Film Score Monthly
FSM HOME MESSAGE BOARD FSM CDs FSM ONLINE RESOURCES FUN STUFF ABOUT US  SEARCH FSM   
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 2:46 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



We beg to brilliantly differ: There is not - repeat NOT - an Equalizer film being made. Oh, there most
assuredly IS a movie with 'The Equalizer' (TMwink) in the works. However, as OUR favorite art history professor
use to emphasize: the difference is subtle but profound. Yes, one of the original co-creators, Michael
Sloan
, evidently is involved - but that's just about it.



NONE of those so magnificently responsible for the heart and soul SPIRIT which made "The Equalizer"
show stand out - then, now and always - is on board. Along with Executive Producer James McAdams,
I royally refer to Producer-Writer Coleman Luck - who not only penned the most scripts of anyone
(18) but also crafted what we regard as the greatest two-part (and all around) Equalizer episode of all,
"Blood and Wine".

Plus Director Alan Metzger (who helmed not only "Blood and Wine" but 17 others), which placed
him only slightly ahead of Richard Compton (14) and Russ Mayberry (13). Add on Stewart
Copeland's
thrilling equally unforgettable music and Geoffrey Erb's atmospheric camerawork.
Which can additionally include someone who'd found fame (not the musical or the show) previously
on "Miami Vice" and currently is red-hot due to his contributions to "24" - writer Joel Surnow.



A'course, this doesn't EVEN include the irreplaceable EDWARD WOODWARD.



Now, there are few instances of actor/character chemistry so sublime it renders any and all who attempt
to come after absolutely invisible: Connery's Bond, Shatner's Kirk and Nimoy's Spock all come
immediately to mind.

Woodward's Robert McCall is another. Yes, we gather he'd already impressively plowed similar
genre gardens with the still-heralded "Callan" and, from what little we've been able to glean of that earlier
English series, it's rather worthless comparing the two: apple and oranges, but still both beautiful fruit.

Over the course of "The Equalizer"'s run (1985-1989), Woodward carved more than just your
vigilante-revenge fantasy "hero" - thanks to the insightful, wonderfully complex (meaning GRAY, not
the insulting, black-and-white version usually fed to the undemanding American masses with their
McDonald's mentality and entertainment appetite) writing and Woodward's haunted, insightful,
compassionate, humorous yet focused and purposeful agenda, we were treated to a characterization
almost unknown in the annals of teevee (that it was airing during the same era of the equally landmark
"Hill Street Blues" is also no accident).

This was a series which gave new meaning to the word "mature", let alone that woefully misapplied concept
called "adult".

As we're all aware, McCall's most prominent relationship wasn't with his son (Scott) but Control:
his ally, friend and counter-conscience whenever McCall thought he had the 'answers' (only for Control to reveal
the former hadn't even gotten anywhere near approaching the correct questions).

Impressively underplayed with a marvelous mixture of knowing, pragmatism and an almost impish charm by



the superlative Robert Lansing, the characters of McCall and Control also displayed something
rather rare: of two men who actually loved, respected and supported each other without being either
overly macho and apologetic about their anchored affection (sans any sexual over- or under-tones: kinda
along the lines of the equally revolutionary relationship between Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin:
adventurous soulmates who never had any transitory romantic involvement).

When people wonder why Hollyweird ain't what it was (not that it EVER was "what it was"), this xerox-ophobia,
least-creative-common-denominator of raping and trying to revamp television shows for the digital dumpyard
is one reason why.

Now, the common snobbery of film buffs always tiresomely trotting out how allegedly "superior" movies are to other media is as wearisome as those neurotic nitwits who're so terminally insecure about their own tastes they never miss an opportunity to opine how film music can never hold a harmonic candle to its classical cousins.

Well, here's a flash for all of them - there ARE some things film can't do: and one of them
is match the unparalled opportunity television has to sculpt and design a depth and scope of character over a concentrated span of YEARS film rarely can.

Whether it's "Hill Street Blues" or "The Sopranos", only once in a while - say, with "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy - can movies match this aspect. As to that, even the original "Highlander" film (forget all the sequels) profoundly pales (IOurUnhO) before the richness and added allure "Highlander: The Series" was able to introduce and build upon over the course of its sublime six years.

One shudders to even envision what the mad movie makers will come up with in their endlessly perverse pandering to this society's equally unhealthy, idiotic and insane preoccupation with the dysfunctional Dorian Gray (eternal youth) syndrome.

We know, We know, We KNOW: it's not even cast yet, it's not out yet, we haven't seen it ... narf, narf, narf.

Contrary to that cliche, imitation ISN'T the most sincere form of flattery (usually only the most desperate). Where the film industry's concerned, it's a recipe to eventual oblivion (as all the upcoming alternate technologies in the future will attest).

But, whatever 'The Equalizer' movie is, it won't - and, sadly, CAN'T - retain what makes the show so richly unforgettable: and ultimately unmatchable.

