2.10 - The Removal Men

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Total votes: 10

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2.10 - The Removal Men

Post by Rhonda »

Venus Smith episode, UK 3 November 1962.

A very good one; 7/10.
Last edited by Rhonda on Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Frankymole »

My review:

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/gale1-6vr.htm

This episode is notable for Steed shooting dead (apparently) not one but two men. It is done well, and Steed has little choice but to defend himself in this way, but it but does not feel like The Avengers.

The Avenged?: With Steed's contacts, one would have expected that the local authorities could have faked up a press release confirming movie star Nicole was actually dead. That would have saved the problems with suspicions being raised about her car being found but no body turning up. Still, Bug showed initiative and his resentment of Steed is also authentic, even if his Australian accent is the phoniest of phonies.

Diabolical Masterminds?: International mobsters, this time led by Jack Dragna, played by Reed de Rouen (who, as an actor, makes a great writer). The opening scenes of an unidentifiable burglar rifling through his safe are done well: to my surprise, it is revealed to be Steed, who is discovered by Dragna's wife. Unlike reports at The Nitpicker's Guide, she is not seen in the shower (this was the opening to "The Decapod") but she does first appear naked, behind conveniently-placed saloon doors! Steed decides to lock her in the bathroom (luckily, it had a keyhole lock on the outside, otherwise he would have looked a bit silly).

The Avengers?: One-Ten is great as a beach bum! He's complaining vociferously about his drinks again (fizzy whisky this time). Venus Smith sings (well, kind of) and gyrates a bit. Then the band plays by itself (interminably). Later, Venus plays piano and sings. Did the villains really deserve all this punishment? The look of anguish on Edwin Richfield's face as the Dave Lee Trio hog the limelight is priceless (though as jazz goes, it is pretty good). Dave the pianist calls Venus "Julie." At least Venus' hair in the title sequence doesn't look like a shower cap any longer (as in the titles for "The Decapod"). However, the "Mod" look in "School for Traitors" suits her better.

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Steed is a treat throughout, saving the episode. He stops just short of smarm, and shows Dragna's wife interest whilst keeping a polite — and safe! — distance. The only time his artfulness slips is in the offhand way he involves Venus. She would have been safer if he had pretended not to know her, assuming they truly meet here by coincidence. He would have been safer, too — she gossips recklessly and damages Steed's operation. All he needs her for is to find out how much money the nightclub earns, hardly vital stuff. One-Ten goes off with a movie starlet, rushing her away when she spots Steed, the sly old dog ("a hundred-and-ten, still batting!").

Bizarre?: A nice moving location shot which feels very Avenger-ish, the camera dizzily revolving as Steed and Nicole run down the spiral stairwell at the "movie studio." Otherwise a rather run-of-the-mill story with far too much stopping of the plot for musical interludes. More could have been made of Venus suspecting Steed of actually killing Nicole, since this is only their second story together and she's seen his ruthlessness. Steed ordered to apply One-Ten's suntan lotion is amusing.

On Target? (Score): One bowler (out of four), simply for Patrick Macnee holding it all together. In contrast to the lacklustre performances from the guests, he's convincing from start to end, showing tension under his smiling cover role, and desperation in the gritty climactic fight. The man's a star! 2/10.
Last edited by Frankymole on Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by darren »

6/10

It's another strong showing from director Don Leaver and an early Roger Marshall script when he shared the credit. The set design is very good. I love the teddington corridors sequence doubling as the film studios.

We have the truly bizarre moment where the action stops for some jazz - jazz not even accompanied by Venus! I'd love to know the thinking behind that unless it was a last minute decision as the script didn't fit the time slot.

I don't much care for the plot but I like the actors and the look and feel of the episode.
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Post by Lhbizness »

I like The Removal Men for a number of reasons, some of which have to do with Steed's shirt/lack thereof. One of the better Venus Smith episodes, with that nice hardboiled edge/sunny climes.

Trivia! Reed de Rouen is the grandfather of a close friend of mine. We went to grad school together. She's a writer now too.
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Post by Charlie Parker »

A nice crime caper but Venus is kind of moot to the plot really, but it is not a bad script and is highly charged with the promise of the quality that Roger Marshall would soon provide.
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Post by Frankymole »

Just watched this again. Nice clean print on the StudioCanal DVD, could've been filmed recently. I didn't notice before that it was Ivor Dean playing the harbour official, clearly a great moustache-disguise! His critique of Dave Lee's piano playing was enjoyable.

I'm not sure why Steed went to all that trouble with the fake killing simply to shoot Dragna (Reed de Rouen) in the end. I can't see the latter ever being arrested; Steed might as well have shot him when he first met him, but I suppose that's not his style. Which begs the question, why on earth were One-Ten and his Department operating in France anyway, it's not like they were defending an English film star, were they "avenging" past crimes but didn't have enough evidence to get Dragna on? If so, then preventing an actual crime here means he could only be got on attempted murder, and if Steed was the "murderer" it'd never stand up in court anyway.

All very odd. The plot doesn't really hang together, I gather even Roger Marshall wasn't that keen on it and only went with a co-writer so they could share the blame! What was Venus doing at the studio? Just being a random tourist?

Mr Marshall writes: "I arrived on the scene at Episode 36. I was so apprehensive of the potential damage this shambles could do to my fledgling career, I decided to work in partnership with a friend who was a part-time writer and executive of a company producing TV commercials. I worked on the theory that a credit shared could only attract half the blame."
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Post by Frankymole »

Oh, I See from Piers's site that one of the songs is co-written by Harry Sullivan! I have to say, presumably not the Brigadier's Harry Sullivan! (Not often I get to provide a sequel to a Captain Mike Yates joke...)
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Post by dissolute »

Harry Sullivan is an imbecile!

(It occurs to me that people who are not fans of Doctor Who will be thinking I'm very harsh.)
Last edited by dissolute on Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Frankymole »

Teehee!
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Re: 2.10 - The Removal Men

Post by Frankymole »

The brothers react to The Removal Men:

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