|Index||3 reviews in total|
"The Winged Avenger" is the best yet this color season, one of the most elaborate episodes of them all, depicting scenes as they happen in comic book form, with a finale echoing America's popular BATMAN series. Ruthless businessmen are being murdered in locked rooms atop high rise buildings, apparently by a large bird of prey. Steed and Emma are a particular delight as usual, the two stars at the peak of their form, playing with warmth and affection, and an ad lib or two ("EEE URP!" indeed!). Nigel Green, later seen in "Fog," heads a fine cast, with Jack MacGowran as a highly eccentric scientist who has devised a pair of gravity defying boots that allow the wearer to walk up walls and stand on the ceiling (for those who like to hang around). The main suspects are played by Neil Hallett ("Dead of Winter" and "Get-A-Way!") and Colin Jeavons ("A Touch of Brimstone"), with smaller roles essayed by John Garrie ("Fog"), Donald Pickering ("Homicide and Old Lace"), A. J. Brown ("Small Game for Big Hunters"), Hilary Wontner ("Silent Dust"), and John Crocker ("Propellant 23" and "The Medicine Men").
Filmed in December 1966, this enjoyable episode from the initial season shot in colour (number five) of The Avengers is a well directed and adroitly performed affair, in addition to being one of the most favoured from the entire series with Avenger devotees, due in large part to its link with another popular medium, that of comic books, and additionally for being the source of the "EEE-URP" outcry that has become an oral signature distinguishing fans of secret agents John Steed and Mrs. (Emma) Peel. Each session of Season number five is noted for its cleverly inscribed "Mrs. Peel, we're needed", an announcement that directly followed the episode title, in this instance appearing within a corner of a canvas upon which an artistic Emma (Diana Rigg) is daubing. Steed (Patrick Macnee) then describes the mystery to which the two must find a solution: several obviously related killings of prominent business executives under bizarre circumstances. Corpses continue to appear with regularity, and it becomes a matter of great urgency that the pair of Avengers renew their polished means of detection in order to send death upon a holiday. Esteemed British cartoonist Frank Bellamy created panels for the storyline that dramatically segue into live action, while tribute is made to the contemporaneous United States based comic book and television hero, Batman, and included is some purloined Batman themed riffing within the Laurie Johnson score. Since a comic book featuring "The Winged Avenger" is conveniently discarded near one of the homicide victims, the connection is clear. As is generally the case with Avengers films, magnificent estates serve as scenario settings; for this chapter, Stanmore Hall in South Shropshire, as well as High Canons in Well End, near Saint Alban's in Hertfordshire. John Steed's quarters, at "3 Stable Mews", also placed in Hertfordshire, hosts a good deal of the planning for Avenger strategy. A top-flight performance from Rigg gains for her the acting laurels here, as is her custom, she ad libs to good effect, and treats viewers to her fetching Head Upon A Steed Shoulder at one point. Albeit that continuity is inconsistent, the climactic moments, when the Forces of Evil face defeat, are of above Avengers standard quality, and the duo's battle cry is born herein: EEE-URP!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Somebody is killing ruthless businessmen; the first two we see were in
locked rooms and their injuries suggest attack by a giant bird of prey!
While Steed and Mrs Peel don't know it we see a man in a giant eagle
costume which matches that of the comic book character 'The Winged
Avenger'. Early suspects include an author who was badly treated by the
dead men and an inventor who has made a pair of boots that enable the
wearer to walk up walls or even in the ceiling! Once they learn of the
comic connection three more suspects emerge; the writer, the
illustrator and the man who poses in the Winged Avenger suit for the
This episode is delightfully bonkers but well executed. The way the action matches the comics is fun and the number of suspects will keep the viewer guessing I was convinced it was going to be the somewhat sinister butler right up to the moment he was killed! Highlights included seeing Mrs Peel and the villain fighting on the ceiling and the villain being struck with large panels from the comic with 'Bam' and suchlike written on them accompanied by music that sounds suspiciously like that from the classic '60s 'Batman' series. The Winged Avenger wasn't the only interesting costume; I couldn't understand why Mrs Peel was wearing a hat that completely hid her hair until the ceiling fight scene it was there solely so we wouldn't see that her hair wasn't falling the wrong way! Overall an enjoyably silly episode.
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