream. In the movies he worked with Tracy & Hepburn in Adam’s Rib (1949), Peck & Mitchum in Cape Fear (1962), Powell & Loy in Shadow of the Thin Man (1941), and Brando in The Wild One (1953). That should be enough for anyone, but then there’s his television resume. Mr. Wright was in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Perry Mason, The Real McCoys, Rawhide, 77 Sunset Strip, Leave It to Beaver, Cheyenne, Sugarfoot, Maverick, Father Knows Best, I Love Lucy, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Animal stars flocked to him in Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, Mister Ed, and Fury (“The story of a horse and the boy who loved him.”- you can also say that in your best funereal voice). He portayed town skinflint Ben Weaver in several episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, including a Christmas episode that pretty well shattered my pre-teen heart.
Mr. Wright was born old, was often mean, but seemed always ripe for redemption.
…ripe for redemption…
Maybe that’s what’s missing in some of our elected leaders these days. I fear they’ve drifted far from being ripe for redemption.
Maybe we could use an actor like Will Wright for these troubled times.