Rodney's Reviews
Page 15 of 42

Room Without a View
By Rodney Marshall

This is another of those episodes which "on paper" has all the ingredients to make a "Classic Avengers." The dramatic undercurrent is there with the nightmarish hotel room through which people are trapped behind an "iron curtain" (in more than one sense). Humour is provided by Steed's undercover guise as a gourmet critic, with the subsequent fawning and grovelling by hotel management; as well as Peter Jeffrey's Varnals, towing the government line and following bureaucracy to the letter by taking a misogynistic approach to Mrs. Peel. Even the 21st century PC brigade would approve of Mrs. Wadkin—a Chinese lady—poking fun at cultural stereotypes: telling Steed that it is her who is meant to be "inscrutable," not him. Philip Latham plays the role of Carter, the obsequious hotel manager, to perfection. The claustrophobic atmosphere of a prison cell is effectively recreated with the taped sounds of a steamer, marching prisoners and the clock always striking three. The deadly mastermind is also memorable, a fat man with thin blood who wants to better Napoleon, but in the shape of a hotel empire across the Red Sea.

However, as any great chef will tell you, following a recipe to the letter—with all the necessary ingredients included—does not guarantee a successful dish. Rather like a Chessman hotel or a civil servant's collar, the episode is a little stiff. It is eminently watchable, but lacks a certain joie de vivre.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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