Skip to main content

This is the most secret nursing home in the country.

The Avengers
6.15: Noon-Doomsday

Noon-Doomsday isn’t exactly bad, but it’s incredibly slack, ripping off High Noon so redundantly that Brian Clemens had every right to tear Terry Nation a new one (he promptly went away and ripped off The Maltese Falcon instead, to miraculously better results). The effect is not dissimilar to watching a New Avengers episode where, for long sections, nothing much happens while simultaneously taking itself all-too seriously.


Hyde: Do you intend to dine with him the moment he’s up and about?
Tara: Yes.
Hyde: Then I predict a remarkable recovery.

In this High Noon, Steed’s laid up with a broken leg in a safe house in the middle of the country, as two hit men nearby wait for an escaped rotter out for revenge – the Head of Murder International, whom Steed grabbed seven years before – to join them. None of the other residents are willing to help him, naturally, although it’s the visiting Tara who’s running about asking. Indeed, this is very much her episode, bashing Steed on the head when he tells her to remove herself and taking on the villains (Steed recovers to in time to harpoon the escape rotter Gerard Kafka – Peter Bromilow – with a projectile hidden in one of his crutches).


There are a few enjoyable incidentals along the way, not least Mother ploughing through Steed’s drinks cabinet (“I wonder if he buys it all on expenses?”) – he also receives a murderous look from Rhonda when he comments “What I like about you is your complete noiselessness. A rare quality in a woman” – and Doctor Hyde (John Glyn-Jones, 4.25: A Sense of History, who despite the name isn’t a bad guy) turning a blind eye to the bubbly Tara has smuggled in (“Oh, by the way, Steed. Save me a drop of that champagne”).


Hyde is rather unceremoniously killed and dumped down a well (why Tara goes down to check on the body, goodness only knows), after Head of Security Giles Cornwall (Lawrence James) is the first to buy it. It’s no surprise inside man Doctor Carson (David Glover, 4.5: The See-Through Man) is no good, from the way he’s introduced. 


Sir RodneyMiss King. It may be difficult for you to understand, but my political platform has always been one of non-violent appeasement. My image is one of a dove.

We also meet Sir Rodney Woodham-Baines (Griffith Jones), a diplomat injured when someone threw a bomb at the peace talks (he fancies Tara but is having none of her pleas), eye-patched Jules Perrier (Peter Halliday, Packer in The Invasion and Pletrac in Carnival of Monsters, as well as showing up in The Silurians, Ambassadors of Death, City of Death and Remembrance of the Daleks), who opts out of aiding Steed, even though he respects him, on the basis that “My death will in no way benefit my country. Therefore, there is no justification in putting my life at risk”. 


Then there’s Lyall (Lyndon Brook, 5.8: The Hidden Tiger), a scaredy cat who bolts at the first sound of gunfire. Only Sunley (Anthony Ainley, the ‘80s Master, of course), plastered in plaster offers to help, in whatever limited way he can.


The most interesting characterisation – not that it amounts to very much, is given to hit man Farrington (Ray Brooks, narrator of Mr Ben), as he speculates over what to buy his nine-year old niece for her birthday. He specialises in knife throwing, as it seems does Tara, who manages to throw his straight back, highly unconvincingly, into his chest as he stands atop the safe house roof. TP McKenna (3.22: Trojan Horse, 4.5: Death at Bargain Prices as his accomplice Grant) is entirely wasted, however, as a slightly nervy killer who Tara manages to shoot with his own gun.


More slightly queasy Steed-Tara material in the coda, as she tells him, while they get ready to go out, that they won’t dance; instead, they can “just gaze in each other’s eyes”. This regular seduction technique manages to be both too overt and entirely banal. Nevertheless, the present of a plaster cast containing a TARDIS worth of items (bubbly of course, a brooch, cigars, a sun hat, a parasol and a luminous sundial) amuses. Clemens’ rewrites to Nation include a reference to Department S, the new series Dennis Spooner was helming for ITC, but he wasn’t able to entirely salvage a ho-hum affair.













Agree? Disagree? Mildly or vehemently? Let me know in the comments below.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We live in a twilight world.

Tenet (2020)
(SPOILERS) I’ve endured a fair few confusingly-executed action sequences in movies – more than enough, actually – but I don’t think I’ve previously had the odd experience of being on the edge of my seat during one while simultaneously failing to understand its objectives and how those objectives are being attempted. Which happened a few times during Tenet. If I stroll over to the Wiki page and read the plot synopsis, it is fairly explicable (fairly) but as a first dive into this Christopher Nolan film, I frequently found it, if not impenetrable, then most definitely opaque.

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

You can’t climb a ladder, no. But you can skip like a goat into a bar.

