American-backed English Language European-made series

Foreign Intrigue Orient Express Passport to Danger Sherlock Holmes Paris Precinct Secret File USA Flash Gordon Captain Gallant

From 1951, for a few years American producers turned to Europe to film some series, perhaps because they wanted to show the folks back home some different backgrounds, but more importantly because labour was cheaper!
The experiment was largely, though not completely, abandoned, when it became evident from producers like Douglas Fairbanks and the Danzigers that filming based in Britain was a simpler, less complicated option. However some filming continued in Europe as part of an attempt to include authentic location footage in a series, for example the 1957
Charlie Chan includes some filmed sequences in Paris, Brussels and Venice. Then there were some pilot shows, one starring William Russell, who went to Italy in 1959 to make a pilot called A Man of the World. King of Diamonds, from Harry Alan Towers (1960) which was definitely made, had scenes shot in Antwerp. But the heyday of these Euro-series must have been the mid 1950's
Note- a few Douglas Fairbanks Presents were made in Germany and Italy also.

Picture Question: Identify this series, one of those listed above. The star is on the left. Answer
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Foreign Intrigue / Overseas Adventure / Dateline Europe

These films are chiefly of interest because of the location shooting that was done, initially in Sweden, but then in other European capitals, including Paris and Berlin. In all producer Sheldon Reynolds claimed episodes were shot in nine countries.
His method of production is fairly self evident when watching. He once explained his technique:
"I work backwards. When I see an exciting-looking balcony overhanging a sinister-looking street- I have my leading player jump!" After examining the rushes, if it is "as exciting as I anticipated, I begin a story which will make use of the sequence." Considering the primitive techniques available, the dubbing of sound, where attempted, in these external scenes, is commendable.
Apart from the stars and Sheldon Reynolds, most of the cast and production crew were locals, but it is fair to say that their English language is not at all bad. John Padovano was assistant director, and Sheldon Reynolds' right hand man. Padovano also acted as a journalist named Tony Forrest in some stories, throughout the run of the show, thus providing a slight cohesive link between them all. However in one early tale, he played a convicted killer!
I found this a tedious series. Perhaps the dull post war backdrops are rather dreary in themselves.
In all, an incredible 156 stories were made.

Series 1 and 2 (1951-3)
with Jerome Thor as Robert Cannon
Series 3 (1953/4)
with James Daly as Michael Powers (picture from #113)

Series 4 (1954/5)
with Gerald Mohr as Christopher Storm

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Secret File USA
Filmed in Cinetone Studios Amsterdam in 1954 with cardboard sets and cardboard characters, making for an amateurish series, watchable mostly for its location scenes. Robert Alda starred as Major William Morgan, a lecturer in languages at Columbus University, seconded to work for his country's intelligence service.
"Secret File USA. A warning to all enemies of America at home and abroad, who are planning acts of aggression. This is the story of the gallant men and women who penetrated and are still penetrating enemy lines to get secret information necessary for the defence of the United States. This is the story of one our nation's mightiest weapons, past, present and future, if necessary, The American Intelligence Service."
At the end Alda, appeared in the person, to read out the same farewell each time, "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. This is Robert Alda. You have just seen me in the role of Major William Morgan of Armerican Intelligence. There are many Major Morgans who are risking and have risked their lives for democracy. This program is dedicated to them. Next week, I will again appear as Major Morgan, which takes place in another country. Be with us again to enjoy next week's exciting chapter of Secret File USA."

1 Mission Assassin
2 Mission Chopin
3 Mission Firebird
4 Mission M
5 Mission Antwerp
6 Mission AWOL
8 Mission Can-Can
9 Mission Copenhagen
10 Mission Danube
11 Mission Deadline
12 Mission Haensel
13 Mission Istrahan
14 Mission Navik
17 Mission Rhino
18 Mission Scandinavia
21 Mission Windmill
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Mission Rhino
This pilot was made in 1953, and narrated by Frank Gallop. In April 1943, Morgan poses as a Nazi officer, Hauptmann. His mission is to locate a bacteriological warfare plant, "good luck Major Morgan." Answer, "you mean Herr Hauptmann."
Morgan is taken by submarine, before paddling a craft on to a German beach, "one mistake could mean death." Having buried his dinghy in the sand, he poses as a limping officer, who has been shot down. A bicycle has been left for him, this takes him to the Mupperthal Hotel, where Agent 96 is his contact. Password: Roses are Red, plus a copy of a Goethe book.
Scrubbing the floor is a young porter, who is clearly suspected of being a traitor, for he is taken away by the Gestapo. Is he Morgan's contact, or merely a trap? Morgan waits and waits in his lonely room. At 2am, Paul the porter shows up. He'd eluded his captors, and tells Morgan to cotnact a Professor Walter Schwinn. The Gestapo arrive at Morgan's door, banging loudly. A fake fight with Paul sees Morgan clear.
At the professor's house, Morgan finds Schwinn naturally cautious. He settles the man's doubts after snswering some questions about university colleagues. Schwinn is to be taken to the plant shortly, and promises to phone the information to Morgan. "The world will be grateful."
Sophie, the blonde serving wench, takes the chance to search Morgan's room, when he takes the important call. The professor manages to pass on the data before being shot. Morgan returns to his room to find that Sophie has discovered his transmitter. Holding her at punpoint, he is able to send the location to London, before leaping through a window, as the Gestapo swarm into the hotel. Boom! An exploding device destroys the transmitter as well as the enemy. But a German sergeant apprehends Morgan as he gets away, "it looked like it was all over." Though actually, the sergeant is one of us, and has a car to drive Morgan to safety. They watch with satisfaction as bombers detroy the plant.
This is a good opening story, shame the rest of the series did not live up to the promise
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Mission Assassin
Major Morgan is briefed in Washington about the Naples peace conference, "a plan to unite the free world." Its architect is Dr Lindsay, and he is going to attend despite the threats on his life.
So Morgan travels there incognito as 'Bill,' to track down Cesare, The Gangster King, out to wreck the conference. Morgan tries to enlist the help of an old wartime buddy Tonio, and by some bribery, learns where Tonio now lives. Help me stop a murderer, Morgan asks, but Tonio is scared. However, he knows someone who might assist... Lucia, Cesare's girl.
At the Cafe Appia, Mrogan meets her, "you're looking for trouble she warns." But money and drink loosen her tongue, though enemies strike and she is silenced for good.
Morgan returns to Tonio, who is worked up. In the only good twist in the story, Tonio reveals that Lucia was his wife, Cesare had snatched her from him. Tonio agrees to take Morgan to where Cesare hangs out, on a boat out at sea. After an unconvincing scuffle, the pair are introduced, at gunpoint, to the gangster.
Oh well, Cesrae knows who Morgan is anyway. Helpfully, the boss reveals that he has planted a bomb, "you can do nothing about it." Oh but they can, Tonio is killed, but Morgan gives him the slip, and reaches the shore, dodging bullets.
He grabs a car and heads for the airport. But his pursuers stop his progress by puncturing a tyre. Amazingly lethargically, Morgan strolls to a nearby farmstead and gets a vehicle to take him to the airport. He searches the car that is to transport Lindsay to the conference, but cannot discover any bomb. But he's sure there is one. It's in that suitcase. Boom!

