Season 1 Episode 14

The Terror from the East

Aired Saturday 8:30 PM Jan 07, 1961 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
6 votes

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Episode Summary

The Terror from the East
Reverend Wister, who has spent many years of service in China, is wounded in an apparent assassination attempt upon his return to San Francisco. He hires Checkmate to help him find a Chinese man of mystery, ostensibly to warn the man of an impending assassination attempt. The good reverend, however, proves to be a man of mystery himself.moreless

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  • Genteel Theatre

    Good grief, they actually got Charles Laughton to appear in this show! The reputation of this series at the time must've been phenomenal, considering the stars they were able to attract and the casts that they assembled; and yet the show seems to have more or less disappeared without a trace. Well, hopefully the DVD release will gradually be able to overcome that neglect. Anyway, Laughton is indeed marvelous in his role, garrulous and soft-spoken (and maybe even a little bit of course not quite what he seems to be at all at the end. Another one set in Chinatown that waxes a bit inscrutable from time to time. The story barely even exists really, but the whole thing is really just an excuse to grab a silo of popcorn and kick back and watch the guy with the face like an elephant's behind (as Laughton once described himself) work his magic. Better yet, wait for Sebastian Cabot to get onscreen with him for a stellar Duel of the Accents...another fabulous installment of Genteel Theatre. :)moreless
  • When Charles Laughton acted on television it was usually for the money, but in this episode of Checkmate he was truly able to do it for the love of it; and it shows.moreless

    When Charles Laughton appeared in this early sixties episode of CheckMate (Terror from the East) it provided him with an opportunity to travel both to Hong Kong and Japan; but it also provides the viewer with a rare opportunity to see an actor definitely in his element. This episode is filled with eastern courtesies and theatrical conceipts in which Laughton is able to immerse himself and come up with a most delicious characterization of an assassin masquerading as a missionary.

    In his latter years (CL died in late 1962) Charles was often guilty of accepting work simply for the money it brought in, and he would rarely engage his true depth of talent unless it really mattered to him. So... in Terror From The East we are treated to an ease and facility that we don't get to see again until his final film Advise and Consent in 1962. We also get the chance to see him delight in the art of the Chinese Opera as well as the art of Chinese cuisine. Without ever being overly obvious he builds a character at once believable, endearing, charming and of some depth... not bad for a t.v. series!

    If you get the opportunity to check it out, do yourself a favour and treat yourself to Laughton doing what he did so well.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


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