Juno and the Paycock (1930)
(SPOILERS) Hitchcock’s second sound feature. Such was the lustre of this technological advance that a wordy play was picked. By Sean O’Casey, upon whom Hitchcock based the prophet of doom at the end of The Birds. Juno and the Paycock, set in 1922 during the Irish Civil War, begins as a broad comedy of domestic manners, but by the end has descended into full-blown Greek (or Catholic) tragedy. As such, it’s an uneven but still watchable affair, even if Hitch does nothing to disguise its stage origins.

Anything can happen in Little Storping. Anything at all.

The Avengers 2.22: Murdersville
Brian Clemens' witty take on village life gone bad is one of the highlights of the fifth season. Inspired by Bad Day at Black Rock, one wonders how much Murdersville's premise of unsettling impulses lurking beneath an idyllic surface were set to influence both Straw Dogs and The Wicker Mana few years later (one could also suggest it premeditates the brand of backwoods horrors soon to be found in American cinema from the likes of Wes Craven and Tobe Hooper).

James Bond. You appear with the tedious inevitability of an unloved season.

Moonraker (1979)
Depending upon your disposition, and quite possibly age, Moonraker is either the Bond film that finally jumped the shark or the one that is most gloriously redolent of Roger Moore’s knowing take on the character. Many Bond aficionados will no doubt utter its name with thinly disguised contempt, just as they will extol with gravity how Timothy Dalton represented a masterful return to the core values of the series. If you regard For Your Eyes Only as a refreshing return to basics after the excesses of the previous two entries, and particularly the space opera grandstanding of this one, it’s probably fair to say you don’t much like Roger Moore’s take on Bond.

My name is Dr. King Schultz, this is my valet, Django, and these are our horses, Fritz, and Tony.

Django Unchained (2012)
(MINOR SPOILERS) Since the painful misstep of Grindhouse/Death Proof, Quentin Tarantino has regained the higher ground like never before. Pulp Fiction, his previous commercial and critical peak, has been at very least equalled by the back-to-back hits of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Having been underwhelmed by his post Pulp Fiction efforts (albeit, I admired his technical advances as a director in Kill Bill), I was pleasantly surprised by Inglourious Basterds. It was no work of genius (so not Pulp Fiction) by any means, but there was a gleeful irreverence in its treatment of history and even to the nominal heroic status of its titular protagonists. Tonally, it was a good fit for the director’s “cool” aesthetic. As a purveyor of postmodern pastiche, where the surface level is the subtext, in some ways he was operating at his zenith. Django Unchained is a retreat from that position, the director caught in the tug between his all-important aesthetic pr…

I mean, I am just a dumb bunny, but, we are good at multiplying.

Zootropolis (2016)
(SPOILERS) The key to Zootropolis’ creative success isn’t so much the conceit of its much-vaunted allegory regarding prejudice and equality, or – conversely – the fun to be had riffing on animal stereotypes (simultaneously clever and obvious), or even the appealing central duo voiced by Ginnifier Goodwin (as first rabbit cop Judy Hopps) and Jason Bateman (fox hustler Nick Wilde). Rather, it’s coming armed with that rarity for an animation; a well-sustained plot that doesn’t devolve into overblown set pieces or rest on the easy laurels of musical numbers and montages.

Twenty dwarves took turns doing handstands on the carpet.

Bugsy (1991)
(SPOILERS) Bugsy is very much a Warren Beatty vanity project (aren’t they all, even the ones that don’t seem that way on the surface?), to the extent of his playing a title character a decade and a half younger than him. As such, it makes sense that producer Warren’s choice of director wouldn’t be inclined to overshadow star Warren, but the effect is to end up with a movie that, for all its considerable merits (including a script from James Toback chock full of incident), never really feels quite focussed, that it’s destined to lead anywhere, even if we know where it’s going.

Doctor, eh? You’re not in the best of shape yourself, though, are you?

Doctor Who  Season 26 – Worst to Best
I’m not a big Seventh Doctor fan. For me, Doctor Who pretty much ended with Season 23 (and not because it was awful: see here). Yes, there have been a few nu-Who reprieves (mostly notably Matt Smith’s first season), but the McCoy era flaunted an abundance of sins, from a lead who wasn’t up to snuff, to a script-editor messaging his social conscience wrapped in a breeze block (or bilge bag), to production values that made any given earlier era look absurdly lavish in comparison. And then there was the “masterplan” (which at least lends Season 24 a rather innocuous and relatively inoffensive quality by contrast).

Nevertheless, on the occasions I do return to the era, I’m always minded to give it a fair shake. And while that resolve inevitably crumbles within minutes, under the duress of cold harsh reality, it has, at times, led to a positive reappraisal (The Happiness Patrol, and, to an extent, perhaps unfathomably, Time and the Rani). So we’ll see ho…

My dear, sweet brother Numsie!

The Golden Child (1986)
Post-Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy could have filmed himself washing the dishes and it would have been a huge hit. Which might not have been a bad idea, since he chose to make this misconceived stinker.