To paraphrase that Stratford dude: "A rose by any other name CANNOT smell as sweet".

And if any series deserves a top-notch DVD release, this is it.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

agree, agree, agree

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 4:26 PM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

Yep neo, the same thing happened with The Dukes of Hazzard ! smile
Seriously though, I too loved The Equalizer series when it was shown in the UK back when.
The film will probably be just another expensive, dull shoot-em-up with zero characterisation and style which will pander to the (easily pleased) masses.
I remember a comedy spoof on a UK show wherein someone doing a great imitation of Woodward would just shout (really sternly) at the bad guys to make them stop doing bad things.
Can anyone remember who did this parody and on what show?

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 4:38 PM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

To paraphrase that Stratford dude: "A rose by any other name CANNOT smell as sweet".

Of course it can; what you really mean is that calling a geranium a rose won't make it smell like a rose.

I'd also like to point out that a significant measure of credit for what made The Equalizer as good as it was belongs to my friends, the writer-producers Tom Towler and Gail Morgan Hickman.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 4:54 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

To paraphrase that Stratford dude: "A rose by any other name CANNOT smell as sweet".

Of course it can; what you really mean is that calling a geranium a rose won't make it smell like a rose.

I'd also like to point out that a significant measure of credit for what made The Equalizer as good as it was belongs to my friends, the writer-producers Tom Towler and Gail Morgan Hickman.


OK then Mark; enthusiastic thumbs-up for Tom and Gail!!!!!!!!!!!

The Equalizer was a joy to watch and is sorely missed by me...I used to watch my ratty old VHS taped versions until they got too snowy and worn.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 4:58 PM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

It is about time that Universal put the series on DVD.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 4:59 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

It is about time that Universal put the series on DVD.

From your fingertips to Universal's Board Room.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 21, 2006 - 5:43 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

My intention wasn't to slight or disminish in any way the other creative individuals in the series, and their 3rd season influence upheld the groundwork laid in the previous two. While some criticized the show's final year as being too self-consciously "topical", I never subscribed to that thesis for a second, and those involved can continue to hold their heads high.

As to that, although Coleman Luck has gone on record attesting to the many production problems afflicting the series in the final year (a crippling writers strike at the beginning, for significant starters) I believe the integrity of the show was maintained in spite - and despite - all this.

So I would send consummate compliments to all (and will delve even more deeply in the book I'm planning on the series) ...

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 12:58 AM   
 By:   The_Mark_of_Score-O   (Member)

Of course, it should be said that the basic concept was borrowed (to be polite about it) from Have Gun, Will Travel.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 22, 2006 - 10:22 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

Why be polite when there's scant room for disputing the fact very few concepts (artistic or otherwise) are totally original anyway, no?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2007 - 12:41 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

And now the Universal announcement - plus Dragon53's confirmation - we'll finally have the First Season February 12th of 2008.

Wot a wunnerful Noo Yeer's present (past and future)!

It's a good day, indeed - and, above all, In Deed.

Right, Sis? ... smile

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2007 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Donna   (Member)

You bet, neo!

I'm going to see if I can pre-order over at Amazon.

Merry Christmas to me!!!

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2007 - 1:54 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

You bet, neo!

I'm going to see if I can pre-order over at Amazon.

Merry Christmas to me!!!


US, m'dear, US.



And let us know about the possibility of pre-orders, won'tcha? You and yours'll be McCall's guest at his pub for holiday cheer ... wink

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2007 - 2:16 PM   
 By:   Disco Stu   (Member)

You forget one important aspect in naming what made the series what it is: the decade it was made in. It is very popular and even demanded that the 80's are ridiculed in a (totally failed) attempt to pass for an intellectual or someone with "taste".
Although I was not that much of a fan of the "Equalizer" but an avid fan of and preferring the "Night heat" series I see the visual similarities between the series. The hazy 80's all video, the lighting, the set design.

I wouldn't want to hear of someone even contemplating those great 80's series (Knightrider, Airwolf, Night heat, Equalizer) there are only two flavours available in this piss poor decade:
1) self important smug pretentiousness (24, sopranos, lost and all the other "cult" bilge)
2) "Aren't we all aware how camp this cheezy stuff is and aren't we so much more sophisticated nowadays that it only can be camped up" (Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch)

Say what you will about Pam Anderson but on the "Jonathan Ross show" she very accurately motivated that she wouldn't want to be in a movie version of "Baywatch" stating that it would become a film that didn't respect the source material and wouldn't even be good in being a parody. She mentioned the Angels and Hutch examples in the process. Spot on Pam!

