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Fanfare for a Death Scene (1964): Pilot to Co-Pilot, We’re Goin’ Down in Flames…

Fanfare for a Death Scene (Leslie Stevens, 1964)

[note: review originally published 28Nov11]

photo credit:

The title sequence is actually pretty slick for a made-for-TV black-and-white program in ’64.

Originally a television pilot for a Stryker TV series, Leslie Stevens’ Fanfare for a Death Scene bombed—but has developed a small cult following over the years, mainly due to Stevens’ psychedelic approach to his tale (a standard spy-thriller yarn about a missing scientist) and the incredible cast he managed to assemble for it; Richard Egan, the male lead, was the only principal cast member who would not go on to some form or other of major fame (Burgess Meredith, Viveca Londfors, Tina Louise, Ed Asner, Telly Savalas, and the already-famous Khigh Deigh, Bill Frankenheimer’s favorite heavy, were represented from the acting world, and trumpeter Al Hirt also puts in an appearance). Looked at almost half a century later, it’s kind of interesting, and one can definitely see traces of it in later, more overtly counterculture spy flicks (The Girl in Gold Boots, Danger: Diabolik!, the Flint movies, etc.), but probably best left for spy-film buffs; you won’t really lose anything if you pass this one up. **

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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