Friday, March 27, 2015

Murder on Stage 17 (1977)

This is my entry for Carissa's Jeff Goldblum blog fest.  Click here to view the links to the other entries!

Originally I was going to write about his character in The Grand Budapest Hotel, cuz I'm a sucker for honest characters with integrity, who do the right thing regardless of risk and clear danger... but time slipped away from me.  I did, however, have time to re-watch a second season episode from one of my favorite television series, the 1970's television show, Starsky & Hutch, an ep called "Murder on Stage 17," which guest stars a ridiculously young Jeff Goldblum. How young?

This young!

This episode is not a fabulous episode, but that doesn't mean it isn't a lot of fun.  Because this ep is about making movies, specifically about making a Western!  And I love Westerns.

The basic plot of this second season episode concerns, as the title indicates, a murder on the movie set.  Starsky and Hutch go undercover as stuntmen (!) on a Western movie, to 1) keep the lead actor (Steve Hansen, played by Rory Calhoun) from being the next murder victim, and 2) catch the killer. This is highly improbable, but we just grin and go with it, as what makes this episode so fun is watching them deal with being thrown headfirst (literally) into the movie-making world. They also get to wear cheesy bad-movie Western costumes and be complete dorks. 

("We're not out of our element here, not at all.")

Their first experience on the movie set is participating in a staged fight.  However, when the real stunt guys decide these newbies are idiots and decide not to pull their punches, they get a bit more than they bargained for, not knowing the two are actually cops with plenty of street-fighting experience.  The director of the film, Harry Markham (Jeff Goldblum), thinks it's great and keeps that scene in the film.  Naturally.  Who wouldn't?

Goldblum doesn't get all that much to do, other than watch things intently (when is Goldblum not watching something intently?) and yell "action" and "cut."

 (Markham watching the fight intently)

He's also apparently convinced that the top buttons of his shirt are evil and should never be touched or fastened.  Ever.

 (and I mean ever)

Markham decides to give Hutch a bit part in the film, with one line to say, but Hutch gets stage fright so badly he can't remember his one sentence and louses the whole thing up.  But the scene gives Goldblum more dialogue and screen time, as he tries to get the performance he unfathomably thinks Hutch can give him...

(Markham directing Hutch... intently, of course)

Starsky gets his solo filming moment standing in for Hansen and getting "knocked out" with a chair in a bar room, and Markham is closely overseeing everything, so more screen time!

Then the bad guy guy makes his play, and Hansen is forced to walk alone down the middle of the backlot Western Street, in a classic walk towards a waiting bad guy.  Except Hansen has Starsky and Hutch shadowing him, so of course, they stop the bad guy (not before he does a bit of damage), and all ends well.


Melissa Amateis said...

Jeff Goldblum was SO HANDSOME! Well, he still is with gray hair, but when he was young...wowsers!

Carissa (Regency Woman) said...

I can honestly say that I have never seen a single episode of Starsky and Hutch, but it looks like fun. And that's hilarious about Goldblum's shirts!

Thanks for participating in the Fest!

Charity said...


DKoren said...

Careful! I got hooked on Starsky & Hutch after only a couple episodes, and then had to watch the entire series, which at the time, was in re-runs on television (I still have the original video tapes that were programmed to tape the eps while I was at work LOL!). :-D It's still one of my top 5 favorite tv shows of all time. This is also the only cop show I've ever liked. And that's almost all because of how awesome Starsky and Hutch themselves are, as partners and best friends. The episodes run the gamut from light and rather silly, like this ep, to deadly serious, to tragic, to just straight-forward serious... but there's always humor because of the two leads. They have one of the best friendships in a television show, ever.

It was quite fun watching this ep again for Goldblum! I'm really enjoying the other posts as well.

DKoren said...

He's a striking fellow, that's for sure! :-D

DKoren said...

Thin as a rail, isn't he?

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

And when I got to the part about his shirt buttons being evil, I busted up and read that part like 14 times, chortling aloud. This looks like such a fun ep! I'll have to watch it sometime. I did very much enjoy the other S&H eps you showed me long ago.

DKoren said...

Hee. You would get a kick out of this episode, cuz of the whole filming-a-Western thing.

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