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Mission Chopin
Morgan is in Paris listening to "a lovely girl playing a lovely Chopin waltz." Helene Van Loon is the girl, and "this is a dangerous mission."
After a successful concert tour, Helene is established as one of the most important pianists in Europe. Posing as her manager, Morgan takes her to Vienna for a private recital. His target is Paul Simonev, manager of a Budapest hotel. This concert will "lure" him out of Hungary. Helen's job is to discover the secret code he uses to contact enemy agents.
Her little concert is well received, but Simonev won't bite. So she phones him, "I did so want to play for you again."
He invites her to his room. Morgan melodramatically bursts in on their tete a tete, and argues with her. This forced scene over, Simonev is impressed enough to propose to her that they "finish off" Major Morgan. Morgan watches the two of them as they hatch their plans while at the zoo.
That night, Morgan searches Simonev's room for the code. In a Chopin album, he finds something, that leads him to a piece by Bach which has notes "with an extra melody." He photos it. But Simonev turns up with a gun, and knocks Morgan out. But Johnson, Morgan's second in command shoots Simonev dead. One final twist follows, not 100% convincing, not even 50%

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Mission Firebird

Morgan is in Munich following a leakage of Western nuclear secrets. A revolutionary new fuel from The Firebird has been stolen.
Morgan flies to Czechoslovakia, posing as ex Nazi flying ace Willy von Schlagen- this is how the papers spell his name, though in the credits, he is 'Willie'. Allegedly this Willy is the only person in the world able to pilot The Firebird. Willy is given a facelift, so he looks like Morgan. Morgan has studied his mannerisms, his character is very vain and self centred. For all this, for staying out of circulation, the real WIlly is paid handsomely, to the tune of $10,000.
Morgan, as Willy, goes to the Maximillian Bar, where two men dope him. When he comes to, he is expected to pilot the Commie version of The Firebird "for nothing." He is briefed by Stefan, the pretty young Dr Lang is the expert who prepares the rocket. "My mission was to destroy the ship," Morgan explains, even if he has to die himself.
Though Willy is the only man in the world able to do so, Morgan is ready to fly the rocket! Why the Commies weren't suspicious of his facelift, is another mystery.
The rocket fails to launch. Sabotage! Willy is chief suspect. Dr Lang points a gun at him, to force him to take The Firebird up. But once the pair of them are in the rocket, it is clear Lang has recognised Morgan. But she helps him to escape. Morgan plants a nitro pencil in the rocket, and it explodes... once they have left it. Now it is in little pieces- mission accomplished

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Mission "M"
At Schipol Apirport Amsterdam, Morgan intercepts a gangster, whom police hold. Name of Lupoff. He works for International 57, a subversive organisation. In his possession is a paper showing what seem to be skating movements.
Morgan poses as the spy and meets a skater called Yvonne, "I did not expect such a pretty girl."
Over coffee, she hands him his orders. The Baltic Bear is shortly to dock in the harbour. She introduces him to Tolstoy and Polsky who show Morgan the unloaded cargo that it is his job to distribute. He plies them with a scheme off the top of his head, but the spies produce a gun. Surprise! It is pointed at Yvonne, who is a fake like Morgan. She won't talk, so will have to be disposed of, "under the ice." Her problem was that the real Yvonne has shown up.
Morgan is asked to explain his plan in more detail. He must have said something incorrect, for now the gun is on him. With Yvonne, he is trussed up.
But he manages to raise an alarm and police swoop just as he is being prepared for "a deep dark spot in the harbour." A fierce gunbattle ends with the spies rounded up. Yvonne Number One introduces herself as a member of Paris' Deuxieme Bureau. This Operation "M" was not munitions, as Morgan had surmised, but fake currency, designed to create a distastrous inflation

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5 Mission Antwerp

Major Morgan poses as a sailor on board the Stuyvesant, where fellow sailor Link is boasting, "I've more dough than the US mint!" The Paradise Club in Antwerp is the source of his wealth, and Morgan persuades the boss that he'll be a better courier for smuggling diamonds. But he's found out- "drop him into the harbour." The smugglers are actually spies, placing a bomb on board the ship, but their evil plan is found out and foiled

