|Tyne Tees Television||15/03/67||8:00pm|
|Television Wales & West||17/03/67||8:00pm|
|ABN2 Sydney, Australia||6/06/67||8:00pm|
|ABV2 Melbourne, Australia||5/06/67||8:00pm|
|ABC New York, USA||31/03/67||10:00pm|
|Suisse Romande, Switzerland||29/01/68||9:10pm|
|German title||Duplikate gefällig?|
|Dutch title||Ontmoeting met een dode / Onsterfelijk ?|
|Italian title||gli indistruttibili*|
|Spanish title||Jamás, pero jamás, digas: ¡muere!|
* Italian listings showed this as 10pm, as Italy observed Summer Time and Switzerland did not.
An engaging and thrilling episode, even if it becomes all too apparent what’s going on long before the denouément. Lee is superb as the humourously-named Dr. Frank N. Stone (Lee having played Frankenstein for Hammer Films prior to this rôle).
Steed interrupts a rerun of “The
Cybernauts”, because he needs Mrs Peel’s help with a corpse
that will not die.
The body keeps on walking off and destroying radios. Professor
Frank N. Stone of the Neoteric Research Unit is a dead ringer
for the body, and Steed’s suspicions are aroused. Mrs Peel and
the local doctor are abducted and trapped within Stone’s
laboratory - but Steed detects the fake doctor and rushes to
the rescue. The replicant of the Professor is discovered to be
the genuine article by his three-day growth, and the Avengers
attempt to fight their way out. Dr James uses Steed’s
transistor radio to disable the replicants, and the Avengers
discover doubles of themselves, Steed’s being marked REJECT.
The Avengers return to their television - and discover you
would never be able to tell a plastic politician from a real
Click a name to see the face
- red chinese silk with purple pattern pant suit
- tan suede coat, high collar, white woollen skivvy, tan trousers, white boots
- blue catsuit with white trim
- grey single-breasted 3-piece suit with 4 buttons, slanted flap pockets and 2 very long vents, bowler hat & umbrella, white shirt, blue tie
- grey herringbone single-breasted suit, waistcoat, white shirt red tie
- brown and green hunting blazer with dark brown paisley cravat, houndstooth trousers, white pinstriped shirt, brown suede boots
- brown and green hunting blazer with dark brown paisley cravat, houndstooth trousers, pale khaki shirt, brown suede boots
- light grey chalk stripe single-breasted 3-piece suit, blue cravat & handkerchief
- dark single-breasted taupe jacket, green waistcoat brass buttons, white pinstripe shirt, dark brown cravat, beige trousers, brown bowler and chelsea boots, black umbrella
- black/midnight blue tuxedo with silk facings and piping on trousers, pale blue ruffled shirt, blue velvet bow tie, black dress shoes
Continuity and trivia
- 2:22 - Nice stunt work by the stand-in (or is it Christopher Lee?), rolling off the bonnet of the car.
- 3:52 - In the intro scene where Steed appears on Mrs Peel’s television set, she’s watching The Cybernauts from the previous season - very postmodern!
- 4:45 - Mrs Peel uses the unlikely expression “All the symptoms of death.”
- 5:56-6:05 - Christopher Lee walks out onto a different stretch of road than the rest of the action takes place on (5:53), and the stuntman doesn’t land next to a puddle either - he hits his head on the rear wheel of the car, which must have hurt!
- 7:38 - Is Steed long-sighted? The way he holds the MOT-NRU note suggests so.
- 10:17 - The old man is steering his RC model boat around Tyke’s Water Lake.
- 10:20-11:55 - the close-ups of the hands on the controller don’t look like Arnold Ridley’s hands, and the sleeves are orange-brown rathen than beige.
- 13:12/14:39/15:28/17:18- - Professor Stone’s replicant is shot several times in the chest by the Sergeant, but when we next see him marching through the woods the holes have gone.
- 15:10 - Penrose is wearing an Old Etonian tie.
- 16:11 - If Professor Stone’s cottage has “not been lived in for weeks” (31:15), how come there’s a fresh loaf of bread, a pat of butter, half-eaten sandwich and a tankard on the table? It’s not as though the replicant would need them.
