Death of a Great Dane
Being more familiar with the remake, I was wondering what the original was like. It's not one that I pay much attention to, but I do like "The £50,000 Breakfast." The story does seem to suite Cathy better than Emma.
The episode does suffer from bad sound, probably the worst that I've heard (or not heard, if you get what I mean). It seems to be one scene in particular where the actors are totally inaudible, the scene where Steed visits the joke shop and talks to the woman.
The set design for the office is particular good. In the remake I really dislike the office design, as it is so bland. You would have thought they would put some effort into making the office look good as so much of the action takes place there. It's much more interesting in the original. I suppose that it's having the dome of St. Paul's showing prominently through the window that I like. I'm sure that there are a few extra touches that I picked up from the remake the feature her. If I'm not mistaken, the Scottish puppet that Steed operates in the remake is featured in the joke shop. I'm sure I caught a glimpse of the curtains in thing's bedroom turning up in the offices (before going on to appear as Tara's curtains). Doctor Who fans should note that the view from the bedroom window is the same as that used on Tardis scanner screen in "An Unearthly Child." It also shows that you can get away with very little set with the graveyard and the wine cellar through the use of clever camera angles. One thing that I didn't like from the remake was the scenes set in that smoky club. I do like the whole wine tasting cellar scenes as it is so Avenger-esque.
Cathy doesn't feature that much in this episode as it's more focused on Steed's journey to the Litoff Residence. The best lines from the remake are there, like Steed telling Bellhound that he probably hasn't seen a descent tree for weeks.
It's great to see Frederick Jaeger playing a part that does justice to his acting ability. It's a relief to not have Yolande Palfrey's irritating performance. It's always a joy to have John Laurie in anything, and he turns in a wonder performance as the Doctor, every bit as enjoyable to watch as his other Avengers performances.
It's directed rather roughly by Peter Hammond. It's as if there wasn't much care applied to it. It's still very good direction when compared to the blandness of other directors in season 2, but it could have been better. There are some nice camera angles sprinkled around, however.
If it wasn't for the sound problems, I'd probably like it more; as it is, I enjoy it more than "The £50,000 Breakfast." Two out of Five.
Death of a Great Dane
I won't compare this to its remake, The £50,000 Breakfast. How does it stand as part of Season 2?
The Avenged?: Miller, the comatose chap who had the diamonds in his stomach seems to be awake seconds before being strangled. He must have been running the joke shop at the same time he was working for Litoff and Getz, if the scam has been running for only six weeks.
Diabolical Masterminds?: Frederick Jaeger is magnetic as Getz. Looks rather like a young Robert Donat. His accomplices are more than just dupes, abhorring murder. John Laurie as Sir James makes the wine-tasting scene immensely enjoyable. It's unclear who provides Litoff's voice — old tapes, or Gregory the butler?
The Avengers?: Before nipping off to the City wine cellars, Steed and Mrs Gale share a cosy evening listening to a dansette-style gramophone. Cathy swigs away at the wine but never spits it out!
Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Everyone is extremely elegant. Steed's superhuman "palate in a million" first becomes apparent.
Bizarre?: For someone who despises "sybarites and lechers," Sir James certainly seems to be enjoying himself ogling Mrs Gale whilst duelling vintages with Steed. The joke shop gun fails to go off, so it's lucky Steed wasn't trigger-happy this week.
Pretty good. Not quite as quirky as Peter Hammond's usual direction; possibly he was asked to show off the larger-than-usual set. Three bowlers.
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