Full review to follow

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Mission Copenhagen
The Emmerich Bank in Germany report a flood of counterfeit money, "paper just a little too heavy." Major Morgan is asked to investigate the source, which has been traced to Denmark: a restaurant near the Tivoli Gardens has been passed a number of the notes.
After a brief travel guide to Denmark, Morgan commences his search at the restaurant, paying for his meal with Insp Hansen with a large bill. His change includes counterfeit notes. Where did you obtain these, Morgan demands of Elphin the proprietor. More bills are discovered in the cash register. They came from Americans. Elphin finally confesses that the source is an American girl called Nedda, she sells them to him at half face value.
When Morgan confronts her, she denies it. No notes are on her person, so she is released. But Morgan follows her to her home, and accuses her of lying. She breaks down, admitting she needed the cash badly. She admits another consignment is to be collected tomorrow. Morgan persuades her to do the honest thing, and next day he accompanies her on a hired bicycle to the Europa Travel Bureau.
This is the start of a complex trail, preserving the anonymity of each of the gang. Nedda is instructed to visit the city's statues, cue another sightseeing opportunity. No contacts are made at any statue, until they come to The Little Mermaid, where a man collects her receipts and informs her she will be contacted in the morning.
This messenger is followed by Morgan and Nedda, his destination is the bike shop. Here the owner Anatole draws a gun on them, though Morgan turns the tables. A search of the premises reveals counterfeit notes hidden in bicycle tyres. After a fight, police swoop. Morgan makes a final patriotic speech before his usual epilogue

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Mission AWOL

More properly this might have been title Mission Paris, for Major Morgan has come to a Paris jail, to meet John Logan (Malvin Barer), a US demolition expert, found drunk in a gutter. He wants to warn Morgan that The Black Mob are planning to sabotage an American troop train.
Logan is dishonourably discharged from the army, but agrees to introduce Morgan to the men planning this act of terrorism. They go to a man named Jacques, who, as a test, asks Morgan to blow up an ammunition warehouse. The Mob keep watch on him, but Morgan succeeds in getting a warning message to his superiors.
That night, Jacques drives Morgan to the warehouse. Morgan overpowers one guard, then another, and lays explosives.
Jacques is so impressed, he takes Morgan to meet the boss, Andre. He invites Morgan as well as Logan to help blow up the train. Unlike last time, no chance of issuing a warning. Dynamite is positioned on the track at a deserted junction on the Paris to Le Havre line. Morgan knows that "it's no use faking this job." He works as slowly as he dare, preparing the detonator. Morgan and Logan seize their chance of overpowering the gang, but Andre has been warned of Morgan's identity and in a shooting exchange Logan is shot dead. At point of gun, Morgan is forced to watch the disaster unfold. Somehow Morgan overpowers Andre, as the troop train approaches. Morgan switches the points to divert the train, then jumps aboard to safety (assuming the points switch wasn't to a dead end!)

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Operation Can-Can
Or Mission Paris- same location as #6.
In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, Major Morgan revisits a cafe which he had first seen in 1943. He shows a Knight of the Garter to a waitress. He tells us about Operation Sea Lion, the Nazi plan to invade Britain. Morgan had been assigned to go undercover (with a thick moustache!) to steal the plans.
His contact at the cafe had been Brionne of the underground. He revealed that the plans were in the keeping of Ernst Theinburg of the SS, and a dancer called Denise (Brenda Wayne) would help by befriending the Nazi. Morgan poses as a waiter, while Denise, as she dances, tosses her garter to Rheinburg. Soon she is plying the SS man with drinks and he pours her champagne and lights her fag, "enchanté." He takes her to his chateau, "you're a very beautiful girl." He is called away, giving her a chance to steal the plans. But this is a trap, for she is being watched, and Denise keeps strictly to her task. But she has learned what she needs to know.
The next evening, Denise introduces Rheinburg to the waiter, who she says is a Nazi collaborator. Thus Morgan gains the SS man's trust and in the chateau is able to overcome a guard and nick the vital plans.
These he hands over to Brionne so that the Allies are forewarned of Operation Sea Lion

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Mission Danube

The setting is Vienna, "rendezvous for spies." Major Morgan is here after fifteen political murders in the past three months. A tip off has been received of a putsch, "a revolt to take over Austria." Yet before Morgan can learn more, the informer, Martin, is killed.
He had been a waiter at a casino, where Morgan orders champagne. Nobody claims to have known Martin, but a bribe to a waitress, helps Morgan discover that the dead man knew singer Marlene (Teddy Scholten). Morgan shares a drink with her. She is shocked to hear of Martin's death, he was her brother. Morgan takes her to the morgue where she identifies the corpse.
They return to the casino, tailed by two men. Thus in Marlene's next song, a drinking song, she toasts with a spiked drink, and collapses instantly.
Morgan takes her away to safety. She identifies the contact from whom her brother obtained the information about the putsch, as Friedrich Metzler (Robert Milton). Morgan finds him gambling, and losing. They play a game of 21 with a fixed deck- thus Morgan wins. They return together to his hotel room, where Metzler is interrogated. A spot of pressure forces him to reveal where the plans for the coup are hidden- in an office safe. Metzler opens it and hands the plans over to Morgan. The villains show up to grab "the top secret plans." Morgan is taken prisoner, but Marlene amazingly rescues him. Thus "the putsch, which might have changed the face of Europe, was stopped"

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Mission Deadline
Or the title could be Mission Marseilles.

Morgan is briefed on his latest mission into occupied France, to gather intelligence prior to invasion. Posing as a watch salesman, his contact is impresario Charles Leduc, cue a couple of singing girls who just happen to be rehearsing in a club. As Carl Brunner, Morgan hands over the watches, expecting to receive the secret information in return. A bullet narrowly misses Morgan and LeDuc, neither blink an eyelid.
But when Morgan tries to collect his case of watches later, he discovers Leduc's corpse, poisoned. Lipstick points to the killer being a woman.
So Morgan returns to the club where he had heard the women sing, and over coffee with them, tries to decide which one killed his contact. The club manager interrupts their conversation, a man clearly who "couldn't be trusted."
Morgan is arrested for Leduc's murder and thrown into jail. But in a pillow, he discovers a hidden gun, with a message from the Free French. Feigning illness, Morgan succeeds in overpowering a guard and escaping. Outside a car whisks him to safety. Morgan makes for where the singers live. Via a first floor balcony, he climbs into their room and retrieves the watch case. Their lipstick proves to him the identity of the killer. The other girl, Helene, knows what Morgan is here for. She explains that Leduc had turned out to be a double agent. The coded messages hidden in the watches is taken by Morgan in time to complete his mission

