The Superlative Seven
No, it's not Enid Blyton, it's much better.
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I just love this one for its "sit back and don't try and work it out" value. In one episode you have all of the elements we have all come to love about The Avengers. It's silly, scary, stylish and saucy.
I like the teaser's filming. Very sinister red light/tunnel effect. Good old Terry Plummer (who is the executioner in "Escape in Time," by the way—long debated that one, but solved at last) as Chinese wrestler/strong man Toy-Sung. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Toy-Sung, Tay-Ling—where do they get them?
To begin with, I think the party on the plane idea is just great. So what if there seemed to be half a dozen different planes every time the shot changed (Handley-Page Herald to HS 748 to Herald)? Who cares if their glasses of champers managed to stay neatly on the bar as they took off and landed? And does it matter that there seemed to be no airstrip to land the darn thing on when they over flew that rather tropical looking island in the English Channel? Nah! You may be interested to note that that overhead island footage was used in the Danger Man episode, " Shinda Shima" (1966), as well as The Prisoner.
I have always fancied myself at parties where everyone is "right-on," instead of those frightful things where you meet salesmen or young lawyers.
My favourite is Jose el Smithio, the "Best of All British Bullfighters." British Bullfighters indeed. He'd be out of work these days. There aren't any British bulls left, are there? What a way to track down your potential killer—randomly stabbing a bush! That'd work. Great. And when he faces off against el Toro, the cart... Oooh, nasty way to go. I would have just stepped off the track, myself.
James Maxwell (Jason Wade) has a voice that rivals Peter Wyngarde's and Patrick Allen's (Reed in "The Thirteenth Hole") for it's... erm... what's the word? You know what I mean. Speaking of voices, what accent is that, Mr Sutherland? "Cowboy! We draw? Beng!"
I have to say I'm not too fussed on Charlotte Rampling, though. A good part played in this one, but why so many people insist she would have been better than Tara is a mystery. Maybe she would, maybe not. We'll never know, so there is no point getting repetitive strain injury from endlessly trying to hypothesize. Mourn Emma's passing and move on, guys. No point in trying to clone her. Personally, I can't see any stylistic resemblances at all, and she's a bit skinny for my tastes. Tara is on the books as an official (and perfectly good, IMHO) Steed-girl, so deal with it.
All in all this episode has a good collection of eccentrics, a daft (but still nasty) mastermind, and some great throw-away lines. Strangely, on my taped copy of an un-remastered version, I can hear the shots and ricochets at the end when Hanna is shooting guns out of Jessel's reach before she takes the shot. It's only faint, but very annoying. Sync problems. Must get the DVD.
The Superlative Seven
Plot: Excellent. Seven strangers, each a master of a different field of combat, are kidnapped to test the ultimate assassin. It reminded me of the Vincent Price movie House on Haunted Hill.
Humour: Good. "I'm Wilde." "Are you, every minute of the day?" "That's my name."
Direction: Good. The introduction had a nice pull back shot into the stark red corridor.
Acting: Excellent. The seven were all super! It was great to see Donald Sutherland. I also enjoyed seeing John Hollis.
Music: Very Good. The piano music on the plane was nice.
Tag: OK. Too silly.
Miscellaneous: A great episode filled with mystery, suspense, and a touch of horror. Quite a lot of drinking went on in the plane. My favorite scene from this episode is when Jessel is reaching for all the guns and Hana shoots them out of his hand. It showed Jessel's testing attitude of human ability. Emma did not have much to do in this episode, but that was OK with me because its nice to see a Steed-focused episode, especially in the Peel era.
Overall Rating: 9/10
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