The Strange Case of the Missing Corpse
Filmed on the set of Honey for the Prince, this three-minute advertisement for the US market announced that "The Avengers" were switching to colour film - a move entirely motivated by the sale to America as Britain still broadcast in black & white. This is the only time we see Emma Peel is that tight leather catsuit with the zips in colour, and it's revealed to be a deep mahogany instead of the black everyone always assumed it was.
As it's only three minutes long, I've transcribed the entire script. At 1:38 there's rather obvious product placement for Moët et Chandon.
Some lines of this teaser film were used in the Cliff Richard film, Finder Keepers (1966) (around 35:41), where Robert Morley is trying to spy on Cliff but picks up a nearby television set instead.
MID OOF Doorway and signboard
PULL FOCUS as EMMA (DIANA RIGG) saunters in, waggling a gold revolver in her right hand. She's wearing a cream woolen suit with large buttons and a large, pale check, with matching rollneck skivvy.
HOLD on her. The signboard (OFF CENTRE) is revealed to say:
THE STRANGE CASE OF THE
with a sticker obliquely accross it, RED ink on WHITE reading "IN COLOR" (sic)
EMMA: Right! Where is it?
C/U STEED (PATRICK MACNEE), looking surprised.
He is wearing a brown pinstripe suit with cream shirt and dark brown bowler hat and tie.
STEED: Where's what?
EMMA (OC): The body!
STEED (furrows brow): The body?
C/U EMMA: Mmm! The corpus delecti - oh, I'm not particular; it could be stabbed, strangled, riddled with bullets, mutilated beyond recognition -
C/U STEED: You're quite right! Until we find a body -
C/U EMMA: - we've nothing to investigate
C/U STEED: We're defunct!
C/U EMMA: Obsolete! (crisply)
C/U STEED: Out of business (worriedly)
C/U EMMA, she turns and runs out of shot STAGE LEFT
- he looks baffled, shakes his head,
and walks out of shot STAGE RIGHT
MID Emma searching a divan, throwing cushions carelessly over her shoulder.
GRAMS. Trombone fanfare
M/C/U STEED: Something's bound to turn up! There's always a body hanging around- (spots a teapot on a pillar) - somewhere - (picks it up and squints inside, then replaces it on the pillar)
MID Emma gives up on the sofa and heads towards a large honey jar.
STEED: - after all, it's only one body we need
EMMA (leaning on jar): I remember discovering three in one night
(She lifts the lid and looks inside)
One was in the closet, (replaces lid, moves STAGE RIGHT, under a palm frond) - another was underneath the bed and the third one arrived -
(CUT to MID Steed, smiling and leaning on umbrella) - on my breakfast tray.
STEED chuckles, CUT back to Emma, who adds:
EMMA: It was a four-star hotel
She backs off and heads STAGE RIGHT again;
CUT to C/U EMMA: Steed, it'll be a crime if we don't find a body.
M/C/U STEED: It'll be a crime if we do!
C/U EMMA, a gleam in her eye and a mischevious smile on her face
EMMA: Ah! But then I get a chance to exercise my feminie wiles.
She smiles and turns CUT back to Steed looking perplexed.
GRAMS. Drum roll
MID Emma enters from behind a curtained doorway
GRAMS. theme music; EMMA is wearing a tight black leather catsuit with silver
buckles and zips, and calf-length black boots.
She marches sexily towards the camera until in extreme C/U
EMMA: Attacked, I fight!
EMMA feigns a few karate blows [GRAMS. instrumental hits in time with action]
CUT to C/U STEED, looking excited, and bouncing on his feet like a boxer
CUT to EMMA, still feigning parries, then stops to say -
EMMA: Back and forth!
EMMA recommences action, CUT to STEED: Forth and back!
EMMA pauses to look at him, feigns a shoulder throw to her LEFT, then
grabs her own throat.
EMMA: I'm losing!
CUT to C/U STEED: No!
CUT to C/U EMMA - she stops and looks at him again
EMMA: No? Oh - (she stands up straight)
EMMA: A leg trip! Psssh! (feign action)
C/U STEED: A prodigious throw!
C/U EMMA - she does the action to her RIGHT, making a sound of exertion.
CUE SFX - heavy landing, broken crockery etc.
EMMA puts her right hand to her brow, and looks STAGE RIGHT, as though
peering at a distant object
C/U STEED, smiling and laughing
C/U EMMA -she turns to him, smiling
STEED (O/C): Very good!
CUT MID STEED, wearing a tuxedo and bow tie
STEED: Meanwhile, I'm invited to dinner by the diabolical mastermind
(sits at a table)
C/U EMMA: Of course, it's a trap.
CLOSER STEED: He wants to find out how much I know.
C/U EMMA: How much do you know? (wrinkles eyebrows)
MID STEED/STEED: Ah (wags finger)
C/U EMMA / EMMA: You fence with him -
CUT back to STEED, who picks up the foil that has appeared on the table,
and points it at camera
CUE SFX - crashing of metal
C/U EMMA, pursing lips in disapproval
EMMA (sarcastic): Verbally!
MID STEED: Eh?
C/U EMMA, nods briskly.
MID STEED: Oh! (puts down foil)
C/U EMMA: He plies you with champagne?!
MID STEED (picking up the bottle that has appeared)
STEED: That's very nice of him
(examines the label) An excellent vintage!
Er.. for a diabolical mastermind (feigns seriousness)
C/U EMMA: Don't drink it!
