I finally shelled out the money for the long-awaited video of "Intercrime"—camera, cameraman and all.
This is one of the best Cathy Gale episodes. Even the black-and-white is compelling, and it is right out of the "noir" films. Perhaps color would have taken something from it.
The entire idea of a white Anglo-Saxon mafia is intriguing, albeit done before. Intercrime itself should have come back in future episodes, and not merely in that cut-and-paste job of the Tara King years (ugh!). Some formidable villains could have emerged from Intercrime, the way THRUSH thugs repeatedly did in The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
"F" and Company all turn in strong performances. Strongest of all, however, is Hilda Stern—tee totaling (like another German), ruthless (the way she strangles the prison matron and then grabs eagerly for the gun in the test to determine the real Hilda), and a powerful personality. One could easily picture her in a future story going mano a mano with Mrs. Peel.
I will agree that the plot and concept of substituting an agent to pose as Hilda is a familiar one, and the viewer knew early on Cathy would be exposed. It would have been more exciting to see her, once revealed as a spy, to try to take on the criminals rather than submit to being bound and gagged without a fight. But the fights were surprisingly well-choreographed: Steed's battles are among the more thrilling of this or the Peel era, and the last showdown between Hilda and Cathy is worthy of many of the Peel fights.
I would give this one an "A" and only wish a sequel could have been made. Perhaps a film reuniting Steed and Mrs. Gale might deal with an Intercrime revival.
The Avenged?: Robbers who kill each other. Taking self-regulation a little too far?
Diabolical Masterminds?: A crime syndicate with a labour relations problem — running out of men as they keep shooting their employees for acting on their own behalf. No wonder they have to draft in more from the overseas branches! They also don't know what any of the other branches' staff look like (recognizing them only by the rings they wear). Anyone see an exploitable flaw there?
The Avengers?: Cathy is asked to shoot a man in cold blood to prove she's the assassin Hilda Stern. (She might as well have tried firing a shot straight past the man to see if the gun was loaded, even if she intended to turn it on her accusers.)
Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: "Now, that's what I call a very attractive young lady." Steed describes himself to Pamela Johnson as her "guardian angel." Angela Browne in her first (but luckily not her last) Avengers role, probably one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her back-combed hair is tragic, though.
Bizarre?: A glorious lingering mid-shot of an ABC video camera and its operator swinging past the open door to Felder's office. Cathy's escape from prison is effected by a uniform smuggled in the pillowcase, and keys in the cocoa. Later, Hilda Stern also escapes, merely by strangling a wardress in her cell. What, did she just stroll out?
The Avengers Dossier (Cornell, Day and Topping) inexplicably states that this episode ends with Steed in jail for being a suspected member of Intercrime. In fact, it ends in Steed's flat with him and Mrs Gale wondering what to do with the large batch of rifles he's purchased "in an expansive moment" from Intercrime's front company. Cornell & Co also proclaim "uniformed policeman alert! uniformed policeman alert!" when there are none, only prison wardresses and Lobb in a fake motorcycle guard uniform.
Nice idea to have an "anti-Interpol", and Cathy being confronted by the assassin she impersonates. It's a rather straightforward idea, but really only worthy of a 30-minute police series episode. The most elaborate set is the prison corridor, seen for about five seconds! Two bowlers.
Plot: Poor. We never received a full explanation of what Intercrime was. I know it was something about international thieves, but I'm still lost.
Humour: OK. A few good moments, but nothing memorable.
Direction: Good. I liked the sweeping shot around Ms. Johnson.
Acting: Good. Julia Arnall did well, and it was nice to see Kenneth J. Warren again. Honor gave an excellent performance as Cathy as Hilda, with her German accent.
Tag: Poor. We could have used this waste of time to explain what Intercrime was.
Miscellaneous: I heard two mysterious pops in this episode; I first though it was champagne being opened, but apparently it was just another side affect of the low production values. I loved the part where Arnall forgot to close the door and we got a great peek into the secret world that lies behind The Avengers. There was a lot of dreary and unnecessary dialogue in this episode, namely in the Intercrime offices.
Overall Rating: 4/10
By sheer chance, "Intercrime" was the first Cathy Gale episode I saw. I was well aware that compared to the Emma Peel and Tara King episodes I'd seen previously, Cathy Gale episodes were much less technically proficient. Even so, it came as an unpleasant shock to me. There was none of The Avengers feel that I was familiar with. The first half of the episode proceeded, as Emma Peel might have put it, "at the pace of an infirm, gravely debilitated, very old snail." The second half was better, but not enough for me to actually enjoy it. The episode takes an inordinately long time to set up the situation, almost completely lacks humour and has deficiencies in acting and production caused by the ridiculously tight schedule and budget they were working with. Actually, my favourite bit was the incredible blooper where the camera is clearly visible behind the open door.
If this was supposed to be one of the better Cathy Gale episodes, it made me wonder if I would like them at all. Fortunately, the next episode I saw was the one I should have started with, "Mr Teddy Bear."
materials copyrighted per their respective copyright holders.