Death By Any Other Name.......
........ Would Be Only Half As Beautiful.
The episode of ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ is thought by some to be an unused ‘Danger Man’ script, well certainly there are certain connecting entities between ‘Danger Man’ and ‘the Prisoner. The first being Patrick McGoohan as John Drake, and then there's Potter, Drake's contact man in some episodes of ‘Danger Man’ and now during the episode ‘The Girl Who Was Death.’ And there's one other defining moment, and that is when Potter sends his contact, Mr. X, to the Magnum Record Store where the Chief will speak to him there. In the ‘Danger Man’ episode Koroshi, Drake meets with his contact man, Potter, in a record shop! Not conclusive you might think, but compelling nonetheless for that, oh and there's also a connection with early episodes of Mission Impossible, in the way Drake receives his instructions from the Chief via LP record.
‘The Girl who's name is Death,’ is very beautiful and extremely deadly, well for Colonel Hawke-Englishe she is. Death by exploding cricket ball, and just one run short of his century! However she soon meets her match in Mr. X, who thwarts her murder attempts at every turn, exploding cricket ball and all. Even when taking a Turkish bath Mr. X is not safe, with or without his clothes on. Oh and that scene where Mr. X is trapped in a steam box by the girl, using the handle of a brush..... now where do you think you have seen that particular scene before?.... Could it possibly have been in a James Bond film?
Then the girl tries to poison Mr. X, but to be fair she does give him warning via the etched message on the bottom of his glass, and that trick's been used once before;
Very sporting of the girl, don't you think? But not satisfied in trying to kill Mr. X herself, the girl tries to get someone to do it for her, none other than the Polish Giant Killer Kaminski! then in the Tunnel of Love the planted bomb in the transistor radio fails, and in the car chase the girl could have finished Mr. X on the road, but she lets him off. why, because the girl is going to do him the honour of letting him die superbly, he'll make a beautiful corpse!
Then comes the Butchers, the Bakers and the Candlestick makers, death by machine gun trap - electrified spikes hidden under the floor - Mines - and finally poisoned candles, a cyanide derivative mixed with the wax. as the candle burns it gives off cyanide gas, and the room's completely air tight! Ah, but there is also an explosive element to the candles, snuffed out.... they explode, which is lucky for Mr. X, otherwise it would really have been curtains for him.
But this is an absurd story, too silly to be given credence. A girl who is trying to kill an adversary and failing at every opportunity. then there's her father Professor Schnipps, he's built a rocket, a rocket concealed inside a lighthouse no less, which will wipe
off the face of the earth. Then as a reward he offers his daughter, who's mother was Josephine, and her father who thinks he's Napoleon, well don't all mad people think they are Napoleon? Well he offers his daughter Bond Street, and his men, all French military Marshals, Chelsea Barracks, and Wembley football stadium. this after the rocket has impacted on London , wiping it off the face of the earth, he's as mad as a hatter. And his men as equally incompetent and inept has Schnipp's is! London
So there is really everything in the Prisoner, and that includes humour with ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ and humour as we know is the very essence of a democratic society. I mean what terrorist would worry about not having turned the gas off, when the countdown is counting down the final seconds to launching the rocket-lighthouse on its way to obliterate
! Its all absurdly stupid, and at the same time great fun and terrific entertainment. And if you think about it a story line worthy of The Avengers, wouldn't you say? London
And with regard to episodes, you might recall the ITC series ‘Man In A Suitcase’ starring Richard Bradford, as I understand it many of those episodes are actually unused Danger Man scripts. But back to ‘The Girl Who Was Death,’ of course it all ends well in the end, with rifles that backfire, and reversed German hand grenades. The rocket-lighthouse explodes before it gets the chance to lift off. Death and her father, with all his men go up with the explosion, as Mr. X speeds away aboard the boat. And in any case it's all been simply a fairy story told to the children in the nursery by No.6, and to No.2 and No.10 in his office of the Green Dome, but a fairy story from a previous experience, well that could be, as they say, another story.
As a foot note, you will no doubt have seen in the credits of ‘The Girl Who Was Death’ episode the name of Sonia, a name not actually used in the episode itself!
Be seeing you next time.
The very first episode I ever saw - thanks to a 'Best Of British' season on ITV in 1979.ReplyDelete
According to my mother, she's visible in the background in Southend's 'Kursaal Scenes' - a few months before I was born...
"Funny old world..." - Nigel Hawthorn 'The Knowledge'.
Morag and I will take a look for your mum at the Kursaal scenes, are but what was she wearing at the time?
Be seeing you