Elderly - uniformed - Teuton Von Baden tells colleague Winterluck a tale from his youth when he was a student in Heidelberg over fifty years earlier. A fellow student Cassan was a bully but... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Von Baden
Matthew Francis ...
Von Baden as a Student
Barrie Jaimeson ...
Denys Graham ...
David Stacey ...
Dean Allen ...
Brian Binns ...
Stephen Brigden ...
Michael Gardiner ...
Nicholas Hall ...
John Rankin ...


Elderly - uniformed - Teuton Von Baden tells colleague Winterluck a tale from his youth when he was a student in Heidelberg over fifty years earlier. A fellow student Cassan was a bully but a fine swordsman who one day challenged another youth, Macker, to a fight when he found Macker in bed with his girlfriend. Cassan chose Von Baden to be his second, giving him the perfect opportunity to do away with the over-bearing and unpopular student. As Von Baden explains how he utilized the 'Vorpal Blade' another twist reveals that both old men are in fact war criminals being held in a castle. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Horror | Thriller

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Release Date:

28 May 1983 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Last ITV acting role for Peter Cushing. See more »

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User Reviews

Decent Tales of the Unexpected episode.

Tales of the Unexpected: The Vorpal Blade starts in the mid 80's as two German friends Karl Von Baden (Peter Cushing) & Winterluck (John Bailey) sit down & reminisce about the past. They remember the war & Von Baden's mind turns back to the 1920's where he attended Heidelberg college, he tells a story of a bully named Cassan (Anthony Higgins) who was the president of the White Core. Cassan finds his missus Eva (Kirstie Poolie) being pestered by Macker (Andrew Bicknell) one of the scummy Red Core members, Cassan challenges Macker to a sword duel & picks his second in command which happens to be Van Baden to defend the honour of himself, Eva & the entire White Core. With such weight on his shoulder's Von Baden confesses to Winterluck that he was scared & tells him a terrible secret he has been hiding for half a century...

Episode 8 from season 6 this Tales of the Unexpected story originally aired here in the UK during May 1983, the fifth of six Tales of the Unexpected episodes to be directed by John Jacobs I thought this one was quite good without being anything outstanding. The story by Edward D. Hoch was dramatised by Robin Chapman & this a more multi layered episode than usual, there's the wraparound footage set in the present & the main meat of the story set in the past. As usual for an episode of Tales of the Unexpected it all hinges on the twist ending & I'm pleased to report it's quite good & I also liked the fact that there was a double barrelled twist ending in the sense the story set in the past has a twist ending in it's own right & the framing story set during the present also has a nice little twist to round things off. The character's are good although I'm not quite sure who The Vorpal Blade was meant to appeal to as it's not horror, it's not really a thriller & it's too far fetched to be a drama so in that respect it's hard to categorise it but for what it is it's a harmless enough way to pass 25 minutes. For those who are interested the word 'Vorpal' was created by Lewis Carroll for the poem Jabberwocky & has since been used to mean 'deadly' or 'sharp' & may imply the blade has magical properties which is why many fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons use the term Vorpal Blade!

Tales of the Unexpected was a cheaply made British TV series & you can tell because it generally looks awful, this one being shot entirely on videotape. Having said that The Vorpal Blade is a period piece set largely in Germany during the 20's, unfortunately the sets look very fake & the costumes cheap. Don't even get me started on the cheapest looking army barricade I've ever seen either. Unusually for the family friendly Tales of the Unexpected there's a bit of blood in this & a naked girl. One of my very favourite actors Peter Cushing appears in this as a German war criminal (!) which means I maybe liked this a bit better than I otherwise might have because he's in it, I would watch a film just because he was in it.

The Vorpal Blade is an alright way to pass 25 minutes, I'm not quite sure who it was meant to appeal too but as a one off piece of TV entertainment it's above average. Not too bad at all I suppose.

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