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"The Avengers" Legacy of Death (1968)

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Steed Does Some Spade Work!

9/10
Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
1 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Millionaire art collector Farrer ( Richard Hurndall ) informs his servant Zoltan ( John Hollis ) that men will soon will be coming to kill him. Handing over a priceless Oriental dagger, he tells him to take it to John Steed. Then he shuts himself in a glass coffin, his 'Last Will & Testament' laid on his chest.

Steed accepts the dagger not realising his life is in now great danger. It is none other than the legendary Falcon. Anyone who comes into possession of it dies.

Fortune-hunters begin killing one another, each determined to have the Falcon. It is sought after because it contains the key to the whereabouts of the world's biggest black pearl. Steed and Tara must stay alive long enough to find out where it is...

A homage to Dashiell Hammett's 'The Maltese Falcon' which neatly manages to borrow its plot. The character played by the late Stratford Johhs is obviously based on Sidney Greenstreet's 'Kasper Gutman' from John Huston's classic 1941 movie, while the late Ronald Lacey does a neat impersonation of Peter Lorre's 'Joel Cairo' from the same film. Other familiar faces on view include swarthy Tutte Lemkow ( remember him as the cossack who drank poison intended for 'Inspector Clouseau' in 'A Shot In The Dark'? ), sinister Peter Swanwick ( 'The Supervisor' from 'The Prisoner' series ), Ferdy Mayne ( the vampire Count in Roman Polanski's 'Dance Of The Vampires' ( 1967 ), and Richard Hurndall ( the gay antique dealer in the 'Steptoe & Son' episode 'Any Old Iron? ).

It is as you would expect tremendous fun, with the cast seeming to have a whale of a time spoofing film noir clichés. Writer Terry Nation must have been a classic movie buff, another of his 'Avengers' episodes was 'Noon Doomsday' and it meted out similar treatment to 'High Noon'.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An enjoyable 'Maltese Falcon' spoof

7/10
Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
3 April 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This episode sees Steed inheriting an unusual Oriental dagger from an anonymous benefactor; this was no act of kindness though as everybody who comes near the artefact seems to die. It isn't long before a succession of visitors come to see Steed with the aim of getting the dagger by hook or by crook. The curse certainly seems to effect these treasure seekers as they start dropping like flies and the bodies are literally stacking up in Steed's apartment! Tara takes the dagger to identified but the man she takes it to tells her it is of little value despite the fact that he knows it is the legendary 'Falcon Dagger'… it may have little intrinsic value but it does point the way to a hidden treasure.

This story, from the pen of Terry Nation, owes a lot to the classic 'The Maltese Falcon'; a fact that is not hidden with characters clearly resembling those in the film most notably Stratford Johhs and Ronald Lacey who are very much like the characters played by Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre respectively. If you've seen 'The Maltese Falcon' the references are a lot of fun but even if you are totally unaware of that film I suspect this will be a fun episode to watch. The rate at which those seeking the dagger died was darkly amusing as was some of the ways they died… the one who jumped from a roof to attack Tara and Steed but missed was so pathetic it was hilarious! When we finally see the treasure found there is a good surprise followed by an amusing event that leaves all the treasure hunters rather disappointed. Overall an enjoyable episode that made a change from leaks at government offices and various megalomaniacs.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The Maltese Dagger

5/10
Author: kevin olzak (kevinolzak@yahoo.com) from Youngstown, Ohio
29 April 2011

"Legacy of Death" is the second straight Terry Nation takeoff of a movie classic, in this case, 1941's "The Maltese Falcon," quite inferior to "Noon Doomsday," based on 1952's "High Noon." Henley Farrer (Richard Hurndall) gets the plot underway, sending the 'Dagger of 1000 Deaths' to the unsuspecting John Steed, who proceeds to encounter a bevy of fortune hunters desperate to acquire it. Stratford Johns ("The Frighteners") plays Sidney Street (getting all the best lines), Ronald Lacey ("The Joker") plays Humbert Green, and Ferdy Mayne plays Baron von Orlak, with smaller roles going to John Hollis ("Warlock," "The Cybernauts," "The Superlative Seven"), Kynaston Reeves ("What the Butler Saw"), and Vic Wise ("Square Root of Evil").

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