The Vise: Season 2, Episode 23

Gift from Heaven (9 Dec. 1955)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Thriller
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Bill Kent stumbles on a package of diamonds from an air wreckage and tries to sell them illegally through his wife's lover.

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Ron Randell ...
Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Colin Croft ...
Bill Kent
...
Tony Mason
Leonard Sharp ...
Sam
Mary Laura Wood ...
Diana Kent
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Storyline

Bill Kent stumbles on a package of diamonds from an air wreckage and tries to sell them illegally through his wife's lover.

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

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Release Date:

9 December 1955 (UK)  »

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Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Fifties Moral Maze
13 June 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

With just half an hour to tell a story, the TV shows of the 1950's were tight as a drum. With no location filming and few special effects the dramas were necessarily dialogue-driven. This one featured Patrick McGoohan, who, when the mood takes him, puts delivering dialogue onto a higher level. In 1955 the mood was certainly driving him.

McGoohan plays Tony Mason, an erstwhile Private Eye, who is drawn into a plan to 'fence' some dodgy diamonds. These have been found in the street following the crash of a small aeroplane. His friend, Bill, has found them and needs Tony to make contacts for their sale, in the face of a nationwide police alert! McGoohan plays Tony as a pugnaciously cool Bob Mitchum. Rather than just deliver his lines accurately he puts thought and expression into almost every one. It is utterly breathtaking to watch, half-a-century later.

The moral maze is not restricted to dodgy diamonds however. It soon becomes apparent that McGoohan has been having an ongoing affair with his friend's wife. He continues this despite taking on the task of passing on the diamonds his friend has found! The wife has long tired of her husband and has hoped he would leave her. Unfortunately he is besotted and believes becoming rich will save his marriage. These three characters tiptoe around each other, their mutual lies creating a spiders web of consequences. The wife betrays her husband, Bill, to the police, hoping to get rid of him. McGoohan has told her he is NOT going to fence the diamonds because of her objections.

Ultimately the strong arm of the police wrecks all their plans. McGoohan is arrested in possession of the lost gems, the police believing him to be Bill. The wife, thinking her husband is arrested, is shocked when he comes home, having learnt of her treachery. He strangles her and then calls the police to confess. All has been squeezed lifeless in the Vise of Fate!!!

McGoohan plays the garish-check-coated spiv character brilliantly. He enjoys some rare (for him) lip-on-lip action with the adulterous wife, which should please his female fans. More importantly he plays the part with such aplomb and so many touches of expression it is truly awesome. There is one tiny moment that emphasises his genius. He is chatting to the crooked jeweller and there is a moment of tension. Rather than just prate his next line, he drops a jewel with a tinny clunk into a basin; this counterpoint of sound somehow emphasises not only the unavoidable force of gravity but also the inevitability of fate.

Superb.


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