The Young Avenger
Direction: Four out of five. Although we have some terrible hypnosis scenes which detract somewhat from viewing pleasure, and just show how primitive television production was in 1962, Hammond comes off very well, with lots of odd camera angles, a real sense of drama for the fights and perfect cutting. You could not ask for much more. Peter Hammond deserves his place at Number One on the Top Ten directors list.
Plot: Three out of ten. I am not really interested in the occult, but I find this a fair, and frightening portrayal of black magic. There are no real holes in the actual plot, but it is little complicated for a first time viewing, and it is odd how Cathy is working at the museum with no explanation at all.
Music: Three out of five. Although Dankworth cannot usually bring himself to put in different music from most other episodes, it all holds together well enough, and is unobtrusive, apart from the hypnosis scenes, where it really is nasty!
Wittiness: Three out of five. I would hardly call it wit, but the scene where One-Ten is drinking his beer is hilarious, as are Steed's efforts to become a palm reader!
Action: Three out of five. For about a minute, we actually have a good fight on film, even though it is implausible. We never actually see how Steed gets that great tear in his jacket, but we presume that the dog bites him, which means that this is a very violent episode as well. The fight inside between Steed and a thug as also rather nasty.
Introduction/Tag: Three out of five. The rave party at the start is rather overblown, but it really does get us involved in the story, and does not seem that dated either. The end tag is very funny, however, demonstrating just how safe boxing is, compared with fighting male witches!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. For once in the series, there is not one shot of either of the leads' flats. We see them in a pub and a museum, but never in either one's flat. This just shows how old the episode is, for it was in the first series that homes were officially banned. Steed drives a Triumph Herald, apparently, and the location filming is actually rather good. The sets are not particularly tacky, but did you see Gallion's mistake!
Overall Impression: This is such a haunting episode that I have great difficulty in criticising it. It is a bit wrong to transmit this one half way through the season, and there are a few stumbles in the production, which also explains why Steed looks like an absolute in the aftermath scene in the pub. Overall, though, this is about as good as the first Cathy season gets. I especially like the scene where Steed is tied up, it is so gritty and realistic that it reminds us of the shows origins. Another fine effort from Peter Hammond.
Rating: Nine out of ten.
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