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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Lights! Cameras! Assassination!

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
31 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Over-the-hill Hollywood movie star Jeff Wheeler is sacked from the set of his newest movie. Then wife Lisa announces that she intends leaving him.

Depressed, he contemplates suicide, but cannot go through with it. He asks Dirk Brogan, his agent, to kill him, without telling him where or how the murder will take place.

Some time later, Jeff is almost run down in a busy street by a black Porsche. Then a lift door comes close to crushing him. A pleasant afternoon's golfing is spoilt when someone shoots at him.

Jeff survives, but finds he cannot locate Dirk to get him to call off the attacks. He no longer wishes to die...

Easily the worst episode of the series, mainly because it is so unbelievable. When Jeff tells his agent he wishes him to be his assassin, Dirk looks unsurprised as though it were an everyday occurrence. No showbiz agent would ever bump off one of his major sources of income. Dirk is such a wimp he looks to be incapable of swatting a fly, much less killing a human being. Jeff should have hired a professional hit-man if were genuinely serious about dying.

The plot bears a startling resemblance to 'The Odd Job Man' by Bernard McKenna, an episode of 'Six Dates With Barker' broadcast in 1971. In that, Ronnie Barker played the would-be suicidalist, with David Jason as his inept would-be executioner ( later made into a movie starring Monty Python's Graham Chapman ). It played the whole thing for laughs, but 'Do Me A Favour' takes itself very seriously indeed.

Joseph Cotten is 'Jeff', with future 'Man At The Top' star Kenneth Haigh as 'Dirk'. Also in the cast are Joyce Blair ( Lionel's sister ) and Monty Python babe Carol Cleveland.

Smooth direction from Gerry O'Hara, who also worked on 'The Avengers' and 'Man In A Suitcase'. Neat twist ending.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good Idea Badly Executed

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
12 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jeff Wheeler is a former film star whose career is on a steep downward spiral . Suffering from a self destructive personality and alcohol addiction Wheeler is fed up with life and because life insurance companies don't pay out to the relatives of suicide victims he arranges for his agent to murder him . Unfortunately when he wakes up sober the next morning he decides that he's had a change of heart - but will his agent ?

Typing in the above synopsis I've just realised what a great idea for a thriller the premise is . Sadly the more I think about the plotting the more I instinctively feel this potential for a tight , compelling thriller has been wasted down to two fundamental reasons

Firstly the first third of the narrative is taken up with showing the audience what a nasty man Wheeler is and the main plot of organising his own demise takes far longer than is necessary . When this does happen it's so flat and unconvincing that you start to realise it's probably not his agent who is trying to bump him off later in the story and considering that the ending rests on a " shock revelation " as to his assassin is then there's no surprises when it is revealed . You'll be able to work it out long before the on screen events take place

Secondly JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN is something of a broad church where genre is concerned . Some stories are unrepently supernatural/horror tales whilst some are merely murder mysteries . What is becoming obvious after rewatching the series after a gap of almost 30 years is that the most effective memorable ones that still hold up today are the supernatural ones like Girl Of My Dreams and off the two camps the murder mystery ones are much lesser tales

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