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Member Since 01 Mar 2008
Offline Last Active Sep 15 2017 02:55 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: The Persuaders

27 July 2017 - 01:56 PM


Also sorry to see this thread lose those img links.


Me too. they want almost $400 a month to allow 3rd party hosting which is a rip off. I'm wondering if that was why my previous account was shut down and I lost all my pics for my Fan Fiction. I had to search my junk folder to find the email telling me I was infringing their new terms. Bloody hell. Technology. What annoys me is why the direct link is on the page if I'm not allowed to use it ! Ah, well, maybe I'll have to start a Facebook page with my literary and cinematic pictures loaded.  

In Topic: The Persuaders

25 July 2017 - 11:48 AM

Thanks, AMC, entirely agree, although I'd have it as TSWLM, MR & LTK - TND is the best of Benson's.

You see what photobucket has done to my thread ?

They never told me they were going to change their T&Cs. Hope I have still got the links...

In Topic: The Persuaders

24 July 2017 - 02:19 PM



The Books

Author: Frederick E. Smith


When I was watching the episodes and writing my reviews of The Persuaders, I made a cursory search on Google for “Persuaders novels” and was surprised to be directed to an Amazon page advertising The Persuaders! Book Two by Frederick E. Smith. Further digging led me to obtain not only that but also Book Three and, from America, Book One. I now have a UK edition of the first book to complete my collection, but it is in poor condition. Published by Pan in 1972 and ’73 (the third instalment only) these novels are short perfunctory adaptations of episodes from the television series.


Book One kicks off with Overture and introduces us to Brett Sinclair and Danny Wilde. Curiously it omits the opening prologue where Judge Fulton explains to a bemused French police inspector why he wants to employ these two lay-about playboy millionaires for his minor espionage escapade. From that point on it’s a straight forward retelling of the screen narrative, scene by scene, line by line. The author starts well, describing the main protagonists in flimsy detail, concentrating, like the show, on the fun and fancy elements of the heroes’ lives and lifestyles. I would have preferred more character background, something about their upbringing, their rise to fame and fortune, their thoughts and feelings. This is a major failing throughout the books; there is no depth or substance. So when Brett or Danny brandishes a gun – as they do in the second instalment Angie, Angie – there’s no suggestion it may have happened before, or what it feels like, the weight, the sensory power, the emotional sensation; the writing is uniformly bland.


Some moments are well described. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Danny is poisoned and “his voice had the sepulchral slowness of a soundtrack breaking down… Angie’s face blurred [and] grew larger and larger until the room seemed no longer to contain it. Then it burst and the darkness that radiated from the explosion brought oblivion.” I’d have expected more of this in a tight, personal adventure, but the thoughts and emotions of Wilde and Angie are, for the most part, underwritten. Generally this is a loose exercise and both chapters pass easily with only mild attractions. In the U.S., Ballantine Books re-titled the collection The Heart Shaped Birth Mark, which (when I received it) initially made me think I was reading a fully expanded adaptation of Overture, which might have worked quite well had Mr Smith spent any length of time over it.


Book Two is devoted to Terry Nation and his dual screenplays Five Miles to Midnight and Someone Like Me, both of which have much to recommend them as televisual spectacles. Unfortunately the author can’t effectively replicate the chase through Italy off the screen and onto the page. He can’t develop the suspense beyond our memory, chiefly because he hasn’t given anything more than surface gloss to his characters, so we don’t care enough about them. This is disappointing as Tony Curtis, Roger Moore, Joan Collins, Ferdy Mayne and Robert Hutton do so much to bring these people to life. There is no tension to the climax either, although Mr Smith isn’t aided by the original script, which did peter out a little. Likewise Curtis and Moore’s good performances in Someone Like Me have lost all the nuances, the confusion and anger which registers from the actors. The gripping finale becomes very tame.


The 'novelisation' was a seventies phenomenon which has never quite gone away. In Woody Allen’s Manhattan, Isaac Davies (Allen) asks Mary (Diane Keaton) why she’s transcribing a novelisation when her own writing is so good. “It’s easy work and the money’s great,” she replies. I don’t know Mr Smith’s canon, but I understand his most famous book is the sky bound war adventure 633 Squadron, later adapted into a popular film. I think perhaps the author subscribed to Mary’s point of view. Certainly by the time of Book Three, the rot had begun to set. This time we have three adventures to contend with. The Gold Napoleon would be a tricky story for anyone to adapt given the amount of time dedicated to a car chase. Greensleeves suffers the same fate as Book Two’s duo in not revealing enough character and background in the protagonists. The Old, the New and the Deadly was a good episode on telly, but this version only echoes the good stuff I watched, lacking clarity and exposition.


