|George Peppard has his hands full; good thing he apparently has six of them!|
|Dig that far-out groovy Peter Max-style poster, man!|
|The many faces of Barnaby Shaw & pals|
|It takes more than guns and Orson Welles as El Exigente to make Reno lose his cool!|
Soon we viewers are catapulted from DuMaurier Land to Robert Ludlum Lite as the chateau’s occupants turn out to be not just any old Eurotrash stuffed shirts, but actually part of a Fascist group led by the powerful Leschenhaut, played by Orson Welles at his haughty and sinister best. Seems that Papa wanted his little man to be brought up as a Hitler youth! Before you can say “Alfred Hitchcock sent me,” Paul is kidnapped, Reno is framed for murder, and he and Anne (who’s not overjoyed about bodyguard Reno dropping the ball with her child; as a mother myself, I’m on Anne’s side!) are chasing and being chased all over Paris and Rome trying to save Paul and the world from these dastardly so-and-so’s. House of Cards was adapted from renowned mystery author Stanley Ellin’s 1967 novel, and set in opulent locations including the Colosseum and all manner of manors all over France. True, some of the plot twists in James P. Bonner’s screenplay (actually a nom de plume for the screenwriting team of Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., who brought us Hud, Hombre, The Cowboys, and Norma Rae, among others) stretch credibility to the breaking point (especially Dr. Morillon’s true identity). Also, some of the more attention-grabbing stuff is never explained, although I’m willing to blame some of that on TBS editing the version I saw on TV (besides, sponsors have to squeeze in commercials; they have to eat, too, I guess). Despite these quibbles, HoC still manages to be entertaining. When I first saw it on TV in my younger days, I found Francis Lai’s score to be a little syrupy for my taste, but it’s grown on me over the years. George Peppard, in his prime, was well-cast as a cynical rogue, with his all-American good looks, hard-boiled flippancy, and breezy charm. He cracked me up whenever he improvised outlandish excuses to authority figures, like in the Fountain of Trevi scene and this sexy sequence with leading lady Inger Stevens:
|"Reno, thank goodness you're here! This is the stuffiest family reunion ever!"|
A smorgasbord of George Peppard scenes (with and without Inger Stevens) for your viewing pleasure!
|In any language, House of Cards is good fun if you can find it!|