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3.02 - Concerto

 
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Total Votes : 8

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darren
Mission... Highly Improbable!


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2051
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:58 am    Post subject: 3.02 - Concerto Reply with quote

Written by Terrance Dicks & Malcolm Hulke

Directed by Kim Mills

Production completed: 26 April 1963
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Frankymole
Diabolical Mastermind


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 5044
Location: Carmadoc Research Establishment

PostPosted: Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://avengersfanforum.s2.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=2544

My review:

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/gale2-24vr.htm#2

"The evidence suggests it was an elaborate frame-up."

Season 3 marks The Avengers' transition from mundane spy-drama to sublime surrealist fantasy and comedy of manners. Watching in order of DVD releases (and production), this is the first Season 3 episode; the first made.

There are several trademark Avengers strands on display. Frequent switches between serious danger and delightfully dry repartee. Enemy agents collaborating with Steed to preserve the civilized status quo. Spacious, elegant sets. Flirting with the playboy lifestyle (Steed throughout, and 'Le Stud Club'), strong attractive women (Mrs Gale and Darleen, who share an intelligent scene with good dialogue).

The Avenged?: Nigel Stock will return to share similar fun scenes with Steed in "A Sense of History." They have two good ones here: plying each other with one another's favourite drink, and later on playing chess all night in Mrs Gale's apartment (one game!) before trying on each other's hats. The pianist, Veliko, strikes a genuine note (no pun intended), memorising scores to a metronome and soaking his fingers before performing.

Diabolical Masterminds?: The trade talk-disruption motive is not hard to understand (getting a bit mundane by now, though)—there is much money at stake from other countries and magnates who might be excluded. The "last successful political assassination" in Britain is stated as being in 1812—this was before Bulgarian defector and writer Georgi Markov was stabbed with a ricin-poisoned KGB umbrella in London in 1978, of course. Oh, for the certainties of the 1960s!

The Avengers?: Cathy, under threat, wears a baroque ruffled 18th-century style outfit for some unexplained (but gratifying) reason. This story seems to be set on 11 April (wall calendar). Steed kicks a man when he's down... after employing his umbrella inventively in a nicely-done fight. Thankfully, Johnny Dankworth more or less shuts up after the title music... appropriately considerate, in view of the episode's title. We get a twist in the introductory scene, played to a lengthy background of Chopin. Bliss.

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Very much so. Steed and Cathy are most elegant in dress and wit, and share an enjoyable verbal fencing match over chess in her flat, which is a variant of the last one seen in season 2. Cathy is once again fond of Steed's dogs (this time another new one called Junia). Steed imbibes brandy at every opportunity—perhaps heeding Dr Johnson's epigram that it is the drink for those who aspire to be heroes.

Bizarre?: Although Cathy's outfits are frequently stunning (the striped blouse, the Scarlet Pimpernel look) for some reason when she spends the evening typing at the British Cultural Council she insists on wearing her cumbersome outdoor cloak, which looks very uncomfortable. Perhaps the heating was off.

On Target? (Score): What happened? The much-maligned Kim Mills directing, but with interesting camera angles, sets, pacing, actors? Terry Dicks and Mac Hulke writing, and it all hanging together, good characters and with effervescent dialogue to boot? What a difference a season makes. Three bowlers (out of four). 7/10.
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Lhbizness
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One which has grown on me after numerous viewings. Steed and Cathy are at their most relaxed together - I find it touching how immediately concerned she is about his burnt hands - and fight and flirt without too much of an antagonistic undertone. Steed's drinking competitions with his Russian counterpart are equally amusing. The plot of the villains is just a bit confused - every time The Avengers does a "assassination in a public place" plot (this, The Outside-In Man, The Sell Out), it comes off as unbelievable. But everything else is so much fun that I can forgive little things like plot holes you could drive a Bentley through.
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darren
Mission... Highly Improbable!


Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 2051
Location: UK

PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

8/10

Although the actual plot around the trade deal gets rather lost in the dialogue (a bit of clarification would have been nice), this episode has a good pace with interesting characters and intrigue.

Kim Mills isn't in Don Leaver or Peter Hammond or Bill Bain's hierarchy of videotape Avengers directors but this episode shows how much he started improving in season 3.
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Rhonda
How to Succeed... at Posting!


Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 809
Location: A town, UK

PostPosted: Sun Dec 02, 2018 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

6 for me. There's a lot of intrigue and an innocent victim that make for being genuinely drawn into the personal story of the pianist.
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Ron
Last Watched : The Tale Of the Big Why
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Lee
Little Wonder


Joined: 15 Oct 2017
Posts: 130
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2021 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one was at the bottom of the pile for this year, so I thought I'd watch this one next. I may only have seen this a couple of times as I could only recall vague plot lines before watching, so it was nice to approach something unfamiliar.

This is the first one to be made of Seaon 3 - I didn't think the print was as in good condition as the season 2 episode I watched yesterday. The opening and closing credits, along with the bumper slates, all had a lot of picture noise and a couple of the end credits we're hard to read. Picture quality of the story was generally quite good, but some of the taped classical music pumped in wasn't always clear.

An interesting story, but wasn't there a massive plot hole in the first 5 mins? The intruder in the pianist's room was sent by the guy who killed her, as he is the boss of the club where she works - why didn't she recognise him? Her friend questions the boss about her whereabouts, and he said he sent her on a mission and she wouldn't be back for a couple of days. Have I missed something? Did the dead girl not work at that club with her friend?

It was refreshing that the people from 'the other side' weren't stereotypes and chariactures of Russians. Steed's counterpart is played very well, and the pull between art and loyalty is underplayed well in the young, naive musician who thinks that it is safe to go to a club called 'The Stud' in the west, all to help and find out what is going on.

Ah, the delightful Honor Blackman, looking radiant in whatever she she wears this episode. Mrs Gale has lost nothing between seasons, and is perfectly capable of holding down the full time role her character will occupy this year. It's touching to see how both Steed and Mrs Gale show care for each other in their situations of peril: Steed with his burnt hands and Mrs Gale with her Russian Roulette. He is still being manipulative, arranging for Mrs Gale to organise the delegate's schedule with her knowing, but she seems forgiving quite quickly.... This time....

The direction was quite good. I know Kim Mills receives some criticism for being quite flat, but there were some nice shots, and the designers made the hotel room and chamber for the performance seem realistic, along with the Stud Club, too.

I'm glad this didn't start the year as broadcast, even if it was first in production.

Overall, I gave this a 7.
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