2.21 - The White Dwarf

Rate 'The White Dwarf'

10
0
No votes
9
1
11%
8
3
33%
7
1
11%
6
2
22%
5
2
22%
4
0
No votes
3
0
No votes
2
0
No votes
1
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9

User avatar
darren
Diabolical Mastermind
Posts: 2115
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:31 pm
Location: UK
Has thanked: 38 times
Been thanked: 29 times

2.21 - The White Dwarf

Post by darren »

Written by Malcolm Hulke
Directed by Richmond Harding
Production completed: 16 February 1963

Starring Patrick Macnee and Honor Blackman
User avatar
Frankymole
You Have Just Been Posting (a lot)
Posts: 6643
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:33 am
Location: Carmadoc Research Establishment
Has thanked: 376 times
Been thanked: 298 times

Post by Frankymole »

My review:

http://www.theavengers.tv/forever/gale1-21vr.htm

As an amateur, I think it has reasonably good astronomy for its time, at least as far as the observatory procedures (theories about the genesis of the Solar System were many and varied in 1963!). Wisely centered around a nice multilevel set, expertly lit (far more convincing than observatories which appear in the color years). A reasonable murder-mystery romp, though with no real clues (to allow the viewer to play, too), and we see very little of romantic Cornwall where it's set (Cornwall is the Southwest tip of England, a storm-lashed former haven of smugglers and pirates, now favored by artists, sailors and walkers). The establishing shot film inserts merely show a London street, not unusual for season 2.

The Avenged?: Two corpses in Cornwall! Veteran telefantasy actor Keith Pyott (Doctor Who, The Prisoner) and also an intelligently-presented ethnic minority role with Dr Rahim. In the first half of the 1960s, The Avengers was actually ahead of most TV series with respect to diversity — odd, when compared with the show's late 1960s stereotyped portrayal of England as white and middle-class. There's also one pseudo-American financier in London: perhaps the first season 2 corpse to avoid blinking at an end-of-Act commercial break!

Diabolical Masterminds?: Grubby profiteers, really, though George A. Cooper has a climactic blazing rooftop gunfight with Macnee (on film), and Philip Latham has a certain sardonic charm as a cardigan-wearing astronomer. A far cry form the evil President Borusa in Doctor Who, yet similar in some ways. Everyone seems to be having a ball, which helps.

The Avengers?: Cathy has an ill-considered furry coat which she seems to share with one of the other characters (Luke Richter)! Steed seems to get only four or five scenes. Cathy's substitution of some slides, which will expose the murderers — in the dark, sneaking about an observatory — is extremely tense, helped by some great suspense music (music throughout is above par for the season). I like her amusement in scenes where Steed tries to learn astronomy (the Boy's Book of... scene and the tag scene). In that Boy's Book of Astronomy scene, where does Steed go? Am I right that he says he is going out, but veers off and vanishes off-set before reaching the front door?

Umbrella, Charm and a Bowler Hat?: Yes, Steed's on form and elegant in his scenes. I can't really imagine him voluntarily sleeping in the bath, though.

Bizarre?: The attempt to shoot from unusual angles results in an unfortunate angle on the backdrop outside the observatory doors. It makes the horizon look so far below us we seem to be on a huge mountain — more Canary Islands than Cornwall. Nevertheless, the set as a whole is superbly detailed and lit.

On Target? (Score): This installment successfully continues with the unusual venues dreamt up for season 2 plots. Not very engaging characters, but mostly well acted. DVD transfer is pretty crisp. Some viewers find the ending hard to follow, so pacing is suspect. There are a few gripping bits though, so I give it a score of two bowlers (out of 4). 5/10.
Last watched: "Lobster Quadrille"
cyberrich
Site Admin
Posts: 1387
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:21 am
Location: Midlands, U.K.
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 31 times

Post by cyberrich »

The nearest Cathy got to From Venus with love. Alas, the business corruption motivation was typical of the Cathy stories, and sometimes in later seasons. I often wish The Avengers had gone that step further occasionally. A genuine attack from outer space thwarted and kept quiet by the authorities would have been more appreciated by this particular viewer. Maybe not by the viewers of it's day though! Still a great episode though, earning 8/10 from me. Rich.
Charlie Parker
Little Wonder
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 2:23 pm

Post by Charlie Parker »

A strong script with a surprisingly real world look on how an upcoming apocalypse would be reacted to. However it is a bit too wordy and the ending is a bit rushed and confused and could do with a little more clarification. 6/10
anti-clockwise
Mission... Highly Improbable!
Posts: 1678
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 2:34 pm

Post by anti-clockwise »

Charlie Parker wrote:A strong script with a surprisingly real world look on how an upcoming apocalypse would be reacted to. However it is a bit too wordy and the ending is a bit rushed and confused and could do with a little more clarification. 6/10
Quite true. And i love your name. One of the best bebop jazz musicians ever. 8)
"He likes his tea stirred anti-clockwise."
User avatar
darren
Diabolical Mastermind
Posts: 2115
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:31 pm
Location: UK
Has thanked: 38 times
Been thanked: 29 times

Post by darren »

I decided to watch this last night randomly.

I've seen it maybe twice and it's never made much of an impact on me.

It felt like watching it anew. There was some location filming that I'd never previously registered. I amused at one point where actor Peter Copley steps too far off his mark and goes off set and the cameraman realises and doesn't follow him then they cut to another shot.

It's a very wordy script from Malcolm Hulke. I get the gist of the plot but the ending is rather thrown away with Philip Latham's character blurting out he was the murderer. I like the humour of the vegetarian Cornish guesthouse owner.

7/10 - nearly an 8/10, it needed more clarity in the dialogue.
User avatar
Rhonda
Epic
Posts: 953
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:49 am
Location: A town, UK
Has thanked: 29 times
Been thanked: 49 times

Post by Rhonda »

8 for me. Anything to do with space interests me and if only The Avengers had more such episodes.
Ron
Last Watched : Castle de'Ath
User avatar
Frankymole
You Have Just Been Posting (a lot)
Posts: 6643
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:33 am
Location: Carmadoc Research Establishment
Has thanked: 376 times
Been thanked: 298 times

Post by Frankymole »

My astronomical education has come on since I last viewed this. But I've also had a wider appreciation of The Avengers, 1960s drama in general and the actors and writers involved.

Aside from some disconnected location shooting at the end (albeit at night, so extra points for atmosphere) this was a tight and very suspenseful episode.

I'd give it at least 9/10 now. Four Bowlers.

I definitely feel like giving it a rewatch again soon (I saw it last night) so it is good value.
Last watched: "Lobster Quadrille"
mousemeat
They Keep Posting about Steed
Posts: 7194
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Elvis Central, U.S.A.
Has thanked: 108 times
Been thanked: 106 times

Post by mousemeat »

Charlie Parker wrote:A strong script with a surprisingly real world look on how an upcoming apocalypse would be reacted to. However it is a bit too wordy and the ending is a bit rushed and confused and could do with a little more clarification. 6/10
spot on review...myself, I give it a ' 8 '.....
User avatar
Frankymole
You Have Just Been Posting (a lot)
Posts: 6643
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 9:33 am
Location: Carmadoc Research Establishment
Has thanked: 376 times
Been thanked: 298 times

Re: 2.21 - The White Dwarf

Post by Frankymole »

It's going a bit skiffy!

The brothers cover this one.

Last watched: "Lobster Quadrille"
Post Reply