I like to call the majority of the 1970’s “the dark ages” when it comes to the career of Canadian Icon William Shatner. He was in between stints as Captain James T. Kirk and while he never seemed to be out of work, many of the roles he undertook seem comical from our vantage point in review. Perhaps none more so than this role that cast him as a handsome widow chasing embezzler with murder on his twisted mind.
This thriller from director William Grefe begins with a black and white flashback that’s going to give our Shatner character some reasoning for the heinous crimes he’s going to commit in the next 87 minutes. While a young boy of about ten, we see that his mother is taking “johns” to earn her living. When a navy man gets a bit out of hand, young Shatner walks in and attempting to protect his mother kills the military man with a samurai sword.
Fast forward to the present toupee Bill is sporting circa 1974 in between gigs on Mannix and Police Woman.
Shatner is now to be found enjoying a front row seat watching a hip maneuvering belly dancer do her thing. After the show he meets her for a rendezvous but is spotted by a jealous blonde. When confronted we learn that he’s a “kept” man by a wealthy woman who’s tired of his philandering ways. In no time at all, Shatner seems to lose his sanity and strangles the woman, ditching her and her car in a convenient near by river.
Time to move on and find another woman of means that he can con into supporting him.
Sexy Shatner even gets lines like pointing out to a cute desk clerk, “You’re buzzers ringing.” in reference to the phones. She purrs back at our sexy Canuck, “You better believe it.” Sure enough, Shatner is bedding her in the next scene.
What Shatner really has on his mind is working his way into the lives of Jennifer Bishop and her aunt, Ruth Roman. There’s money to be found in Roman’s private safe and Bishop is hooked into believing Shatner can make her some big bucks on the stock market.
The biggest obstacle for our nutty version of Shatner is that Bishop has a nosy 10 year old daughter who doesn’t trust her Mother’s new beau and when she sees him kill old pal Harold Sakata in gruesome fashion, she begins to cry wolf to no avail. The pressure begins mounting on our loose cannon version of Shatner.
This time capsule makes for an interesting curio for fans of the legendary James T. Kirk. How about a rather soft looking Shatner in a striped muscle shirt? Yes we get treated to that look right along with the tousled toupee. It’s no secret that Mr. Shatner is a commonly used prop for imitators and comedians. Seeing him go over the edge on more than one occasion here almost comes across as Bill lampooning himself.
The outcome gets a bit gory in detail and if you didn’t see the end coming then you’re not the film connoisseur I took you to be.
This film is out on a budget label so shouldn’t be too tough to locate on DVD or perhaps even on line for the Shatner fan in all of us.