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Mission Istrahan
Round a Christmas fire, Major Morgan thinks back to the winter of 1944, the seasonal motif then disappears until the very end.
The allied offensive depended on oil, and some unscrupulous companies, such as the Near Eastern Oil Company are stockpiling production, in order to profiteer after the war. Major Morgan travels to Istrahan in the guise of Col John J Custer, "a man who doesn't exist," He books in to the Hotel Continental. However he then books in to the Hotel Metropole under his own name, and bumps into an old friend, a sheik.
He goes to the oil company buildings, and is shuffled around despite asking to see the managing director. "i was being given the runaround."
Finally he gets to meet Rambova (Lous Hensen), "tough cunning, ruthless." Rambova is a woman. She refuses help. She is an ideologist, expecting to use the oil when the war ends, in a struggle betwixt East and West. She even asks Morgan to sign a confession that he is a Nazi spy! He refuses and faces being exterminated. But he stalls, and is finally forced into signing in return for an interview with the company manager. Her agreement proves worthless, so Morgan tries another ploy. He will hand over the infamous Col Custer in return for his freedom.
Rambova takes Morgan to the Cafe of the Seven Lamps and introduces the missing manager, who is in a state of Nirvana, "drugged." Morgan keeps his side of the bargain, and tells where Custercan be found. Actually, this is Morgan's old sheik friend. The deception is soon exposed. However some fisticuffs secure Morgan's freedom. He releases the manager, extracting a promise that oil supplies will be resumed.

Notes: some weak acting in this story. The script is banal too, a sample line being, "there is a war on, not a comic opera"
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Mission Navik
General Navik and his wife land in "London, England," seeking political asylum. Major Ainsley of MI5 (the most wooden of the wooden in acting stakes) greets him before handing him over to Major Morgan, who is to escort them to America.
That night they all put up at the Crown and Anchor in West London. Mrs Navik is unwell, and medicine is ordered at the chemist. As this pharmacy has no stocks, the Central Chemical Supplies in Denham are contacted. Within an hour, the drug reaches Mrs Navik.
After 48 hours without sleep, Morgan is exhausted and he falls asleep. In fact, he has been drugged and when he comes round, Navik is "gone," leaving his wife behind. MI5 seal off the country. Morgan is blamed.
Mrs Navik is recovered, then she too disappears. "Good!" is Major Morgan's odd response. The reason is that she will lead them to her husband. She is followed to Tottenham Court Road tube station, thence to Shepherd's Bush, on to the Central Chemicals warehouse.
By the time Morgan and Ainsley reach here, she has given everyone the slip. She is going northwards. A farmer says he saw the truck heading for "New-castle," where they find a suspicious horse and cart carrying two crates. Inside one is the corpse of the MI5 agent who had been guarding the Naviks at the inn.
Coded messages are being intercepted: Mrs Navik's destination is Aberdeen. Morgan sends a fake message from a ship to the spies, to locate where she is hiding. Morgan and Ainsley swoop, Morgan is shot, and falls to the ground. He ends up in hospital, feeling a failure. But the good news is that Navik and his wife have been apprehended, "my thanks to MI5." It had been a scheme by Mrs Navik to get her husband to return to Germany.
Interesting setting in Britain, though no location shooting here
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Mission Scandinavia

Dr Erik Ritter, a scientist in Heidelberg, burns his top secret formula on guided missiles. Then he disappears.
Emily his wife (Katherine O'Daly) calls in Major Morgan, who also meets her two children. Five days ago, Erik had gone on a cycling trip, but had not returned, instead writing to ask Emily to come and join him.
She follows instructions, travelling to Frankfurt with her children. Morgan tails her. They board a flight to Stockholm with forged passports, in the company of a man named Pashkof.
In Sweden, agent Paul Svensen tails them to the Scandia Hotel, where Morgan meets up again with Emily. He takes her and the children back to the airport, then makes for the Baltic Inn, where Pashkof has gone to. Is Ritter here?
The bartender is persuaded to take Morgan to Ritter. At point of gun, Morgan persuades him to come to the airport, where Emily tries to persuade him to return home.
But he says he is disillusioned with The West, and believes his new masters will create a better world. She refuses to defect with him, Pashkof shows up and attempts to persuade her by force. Erik however cannot countenance violence, and he perceives the true nature of those who had persuaded him. After a punch up, Morgan fails to turn the tables, and the Ritters are forced to board a flight to their new country. Morgan is most unpleasantly beaten up, but police stop all the nonsense in a feeble story

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Mission Windmill

To destroy files that would send 3,000 Dutch to concentration camps, Major Morgan impersonates Major von Richter to infiltrate Nazi HQ. He's invited to stay at a splendid Dutch castle where he exposes the collaborator in Group Orange who has betrayed previous agents on this mission. His cunning enables the files to be blown up in a bombing raid

Full review to follow

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Sherlock Holmes (1954)

