Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kraft Suspense Theatre; That He Should Weep For Her; Milton Berle; Carol Lawrence; Hamlet; Alejandro Rey

Click here for the previous episode review.

Season #2, Episode #4

That He Should Weep for Her

Original Air Date:  November 6, 1964 (unlike previous and subsequent episodes, this episode appears to have aired on a Friday instead of Thursday).

Setting/Time: A small California town near the Mexican border in the present.

Plot/Review/Discussion -

This episode is fairly typical of many KST episodes.  It features one or more major stars, takes place in a small town and focuses more on resolution of personal conflict than action or adventure. 

Milton Berle plays a middle aged jeweler (Sam Morris) who is fair (but firm) with his customers.  One night his store is robbed by two masked men from the Hispanic part of town.  Morris' assistant tries to fight the robbers while Morris pleads, "Give him the money!"  Morris retrieves a gun and, in a near panic, shoots to protect his assistant. He ends up killing the younger of the two robbers.  The other robber escapes. 

The major conflict revolves not around finding the robber.  The audience knows who it is (even though the other characters do not).  The conflict occurs between Morris and the dead robber's sister (Marta).  Morris is plagued by guilt for the death of the robber, while Marta is angry and bitter at Morris for shooting her brother.  Morris spends much of the episode trying to express his remorse to Marta, while Marta tries to punish Morris with her anger. 

They begin to talk and see each other more often while continuing the fight over what happened. (I am simplifying the description to avoid plot spoilers.)  Gradually Marta's anger subsides and she and Morris become close.  In addition to the tragic circumstances of how they met, Morris wrestles with the age difference between the two.

The Morris-Marta relationship is more plausible than I am making it sound.  It takes a great deal of subtlety to depict a relationship the way the writers depicted this relationship over the course of one show.  Modern shows would not be content with showing a mere relationship such as the one that evolved between Morris and Marta.  Modern writers would feel compelled to add intrigue, mystery and implausible complications.  In doing so, they water down the main story and the fictional relationship suffers.  There was a time when one simple story was enough for one episode.  Such a story, if subtle and deep enough, would be thought provoking and satisfying to the viewer.  But when too much is added, the whole product becomes superficial.  Sometimes, less is more.

Marta's friend Juano is the surviving robber (unknown to Marta).  He was older than Marta's brother and was supposed to look out for the brother while Marta was living out of town.  Juano cannot tell Marta the truth.  He remains quiet while Marta rages about the unknown man that led her brother to join the robbery. Juano becomes angry as Morris and Marta grow closer together. 

The plot proceeds to the final conflict as Morris and Marta work out their situation while Juano interferes and acts as the catalyst for the story's resolution.

The writer is Irv Pearlberg, whose writing credits include episode 1.25 and many police and law stories.  Even though the background for this story involves a crime, the main focus is on the relationship between Marta and Morris.  The crime is only a tool to get to the real story.  The same was true of episode 1.25

The title comes from Hamlet, and it contains the implicit question that the episode tries to answer.  What is Marta to Morris that he should be sympathetic to her situation and her grief?  Morris spends most of the episode asking that question.  The ultimate answer and the plot resolution is credible. 


At one point, the viewer can spot a 1964 Dodge on the street.  I am not sure of the make, because the Dodge is difficult to distinguish from the 1964 Plymouth.  Juano drives a 1955 Ford.  (This follows one of the lessons from 1.15).  Morris drives what looks like a 1961 Ford Galaxie. 


Milton Berle played Morris.  It is unusual to see him in a dramatic role, but he had more than a few of those in his career. 

Carol Lawrence played Marta.  She had recently achieved stardom on Broadway in West Side Story.  At the time this episode aired, she was married to KST actor Robert Goulet.  Her acting/broadway career continues at this time.  Her acting credits include multiple roles on KST spinoff Run For Your Life.

Alejandro Rey played Juano.  His most famous role was as a regular on The Flying Nun in the late 1960's. 

Berkeley Harris played a friend of Juano whose interference advanced the plot to its resolution. This episode was his third appearance on KST.

Norman Leavitt played a farmer buying jewelry at Morris' store.  Leavitt's transaction established Morris' fairness as a businessman.  Leavitt was playing in the second of his three KST episodes. 

1 comment:

  1. A well made, essentially dramatic episode with some suspense, it's mostly character studies, and good ones; and some of them linger in one's mind after the episode ends, such as the Iago-like Pike, excellently portrayed by Berkeley Harris, who gets of scot-free (he wasn't involved in any crime but he caused a heap of trouble.

    Milton Berle showed his acting chops as Sam Morris, though the script might have worker better if he had come off as more of a businessman than the empathic philanthropist he often comes across as.after he killed a teenage boy in a robbery whom he could not have known was a teen, only a robber. Carol Lawrence's performance as the self-righteous sister of the boy irritated me. Alejandro Rey, as her soon to be former boyfriend and the man behind the robbery gives the best and most sympathetic performance in the episode event though he's the neatest is has to an actual villain! A good drama if not particularly thought provoking.