“Mrs Peel, We’re Needed”

emma_leather.jpg

On another thread, Chris pointed out an uncanny resemblance between Princess Mary and Emma Peel. This leads me to muse – why is it that the film adaptation of The Avengers is largely without grace, charm or wit compared to the wonderful original tv series? Bad scriptwriting, too much market testing, why? It’s certainly not the only failed attempt to take a wonderful 60s series and turn it into a film – Lost in Space springs to mind as well.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

First Ms Tit’s fits and now peeling Emma. Yep, we’ve gotta find you a date Mark, before Troppodillo goes completely topless.

Tho’ I’d happily ogle Diana’s rigg.

I’m sure the film of “The Avengers” sounded great during the pitch, on paper and during casting and pre-production.

English weather as a weapon, Ralph Fiennes as Stead, Una as Emma and the Connery as the master villain for a change, all based on a legendary TV series with a built in camp factor.

It must have sounded like what Hollywood calls a big bullseye film. That is, so high concept that you don’t have aim very hard to hit the mark.

But actually it really was a small bullseye film – that is, you have aim precisely at a range of stuff from script, casting and tone to art direction and editing to make it work, like The Addams Family films.

So I reckon it went wrong for several different small but vital reasons.

Firstly, while extreme weather makes for good visuals, it doesn’t make for a visceral threat (tsunamis excepted) that’d make clutch your partner’s arm during the climax. My god, a killer cold front!

Secondly, although the casting looked good on paper, there was no real chemistry between the three leads on screen. Peel and Stead without the URST is like Laurel and Hardy without jokes. And it was clear onscreen that Thurman and Connery wouldn’t have flirted with eachother off screen.

Finally, they just got the tone wrong. The original TV series knew you knew it was a glossy, tongue in stiff upper cheek bit of entertainment and so didn’t have to wink at you. They just took it for granted. The producers and director of the film were so worried their target audience of Santa Monica teens wouldn’t get it, they were trying to make tongues wink within cheeks.

And finally, I knew the Avengers, and let me tell you Senator Quayle, Una Thurman is no Diana Rigg. Although Una’s been good in other stuff and looks like she’ll be great in “Be Cool”.

But that was the problem with the film of The Avengers – they were too busy trying to be knowingly cool instead of just being cool.

“Why don’t they just remake bad films instead?” – Michael Caine. (Albeit while happily accepting a high six figure check for three minutes screentime in the remake of “Get Carter”.)

Guy
Guy
2022 years ago

I don’t think that rehashes of old television shows or comics tend to work at all well. Though maybe I am just a sucker for the classics.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

“Champagne Mrs Peel?”

Nabs knows everything. Diana Rigg (eat shit Xenya) was non-reproducable (until our Mary). This thread is already ended, alas …

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

And of course there was that deft touch in the original series of calling her “Mrs” Peel and thereby playing to the English love of stylish adultery.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

You don’t remember when Mr Peel turned up (after being lost in Africa, presumed dead), Nabs? He looked just like Steed…

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

My biggest pop-culture fear now is that the person who now owns the screen rights to ‘Modesty Blaise” doesn’t fuck that one up like Joseph Losey did. Tho’ Dirk Bogarde was a great bad guy in it (pegged out in the desert, listening to “Gloria” on a transistor radio and crying out “Champagne! For god’s sake, bring me champagne!”)

Yep, it’s Quentin Tarantino who owns Modesty’s onscreen options now.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

On this info, I won’t bother about the movie. It can be safely said that Diana Rigg- Mrs Peel was an impossible act to follow.

Is it me getting old, or is Rigg really still attractive 30 years later? I found her still pretty appealing recently in a TV series as a wealthy amateur detective trotting around in a chauffeur-driven Rolls.

Maybe it is me getting old. I can still remember thinking that Honor Blackman- Mrs Gale would be an impossible act to follow in The Avengers. And yet you have to say that Rigg ultimately surpassed her.

And while they might not have invented leather gear being sexy, they sure did popularise it.

Maybe Condi can try it if her popularity sags.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

Oh, look, if this thread wasn’t on it’s last legs the idea of Condoleeza Rice in leathers has killed it for me.

Was that at all necessary?

cs
cs
2022 years ago

Yes Zoe. We’ll have to get Sedge to institute a “comment most likely to ruin enjoyment of life” award to punish Don for that one.

How are your own leathers these days, btw? Still holding up well I trust.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I regret to report this image came to me when watching Condi on Lateline just now…

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

” regret to report this image came to me when watching Condi on Lateline just now…”

Nothing to regret, Mark. She may have helped make a mess of the ME but Condi is hot (and brainy)

dk.au
dk.au
2022 years ago

“but Condi is hot”

… maybe, but so long as her (real life) threads emanate Dr. No I’ll be laughing too hard to pay attention.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I was disappointed Princess Mary wasn’t on the news, Jason :(

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

Very sorry, Zoe and Chris. It was a bit out of order.

I think it came about from Tim (or was it Sedg?) running very clever artwork (from a US post I think) on the Bush gang as the Batman Villains (circa 60s TV). Cheney came up pretty well as The Penguin, Rummy The Riddler,Dubya The Joker (what else?) and Condi as a rather sexy-looking Cat Woman.

yellowvinyl
2022 years ago

oooh, Emma in leather. where’s the promised post on Aeon Flux, though, Mark?