Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the cool spot on a hot night for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We hope we can make the rest of your evening enjoyable. Come on in out of the heat and listen to some cool music. There’s no cover charge tonight. There are still a few good tables left. Bring your own beverage.
BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.
The Cubs lost to the Nationals tonight, 5-4, despite two home runs by Ian Happ. A four-run fifth inning, where all four runs were unearned, did the Cubs in. Let’s not dwell on that. Or heck, dwell on it if you want to. I’m not going to tell you how to be a fan.
I normally don’t do this in this space, but because there is no Minor League Wrap on Monday, I do want to mention that Brennen Davis played his first game since undergoing back surgery. He’s been out since May 3. Davis had four at-bats in the Arizona Complex League and was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk as the DH. That’s not good, except the fact that he’s on the field is pretty good.
Last week I asked you who would be the Cubs shortstop next season, after a report from Ken Rosenthal that the Cubs will sign a big free agent shortstop over the winter. Anyway, 56 percent of you thought that Rosenthal was just wrong and that none of them will play for the Cubs next year. Among the actual players, Carlos Correa was in first place with 15 percent and Xander Bogaerts was close behind with 13 percent.
Here’s the part where I write about jazz and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Today would have been the 97th-birthday of the great Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. (Or at least it is when I’m writing this on Monday. You may be a day late in your wishes where you are.)
So to celebrate, I found this video of a powerhouse jazz trio headed by Peterson on piano, Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums. This appears to be from a show on Dutch television in 1965. At least that’s what it says on the video.
Tonight’s film is director Blake Edwards’ 1962 crime thriller Experiment in Terror. This was Edwards’ first film after directing Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which strikes me as odd. It’s as if Rob Reiner decided to follow up on When Harry Met Sally with RoboCop 2. But hey, give Edwards some credit for shifting between genres like that. In case you were wondering, Edwards next two films after Experiment in Terror were Days of Wine and Roses and The Pink Panther.
The fact that you’ve likely heard of those three films and probably haven’t heard of Experiment in Terror should probably be a clue that it’s not as good. It’s not. While the generally-accepted era to call something a film noir ends in 1959, I don’t think this film really even has the grittiness and moral ambiguity to call itself neo-noir. (The costuming, sure. That’s noir.) Glenn Ford plays a straight-arrow FBI agent who tries to catch a sadistic criminal who is threatening a bank teller (Lee Remick) into robbing the bank she works for. Ford, unlike the compromised cops in a noir, does everything by the book. When a witness says she won’t talk to him without her lawyer, he doesn’t even get mad, respecting her Constitutional rights. The whole thing felt more like a television program than a movie to me, a feeling that is only reinforced by supporting roles by Ross Martin (Wild, Wild West) and Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart).
Still, it came across as a good television program. The story held my interest. I started watching it before bed one night, only intending to watch half of it before going to sleep. But I ended up staying up past my bedtime and watching the whole thing in one sitting. Edwards does a great job of keeping the plot moving along and leaving you guessing what’s next. The villain (Martin), is kept in the shadows or with his face obscured from the camera through most of the first half of the film, so that keeps the audience off-balance for a while as well.
The film was also shot on location in San Francisco in 1961, which gives it some great scenery. Most importantly, from the point of view of all of you here, the final chase scene all takes place at Candlestick Park during a Giants/Dodgers game. There’s footage of Don Drysdale, John Roseboro, Wally Moon, Mike McCormick and others interspersed with scenes from the chase. I think there’s even a flash of Willie Mays in there. We don’t actually see the recently-departed Vin Scully, but his voice is heard describing the action as one scene takes us to the broadcast booth. It’s also of note to baseball fans that because it’s a night game at Candlestick, it’s completely believable that Martin is wrapped up in a heavy coat with a hood as he tries to force his way through the crowd as the game ends. So there’s a fun little piece of baseball history there as well.
The plot is simply that career criminal and multiple murderer “Red” Lynch (Martin), is threatening to kill Kelly Sherwood (Remnick) if she doesn’t steal $100,000 from the bank she works for. If she tries to go to the police, he says he’s going to kill her sister Toby (Powers). Against instructions, Kelly contacts the FBI and Glenn Ford’s Agent Ripley, who then works to try to save the lives of the two sisters and capture Lynch. The film bizarrely tries to humanize Lynch by giving him a girlfriend with a disabled son who needs an operation. That implies that he’s forcing Kelly to rob the bank to pay the kid’s medical bills. But it’s really hard to say “Yeah, he’s brutally killed maybe three people and is threatening to murder Lee Remnick and Stefanie Powers, but he’s not totally a bad guy because he’s doing it to pay a young boy’s medical expenses.”
There’s also a soundtrack from Edwards’ frequent collaborator Henry Mancini that keeps the suspense factor up. I can’t say that’s a big reason why I got sucked into this B-picture, but I can’t say that’s not a big reason I got sucked in either.
Experiment in Terror is never going to rank among the best films of Edwards, Ford or Remnick. It would probably work as a two-part story on a crime drama like The F.B.I. But Edwards really does a nice job of keeping the story moving and keeping the tension high. It’s too bad Glenn Ford didn’t have his own TV series later in his career where he tries to solve a semi-graphic murder or two each week.
Here’s a chase scene through the streets of San Francisco after Kelly (Remnick) accidentally got in the car with a man who is not threatening to kill her. She was supposed to get in a car with the man who was threatening to kill her and her sister.
Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and film.
Tonight I’m just going to judge the optimism of Cubs fans. Not for this year—we all know that the best the Cubs can hope for is a third-place finish and even that’s only because they play in the same division as the Reds and Pirates. No, I’m going to ask you about how the Cubs are going to do next season.
Obviously, you don’t know who is going to be playing for the Cubs next year. Owner Tom Ricketts has said that the Cubs are “in a position of strength in both player and financial currency” and that “We plan to be very active again this offseason competing in the free agent market.” Some of you are going to be excited by that. Others of you will sigh and say “heard that story before.”
But do you think the Cubs current players will improve enough and that they will bring in enough new players, either through the farm system, trades and free agency, for the Cubs to contend in 2023? Or will there be a lot more heartache at Wrigley for the near future?
This is not going to be an informed prediction. It’s going to be an instinctual guess from your gut. But tell us, how many games will the Cubs win in 2021? Regular season only.
How many games will the Cubs win in 2023?
This poll is closed
More than 90
81 to 90
71 to 80
70 or fewer
So glad you could come stop by for our little show tonight. We hope you were able to cool off a little and relax. Maybe you brought a nice little snack to enjoy with your beverage. Please let us know if we need to call a ride for you. Get home safely. Tell your friends about us. And join us again tomorrow night for another edition of BCB After Dark.