Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Barbara Bain and Torin Thatcher
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE Season Three. 1968.

The Impossible Missions Force is back with the usual suspects for a third season of highly illegal action, intrigue and phoney accents [one size fits all]. This was a solid season with more than its share of above average and a few excellent episodes. Among the most memorable: "The Cardinal," in which the team has to switch a real cardinal for a communist impersonator; "The Elixir," in which a despotic woman (Ruth Roman) is undone by her own vanity; "The Diplomat," with Lee Grant and Fernando Lamas in a suspenseful tale of stolen missile plans and deadly poison; the very clever "The Cage," in which a political prisoner must be freed from a top security prison; "The System," with a casino dealer manipulated into squealing on his boss with violent results; and "Doomsday," in which the team must stop the sale of a hydrogen bomb to the bad guys. The cast is good, with Martin Landau taking top honors. Barbara Bain remains glacial, but Cinnamon does show some emotion in another excellent episode, "The Exchange," in  which she's actually caught during a mission and winds up in an iron curtain prison. There seem to be less episodes in which the bad guys instantly fall in love or lust with Cinnamon [surely some of them would prefer a less classy, overtly sexy 19-year-old?], and Bain continues to do fair-to-middling "character" impersonations, such as her "Anastasia" turn in "The Heir Apparent" with guest-star Torin Thatcher. Bain does an amusing imitation of Marlene Dietrich, bad singing and all, in "The Illusion." Robert Conrad of The Wild, Wild West shows up briefly in "The Contender."

Verdict: When this show cooks, it cooks. ***.

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