HONG KONG - Suitable for Framing -1961
A busy club crowd is sitting listening to a slow smoky voice singing, "If I'm Lucky". Rod Taylor wanders into the room and asks the manager how the night is going. The manager nods to the stage and smiles. Taylor heads for the bar and grabs a drink. The singer finishes her set and joins Taylor. The singer? The always hot and sultry Julie London. The pair talk for a moment and then head out to take in the rest of the night. So opens this episode from the series HONG KONG.
Rod Taylor headlines as a newsman who is stationed in Hong Kong. Taylor is constantly in trouble with various shady types who are always involving him in their troubles. It usually takes several rounds of fisticuffs, a dead body or two and a gun battle before things get settled.
Now back to the story. Taylor and London soon notice that they are being trailed by a man who is keeping to the shadows. Taylor sends London off in a cab and heads back to his apartment. The man follows and attempts to break in with a gun in hand. Taylor of course is waiting and quickly disarms the fellow with several stiff upper cuts.
The man (Richard Loo) is questioned by Taylor and soon gives up why he was following him. It seems that a story Taylor had done on an electronics importer, (Jason Evers) is the reason for Loo's visit. Taylor had exposed his behind-the-scenes deals with mainland China and Evers was not amused. He had hired Loo to warn him off.
Taylor of course heads off for a little payback. He bursts into Evers' place and is delivering a sound beating to the swine when the police put in an appearance. Taylor is hauled off for a night in jail. The next morning Lloyd Bochner, the local police inspector and a buddy of Taylor, has him released.
Bochner "suggests" that he stay away from Evers or that his next stay in jail might be longer. Taylor says "no problem" and heads back to his apartment. Hiding in Taylor's apartment is Richard Loo again--but with a bigger gun this time. Loo pours them each a drink and asks Taylor to just listen for a moment and then he will leave.
Of course the drink is drugged and down goes Taylor in a heap. He wakes up several hours later with a dented brass candlestick holder in his hand and the dead body of Evers on the floor. "What the hell?" Miss London then puts in an appearance and offers to help clear him with the police. Taylor has no intention of waiting for the cops and bolts out the door with London in tow.
Keeping one step ahead of the police, he manages to track down Loo. The only problem is he is not up to talking--someone has dropped him off a 12-story building. Searching through Loo's apartment he finds the name and address of Nestor Pavia, a wealthy local businessman.
A quick trip to the man's house ends up with another gun being shoved into Taylor's face. It turns out that Evers had been stepping out with Pavia's young bride and Pavia was not amused. Pavia knew of the feud between Evers and Taylor and thought Taylor was ripe for a frame. Pavia had hired Loo, a minor thug, to set up the play. He bumped off Loo to cover his own tracks.
Pavia's wife (Elen Willard) suddenly shows up with a piece of her own and plugs Pavia for killing her lover. Taylor is cleared and he is soon back in the arms of London. (Lucky guy!)
This one packs a lot of story into its runtime. This series plays out like a harder edged Peter Gunn.
The story is by Leo Rosten who worked on Walk East on Beacon, The Velvet Touch, The Dark Corner, All Through the Night, Sleep my Love.
The director was Stuart Rosenberg who did Brubaker, Pope of Grennwich Village, The Laughing Policeman, The Drowning Pool, Murder Inc. and Cool Hand Luke.
The D of P was Philip Lathrop who worked on The Driver, Breakfast at Tiffany's, They Shoot Horses don't They?, Pink Panther, Lonely are the Brave, The Cincinnati Kid, Hard Times and Point Blank. His TV work included 20-plus episodes of Peter Gunn.
A nifty little series that is full of noir story turns and twists. This one is a reworking of writer Rosten's own THE DARK CORNER.