1 The Case of the Cunningham Heritage
2 The Case of Lady Beryl
3 The Case of The Pennsylvania Gun
4 The Case of The Texas Cowgirl
5 The Case of The Belligerent Ghost
6 The Case of The Shy Ballerina
7 The Case of The Winthrop Legend
8 The Case of Blind Man's Bluff
9 The Case of The Harry Crocker
10 The Mother Hubbard Case
11 The Case of the Red Headed League
12 The Case of The Shoeless Engineer
13 The Case of The Split Ticket
. . 14 The Case of the French Interpreter
15 The Case of the Singing Violin
16 The Case of the Greystone Inscription
17 The Case of The Laughing Mummy
18 The Case of The Thistle Killer
19 The Case of The Vanished Detective
20 The Case of The Careless Suffragette
21 The Case of The Reluctant Carpenter
22 The Case of The Deadly Prophecy
23 The Case of The Christmas Pudding
24 The Case of The Night Train Riddle
25 The Case of The Violent Suitor
26 The Case of The Baker Street Nursemaids
. . 27 The Case of The Perfect Husband
28 The Case of The Jolly Hangman
29 The Case of The Imposter Mystery
30 The Case of The Eiffel Tower
31 The Case of The Exhumed Client
32 >The Case of The Impromptu Performance
33 The Case of The Baker Street Bachelors
34 The Case of The Royal Murder
35 The Case of The Haunted Gainsborough
36 The Case of The Neurotic Detective
37 The Case of The Unlucky Gambler
38 The Case of The Diamond Tooth
39 The Case of The Tyrant's Daughter
This series of 39 films was shot in Paris studios under the aegis of executive producer Sheldon Reynolds and Nicole Milinaire. Although many actors based in France were used, such as Eugene Deckers, a number of British actors made the journey across the Channel to appear, which for me is really the fascination of the series.
These were new and rather mundane adventures of Conan Doyle's hero, Ronald Howard in the title role trying his best. Also featured were H Marion Crawford as Dr Watson ("now really Holmes, you've gone too far"), and Archie Duncan, who makes an entertaining idiot out of Inspector Lestrade
My favourite episode: #20 The Careless Suffragette with Dawn Addams as a liberated female; #9 is also entertaining.
Best moment: Perhaps the crazed Michael Gough in #27, calmly telling his wife he 's going to murder her.
Moment of Glory: Paulette Goddard guest stars in #2- how on earth did they manage to obtain her services?
Dud episode: #34 The Case of the Royal Murder
Note- This series was premiered on British TV as late as 2006, on the 'Bonanza' Channel.
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"The Case of the Cunningham Heritage"
In which Dr John Watson, returning to London from Afghanistan, first meets the "rather strange" Holmes, but "one never thinks to question him." At his club, an old friend Lord Stamford (Rowland Bartrop) had mentioned to Dr W that SH is also seeking lodgings. So, with the possibility for sharing a flat, Dr W goes to SH's chemical laboratory, amazed that SH somehow knows so much about him.
221B Baker Street is the flat they rent, and Dr W soons becomes amazed at "the man's fantastic powers of perception. But his knowledge of literature- nothing... politics- disinterested. Botany- he knows everything there was to know about poison and absolutely nothing about practical garden. Chemistry- profound. Sensational literature"... oh yes he's well versed in that.

After this long but interesting introduction to the main characters, the first case begins when we encounter a baffled Inspector Lestrade who is typically "completely stuck," not for the last time, as a mother finds the corpse of her rich son Peter. Standing by his corpse is his fiance Joan (Ursula Howells) clutching the knife that killed him. "You're completely stymied," observes SH to poor Inspector L, though frankly, it needs no deduction to notice that! The problem is L can find no motive for Joan killing him. But when it's shown the couple had recently married and that she inherits everything, L makes a swift arrest.
In a simple case, at 10.30 that night, SH breaks into the house with a sceptical Dr W. Ralph, Peter's brother, oddly boasts about his blackmailing Peter because he knew Joan was a "jailbird." It's Dr W who stops Ralph in his tracks, and Inspector L has to admit he had arrested the wrong person.
Later Dr W is fuming over the newspapers who are lauding the "brilliant" Inspector L, but SH is too absorbed in his fingerprint research to care.
Uncredited speaking parts: 1 Club member. 2 Butler. 3 Retired marine sergeant

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9 "The Case of The Harry Crocker"
Escape artist Harry is in "dead trouble," accused of murdering stage-struck chorus girl Sally King. The case against him is strong enough to convince Inspector Lestrade, since he had had an argument with her and her locket is found in his possession.
"Poor Harry, why did you murder her?" is the common view. But SH proves he didn't, thanks to some dubious evidence against the doorman Charlie Willis (Harry Towb, here as Harris Towb).
Here's a story full of entertaining moments, with Eugene Deckers who, on the music hall bills is "Harry Croker," seriously overacting, and as a true escapologist persistently eluding Lestrade's handcuffs who thus becomes more and more Lestradish.
At the music hall Dr Watson enjoys a few winks with the chorus girls in a characterisation and plot that would surely have given Conan Doyle a heart attack had he lived to see it. Nevertheless it's somehow outrageously fun and ends with SH successful in emulating Crocker's baffling vanishing act.
To add to the mystery, the opening and closing music is slightly different to that used for the remainder of the series.

Uncredited speaking roles: 1 Policeman. 2 Bessie. 3 Morgue man

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13 "The Case of The Split Ticket"

"Desperate. Will be back in an hour. Brian O'Casey," reads a note shoved under SH's door.
Brian (Harris Towb) asks SH to find a Mr Albert Snow. £8,000 is at stake. Snow holds numbers 3 and 4 of their sweepstake ticket. If it is not claimed by midnight tonight, any claim will be invalid.
Brian relates his whole sorry tale. He'd been approached by Belle Rogers in a baker's shop. Her friend Albert had persuaded him to take a third share in a £24,000 sweep, with their number 16634. They had torn their ticket in three and now Snow has disappeared! (They'd also invested in a horse race, but this subplot isn't mentioned further.)
SH is unable to talk to Miss Rogers as she has "gone" from her baker's shop, taking a white cake with her. SH had expected all this, naturally.
But then she comes to Brian, with the sorry news that Arthur has been drowned in the river. His ticket is lost at the bottom of the river. She sadly tears up her portion of the ticket, and asks Brian to give her his part, to throw into the fire.
SH however has been practising legerdemain and has swapped her portion and Brian's for duplicates. He explains the white cake had been for her wedding to Snow. By their trickery they had planned in this "neat" plot to get hold of the complete sweepstake ticket, only to be outswindled by SH's palming the pieces himself.

