The Young Avenger
Page 101 of 110

The Lion and the Unicorn
By Joseph A.P. Lloyd

Direction: Three out of five. Ray Austin' last ever episode in production, and a reasonable way to go out (it must have been a nice holiday for him in France). However, there are rather a few too many silly comic scenes as Gambit drives through Paris causing chaos as he speeds along. The best bit is the huge car chase, which must rank as one of the best ever. We have camera angles from helicopters, from inside other cars than Steed's, and then the truly amazing climax, as we actually have a camera inside the car as it falls off the cliff. Great!

Plot: Two and a half out of five. John Goldsmith only ever writes this one episode, so we have nothing else to judge him against, but it is rather a reasonable plot for pulling our three heroes away from England, even though it gets a little lost, and there is quite a lot of padding when the prince is captured. A reasonable effort.

Music Cheese Factor: Five out of five. From the first chase that happens, which is full of awfully sleazy saxophones, electric guitars and all manner of things, you know that this is going to be the one episode that is what the cheesy music is all about. The audacity to then repeat this theme later is immense. How did they get away with doing this? Awful, shameful and kitsch are the words that spring to mind.

Wittiness: Two out of five. Goldsmith attempts some funny moments, but this comes mostly from slapstick. There is a good Purdey/Steed exchange, though. "Sounds pretty thin." "Positively emaciated."

Action: Three out of five. Another episode for Gambit lovers as he has a very well executed bout with the Unicorn whilst Steed just looks on. Then we have him facing the huge bear of a man who cannot speak! The final thing is a bit stupid, but it does well to remind us of the series.

Cars/Sets/Locations: Five out of five. Any episode with Paris in it is bound to get a good score from me. Add to this some wonderful seventies machinery, Purdey in a Mini and you have a great score. By the way, the cars in the chase are a Rover 3500 SD1, a Volvo 240 (my mother has an estate version of this exact car), a Mercedes 300SE and a Ford Granada. There are also some nice Citroen DS19s in the tag as Taxis. The sets are particularly good, too.

Introduction: Four out of five. For car lovers like me, the chase at the beginning was a gift. It might be totally irrelevant to the plot, but the beautiful filming (near Camelford in Cornwall, apparently) and the great driving make it worth watching. Absolutely no relation to the plot, but it is almost worthy of a Bond film! The tag is rather funny, if a little clichéd! Gambit's favourite haunt is revealed!

Freeze Frame: A white Ford Granada falling off a cliff! Wow!

Overall Impression: Although very cheesy and dated nowadays, with silly sequences like the Gambit car chase and the end, this has a great villain, and a very strong performance from Jean Claudio, even though he is killed only a little into the thing. However, this does not save the slow pacing, wooden acting from some of the Frenchmen and appalling music. I'll watch that car chase any time, though! Who can argue that Paris is not a great city?

Rating: Six out of ten.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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