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A&E Home Video presents
The Avengers '66—Set 1, Volume 2 (1966)

"The mad predicaments and the loony decors get better and better."
- Punch, 5 January 1966

Review By: debi lee mandel   
Published: May 05, 2000

Stars: Patrick Macnee, (Dame) Diana Rigg
Director: Various (see below)

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: approx.170 min total
Release Date: August 31, 1999
UPC: 733961700374
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B+A+B C

DVD Review

For overall series review, click here.

'66 Set 1, Volume 2

3 episodes:


The Girl from Auntie
Steed almost outbids himself—and Emma is a bird in a gilded cage

US air date: June 6 1966
Director: Roy Baker

Steed: "Six bodies in an hour and twenty minutes, what do you call that?"
Georgie: "A good first act?"

As Steed alights into a cab at a very rainy Heathrow, he fills it with all manner of fun he's had before the episode begins—and these treasures provide great fun for the cabby as well throughout the rest of this wild ride. Strange that the weather is clear and dry in the rest of London....

As they arrive in town, Steed spots a short buxom blonde dressed as Mrs. Peel and somehow believes this imposter is the real Emma ­ lucky thing, as this is precisely what he's meant to do. Once he is face-to-face with her, the jig is up and he takes this Georgie through the usual mayhem to try to discover the whereabouts of his better half.

There's loads of fun in this one, even with only brief appearances by the real Mrs. Peel (a bit catty, too, for a Bird!) Murderous old ladies and knitting circles; a profusion of dead bodies (including John, Paul, George and....); a few ethnic stereotypes, and an eccentric art dealer who promises to "obtain the unattainable", which appears to include auctioning off his caged prize to the highest bidder. It seems Emma, too, keeps secrets in her mind....

Note to the continuity editor: As Steed and Georgie pump her for information in the tea scene, amazing Auntie Hetty manages to speak without moving her lips!

Libations: Steed: Tea (& crumpets), and the odd brandy; Emma: the dear girl goes dry.... Not me, I had fun. 3-1/2 libations.


The 13th Hole
Steed finds a bogey—and Emma gets a birdie

US air date: August 18 1966
Director: Roy Baker

"Wouldn't mind giving you a stroke or two—on or off the course" - the Captain to Mrs. Peel

A clever opener—at the 13th hole of a golf course, an agent is shot, and S & M pick up his investigation. An eccentric cold war storyline: the usual selling-secrets-to-the-Soviets with a few sand traps tossed in to keep our duo off-course. The old bunker-in-the-bunker trick is rather silly, but hey, it's The Avengers and we like 'em that way.

There's some witty repartee to save this otherwise slow and somewhat dysfunctional plot. Even Emma seems a bit bored.

Note to continuity editor: Steed's knickerbockers mysteriously grow into black slacks as he swings his final club.

Libations: Steed: 1 unnamed drink, a brandy and champagne; Emma: 1 unnamed drink and champagne. 2-1/2 drinkies from me.


Quick-Quick-Slow Death
Steed has two left feet—and Emma dances with danger

US air date: Not in original US schedule
Director: James Hill

Emma: "Did you know they just arrested a bandleader for being drunk in charge of a pram containing a man in full evening dress with a plaster cast on his head tattooed on his right wrist clutching a dance diploma in one hand and a garlic sausage in the other?"
Steed: "Shall we dance?"

Another classic that is just too much fun: when a runaway pram is found to be transporting a well dressed corpse, a demoted "foreign" agent is discovered and provides more questions than answers before he is killed, trying to escape. Oops, the fun begins a bit later. Sorry.

A string of clues finally leads our sleuths to a school of ballroom dancing, where odd bits begin to fall into place like the dance patterns on the floor, a trail of secrets, shoes and of course, the cha-cha....

This episode casts some of my favorite characters: an offbeat tattoo artist, an extremely kinky shoemaker and the only other woman Emma manages to get on with. Although the overall plot is a bit weak, the individual scenes on their own are quirky and droll and make this one worth watching over and over to pick up every line.

Libations: Steed (literally) shoots a beer; Emma sips tea (Do I note a drop off in potables this season...?). Makes me feel like a tippler, but this one sure made me giggle 𔃌-1/2 out of 5 for this one.


Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Framena - na
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicnono


Image Transfer Review: Included in this 1966 set are 13 episodes in black & white, all of them crisp and clean as the original film format. No obvious artifacts or pixelation. There are no hard blacks or bright washouts, just a comfortable range of greys that is easy on the eyes and does not distract in any way from the action. My only real complaint is the original title sequence, "The Age of Elegance", is a bit soft, which might be a result of the original production.

Image Transfer Grade: A+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
PCMEnglish, monono


Audio Transfer Review: My complaint continues to be only the original title sequence, "The Age of Elegance": it has that annoying raise in volume TV productions seem to have by default. But the theme itself has always been stunning, an icon of the era, and the music chosen for individual episodes is, in most cases, equal to the scenes they underscore. From the comedic scenes to the height of suspense, the tracks are almost always right on.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single
Layers Switch: na

Extra Extras:
  1. Production Stills Gallery
  2. Web Site Promo
Extras Review: The menus were obviously considered in the overall package design, a sort of 60's mod use of abstraction and color, a nice touch for that retro look. The extras consist of a gallery of stills from individual episodes included on each disc, but they're only about 1/4 of the screen. I would prefer them larger, perhaps as much as full screen to truly enjoy them. Every disc also has a menu link to A&E's "www.originalavengers.com", a good marketing move but poorly executed—why not give us a real taste of what's in store for us there? And—are there ever enough chapters? These would be easier to navigate with a few more choices within a few less clicks.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

This disc is an absolute gem for those purchasing separately, with 2 great episodes, the third having its moments that make it worthwile. Recommended, indubitably.

4 out of 5 libations—cheers!


 


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