The Young Avenger
Dial a Deadly Number
Direction: Five out of five. Don Leaver is an old hand at this by 1965, so it easy for him to produce a well crafted piece of film. This, however, goes along way beyond that. Sequences such as the motorbike running down of Steed are very tightly done and certainly very exciting, whereas we have one of Leaver's better experiments in the scene in Yuill's office. "It is quite a killing."
Plot: Four out of five. Although it does get very confusing at times, the plot really is particularly good, forecasting the pager years before it was even close to being invented! The wine tasting is also a very good inclusion in the story, and goes well with the superb script. A good effort by Roger Marshall, shame his next was no way as good as this.
Music: Four out of five. Unfortunately, this week Johnson could not come up with any more original music, so extracts from "Too Many Christmas Trees" and "Death at Bargain Prices" take the place of anything else. It does fit in very well, but it is not good enough to achieve a maximum score.
Wittiness: Five out of five. If you want to see why Marshall won with the award for best writer ever, then just look below at some of the lines that he gives us. This is by no means a complete list. "In round figures," explains Yuill's secretary when talking in economic terms. "Round figures," responds Steed, eyeing her up! "From the northern end of the vineyard." Self explanatory. Then there is the wonderful scene at the start where Steed and Emma discuss the death, and get onto Canadian mules. "I recommend the blue chip special." "Splendid, at least one of us will enjoy it!"
Action: Four out of five. That motorbike sequence is tremendously well done, and very frightening, when one sees Steed from a camera on one of the motorbikes. Also, there is the wine tasting duel, a very tense bit of filming, although this is not really a fight. Finally, we have that scuffle among the wine racks. Brilliant!
Cars/Sets/Locations: Three out of five. Unfortunately, there is very little location filming in the episode, and that that there is happens to be just standard views of London traffic. However, that car park scene is great for someone like me, as there is a large number of cool 60s cars in it. This pushes up the score somewhat.
Introduction/Tag: Four and a half out of five. The tag is just so brilliant that it deserves its very own wit rating. Emma gives a very expert description of the red that she is tasting, and Steed comes up with a very good line, but just see her reaction! "Nose or palette?" "Eyes... I read the label!" The introduction is also very good, but it is a little long, and it does seem a little too obvious somehow. Ah well, at least we have Steed and Emma speaking in French to each other. "A votre sante!" "A la votre!"
Overall Impression: The best script in the series, lots of great wine tasting, and experimentally good direction make this a brilliant episode to watch over and over again. We have great performances from Jan Holden, Peter Bowles (again), Gerald Sim, Jan Holden, and Clifford Evans, but ten out of ten for John Carson's Fitch! I could go on and on about so many aspects of this, but I think that best scene has to be when Steed and Emma are invited to the Boardmans' for dinner. It is just so hilarious!
Rating: Nine and a half out of ten.
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