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4.25 - How to Succeed... at Murder

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Rate How to Succeed... at Murder
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 17%  [ 3 ]
 11%  [ 2 ]
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Total Votes : 17

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Little Wonder

Joined: 16 Oct 2009
Posts: 226
Location: MACS0647-JD

PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 8:23 pm    Post subject: 4.25 - How to Succeed... at Murder Reply with quote

Discuss, review and rate How to Succeed... at Murder, produced early February 1966 to mid February 1966.

Teleplay by Brian Clemens
Directed by Don Leaver
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The Big Thinker

Joined: 03 Jan 2013
Posts: 1328
Location: Avengerland

PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

full of wonderful touches and awful moments.
The Avengers: a product of the sixties and a timeless piece of sublime art
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How to Succeed... at Posting!

Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 770
Location: A town, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2015 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I gave 7
Last Watched : The Correct Way to Kill
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Little Wonder

Joined: 01 Sep 2008
Posts: 228
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 7:28 pm    Post subject: Thoughts from My Book Chapter Reply with quote

I thought I'd post here and talk about this intriguing but flawed episode

I happily tackled it for Rodney's book a few years back.

In a nutshell it's a bold idea for 1965 to have sexism in the workplace as a motive for the villains-a group of militant feminists

The women are given a lot attention before Steed and Mrs Peel come onto the scene.

Clemens makes a point of showing how formidable, intelligent and talented they are. He also presented them like a coven of witches with Henrietta serving as both their idol and their high priestess.
It's pretty daring and advanced of Clemens to incorporate such major social issue of the time.

However the episode is very flawed. It's kind of schizophrenic in tone. It's dark and brutal with the women but light and whimsical with Steed and Emma.

Further Clemens spends the first half showing how dangerous and capable they are, only to reveal how stupid they are in the 2nd half.

It's amazing that none of them even suspect Henry is the perpetrator is a lot to ask for. These women are suppose to be extremely bright and perceptive. Even worse how can Miss Merriweather or any of the other not realize who Mrs Peel is? The woman runs her own shipping company!

One of the things I did not go into is that Clemens does not bring much in way of depth or insight to these women as people. They are not presented in any kind admirable or sympathetic light.

What insight you do get is really due to what the actresses bring to their roles. It's a real credit to them that you can get an idea what motivated each of them to ecome man-hating killers

In order of appearance

Liz Purbright: She has a small part but it is very distinctive. Liz is basically a robot. Anyone who has worked at a large company knows the type. They're stoic, efficient and eat and breathe work. They go about their business tirelessly and want things to get done in a hyper-rational manner. Often times people like Liz get exploited too often by superiors, taken for granted and go unappreciated. Her character is perfectly summed up in the prologue and her interaction with her boss.

When she realizes Barton must die, she is calm in her execution and has her priorities as she first protects her typewriter. While the choice of the means of his execution is done for typical maximum shock value for the prologue, the choice of TNT comments how much anger she manages to suppress day in, day out.

Sara Penny: Sara is the sexy honey trap that lures unsuspecting victims. Of all the women, Sara's cause of her hatred is the most apparent. It is clear she has had to deal with sexual harassment from men all her life. Men have most likely dismissed her as good only for their indulgence and couldn't possible have any brains or talent. It's clear she takes a poetic thrill using her sex appeal to trap men. When on the hunt she really amps up her sexuality.

It's in sharp contrast how she carries herself at work. Compared to the other women, she dresses in the plainest and most unremarkable way possible. simple blouse and pencil skirt-nothing suggestive. Minimal makeup and no accessories to draw attention. She wears glasses to downplay her looks. At work she is a model employee. The fact she is in charge of the office and trusted to handle 4 million pounds while her boss is "away" indicates how much suppressing her true self has paid off career wise.

It's small wonder why she hates men and has no qualms strangling them

Mary Merriweather: She seems to be the senior member of the group and is the de facto first lieutenant. The fact she is the executive secretary to the head of a such a huge corporation suggests she's had to endure a sexist environment longer than any of the others. Her tirade at the end of the episode is a strong indicator how long she has been enduring that glass ceiling and her anger has been festering. The rage has clear

That rage has swelled to the point where she is willing to conspire to kill a decent man. And Sir George for all purposes was an upright, likable boss that treated his employees well. His one unforgivable sin being not seeing Mary as truly is-a person who was executive material.

Furthermore it is interesting how Sarah Lawson brings hints of lesbianism to the role of Mary in her interactions with Mrs Peel. This helps to even more to explain her attitude towards men.

Gladys Murkel: Of all the women she comes across as the bratty and the most monstrous. She is clearly ambitious, impatient and, more than likely, always been a greedy, mean-girl. After she gets control of the company she exhibits a blatant cockiness that the other women wisely conceal.

Those darker traits become apparent not simply because she commits murder, but also due to the person she kills. JJ Hooter for all intensive purposes is a kind, sweet eccentric gentlemen. In all likelihood he was a kind boss and probably appreciated all of Gladys' hard work. He was probably the least deserving victim

Further it could be argued Gladys was too blinded by hate and lust for power to realize Hooter should not have been targeted. He founded the company and its longterm growth and well being relied on his creative skills as a perfumier. His special olefactory gifts were tied into the future of the company.

Gladys may have the skills to manage a company, but JJ Hooter's would have eventually stagnated due to lack of product and vision
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The Ministry

Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 1795
Location: Sydney, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great summary, Frank! I love this episode for tackling the glass ceiling topic but it's a shame that the women are portrayed as being hoodwinked by Henry (even though he was undergoing some schizophrenic transformation as Henrietta).
Mrs Peel, you're needed!
Every episode from 1961 to 1977 plus more trivia than you can shake a brolly at.
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