Visitor Reviews
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The Undertakers
by Terri

I enjoy this episode because nothing about it is average. It's a study in contrasts: terrific acting and dreadful acting; great outdoor film sequences and inept direction; assault rifles and assault umbrellas; inspired humor and a credible plot line. On top of all that, it probably has the strangest closing of any Avengers.

Lally Bowers as the wonderfully air-headed Mrs. Renter really lifts the story up and carries it along. Breaking the law without a bit of remorse, she is at once hopelessly clueless and irresistibly likeable. Hers is one of the most memorable guest performances of the Cathy Gale era. On the other hand, Lee Paterson and Marcella Markham as the Lomaxes are, at best, forgettable. Their telephone conversation is absolutely painful to watch. Paterson, apparently trying to come across as sultry, appears as bored with his performance as the viewer is. In short, "The Undertakers" presents the best and worst of character acting all in a single viewing!

Cathy shows off her skill with a British L1A1 rifle—a very nice weapon, standard military issue in its day. But it's Steed who demonstrates just how dangerous an umbrella can be as he soundly thrashes a hapless undertaker, landing the poor fellow in a coffin with a neat leg-hook. And the chemistry between Steed and Cathy is wonderful. Even though she coldly brushes off Steed's advances, it is obvious that Cathy is greatly amused by his attention-seeking behavior. Steed's funeral supply salesman is very funny, as is his choice of canned goods to hoist off on Cathy. If there's one place they know how to jelly a bumble-bee, it's old Nippon.

Finally, the bizarre closing makes one think that the cast and crew were sampling more than just a little of Steed's champagne. Macnee flubs his line about the trial, staggers across the set as the camera flails, and, sweating profusely, mumbles the classic line, "They were really big girls." No wonder Honor Blackman sits there dumbfounded—what else is there to say?

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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