- 17:30 - Patrick Macnee has a stunt double for the fight scenes - it’s Rocky Taylor, and while Christopher Lee does most of his, Bill Cummings stands in for the scene (18:10) in which he’s captured by the NRU men.
- 18:55 et passim. - The somewhat obvious painted backdrop seen through the door of the cottage reappears in Epic in the scenes with the church - and it’s wrong for this episode, as the woods outside are much denser than the backdrop looks. Not only that, but it’s Autumn ouside in the woods, with barely a leaf left on the branches, and the backdrop shows full Summer.
- Professor Stone has a copy of Venus: Our Sister Planet in the bookshelf that Steed falls against.
- 19:17 - Steed goes back for his bowler hat but leaves his shotgun behind (it doesn’t reappear, so this isn’t technically a continuity error - he’s just forgetful).
- 19:25 - The film is sped up for when Steed jogs through the woods to make him look like he’s running.
- 23:18 - Stone is wearing a Keeble College, Oxford, tie.
- 24:14 et passim. - There’s a hair caught on the camera lens, on the right hand side of the screen, for Diana’s close-ups when she’s near the door inside the cottage.
- 29:04 - Similar to Something Nasty in the Nursery, Steed’s outfit is swapped alarmingly when he’s entering and leaving buildings. When he leaves the Neoteric Research Unit the first time, he’s seen passing the Transistor Radio warning in the suit he wears on his second visit.
- 31:30-32:50 - there’s a thick thread stuck to the camera lens at bottom centre in the shots of Stone and Penrose.
- 35:40 - Homage to Hammer & Amicus Film as Lee recreates his waking vampire in the close-up.
- 36:52 - the small wad of folded notes Mrs Peel draws from behind the drawer doesn’t look anything like the pile of A3 she’s holding a second later.
- 38:48 - How does Penrose know who Mrs Peel is when he asks for her to hand over the plans?
- 40:53 - How come the duplicate Dr James can’t smash through the door?
- 43:00 - the close-up of the computer lights is taken from The Hidden Tiger.
- 47:35 - Our first sight of Emma’s redecorated flat, but it’s very brief.
- 47:45 - Moët et Chandon product placement.
- Running time: 49'17"
A note on the timecodes
Where I have listed two sets of timecodes, the first is from the 2009-11 Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD sets, any other timecodes are from the A&E and Contender DVD sets from a decade beforehand.
The new releases have been remastered and their frame rate has been changed, resulting in a shorter running time. However, the picture quality has increased markedly. I assume this is because they used a simple 2:2 pulldown (24 @ 25)
when converting from the original film masters (film runs at 24 frames per second, while PAL runs at 25fps, the new DVDs are in PAL format).
This pulldown was also the cause of audio errors on many episodes, especially for Series 5, as the audio sped up to match the new rate (4% faster), rather than being properly pitch-shifted. Checking the dialogue sheets, which list the feet and frames of the reels, it looks like the speed change is around 5.04%, so there may be some cuts as well - probably from around the commercial breaks and ends of reels, as they amount to about 25 seconds. All my assumptions are based on the episodes having been filmed on standard 35mm film, which has 16 frames per foot and runs at 24 frames per second, so a minute of footage uses 90 feet of film (1,440 frames).
These audio errors have been corrected in the currently available DVDs, but the 2:2 pulldown remains. There is also the addition of a Studio Canal lead-in, converted to black and white to match the episode for Series Four, but colour for Series Five, adding an extra 18 or 19 seconds to the runnning time and making it harder to match timecodes with previous releases. It’s annoying that it has been slapped on every single episode, Series 1-3 didn’t suffer this indignity.
The previous Contender and A&E DVD releases didn’t seem to suffer from these problems, so I assume they either used soft telecine and preserved the original 24fps rate of the film (my preferred option in DVDs) or they used 24 @ 25 pulldown (2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:3 Euro pull-down)
Thankfully, the new blu ray releases for series 4-6 appear to use native 24fps with soft telecine so the running times and pitch all seem to be correct again along with a much grreatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally back to their original glory.