Model Spy

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"Model Spy"
Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episode
Episode no.Episode 18
Directed byKen Turner
Written byBill Hedley
Cinematography byJulien Lugrin
Editing byJohn Beaton
Production codeSCA 18[1]
Original air date29 December 1967
Guest appearance(s)

Voices of:
Sylvia Anderson as
Gabrielle
Liz Morgan as
Helga
Shane Rimmer (uncredited) as
Reception Guest
Jeremy Wilkin as
André Verdain
Casino Commissionaire

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Traitor"
Next →
"Fire at Rig 15"
List of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons episodes

"Model Spy" is the 18th episode of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a British Supermarionation television series created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson and produced by their company Century 21 Productions. Written by Bill Hedley and directed by Ken Turner, it was first broadcast on 29 December 1967 on ATV Midlands.

In this episode, after the Mysterons threaten to assassinate a French intelligence agent, Captains Scarlet and Blue and Destiny and Symphony Angels go undercover to protect the target.

Plot[edit]

The Mysterons (voiced by Donald Gray) warn Spectrum that they intend to assassinate André Verdain, a French fashion designer who is secretly Controller of the European Area Intelligence Service. Colonel White (voiced by Donald Gray) believes that they will make their attempt at Verdain's upcoming fashion show in Monte Carlo, and assigns a team of four – Captains Scarlet and Blue and Destiny and Symphony Angels (voiced by Francis Matthews, Ed Bishop, Liz Morgan and Janna Hill) – to protect him. The agents go undercover, with Scarlet posing as a public relations officer, Blue as a photographer, and Destiny and Symphony as fashion models.

Scarlet, Blue, Destiny and Symphony are forced to fly directly to Monte Carlo as the Paris airports are closed due to heavy fog. Unknown to Verdain and the newly-arrived agents, two of Verdain's models, Helga and Gabrielle, have been killed in a monotrain derailment and reconstructed in the service of the Mysterons. When Verdain takes his guests on a tour of Monte Carlo Bay in his luxury yacht, Gabrielle starts a fire in the engine room that quickly consumes the vessel. All onboard jump to safety just seconds before the yacht explodes.

Despite Scarlet's warnings, Verdain refuses to cancel his press reception at a nearby hotel. A man resembling Captain Black (voiced by Donald Gray) has been sighted in Europe and Verdain is sure that he will make an appearance at the event. During the pre-reception cocktail party, Gabrielle inadvertently reveals herself to be a Mysteron agent when she claims to have flown to Monte Carlo from Paris when the latter was fog-bound. Before Scarlet can challenge her, Black, who has stationed himself outside the hotel, shoots Verdain through an open window with a tranquilliser gun. Gabrielle turns off the lights and in the resulting confusion Helga and Black kidnap the unconscious Verdain and get away in Black's car.

Thanks to a homing drug that Scarlet put in Verdain's drink, the Spectrum agents are able to track Black and Helga and pursue them by car, SPV and helicopter. Caught between the Spectrum forces and a police roadblock, Black and Helga push Verdain out of their car and come to a halt. As Verdain regains consciousness, the Mysterons use their powers to teleport the car, Black and Helga to safety. Back at the hotel, Verdain thanks the agents and presents Destiny and Symphony with exquisite gowns courtesy of the House of Verdain.

Production[edit]

Scarlet and Blue drop their codenames while undercover. "Model Spy" is the first episode in the series' production order to reveal their full real names as Paul Metcalfe and Adam Svenson.[1]

The miniature monotrain was designed by special effects assistant Mike Trim. As the suspended monotrain built for the Thunderbirds episode "Brink of Disaster" had been difficult to shoot effectively, Trim designed the new train to run on a OO gauge model railway track, which proved much easier to film.[2] The model shots of Verdain's yacht feature a background painting of Monte Carlo Bay, which was also created by Trim and had previously appeared in the Thunderbirds episodes "The Man from MI.5" and "The Duchess Assignment".[1][3] It would later appear in the Joe 90 episode "The Race".

