Saturday, December 31, 2011

Naive Avengersthon - 3. The Frighteners

This story reminded me strangely of the Hancock's Half Hour episode The Elopement, except that the jealous father here is prepared to have the suitor beaten up regularly until he desists. There's also a strong connection with Four To Doomsday, with Stratford 'Monarch' Johns as the father, Sir Thomas, and Philip 'Bigon' Locke as main thug.

Steed gets Dr Keel to take the thugs on; they're controlled by the excellently sinister 'Deacon', who Keel threatens to squirt with a syringe of hydrochloric acid. He's bluffing of course - it's witch-hazel (or perhaps lemonade). Amusingly, Steed later chastises him for getting carried away. There are the first real hints in this episode of the later Steed, particularly in his mock-solicitous report to Sir Thomas about his daughter having given him the slip.

Some more clever camerawork in this: there's an establishing shot using an opening pan across what looks very like a still photo of a building, and then what seems to be an obvious model shot; finally revealing that it is actually a model building in Stratford Johns' office.

Naive Avengersthon - 2. Girl on the Trapeze

No Steed in this one, so far as I could tell. An Eastern European state circus is up to no good, arranging the 'suicide' of the eponymous trapeze girl so that a dissident's daughter can be substituted for her and taken back as a hostage. Dr Keel jumps right in and gets out of his depth; some good scenes where he and the circus people are both pretending to fall for the other's deception. Edwin 'Captain Hart' Richfield as the chief crook (something about the look and atmosphere of these episodes makes 'crooks' the only possible word for the villains).

Some quite clever bits in this, like where a shot of someone looking down a microscope swims in and out of focus as he adjusts the instrument.

I also appreciated Keel's clever algorithm for his brute force search of the papers for a photo of the dead girl: his nurse/sidekick doesn't know what the girl looks like, so she marks all the pages with pictures of women on them, thus enabling the search to proceed in parallel.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Naive Avengersthon - 1. Hot Snow

Commencing a series of Avengers reactions. I know very little about The Avengers, but I do know that I have 139 episodes of it here waiting to be watched.

Okay... so the initial lineup is Steed and Dr David Keel, the latter motivated by having his fiance gunned down by the purveyors of the eponymous 'snow'. An incredibly dated, noirish feel to this, the ambience of a film like Hell Drivers or perhaps An Unearthly Child. Either way, I was expecting William Hartnell to pop up as one of the drug gang. And I had no idea that the expression 'coked up' was in use when this was made.

Only one reel of it exists, apparently, so it's difficult to comment further than saying that it hasn't put me off watching the next one.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another encounter with Urania, the library angel's astronomical counterpart, this evening: walking home I saw the Full Moon just rising and half obscured, apparently by cloud. Then discovered that a partial lunar eclipse had been in progress.