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3.21 - Mandrake

 
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Rate 'Mandrake'
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Total Votes : 14

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Darren
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:35 pm    Post subject: 3.21 - Mandrake Reply with quote

Written by Roger Marshall

Directed by Bill Bain

Production completed: 16 January 1964
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cyberrich
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

10/10. Top 5 Cathy episode! One of the very best scripts from season 3. I only wish they'd have remade this in season 5 instead of Great Dane. It would have been interesting to have seen this filmed on a bigger budget, and I'm sure this story would have fitted in with season 5 much better than Breakfast, which frankly doesn't fit in at all. Rich.
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This was a classic Gale episode. Her fight with Jackie Pallo at the grave was spectacular and eery at the same time. Every time I see her kick I think OMG that was a real blow. The reverend i thought was a wonderful Avenger's eccentric. Good acting and an interesting plot on this one.
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agree. Anything with Roger Marshall is gold.
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Last edited by anti-clockwise on Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:14 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Darren
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

10/10

One of Roger Marshall's best scripts. Everything just clicks so well. By season 3 on the whole they knew what they were doing and when they were doing it they were doing it soooo well. It's got a fascinating plot with scheming characters with one foot almost out of reality.

Bill Bain was a great addition to the Avengers directors, shame he didn't do more and we lost Jonathan Alwyn, Kim Mills and Richmond Harding (probably fine directors but just not Avengers directors). There's a real sense of control from Bain directing, similar feel to Don Leaver. You feel like you can have confidence in the director. He's got together a great cast who all give very Avengers performances. They know what they're doing. John Le Mesurier is added from the Dad's Army cast list (future cast list) and is nicely sympathetic. Philip Locke and Madge Ryan make for an excellent couple of schemers. And we get Annette Andre, she's so cute in this and Steed/Macnee clearly thinks so.

I love the set design of the graveyard and church. You've got to admire the set designers of this era, they really went for it (hardly any of the recycling that dominated the film years). It's got live rain in the studio!

Such a confidence script and production.
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

best Cathy Gale, for me. Would have been remade instead of Death of a Great Dane but being a late Season 3 it was not deemed 'old' enough to remake. Great shame!
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Darren
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rodders wrote:
best Cathy Gale, for me. Would have been remade instead of Death of a Great Dane but being a late Season 3 it was not deemed 'old' enough to remake. Great shame!


Seems a strange conclusion to make as they made Don't Look Behind You again and that was the same season.

I doubt they could have improved on it just as they didn't with Great Dane.
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cyberrich
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mandrake is the circle's next episode under review. Love to hear from you! Rich.
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Spaceship Dispatcher
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's only been a few weeks since I watched this with friends, but I watched it again this morning for the review circle anyway. Mandrake is such a near perfect episode that I really didn't mind! Besides, between the two occasions that I have watched the episode lately, much of my time has been spent enjoying many of my favourite Agatha Christie adaptations. Thus it was only the second time around, this morning, that I realised how similar the premise was to The Pale Horse. The specific plot mechanics are simplified to suit the format of course, but the villains' scheme itself and the set-up of a partly London based and partly rural operation were used in definitely comparable ways. What also works for me here is the casting; John Le Mesurier and George Benson had such naturally charming on screen persona that you find yourself liking them and wanting to believe in them to some extent, such that Macombie comes across as a doctor who genuinely doesn't like his part in the scheme and the Reverend as someone who honestly still might or might not be involved by the end. Mention of course has to go to Annette Andre as the shop assistant. Her character is not involved and doesn't become involved by her presence, but in the script is just someone for Steed and Hopkins to have lines with without meeting each other while the shop setting was introduced to the audience. It could have been a totally forgettable non-role, and yet Annette Andre plays it with energy and sparkle as though Judy and not Cathy was Steed's partner in the story!
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Darren
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bill Bain was a great director - not as obviously stylish as Hammond or Leaver but he made his episodes look striking and solid. Excellent casting with John Le Mesurier, Philip Locke and Madge Ryan and well everyone.

It's a shame that Mandrake didn't get the series 5B remake but could they have improved on it. Robert Day who handled 50,000 Breakfast wasn't as great a director as Bill Bain - I suppose they went with the Great Dane remake as it was a more contained episode with mostly a single location that was easier to replicate than the ones needed for Mandrake.
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anti-clockwise
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darren wrote:
Bill Bain was a great director - not as obviously stylish as Hammond or Leaver but he made his episodes look striking and solid. Excellent casting with John Le Mesurier, Philip Locke and Madge Ryan and well everyone.

It's a shame that Mandrake didn't get the series 5B remake but could they have improved on it. Robert Day who handled 50,000 Breakfast wasn't as great a director as Bill Bain - I suppose they went with the Great Dane remake as it was a more contained episode with mostly a single location that was easier to replicate than the ones needed for Mandrake.
Good points Darren. It would have been a better remake then 50K Breakfast. Too bad they did not modify scenes if at all possible.
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Rodders
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What made 50K interesting was the use of a female mastermind, a rarity in the series.
Mandrake makes great use of gallows humour and death imagery which is such a powerful leitmotif in the show.
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dissolute
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think Mandrake is underrated by most viewers. Sure, it's studio-bound and the plot is fairly straightforward, but the standard of the players is very high.
Macombie vascillates between obsequious plotter and scared medical practitioner. Le Mesurier at his best. Philip Locke is his usual goggling, evil self (although in one scene he keeps staring at the secondary camera, expecting the vision to switch to it - I assume the director changed the camera script at the last minute without informing the actors).

A delightful cliffhanger and red herring rolled into one with the vicar and his water pistol - he's very menacing and convincing.

The episode was justly famous in its day for being the one where Honor Blackman knocked out Jackie Pallo on-set in the graveyard fight scene.
We don't see it happen, as it was during rehearsal that she forgot to feint and accidentally kicked him in the head, whereupon he hit his head on the concrete floor of the studio and was out cold for four minutes, during which Honor sat by him, in tears.
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Avengerholic
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love it, I only watched it again yesterday. It's a great episode, everything about it is utter perfection, the thunderstorm at the cemetery, the sets, the acting, Honor is on top form and of course there's that famous fight sequence in the graveyard. 10/10 Wink
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