Note- Though Inspector Lestrade gets a passing mention, he is not in this odd story. Uncredtied speaking parts: 1 Man whose wallet is stolen. 2 News vendor. 3 Man in pub. 4 Baker
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17 "The Case of The Laughing Mummy" -

An extrordinary case, in that Holmes accuses a man of murder, without anyone knowing a murder has taken place.
Travelling down on the train to Witchingham with SH, 'Blinko' Watson bumps into old school pal 'Sardine' Taunton (film star Barry MacKay in a rare tv appearance). Reggie Taunton asks SH's advice about an Egyptian mummy he has been sent by his uncle, which has the odd but intriguing habit of occasionally laughing. It's even threatening to ruin his engagement to Rowena Featheringstone (June Crawford).
Interested, SH examines the mummy in its "exceptionally fine sarcophagus," stored in Taunton's Egyptian room, which is full of artefacts sent from Uncle Joseph whom Reggie has never even met.
Dining with them at Taunton's ancient pile are Rowena's battleaxe Aunt Agatha, and Professor von Gaulkins, an expert in Egyptology. Trout is on the menu, but it has to be admitted that Rowena's cooking is "unchewable rubber." The sound of laughing, more like wailing really, interrupts the meal.
An examination of the chimney by SH traces the weird noise to a weather vane, creaking in the wind. Mystery solved. However poor DrW slips off the roof and lands in the rhododendron bush. Luckily not badly injured.
"My compliments, Mr Holmes," proffers the prof, though in fact the mystery is not over. SH has spotted, what the prof seemingly hasn't, that the mummy is of much more recent vintage than its box. On examination, the prof agrees with SH. Then SH adds an astounding accusation- the prof has murdered Reggie's uncle.
"How do you know?" gasps an astounded DrW. The mummy, it transpires, is that of Uncle Joseph. The prof admits it, relating how he and Joseph had found this ancient tomb in Egypt, and when Joseph had opened it, he had been struck down dead.
SH now amends his accusation. The prof can be reassured that Joseph had died from touching the sarcophagus, which is full of needles containing the poison of asps. A worried DrW waits anxiously to see if the same fate will befall himself, as he has touched that box too!

Uncredited speaking role: Aunt Agatha
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18 "The Case of The Thistle Killer"

A policeman in a forced accent warns a woman pedestrian to beware of The Thistle Killer, who has killed one woman a night for the past five nights. She is the sixth! "The man's a maniac," is Dr W's belief. But SH perceives a pattern.
Inspector Lestrade however believes it's all "haphazard." He's frantic, "where will it be tonight?" he muses. So ineffective is he that the Superintendant (William Smith) orders him to consult the "amateur" SH, who advises L to spot the pattern. The locations of the killings are:
Portland Lane
Harris Street
Ovington Square
Evans Lane
Napier Street
Ingram Square
It's an acrostic, explains SH to the baffled L, and the next murder must be at X- Xerxes Park. "Then we have him," beams L.
Yard men are to be posted all around the park and a decoy policewoman is required. "Ever done any amateur theatricals?" the bemused L is asked. But in the end, a real woman is chosen, Miss Colley.
Unfortunately it is a very foggy night, as L keeps watch at one gate, SH and Dr W at the other. Unfortunately noone has yet realised the murderer disguises himself as a policeman.
11pm and after several false alarms, with Dr W jumping on two lovers, a policeman enters the park, right under SH's nose, accompanying a young woman. But at last SH's mighty brain realises how the murderer has not been spotted before. Whistles a-blowing, the net closes. The false policeman runs into Inspector L, who is punched on the nose for his pains. However L gets his own back and rather improbably, shoots him, "he's dead." He is recognised as a frustrated policeman who had failed to make the force through "inefficiency."

Uncredited speaking roles: 1 News vendor, 2 Lady on the street. 3 Policeman, 4 Herbert Brown. 5 Maggie Brown. 6 PC Connors. 7 Lady in the park
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19 "The Case of The Vanished Detective"
DrW is at the Yard to report his terrible news- SH has disappeared! Inspector Lestrade looks dubious, hard to be convinced.
Using the great detective's methods, the pair try and deduce where SH might possibly be. After an unsuccessful search, DrW eventually finds a clue- Ye Quaint Old Curiosity Shop: one John Smithson had recently written to SH asking for his help.
"We've come to inquire about Sherlock Holmes," DrW informs the owner, not recognising that it is SH in disguise! "Never met the gentleman," they are informed.
DrW purchases a book and after leaving, confides in L "there's something about that Smithson I don't like!" Using a trick DrW had learned in the Red Headed League case, he returns to the shop, where the blood-stained clothing of SH is found. In the ensuing melee, a customer runs off with the book, which brings about despair from SH- it had contained a secret message to escaped convict John Carson. He once worked in Smithson's shop, and had threatened Smithson, who had sought SH's protection.
But at least DrW has been of some use, for he knows where to find Carson's contact, Helene, as she is a model in a dress shop. She doesn't know of Carson's whereabouts, but is sure he wants revenge on old Jeremiah Westlake (Colin Drake), the judge who had pronounced a life sentence on him.
The eccentric judge is now retired, and lives in his world of puppets. In a curious scene, SH converses with the puppets. Strangely unperturbed is the judge, about any threat on his life.
Carson does attack him and his wife, but he is thwarted in his foul deed. Despite a struggle, the puppets are fine, that's the main thing. The judge has forgotten his ordeal already.

