The GLG Reports
Page 31 of 67

The Correct Way to Kill
By Grant L. Goggans

"You British — you'll be the death of me!" This is the first of three color Diana Rigg stories that, for budgetary purposes, are rewrites of Honor Blackman stories. It's a trick that served American TV well, particularly with longer-running shows like Gunsmoke and Bewitched, which gained some unfortunate notoriety for overdoing it a bit. Since The Avengers only did it three times, and because at least two of them are real winners, this can be excused. The lack of budget is unfortunately evident on screen, though. There's only one exterior shot in the whole episode, with the studio doubling, quite obviously, for exteriors in many others. Judging "The Correct Way to Kill" without having seen its template, "The Charmers," which American audiences had to do until 1991, anyway, produces a real winner. The storyline is imaginatively realistic, and a welcome break from some of the highbrow fantastic plots that surround it. It's a simple spy storyline, and one which would very easily fit The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with virtually no tweaking. If played straight, it would be remembered as an above average, if perhaps unmemorable entry. However, it is done with the most comedic touch seen in the series to date, with several excellent one-liners, absurd deaths (beginning in the perfect teaser sequence) and wild eccentrics. Rainwear salesman J. Nathan Winters, who tests his umbrellas in a shower meant to simulate a "force nine gale," is hilarious. The concluding swordfight is another side-splitter, as Mrs. Peel and Olga take on two foes in perfectly coordinated fencing that looks like ballet, while in the next room Steed and Ponsonby-Fry desperately go at each other like two kids playing pirates. It's a hugely enjoyable joke that the audience is in on, and one that can only be called a triumph.

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