Skip to main content

It seems that an international criminal organisation has centred itself on London.

The Avengers
2.15: Intercrime

Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke return, showing how to engineer a plot revolving around a syndicate of international criminals and not make it pedestrian. In many respects Intercrime is a standard issue piece for the series at this point, but it succeeds thanks to all the inter-Intercrime intrigue, making the bad guys’ machinations as interesting as Steed and Cathy’s.


Intercrime have impressive credentials. They’ve pulled off 12 major robberies in the previous few weeks, most recently snatching three quarters of a million pounds and a couple of Modiglianis. Their behaviour doesn’t exhibit the hallmarks of British criminals, and anecdotally Germany, Holland and France have experienced a 200% increase in crimes over pasty two years!


But all is not wine and roses in their ranks. There are internal ructions, led by Felder (Kenneth J Warren, in his second of four Avengers appearances; he would die a little over 10 years later, at only 43). He plans to usurp their chairman Manning (Patrick Holt) and take over the crime ring, supported by Lobb (Jerome Willis, Stevens in The Green Death) and Moss (Alan Browning, who makes a particular impression and would return in the final season). The boss’s girlfriend Pamela (Angela Browne, 86 in The Prisoner episode A Change of Mind) has found out about the organisation, and she’s to be bumped off by the fearsome and ruthless Hilda Stern (Julia Arnall). On top of this, some of the help have gotten greedy, and Moss has bumped them off. Or thinks he has; the survivor, Palmer (Donald Webster), falls into Steed and Cathy’s hands.


There’s quite a lot going on here, then, and our heroes’ “in” sees Cathy posing as Hilda, who is doing stir in Holloway. Until the real Hilda escapes, that is. In the meantime, Cathy has to defend Kressler (Paul Hansard) who is being stitched up for five grand that has gone missing from a job; it becomes clear that Felder has no interest in justice being served, and Cathy’s cover is blown after the real Hilda shows up and she refuses to off Kressler.


Steed: So you’re not a British firm?
Lobb: Oh no, sir, We have associates all over Europe.
Steed: One up for the common market.

As with The Big Thinker, Steed is less prominent here, the donkey work and danger making being done by Cathy. He poses as Cathy’s solicitor in order to lay the groundwork for her escape from Holloway, then as a posh fellow (what, never!) intent on opening his own shooting gallery. He also attempts to persuade Pamela of the danger she is in (“Good evening Miss Johnson. Not dead yet?” he asks when they next meet). And then again, he arrives to release Cathy from bondage.


The climax is the usual flurry of activity, in which Hilda is shot in the hand by Cathy and Lobb stabs Moss by mistake when he is going for Steed. While director Jonathan Alwyn handles this reasonably well, a resounding gaffe (I don’t usually bother noting them) is evident about 43 minutes, with the camera and operator revealed very clearly behind a closing door. This one, like its predecessor, is extremely well cast, with the added benefit of a tight structure. The final laugh-down is also quite a good one; Steed’s apartment is full of weaponry (“In an expansive mood, I made a rather large order for Rifle Ranges International Limited”).








Popular posts from this blog

Abandon selective targeting. Shoot everything.

28 Weeks Later (2007) (SPOILERS) The first five minutes of 28 Weeks Later are far and away the best part of this sequel, offering in quick succession a devastating moral quandary and a waking nightmare, immortalised on the screen. After that, while significantly more polished, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo reveals his concept to be altogether inferior to Danny Boyle and Alex Garland’s, falling back on the crutches of gore, nihilism, and disengaging and limiting shifts of focus between characters in whom one has little investment in the first place.

The Bible never said anything about amphetamines.

The Color of Money (1986) (SPOILERS) I tend to think it’s evident when Scorsese isn’t truly exercised by material. He can still invest every ounce of the technical acumen at his fingertips, and the results can dazzle on that level, but you don’t really feel the filmmaker in the film. Which, for one of his pictures to truly carry a wallop, you need to do. We’ve seen quite a few in such deficit in recent years, most often teaming with Leo. The Color of Money , however, is the first where it was out-and-out evident the subject matter wasn’t Marty’s bag. He needed it, desperately, to come off, but in the manner a tradesman who wants to keep getting jobs. This sequel to The Hustler doesn’t linger in the mind, however good it may be, moment by moment.

Captain, he who walks in fire will burn his feet.