Uncredited speaking extras: 1 Pierre. 2 Judge's maid. 3 Mrs Westlake. 4 Police constable
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29 "The Case of The Imposter Mystery"

Irascible Sir Arthur (Basil Dignam) awakes poor Dr W's slumbers, complaining SH owes him £100, as his crime prevention advice has failed miserably. In fact, it's evident someone has been masquerading as Holmes: indeed "he looked exactly like you!"
SH promises to uncover the imposter, a promise he has to repeat to Inspector Lestrade ("the laughing stock of Scotland Yard") who has also fallen victim to the villain. "I can't face my men," he tells SH rather pathetically after he has followed the advice of the criminal Holmes. And he can't swallow this "ridiculous" story of a double either.
Watson does his own impersonating as a maharajah who owns a fabulous collection of jewels. SH plays his adviser, the grand vizier. Looking suitable regal, the pair are interviewed by a journalist who seems inordinately interested in those jewels. The vizier inquires if the journalist knows of any detective who could guard their riches. The name of SH is put forward.
So it comes about that Inspector Lestrade travels to 221B Baker Street to arrest Sherlock Holmes! The imposter, of course, who is in the rooms to receive the maharajah. "It will be a tremendous fillip for you," SH had promised L. But despite surrounding the house with three coppers, when L marches up the stairs to Holmes' rooms, there's an almighty cock-up. SH admires the imposter: "I must say the ressemblance is quite remarkable." But the latter makes a break for it, and in the dark the blundering L arrests the real SH. The bogus Holmes (Bob Cunningham) flees to a pub where SH, following the clue of some putty which the imposter uses to mould his features, tracks down this "superb master of mimicry and disguise."
"My head feels quite light," concludes the mystified Lestrade

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33 "The Case of The Baker Street Bachelors"

'Jeffrey Bourne for Parliament' reads a poster. But his career is potentially in ruins when a woman accuses him of attacking her. However for £2,000 she's prepared to keep her silence.
Consulting SH, Bourne recounts how he'd met the girl through a marriage bureau. Unlike many episodes, where SH is regaled with his client's life history, this time SH leaps straight into action. With a reluctant Dr W, who declares himself frightened of such establishments, SH files his application with Cupid's Bow, proprietor J Oliver (Duncan Oliver).
He's very welcoming once he learns SH is rich! He can match them "immediately:" Miss Pamela for the fawning SH, and Miss Edna for the nervous Dr W.
The couples arrange for tea together, but 'Charlie' interrupts them and a brawl ends in SH's arrest. But whilst Dr W looks aghast, SH assures him "we've fallen very neatly into their trap."
Inspector Mason (Seymour Grene) effects the arrest but soon Inspector Lestrade is on the spot. He seems rather bucked at the sight of SH behind bars. Dr W brings news that the girl will drop the case if £4,000 is forthcoming.
Even L's pleading can't persuade Mason to release the illustrious detective, so Dr W is instructed to "break in" to Oliver's office to find evidence of blackmail- "that's against the law!" interrupts the alert L.
It's not exactly Dr W's forte, burglary. But whilst he fumbles, SH deduces where the blackmail material will be hidden- behind a painting. He persuades a reluctant L to go after Dr W and tell him. Of course, the pair are interrupted by Oliver.
This could be most embarrassing for L, but Inspector Mason is prevailed upon by SH to rescue them from the office, and thus the blackmailers are arrested.
However L is fuming, and to pay SH out, he refuses to let him out of the cell!

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35 "The Case of The Haunted Gainsborough"
Malcolm MacGregan needs SH's help- he looks and sounds exactly like Archie Duncan (alias Inspector Lestrade), only with a native kilt and thick beard. Indeed he is Archie!
A painting of a lassie named Heather which he is trying to sell is haunted! "She's a very pretty ghost," smiles Dr W. Will SH come to MacGregan's castle to prevent Heather from scaring off her final potential buyer, Mr Samuel Scott, an American? The cash is sorely needed as otherwise Mr Archibald Ross is going to foreclose the mortgage on the castle.
On their very first night at the castle SH and Dr W see the ethereal Heather (Cleo Rose) descending the staircase, before warning off our detective. Rather cheekily too, for she asks SH if he'd like to kiss her! Before he can do so, she disappears.
SH's "brilliant" scheme is to hide at the top of the staircase when the ghost next manifests itself to the American. It's a simple plan, if hardly worthy of SH, but anyway the ghost vanishes into thin air: "it's impossible!" But Scott isn't put off and offers £1,000 for the picture, But the bad news is that this is now missing from its frame. "You will not sell it, Malcolm MacGregan," moans the ghost before evaporating again. "You can't catch a ghost," sighs the dispirited MacGregan.
He has until midnight to pay off his mortgage so all SH has to do is quickly find that "genooine Gainsbo" for Mr Scott. Down the stairs drifts the ghost once more. But behind her this time is another ghost! The ghost of Heather sees the apparition and screams an unghostlike scream. Ghost number two is only SH who reveals a secret passage half way up the stairway, leading to the missing painting plus a hidden treasure. "Thank you for finding the treasure and saving the castle."
As the great detective departs, it looks as though Heather is staying!
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36 "The Case of The Neurotic Detective"

1896 and "the greatest criminal of all" first makes his mark. Even the ceremonial jewels of Queen Elizabeth I are not safe from his clutches, "absolutely fantastic," gurgles Watson, "what in thunder is Scotland Yard doing?"
Poor Inspector Lestrade almost grovels to SH, "I need your help!" The only advice he's given is Capture the Criminal. In a huff L storms out. DrW is puzzled why the "erratic" SH is so disinterested in this major outbreak of crime. But then DrW thinks he spots a diamond necklace in SH's possession. What is he up to? DrW determines to find out and follows the great detective, but awfully amateurishly, "I realised," DrW confides to us, "that if one were to match wits with Holmes, one could not employ ordinary methods."
His solution is to disguise himself as a cabbie, but naturally SH penetrates his bearded features, "the corners of your beard are in dire need of repair." But then DrW has a stroke of luck when a man who appears to be chasing after SH hires the cab to take him after SH. DrW bravely breaks in to the house and is horrified to overhear SH planning a robbery with his confederates.
Professor A Fishblack is consulted to see if he can throw any light on SH's out-of-character actions. But SH ends up analysing the analyst. "Professor, where are you going?" groans DrW.
So it's the inspector that DrW has to confide in, "I know who London's master thief is." A glimmer of hope dawns on L's harassed face. But when he's told he can only utter "Holmes? I don't believe it." The two actors milk this scene brilliantly.
DrW and L puzzle what to do. SH, however, is off to a reception at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a young lady, Miss Ames. It takes his followers quite a time before they realise he must be planning another robbery. They conceal themselves in the room which contains the minister's safe. After dancing the evening away, SH creeps into the room, immediately, of course, spotting W's shoes hidden behind the curtains. Is SH under arrest? The Commissioner at the Yard also steps in to explain SH had been employed by him to test out the Yard's security measures. SH, in mock sorrow, delivers a Parthian shot to poor Dr Watson, "To think you didn't trust me."

