Secret Agent: A Very Dangerous Game (1965)
Season 2, Episode 3
Provides A Suitable Tone For Its Period, But Is Awkwardly Constructed And Plotted.
14 July 2012
Filmed during April and May of 1965 and initially telecast the following October, this episode of the ever-popular Patrick McGoohan-featured "Secret Agent" (dubbed as 'Danger Man' in the United Kingdom) is perhaps a cut beneath that which a viewer may anticipate from the series. Among other departures from a largely successful recipe, Secret Agent John Drake (McGoohan) utilises a dart secreted within a smoker's pipe, that emits a radio signal, and an acidic substance encased within an ersatz toothpaste tube that dissolves window pane glass. Additionally, the script is replete with plot holes for which the writers should be embarrassed and, notwithstanding that McGoohan, as ever, excels at his portrayal of an Englishman abroad, scenario-laden lapses in logic and continuity can not be overlooked, despite a spirited pace set by old hand director Don Chaffey. Although its setting is Singapore, with some stock footage furnished to give South Asian ambiance, the film was actually made on London's Shepperton Studio's new soundstage, the first "Secret Agent" narrative to be completed there. The episode here has Drake posing as a defected English lecturer of Renaissance period music named Simpson, who has been recently coopted in England by what apparently are Chinese Communists. It has been decided by Drake's handlers to send him into newly independent Singapore in an essay at penetrating the enemy camp. However, the Forces of Evil immediately cause trouble for the Secret Agent and his comeuppance at their hands is ostensibly in the offing. It seems somewhat absurd that the Chinese intelligence operatives can not determine any differences between Simpson and Drake, but then nearly all viewers of the "Secret Agent" installments will be prepared in the main to enjoy the charismatic acting of McGoohan. He is happily free for the most part from the use of makeup, unluckily not the case with "Chinese" spies performed by Peter Arne along with Yvonne Furneaux, whose tawdry eye treatment appears to be quite agonizing, but without providing the merest semblance of anything Asiatic.
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