While all three novels are okay and are remarkably easy to digest, they don’t delve far enough into the historical and contemporary lives of the characters. While we care about Brett and Danny because we’ve seen them in our living rooms, as literary characters they are dismally shallow. Their co-stars get similar scant treatment. The locations too, all those sun-kissed Riviera esplanades are sketched in broad brush strokes; there’s little sense of place and time and atmosphere. The dialogue includes all the exclamations and witticisms as performed even when delivered mid-fight or mid-chase [an entertainment staple I particularly deplore as it is so unrealistic]. I’m sure the books sold well enough to earn Mr Smith – and possibly The Persuaders producers, Roy Ward Baker and Roger Moore – a healthy commission, but they aren’t ground breaking, or even trembling, successes, just run of the mill fare and a pleasant reminder of a popular television show.




In Topic: The Persuaders

22 July 2017 - 02:52 PM



Episode 24: Someone Waiting
Director: Peter Medak
Writer: Terry Nation


Peter Medak was a director on the up when he helmed this, the final episode of The Persuaders. I’d like to say it has sparkle and shine, but it really doesn’t. For better examples of Medak’s work watch A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, The Krays or Let Him Have It


Someone is trying to kill Brett Sinclair at the British Grand Prix. The papers are involved. The mechanics are involved. The drivers are involved. A bunch of hopeless crooks are involved. So is Lois Maxwell’s underused femme fatale, Louise, who swans around gorgeously like Lauren Bacall in her prime for one – yes, just one – excellent set-to with Tony Curtis. The only people who don’t seem to get involved are the police – a common fault throughout the series, but one which without it would allow our cheery two-some no adventures at all.


A whole fifty minutes passes. The apparently interconnected scenes are played predominantly for laughs; even when the action kicks in Medak interprets it like a prat-fall silent comedy. Given the plot arc of Grand Prix racing fatalities [a very prominent likelihood at every race in the seventies] I’d have expected to see or at the very least discuss more racing. We don’t, although there is another excellent moment where the injured and traumatised former driver Jenkins (John Cairney) relives his crash to a stunned Brett. Here Roger Moore is at something like his very best. 


Even then though Medak’s cinematic touches don’t quite make the difference perhaps because Terry Nation’s script – his eighth for the series – is for the most part well below par. You sense he’s run out of steam. There’s a good role for Penelope Horner as a journalist; Jenny Hanley and Sam Kydd put in perfunctory appearances; the denouement is reached without surprise. 


The story ends on a smile and a joke. Sadly, as the show wraps for a final time, it’s seems to be all just a little too easy for cast and crew and you wonder if they were already cashing their pay checks. A disappointing finale with a few flourishes that make you wish they’d spent a little more time perfecting the best episodes and left the rest in development heaven.




Goodbye, my friends...


In Topic: The Persuaders

20 July 2017 - 10:03 AM



Episode 23: To the Death, Baby
Director: Basil Dearden
Writer: Donald James


We are back in Spain where John Hatton, a desperate financial advisor, asks The Persuaders for help: the heiress Shelly Masterton has chosen the conman Carl Foster for a lover and he fears she will hand over her fortune to him. Danny is already aware who Foster is and dislikes him intensely. He’s also aware who Foster’s backer is, the despicable, leech like Cody, an admirable turn from Harold Innocent, displaying his character’s personal detachment; unusual in this sort of fare.


Brett meanwhile is more concerned by Danny’s ability to con real money from real conmen in high stakes poker games – until he meets the beautiful Miss Masterton, played with just the right amount of disinterest by Jennie Linden. Brett and Danny decide to vie for her attention in the hope they can persuade her to alter her affections.


This then plays a little like the opening episode of the series. Minus the knowledgeable input from Judge Fulton it all seems highly unlikely and our heroes efforts at seduction are distinctly chauvinistically mawkish. Carl Foster reveals his intentions and character traits much too early and all the mystery is removed. The eventual double cross is laughably inept. The humour in general is second rate. Moore and Curtis do the best they can with the material and by the episode's end they are both left suitably speechless.


To the Death, Baby has a terrible title and a bland plot. Thespians like Thorley Walters, Terence Morgan and Roger Delgado do okay, but they’re hampered by story familiarity and the feeling we are watching less of a thriller and more of a battle of the sexes screwball comedy. The poor sound recording and over-dubbing doesn’t help.