I'm really not interested in an "really actual" approach and very contemporary "realistic" slant on the story. No Middle East baddies, no international terror, no corrupt government stuff, no thank you. "The equalizer" was like a 80's American version of the "Prisoner" and like the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." to "The avengers" it was superior as it made more sense and didn't try to be too clever for its own good.
I also don't want to look at yet another film with yet more covert smart arsses dressed in gray and black in a picture that is bled of all colour and consecutively been treated to a urinetreatment to get this piss stained yelow hue over the image. All dressed in that suck awful 00's "fashion" and having those equally suck awful 00's hairdos.

As for "instances of actor/character chemistry so sublime it renders any and all who attempt to come after absolutely invisible": "Kolchak", "Starsky & Hutch", "Knightrider", "Airwolf", "60's Batman", "Man from U.N.C.L.E.".

Oh and another thing. If the "Equalizer" were to be retreated today the soundtrack would most probably be all heavy metal in a totally pathetically contrived and failed attempt to convey how much of a anti establishment and skeptical film it is and how smart and intelligent the viewers of the film are.

Many things are to be left alone. "The equalizer" is one of them.

Kind regards.

D.S.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 30, 2007 - 3:08 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

"Respecting the source material" is precisely WHY all those insulting and ridiculous retreads - from I SPY to THE AVENGERS and most everything else - suck so spectacularly, thus Ms. Anderson has an incredibly anchored point.

What THE EQUALIZER had, and no film can equal, was the time and space to sculpt a specific vision that went far beyond the lazy 'vigilante' nonsense appearing when it first aired. Aside from the foundational fact it had the terrific temerity to cast a mature actor - not 'personality' or 'star' - who radiated profound presence and charismatic chemistry from the character, not any cartoon-ish situations.

[ Surely it's hardly an accident no less a luminary than Olivier himself proclaimed Edward Woodward "the best actor in England". ]

And yer absolutely right-o, D.S.:



"Many things are to be left alone. 'The equalizer' is one of them".



As Stan the Man useta say: 'Nuff Said! ...

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 31, 2007 - 8:16 AM   
 By:   Tom Barnaby   (Member)

I always remember Edward Woodward being another series. Callan.
http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/callan.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDdSWjpPJDg

And then there is this, which we don't talk about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HZRnivzevA

 
 Posted:   Oct 31, 2007 - 4:21 PM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

I always remember Edward Woodward being another series. Callan.
http://www.televisionheaven.co.uk/callan.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDdSWjpPJDg

And then there is this, which we don't talk about.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HZRnivzevA


I've managed to get most of the surviving Callan episodes on DVD. A contender for the best drama series ever; and Woodward is impossibly good in it. And who can forget Russell Hunter as Lonely? Suspend your disbelief of the stagey sets and videotape look and just enjoy the performances. I like to see Callan's habitual unsurety disappear when it absolutely has to; the way he upstages the younger, smoother contenders to his position; his sometime ruthlessness (such as threatening to throw scalding coffee in the face of a woman who won't tell him where her nephew is) and the way he has of making his superiors conform to his ideas of how things should be done.

The Equalizer was pretty good too, though I didn't like the preachiness of the last series when it became more like the Moralizer. Superb title theme (and visuals).

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 31, 2007 - 6:33 PM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

You have a valid point, Jeh, re the fourth and final year of "The Moralizer" (nifty); it was considerably at odds with the previous three as the tone wasn't at all what the audience had come to expect (there was one on gun control, prejudice against the deaf, exploitation of the homeless, etc. Not that anything was necessarily askance about their inclusion except the "statements" were far from subtle, and frequently stopped the segments cold).

We've seen snippets of



and would love to acquire the entire run (we know isolated segments and movies are available; any hint on where to go or how to obtain them?).

There's a funny story about a fan making Woodward laugh out loud by suggesting Callan eventually was so disenchanted he finally left England, disappeared for a radical sabbatical, then resurrected himself by turning up as Robert McCall in New York! ... wink

 
 Posted:   Dec 23, 2007 - 8:44 AM   
 By:   Jehannum   (Member)

Callan looks difficult to obtain these days. UK Amazon is listing it as 'unavailable'. It's now time for a rewatch over the Christmas and new year holiday for me. The black and white episodes are even harder to get, since they haven't been released legitimately, but eBay can be your friend.

I am very much looking forward to The Equalizer release for 2008.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 18, 2008 - 10:50 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)

As we're less than a month away from the eagerly-awaited release of



we patiently thought we'd impatiently get the jump on it by reintroducing the series' guest-stars as they appear (and an incredible array they are, too).

1. The Pilot.

Control: "You are the most dangerous man I know."



McCall: "Now you keep that thought."

William Zabka as son Scott.



Steven Williams as Lt. Jefferson, McCall’s contact inside the police force.



Jerry Stiller as Brahms, who gave McCall the deadly nickname from whence the show takes its title.



And, of course, Robert Lansing as Control.



Plus Patricia Kalember



(not only was she McCall’s first client,







she also appears later in the series as a VER-ry serious love interest) wink

 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.