MID STEED: Poison?
C/U EMMA: Worse!
MID STEED: Not...?
C/U EMMA she nods.
MID STEED: Never fear!
(he feigns throwing the content of the glass at camera)
CUE SFX water splashing
C/U EMMA looking unamused
MID STEED: Tossed the glass in his face.
Feigns karate strike with LEFT hand [CUE SFX]
STEED: Fell him with a single blow!
C/U EMMA: I burst in shooting! brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
(turns head towards STAGE RIGHT as she rolls the rs)
C/U STEED: The secret of the double-barrelled atomic sock-knitter is safe!
GRAMS. drum roll
C/U EMMA, who gazes skyward, RIGHT: The nation is secure!
STOCK Union Jack being raised up a flagpole in high wind
MID EMMA & STEED sitting on the divan, looking disconsolate
EMMA: Feels very strange without a body
ZOOM IN UNTIL THEY ARE FRAMED
STEED: Not like home at all
EMMA: I feel a deep sense of loss (holds her LEFT side in pain)
STEED: When you think of all the bodies we've had in the past..
(waves hand in resignation)
EMMA: More than we needed sometimes
STEED: Didn't nkow when we were lucky...
STEED looks down and clicks his fingers
CUT to C/U of a white fur rug
STEED (O/C): The bearskin rug!
CUT back to STEED and EMMA - he turns his umbrella around to use
the handle to lift the rug
STEED: We haven't looked under there
EMMA: Steed! Whoever heard of finding a body under a bearskin -
GRAMS. light humorous music
C/U of a rug being pulled back by the umbrella handle to reveal a
shapely leg in fishnet stockings disappearing into a cricket jersey.
EMMA (O/C): Bare skin!
The legs move inticingly.
CUT to STEED and EMMA
EMMA: It is a body!
STEED: A woman's body!
GRAMS. light romantic music
CUT to the rug being pulled away to reveal a pretty blonde
(VALERIE VAN OST), who sits up and winks at him
CUT to STEED and EMMA
EMMA: But it's alive...
STEED: I don't mind... I'll handle this personally!
[He stands at the word 'this']
CUT to FAR shot of STEED offering VALERIE his hand
She gets up and they turn to leave arm in arm
[GRAMS. theme music] They stop and look back halfway
to the door, then depart, STEED patting her bottom
EMMA sighs, lifts a cushion to reveal a half-knitted sock which she
picks up and start to knit.
FADE TO BLACK. F/U SLIDES:
02:49 - titles as per the signboard (without sticker)
02:50 - sticker overlaid, and flashes on and off several times
02:52 - coloured spot overlays
03:03 - ABC television ident
The film has a scene where Robert Morley's character, Colonel Roberts, and Graham Stark's character, Burke, ave just turned on a radio to tune into a bug they've concealed in Cliff Richard's room at the hotel. They then hear a bit of
STEED: Something's bound to turn up! There's always a body hanging around- somewhere -
EMMA: Oh, I'm not particular; it could be stabbed, strangled, riddled with bullets, mutilated beyond recognition -
STEED: You're quite right! Until we find a body -
EMMA: - we've nothing to investigate
STEED: We're defunct!
ROBERTS (OVER): Who's he talking to?
EMMA (IN BACKGROUND): Obsolete! (crisply)
STEED (IN BACKGROUND): Out of business (worriedly)
BURKE (OVER): Mrs Emma Peel, you've got the wrong wave length.
EMMA (IN BACKGROUND): I remember discovering three in one night.
|John Steed||Patrick Macnee regular New Avengers 007|
|Emma Peel||Diana Rigg regular New Avengers 007|
|The Body||Valerie Van Ost regular Carry On.. Space 1999|
|Teleplay by||Brian Clemens regular New Avengers Dangerman The Champions The Professionals Adam Adamant|
|All characters and events in this Teleplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual events or persons, living or dead, is purely co-incidental.|
|Directed by||James Hill regular New Avengers The Saint|
|Produced by||Juilan Wintle regular|
|In Charge of Production||Albert Fennell regular New Avengers The Professionals|
|Music by||Laurie Johnson regular New Avengers The Professionals Jason King|
|Associate Producer||Brian Clemens regular New Avengers Dangerman The Champions The Professionals Adam Adamant|
|Photography||Lionel Banes regular The Saint|
|Art Director||Harry Pottle regular 007 Carry On..|
|Film Editor||Lionel Selwyn regular|
|Production Manager||Geoffrey Haine regular The Champions|
|© Associated British Productions Limited MCMLXVI|
|Diana Rigg's wardrobe designed by||John Bates regular|
|and her shoes by||Edward Rayne regular|
|Assistant Director||Richard Dalton regular|
|Camera Operator||Tony White regular The Saint Space 1999 Department S|
|Casting Director||G.B. Walker regular The Saint|
|Continuity||June Randall regular 007 The Saint|
|Make-up||George Blackler regular The Saint Carry On..|
|Hairdresser||Bill Griffiths regular|
|Wardrobe||Jackie Jackson regular|
|Sound Editor||Jack T. Knight regular New Avengers 007 Space 1999|
|Sound Recording||Simon Kaye regular 007 Indiana Jones|
|Dubbing Mixer||Len Abbott regular The Champions The Saint Department S|
|Recording Director||A.W. Lumkin regular The Saint|
|Stunt Arranger||Ray Austin regular New Avengers The Professionals The Saint Randall and Hopkirk The Champions Department S Space 1999|