The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) (SPOILERS) Ray Harryhausen returns to the kind of unadulterated fantasy material that made Jason and the Argonauts such a success – swords & stop motion, if you like. In between, there were a couple of less successful efforts, HG Wells adaptation First Men in the Moon and The Valley of the Gwangi (which I considered the best thing ever as a kid: dinosaur walks into a cowboy movie). Harryhausen’s special-effects supremacy – in a for-hire capacity – had also been consummately eclipsed by Raquel Welch’s fur bikini in One Million Years B.C . The Golden Voyage of Sinbad follows the expected Dynamation template – blank-slate hero, memorable creatures, McGuffin quest – but in its considerable favour, it also boasts a villainous performance by nobody-at-the-time, on-the-cusp-of-greatness Tom Baker.

You’re going to make me drop a donkey.

Encanto (2021) (SPOILERS) By my estimation, Disney brand pictures are currently edging ahead of the Pixars. Not that there’s a whole lot in it, since neither have been at full wattage for a few years now. Raya and the Last Dragon and now Encanto are collectively just about superior to Soul and Luca . Generally, the animation arm’s attempts to take in as much cultural representation as they possibly can, to make up for their historic lack of woke quotas, has – ironically – had the effect of homogenising the product to whole new levels. So here we have Colombia, renowned the world over for the US’s benign intervention in their region, not to mention providing the CIA with subsistence income, beneficently showered with gifts from the US’s greatest artistic benefactor.

My hands hurt from galloping.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) (SPOILERS) Say what you like about the 2016 reboot, at least it wasn’t labouring under the illusion it was an Amblin movie. Ghostbusters 3.5 features the odd laugh, but it isn’t funny, and it most definitely isn’t scary. It is, however, shamelessly nostalgic for, and reverential towards, the original(s), which appears to have granted it a free pass in fan circles. It didn’t deserve one.

I’ve heard the dancing’s amazing, but the music sucks.

Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021) (SPOILERS) At one point in Tick, Tick… Boom! – which really ought to have been the title of an early ’90s Steven Seagal vehicle – Andrew Garfield’s Jonathan Larson is given some sage advice on how to find success in his chosen field: “ On the next, maybe try writing about what you know ”. Unfortunately, the very autobiographical, very-meta result – I’m only surprised the musical doesn’t end with Larson finishing writing this musical, in which he is finishing writing his musical, in which he is finishing writing his musical… – takes that acutely literally.

If this were a hoax, would we have six dead men up on that mountain?

The X-Files 4.24: Gethsemane   Season Four is undoubtedly the point at which the duff arc episodes begin to amass, encroaching upon the decent ones for dominance. Fortunately, however, the season finale is a considerable improvement’s on Three’s, even if it’s a long way from the cliffhanger high of 2.25: Anasazi .

What would you do with a diseased little island?

28 Days Later (2002) (SPOILERS) Evolution’s a nasty business. If not for its baleful influence, all those genetically similar apes – or bats – would be unable to transmit deadly lab-made viruses to humans and cause a zombie plague. Thank the lord we’ve got science on our side, to save us from such scientifically approved, stamped and certified terrors. Does Danny Boyle believe in the programming he expounds? As in, is he as aware of 28 Days Later ’s enforcement of the prescribed paradigm in the same manner as the product placement he oversees in every other frame of the movie (and yes, he could have chosen the Alex Cox option for the latter; it would at least have shown some wit)?

He has dubiety about his identity, possibly.

The Tender Bar (2021) (SPOILERS) George continues to flog his dead horse of a directorial career. It has to be admitted, however, that he goes less astray here than with anything he’s called the shots on in a decade ( Suburbicon may be a better movie overall, but the parts that grind metal are all ones Clooney grafted onto the Coen Brothers’ screenplay). For starters, he gives Batffleck a role where he can shine, and I’d given up on that being possible. Some of the other casting stretches credulity, but by setting his sights modestly, he makes The Tender Bar passably slight for the most part.

Who gave you the crusade franchise? Tell me that.

The Star Chamber (1983) (SPOILERS) Peter Hyams’ conspiracy thriller might simply have offered sauce too weak to satisfy, reining in the vast machinations of an all-powerful hidden government found commonly during ’70s fare and substituting it with a more ’80s brand that failed to include that decade’s requisite facile resolution. There’s a good enough idea here – instead of Charles Bronson, it’s the upper echelons of the legal system resorting to vigilante justice – but The Star Chamber suffers from a failure of nerve, repenting its premise just as it’s about to dig into the ramifications.