The GLG Reports
Page 41 of 67

By Grant L. Goggans

"It may surprise you to learn I've had very little experience with this kind of garment." "Murdersville" is The Avengers trying to do a Western. It's incredibly American in its po-faced presentation of The Little Community With a Big Secret. Most every TV Western visited such a town in the 1950s and 60s, and it has remained a familiar motif among American TV shows. Richard Kimble visited one, as did Jim Rockford, Jim Phelps, Jake Axminster, Thomas Magnum, Remington Steele, you name them. All these heroes learned, as Mrs. Peel does here, the two supposedly surprising developments: the whole town is in on it, and you can't trust the supposedly trustworthy community leader. Yawn! Compounding the error, Mrs. Peel acts totally out of character by, for the first time in her life, phoning the police. Suffice it to say she doesn't get much satisfaction from them. The only hint of mystery to this exercise in cliché is what, exactly, the Big Secret is, and fortunately there's another cliché in the town's former good guys being locked away instead of killed, so they can tell our hero what's been going on. The villains, as is far too standard in this plot, are dumber than belief. They kill all the incidental characters, but mercifully leave our hero alive rather than killing her at the nearest opportunity. Why go through all the hokum about Mrs. Peel bumping her head in a minor fender bender and hallucinating that she saw Forbes? Oh, that's another cliché: "Yes, there is a body, come with me, I'll show you... why, it was there just a few minutes before!" So the plot's a total write-off, but thankfully there's enough fun with the Avengers style so that it's not a total loss. There's a wonderful, dialogue-free gag about a man having to use his silencer to fire in the library, the location filming is great, and when Patrick Macnee does show up to save the day, he's in top form. The tag scene, which features Mrs. Peel stuck in a knight's helmet she had donned in the climactic fight, had me in stitches. All these seem rather beside the basic point and basic flaw: if I had wanted to watch a D-grade American plot for American PIs or cowboys, I would have watched an American TV show.

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