The incidental music, performed by an ensemble of 16 instrumentalists, was recorded during a four-hour studio session held on 27 August 1967.[4][5] Music for "The Trap" was recorded during the same session.[5] Two pieces from "Model Spy" – "Models on a Train" and "Cocktail Music" – are included on the CD release of the Captain Scarlet soundtrack.[6]

Reception[edit]

James Stansfield of the website Den of Geek ranks "Model Spy" the eighth-best episode of Captain Scarlet, praising its "high-class spy thriller feel" and decision to "[go] a bit James Bond." He compliments the French Riviera setting and "impressive" monotrain crash, as well as the originality in casting fashion models as the Mysterons' intermediaries and having the Spectrum agents abandon their codenames for the duration of their assignment.[7] However, Chris Bentley notes that while this latter point is true of Scarlet and Blue (who revert to their real names), the Angels continue to be addressed as "Destiny" and "Symphony".[3]

Chris Drake and Graeme Bassett suggest that "Model Spy"'s theme of espionage, combined with its setting, produces a "Man from U.N.C.L.E.–type" episode that represents a "break from the routine" of interplanetary conflict. They praise the technical aspects of the vehicle chase, remarking that it features "some convincing antics from a couple of stringless puppets towards the end."[8]

Shane M. Dallmann of Video Watchdog magazine describes "Model Spy" as "gimmicky" but adds that while the episode "has its silly moments", it is significant for revealing Scarlet and Blue's real names as well as for the "brutal highpoint" of Verdain being pushed out of Black and Helga's car and onto the road.[9] Andrew Pixley and Julie Rogers of Starburst also comment on this scene, listing Verdain being "dropped on his head" as one of the series' more violent moments.[10]

Bruce Eder of the website AllMusic praises the soundtrack, describing "Cocktail Music" as "one of the best pieces of instrumental pop music of its genre and era".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bentley 2017, pp. 130-131.
  2. ^ Taylor, Anthony; Trim, Mike (2006). The Future Was FAB: The Art of Mike Trim. Neshannock, Pennsylvania: Hermes Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-932563-82-5.
  3. ^ a b Bentley, Chris (2001). The Complete Book of Captain Scarlet. London, UK: Carlton Books. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-84222-405-2.
  4. ^ Bentley 2017, p. 96.
  5. ^ a b de Klerk, Theo (25 December 2003). "Complete Studio-Recording List of Barry Gray". tvcentury21.com. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  6. ^ Marsh, Peter (17 November 2003). "Barry Gray: Captain Scarlet Original Soundtrack Review". BBC Online. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2010.
  7. ^ Stansfield, James (6 September 2012). "Top 10 Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons Episodes". Den of Geek. London, UK: Dennis Publishing. Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  8. ^ Drake, Chris; Bassett, Graeme (1993). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. London, UK: Boxtree. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-85283-403-6.
  9. ^ Dallmann, Shane M. (June 2003). Lucas, Tim (ed.). "DVD Spotlight: Captain Scarlet". Video Watchdog. No. 96. Cincinnati, Ohio: Tim and Donna Lucas. pp. 40–41. ISSN 1070-9991. OCLC 646838004.
  10. ^ Pixley, Andrew; Rogers, Julie (December 2001). Gillatt, Gary (ed.). "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: By Numbers". Starburst. No. 280. London, UK: Visual Imagination (published November 2001). p. 48. ISSN 0955-114X. OCLC 79615651.
  11. ^ Eder, Bruce. "AllMusic: Captain Scarlet [Original TV Soundtrack]". AllMusic. San Francisco, California: All Media Network. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
Bibliography
  • Bentley, Chris (2017). Hearn, Marcus (ed.). Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons: The Vault. Cambridge, UK: Signum Books. ISBN 978-0-995519-12-1.

External links[edit]