Monday, August 8, 2016

Sound the triumpets: it's William Shatner as Alexander the Great!

This is an unsold TV pilot from 1968. Took me A LONG time to find it on a free movie site. It has elements of greatness, as well as a side of cheese from Shatner's Desilu days. (More about Desilu-related issues in the next post!). The show boasts a strangely eclectic cast, from John Cassevetes (moody dark dramas, mostly) to Joseph Cotten (good journeyman actor meant to add credibility) to none other than Batman himself, Adam West.

It's worth seeing for the horsemanship alone. Shatner did all his own riding, a fact which makes more sense in light of the fact that at age 85, he STILL does all his own riding, competing at Saddlebred competitions all over the place. He's not exactly lean any more, but he does it. He's a natural horseman, and to see him thundering along bareback (no stirrups in Al's day!) with no bounce at all, as still as a feather on the horse's back. . . it's a sight to be seen.

The rest is pretty OK, though it's definitely a product of its time. Too bad it didn't make it, as this was the era - between Star Trek and T. J. Hooker, when Shatner was once again a star - that he had to live out of the back of his truck, with only the occasional Loblaws commercial to relieve the drought. But Shatner always had the ability to keep on keeping on, to be a working actor. Nowadays he does anything he wants - including riding horses.

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