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Avengers 64 Set 1

Patrick Macnee , Diana Rigg    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 319.57
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From Britain with leather comes this three-volume collection of rare Avengers episodes starring Patrick Macnee as urbane, umbrella-toting spy John Steed and Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale, who preceded Emma Peel as Steed's partner. Virtually unseen in the United States, these six episodes from the third season of The Avengers will be a revelation for fans of this offbeat series.

Blackman portrayed Cathy Gale, stylish, leather-clad anthropologist and judo expert, from 1962 to '64, leaving the series to star as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Another veteran of the James Bond series makes a surprising appearance in "Little Wonders," an episode on volume 1: Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell), a machine-gun-toting nurse. This episode, in which Steed goes undercover in a 300-year-old crime organization, features a kiss between Steed and Gale. He was never so intimate with Emma Peel... at least not onscreen. Volume 2 contains two episodes ranked among the best of the Cathy Gale era. In "The Wringer," Gale comes to Steed's rescue after he becomes a guinea pig in a diabolical plot to brainwash agents. In "Mandrake," a deserted village becomes the burial ground of choice for a rash of "rich and reasonably eminent" victims of a murder-for-hire business. "The Secrets Broker" on volume 3, in which a murder leads Steed to a wine shop, is not quite vintage Avengers, but "Trojan Horse," set at a racetrack and involving an illicit betting syndicate, is a winner.

Produced before the series switched over to film, these black-and-white episodes are technically cruder than their more popularly known counterparts. But the plots are often just as confounding. Cathy Gale may leave Emma Peel enthusiasts underwhelmed; her banter with Steed lacks the erotic promise that made the Peel episodes so provocative. But you'll get a kick out the martial-arts prowess that reportedly knocked out her male adversary in the graveyard fight sequence in "Mandrake." --Donald Liebenson


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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
Join the elegantly ruthless John Steed and the brilliant and beautiful Mrs. Cathy Gale, as they battle villians nefariously nasty and dispicably dangerous. They are THE AVENGERS! Television's first fully formidable male/female companionship. These episodes are from 1964, Honor Blackman's 2nd and last season. These episodes, while technically inferior to the Diana Rigg episodes, are every bit as stylish and admirable.
In volume one, we have "The White Elephant" and fan favorite "The Little Wonders". In "The White Elephant", Steed and Cathy investigate the dissapearance of a rare albino elephant, and cage a group of ivory smugglers. This episode did have potential, but unfortunately its a bit average. It does however, feature an assortment of exotic animals including a monkey, leopard, but no elephant. In "The Little Wonders", Steed goes undercover as a vicar in order to infiltrate a gang of religous racketeers, while Cathy plays with dolls. A nice plot and writing make up for the average direction. Featuring the only kiss between Steed and Cathy, and Lois Maxwell (a.k.a. Miss Moneypenny) as a macinegun-toting nun. It's just a great deal of fun.
In volume two, we have two of the best episodes. The effectively harrowing "The Wringer", and the delighfully enjoyable "Mandrake". In "The Wringer", six of seven agents using a certain pipeline have been killed, so Steed sets out to find the seventh. When he does, he is accused of killing the six agents and is subject to interrogation at the hands of "The Wringer". Extremly harrowing episode features a very different feel, outstanding performances, and masterful direction. Also, Cathy's surprising feelings for Steed are touching.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Early outing for Steed Dec 16 2002
By A Customer
Format:DVD
For all the fans of The Avengers familiar with the Emma Peel/Tara King era of the show, these early episodes featuring Cathy Gale and Venus Smith may come as something of a disappointment. In fact, fans of the later shows may find it hard to believe that they are even part of the same TV series!
After the initial run of 26 episodes featuring Police Surgeon David Keel and his cohort John Steed had aired in the UK in 1961/62, the producers of the program opted to bring Steed to the forefront of the action and give him a number of different "assistants." Thus, for season two, 26 further episodes were made and broadcast in 1962/63 featuring Steed abetted by Martin King, Venus Smith or Cathy Gale. Mrs. Gale turned out to be the most popular and successful foil for the suave agent, and the other characters did not return after season two. Unlike the later Peel/King stories which were all made on film, these studio based TV shows are much more reliant on dialogue and plot than visual elements, and can be somewhat heavy going as a result.
A&E is releasing these stories in a somewhat confusing order, and has started with season three. The first two sets released, Avengers 64 1 & 2, feature the LAST six episodes of season three. Next comes Avengers 63 sets 1 & 2 which comprises of the first half of the season. Next up in the release order is 63 sets 3 & 4 which precede 1 & 2 in running order and in fact feature the last seven stories from season two, plus the first from season three. Confused? Ultimately, it doesn't really matter, since thankfully there's no real reason to watch the stories in chronological order anyway.
What is interesting is the development of the production standards.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Steed and Kathy Gale March 13 2001
Format:DVD
'The Avengers" was a popular 1960's British fantasy-adventure series that focused on the exploits of a male-female duo in the service of the British government. The series underwent several changes of its female lead but its one constant male lead was John Steed always portrayed by the debonair Patrick Macnee (Originally the John Steed had two male partners but that format eventually changed). Kathy Gale portrayed by Honor Blackman became Steed's first female partner. However, when Honor Blackman (of "Goldfinger" fame) departed the series and Diana Rigg entered as Mrs. Emma Peel, the show became an international sensation. Rigg brought sophistication, wit, charm and beauty, which hid her lethal and highly visual judo and karate abilities. Macnee and Rigg complemented each other beautifully with their carefree witty and charming exchange of dialogue. The show distinguished itself with bizarre and futuristic villains and fantastic plots. Popular at the height of the James Bond craze, the show was able to distinguish itself with its simply over-the-top visual style. Laurie Johnson's catchy and sophisticated main title theme matched the visuals of the show and still conjures up an image of the series when listened to today. When Diana Rigg left the series, Linda Thorson entered as John Steed's new partner Tara King. The series soon went off the air in the United States. It was a shame because the episodes with Tara King were quite good. The King episodes seemed to be a little more down to earth and contained some very good writing and intricate plotting. In any event series definitely left its mark amongst the finest. These DVD copies are gorgeous.
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