Avengers: Best of
Only those with a Diana Rigg bias would complain that of the six episodes included in this collection, only two feature the ravishing Mrs. Emma Peel, the second and most popularly known partner of gentleman spy John Steed (Patrick Macnee). But they do rank among her finest hours. In "Death at Bargain Prices," Emma goes undercover at a department store, prompting Steed's classic line, "I asked where to find you and was told, 'Our Mrs. Peel is in ladies' underwear.' I rattled up the stairs three at a time." In "Too Many Christmas Trees," Emma, the girl of our dreams, comforts a distressed Steed, whose nightmares are coming true. The Cathy Gale (Honor "Pussy Galore" Blackman) and Tara King (the unfortunate Linda Thorson) episodes pale by comparison, but, as Macnee offers in a newly filmed introduction, they represent what is best about this cult classic British series: "Tradition; humanity; character; sexuality; bizarre comic strip action; witty tongue-in-cheek humor." "Mr. Teddy Bear," which launched the series' second season, also marks Cathy's debut as Steed's partner. "Don't Look Behind You," a psychological thriller, was later remade with Emma Peel as "The Joker." Winning the award for most outrageous episode title is "Look (Stop Me If You've Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers." This love-it-or-hate-it Tara King episode, in which music hall clowns really slay their audience, features a memorable appearance by a pre-Monty Python John Cleese. Thorson's own finest hour may be "All Done with Mirrors," in which she, saddled with a bumbling sidekick, must clear Steed of charges of treason. While more Mrs. Peel is needed, this set will thrill old fans and new collectors looking to enhance or start an Avengers library. --Donald Liebenson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
For starters, "Look - Stop Me If You've Heard This One..." is simply the best episode ever made in the series' long run. It has been argued that this brilliantly balanced crime melodrama/vaudeville act was an Emma Peel story filmed after its time, but if it was, then Linda Thorson's Tara King was well up to the task of pulling it off. The script is low comedy as high camp, yet succeeds in achieving some genuinely horrific moments. The performances all round are excellent, especially from guest stars Jimmy Jewel and Julian Chagrin as a killer clown and a murderous mime.
The Cathy Gale episodes chosen are those that put Honor Blackman's talent to the fore. "Mr. Teddy Bear" was the first genuinely bizarre story in the series, with Cathy going undercover to hire perhaps the world's best hit-man - with Steed as the target. The master assassin's name derives from his birth name, "Edward Bruin," and his eccentric trademark of doing business through a remote-control robot teddy bear. "Don't Look Behind You" is a superior piece of film noir, in which Cathy is lured into a sadistic death-trap by an escaped psychopath she helped put behind bars years before. Later re-filmed with Diana Rigg as "The Joker," Blackman's version is actually much better, both for its excellent use of black-and-white light and shadow and for Blackman's genuinely terrified performance.Read more ›
I won't dwell too much on the content of each episode since the other reviewers cover them in depth, except to say the Patrick Macnee did an excellent job of selecting two episodes each featuring each of his three female leads; Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg, and Linda Thorson. And, for a man his age, Patrick is still holding up quite well in the newly-videotaped segments.
The extras in the package are a strong point, too. Patrick's overall introduction is worth the time to watch before watching any of the episodes. Also, he gives a short introduction to each episode. Some of his remarks seem candid such as his displeasure about the introduction of the "Mother" character in the last season in which he states that this took away some of the mystery and charm of the Avengers team by bringing out into the open the governmental spy organization in which they worked. Before, the Avengers seemed to be more like free agents loosely working within a hidden framework. "We would just show up," he said, "at the scene of a crime" and no one would question from where.
Another extra, Linda Thorson's 15 minute promo film the box set called "Town Girl" (even though no title is shown on the film) does it's best to show Linda as a happy-go-lucky star on the rise. It appears to have been filmed after the Avengers series ended around 1969 or the early Seventies. The color is crisp and sharp and shows her running around the English countryside in tight blue jeans with dirt on the seat of her pants. Then there's a scene of her jumping into a swimming pool and trying to keep her head above water.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A great sampling of 6 classic Avengers episodes on 2 DVD's!!! Great for Avengers fans or people who would like a nice introduction to this classic show!!! Read morePublished on Dec 30 2003 by Jason P. Pumphrey
This is a great DVD collection. You get Patrick Macnee as the inimitable and urbane John Steed but of coarse. You get Honor Blackman as the lethal and worldly Cathy Gale. Read morePublished on Nov. 4 2001 by gobirds2
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