|Index||3 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Robert Banks Stewart, who later created 'Shoestring' and 'Bergerac' for
the B.B.C., wrote a number of the Emma Peel 'Avengers' shows, of which
'Quick-Quick Slow Death' is one. I would not personally describe it as
a classic episode, but it has good things in it. It opens with a road
accident; enemy agent 'Willi Fehr' ( Michael Peake ) is hit by a car
while chasing a runaway pram. Inside it is a man's corpse, which Fehr
had been in the process of disposing of. The usual trail of clues leads
'Steed' ( Patrick Macnee ) and 'Emma Peel' ( Diana Rigg ) to the
culprits, in this case, a dancing school, run by one 'Lucille Banks' (
Eunice Gayson, whom 'James Bond' fans will recognise as 'Sylvia Trench'
from the first two 007 pictures ). The school is bumping off lonely
male clients and replacing them with impostors. What makes this so much
fun are the various characters our heroes meet along the way; 'Arthur
Piedl' ( David Kernan from 'That Was The Week That Was' ), a Cockney
shoe-seller who changes his accent to Italian the same way Peter
Sellers' character did in 'The Wrong Arm Of The Law', and Larry Cross
as inebriated band-leader 'Chester Read' ( who conducts even though his
music is coming from a tape recorder ).
Things To Look Out For - 'Ivor Bracewell', played by the late Maurice Kaufmann, who at the time was married to Honor Blackman, a.k.a. 'Cathy Gale.
John Woodnutt - who plays 'Captain Noble' - was 'Hibbert' in the 'Dr.Who' classic 'Spearhead From Space'.
Speaking of 'Dr.Who', an idea from this episode seems to have found its way into the second Peter Cushing 'Dalek' movie, namely, Steed opening an office door and suddenly finding that the room beyond has been completely demolished, leaving him hanging in mid-air. In 'Daleks: Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.', it happened to 'Tom Campbell' ( Bernard Cribbins ).
"Quick-Quick Slow Death" is definitely one episode where the plot is secondary, and was the third not to be shown in the US. A plot about infiltration through a dancing school could only work in this format, led by beautiful Eunice Gayson, best known as Sylvia Trench, the first girl bedded by James Bond in both "Dr. No" and "From Russia with Love." Graham Armitage returned for "The Correct Way to Kill," David Kernan returned for "Never, Never Say Die," and James Belchamber returned for "Get-A-Way!" (Charles Hodgson had already appeared in "Double Danger"). Making his only appearance on the show is veteran screen villain Maurice Kaufmann, then husband of Honor Blackman ('Cathy Gale' herself), while Carole Gray, a frequent presence in horrors like "Devils of Darkness," "Curse of the Fly," "The Brides of Fu Manchu," and "Island of Terror," would only total six other credits in her brief but memorable career.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The usual capricious nonsense, this time about a school of ballroom
dancing that recruits lonely bachelors as students and then bumps them
off at graduation and replaces each with a foreign agent. Steed enrolls
as a client. Mrs. Peel gets a job as instructor. Clues include a rose
tattoo and a garlic sausage. Bizarre, yes.
This episode has two things going for it, in addition to its intrinsic appeal. One is that Emma Peel's bare foot is cast in plaster in order to create a pair of hand-made dancing pumps. The man at the shoe shop casts Mrs. Peel's foot but not before examining it with a fetishist's fascination. He speaks in a fey continental accent to the foot as he caresses it, scolding the toes for speaking to him, "Naughty chatterboxes." The second is the studio's alcoholic band leader. There are few people who can play drunks on the screen while making them both funny and believable but this guy is one of them -- maybe his name is Larry Cross. In the neighborhood of roles like this, Lee Marvin is his only neighbor that I'm aware of. He stumbles precariously around. He smiles but in a way that signals confusion. His every word must be completed by someone else.
It's all pretty amusing.
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