|Index||4 reviews in total|
This episode is certainly one of the better ones from the Tara King
era. Without giving away the interesting plot, the techniques used by
the "bad guys" are a little more "James Bond" in nature than grounded
in reality. However, the sharp dialogue, good action sequences and
great use of on location sites particularly the open field where Steed,
Tara, Mother & his "helpmate" Rhonda meet in their own cars is both
beautifully shot and incongruous at the same time making it perfect for
an "Avengers" episode.
Rhonda, played by Rhonda Parker who neither spoke nor received any screen credit in her 18 episodes of "The Avengers" is certainly part of the tradition of silent, mysterious sidekicks distinguished by her 6' frame which towers even over Patrick MacNee (Rhonda often wore heels to accentuate her height). In the sole entry for "Trivia" for this episode it states that Rhonda does speak in unison with Tara & Steed the word "What?" However, after reviewing the video a few times it certainly appears that she does not speak. While her head does turn in reaction, we only hear two voices (Tara & Steed) speaking.
Therefore, Rhonda is still silent (IMHO) though in the episode "False Witness" she does whistle and in the dreadful "Homicide & Old Lace" she laughs silently as well...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Another outrageous 'Avengers' episode.
Agent Wilson ( David Quilter ) pursues a man in drag, whom he kills. He shoots at a helicopter, and it flies off. Nice teaser, but unrelated to the story which follows. Ministry agent 'Jarret' ( Clifford Earl ) is shot dead whilst at Cypher H.Q. - a top secret M.O.D. establishment, a sort of British Fort Knox only with priceless information instead of gold bars. His killers are men in white overalls and bowler hats who look like the 'Droogs' from 'A Clockwork Orange'. Webster ( Allan Cuthbertson ) , the establishment's director, watches from his office window, but fails to react.
A secret meeting ( in the middle of a field! ) between Mother, Steed and Tara takes place. The intelligence boss is worried that there may be a security leak at Cypher H.Q. Photographs are found in Jarret's flat showing everyday activity such as 'Myra' ( Angela Scoular ) on the phone. 'Peters' ( John Carlisle ), a photographer, is murdered by window cleaner 'Vickers' ( Donald Gee ). While Tara gets a job in Cypher H.Q. itself, an attempt on Steed's life ( window cleaners try and smash his car with their ladders ) leads him to the plush offices of the 'Classy Glass Cleaning Company', whose motto is 'All The Way Up The Social Ladder'...!
Only in 'The Avengers' would a window cleaning firm be a cover for a sinister espionage operation! This fun episode was by Tony Williamson, and directed by John Hough, previously an assistant director on the show. In many ways its reminiscent of the Bond movie 'Goldfinger' - Cypher H.Q. looks uncannily like Fort Knox, particularly with its gate and long road, while the method of knocking out the staff - hypnotic gas - is like the nerve gas used in that film. Good cast - as well as those previously mentioned, there's Nicholas Smith ( 'Mr.Rumbold' of 'Are You Being Served?' ) as the villain of the piece, 'Charles Lather' ( yes, really! ), Ivor Dean ( better known as 'Inspector Teal' of 'The Saint' ), and Simon Oates ( later to star in 'Doomwatch' and to play 'Steed' on stage ) as 'Maskin'.
The climax has Steed battling Lather's men in the Cypher H.Q., pausing long enough to revive Tara and bring her into the fray.
On a sad note, Angela Scoular ( Leslie Phillips' wife ) died earlier this year in horrific circumstances.
"Super Secret Cypher Snatch" continues the winning streak begun with "All Done with Mirrors," marking the debut of John Hough in the director's chair, working from an intricate script penned by the excellent Tony Williamson. A top secret military facility continues to yield all their secrets, while investigating MI12 agents are being killed off, yet all of the personnel report nothing unusual, everything normal and boring. The action is fast and furious, with all the usual elements in place for maximum impact. Many familiar faces include Allan Cuthbertson ("Dead of Winter," "Death at Bargain Prices," "Death's Door"), Ivor Dean ("The Removal Men" and "Dead Man's Treasure"), Simon Oates ("You Have Just Been Murdered"), Nicholas Smith ("Escape in Time"), Alec Ross ("Brief for Murder"), Anne Rutter ("Homicide and Old Lace"), Clifford Earl ("Escape in Time"), and Anthony Blackshaw ("The Sell-Out," "The Mauritius Penny," "Esprit De Corps"). John Hough went on to helm "The Morning After," "Fog," and "Homicide and Old Lace."
This fast-moving episode, the second from the concluding (seventh) series of THE AVENGERS, was prepared in September 1968 for its United States viewing, and during the following month was first seen in the United Kingdom. It is The Avengers directing debut of John Hough and also marks the second appearance of Tara King (Linda Thorson) as successor to Mrs. Peel (Diana Rigg), the companion of John Steed (Patrick Macnee) in the very popular set wherein the secret agent duo face often outlandish challenges while protecting the Crown. This pleasurable sequence, one of five that Tony Williamson wrote after Tara became an Avenger, depicts a threat pointed against the M.O.T.C. (Ministry Of Top-Secret Codes), and is distinguished by a good deal of witty dialogue, in addition to a clever storyline that features Tara working undercover as a file clerk in the office of Cypher Headquarters (filmed at the Brookmans Park Transmitting Station, located north of London), owing to M12's operatives having fatally failed, the Forces of Evil plainly being a specially tough foe here, possibly masquerading as a glass cleaning enterprise. "Mother" (Patrick Newell), a seventh season addition to the series as wheelchair bound supervisor of the dauntless agent pair, determines their assignment here and interestingly rails in opposition to agents who are dependent upon "gadgets", a gibe at the contemporaneous James Bond films. He need not concern himself, however, with the workaday methods of Steed and Tara that are comprised of cunning rather than gimmickry. Steed and his beautiful workmate change apparel frequently throughout the piece, adding interest for costume conscious devotees of the programme. Additionally, there are some ingenious and well-designed sets, although over half of the scenes are filmed on location, rather than within a studio. Director Hough ably takes advantage of all of this to effectively deploy his camera. There is a goodly number of interesting players on board, with acting laurels being shared by ever engaging Ivor Dean, as an agent working with Steed and Tara, and Nicholas Smith, the episode's chief evildoer.
|Ratings||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|