Uncredited speaking parts: 1 Miss Ames 2 Eloping man 3 Another man trying to hire a cab 4 Professor A Fishblack (Eugene Deckers) 5 Yard Commissioner

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Flash Gordon (1953-5)
After some pilots had been made at studios in Marseilles, production move to West Berlin. Steve Holland starred in this low budget, low thrills series of 39 dark stories. Enthusiastic amateurs might best describe the producers, I find something fascinatingly awful in watching the stories today, plus admiration for the lead actors who ne'er display the slightest grin, but play it so straight you have to laugh.

1 The Planet of Death
2 Escape into Time
3 The Electromen
5 Akim the Terrible
6 Claim Jumpers
8 The Breath of Death
10 Return of the Androids
17 The Lure of Light
19 Race Against Time
20 The Witch of Neptune/ 21 The Brain Machine / 22 Struggle to the End
24 Saboteurs from Space
25 The Forbidden Experiment
35 The Earth's Core
36 Deadline at Noon
39 The Subworld Revenge

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The Planet of Death
"You'll murder every man you send to Tarset." The curse of Belphegor falls on anyone landing on this dead planet. So speaks returning scientist Dr Gevers, who is hysterical, beseeching Dr Zarkov not to travel to this now lifeless planet, despite the fact that it is ideal for his experiments on negative gravity.
He relates to Cmdr Richards and Dr Zarkov the fate of his three companions on Tarset. In a flashback we see that they had been grabbed by "an invisible hand," actually a beam of light emanating from the face of an idol, "carved out of a solid block of evil." Their leader, Williams, was struck dead, and the other two likewise.
Despite such melodramatics, Zarkov dismisses Gevers' babblings as "superstitious rot." He is determined to travel to Tarset, for "the defence of the galaxy depends on it." He is accompanied by Flash and Dale, and the terrified scientist is somehow persuaded to tag along also.
On Tarset, Flash bravely enters the abandoned temple, despite Gevers' warnings. The lethal ray seeks them out, but they hide, though Gevers loses his mojo. They are all taken prisoner, Zarkov forced to reveal the truth of his negative gravity tests, or else Dale with cop it. Flash and Gevers are locked in the old room with contracting walls, giving Flash the opportunity to force the gibbering doctor to admit he had been lying. Those in power here want to use Tarset as a spearhead for invasion of our own galaxy.
Their second in command indulges in some "second rate theatrics," when Dale refuses to allow Dr Zarkov to reveal his secrets. Thus she begins to "shrivel slowly."
But Flash avoids being crushed to pieces, escapes in time to rescue her, "it's hard to believe that." Gevers proves some kind of hero, when the temple is destroyed, "there will be no invasion"

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Escape Into Time

Dr Zarkov has invented a Time Machine. Just for one hour, Dale places her dear dog inside it, to see what happens.
Flash Gordon is being held at gunpoint by Bisdar, "the most wanted criminal in the galaxy." He forces Flash to his spaceship, knocks him out, and away into the ether flies the model rocket, allegedly containing the unconscious Flash. It's a ruse to make everyone believe Bisdar is not here any more.
Dale's dog returns safe and sound from his expedition. The machine gives Bisdar a bright idea. "We're going to take a little trip, Beautiful," he informs Dale.
Steve is brought back from the brink and the hunt is on for Bisdar. Only one possible place- 50,000 years back is where he and Dale have fled to. "We're never going back," he warns poor Dale.
But Flash speeds back in time also, to her rescue. The landscape is very bleak and monotonous- not a single beast in sight, except Bisdar of course. Finally a solitary cave man shows up and after a desperate struggle, Bisdar is thrown into a lake, never to be seen no more. Dale faints. The cave man drags her off, very gently. What's this? He seems to be proposing to her! Flash turns up to save her from her fate, and after a fight, Dale makes Flash agree not to kill the primitive fellow.
Our heroes return to base to find Zarkov and the Commander arguing about which of them was to blame for the tragedy. But they cheer up when they see Dale and Flash.
The final scene is of one very mystified cave man

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The Electro Men

Professor Brandt, a plutonium scientist, brings samples from the Planet Odin, where the creatures, and even the plants are made of metal! Commander Harris is amazed at this metal which "has the power" to heal itself. To learn more, the Ministry sends an exploratory mission to Odin, manned by Flash and his team. Dr Zarkov brings with them his latest invention, an electro magnet, which he reckons might prove of use.
When they land on Odin, they are impressed by the metal vegetation. But Dale is entrapped in the tendrils of one "snake like" plant. and in rescuing her, Flash and Zarkov suffer the same fate. Electro men take them to a prison where they find the professor lying, already turned into metal. The Earth woman, according to orders, is next for this fate. Dale is taken into the presence of M, a mysterious god who has complete sway over the electro men. Actually M is like a giant light bulb, at least it speaks in English, staccato style.
Dale, powerless, is laid on a table, more an altar. But Zarkov uses his new invention and is able to trick one of the robots into obeying him, and it takes them to M. Here they find Dale, in the grip of a pointed Death Ray. Flash determines to find out the person behind M, and they discover a very much alive Brandt, "you plotted the whole affair."
His evil is somethibng to do with revenge for his brother. "Gods have big appetites," he tells them as he forces Flash to watch Dale's final transformation, "the end will be soon for her."
But the robot which Zarkov has reprogrammed into obeying him, shoots Brandt and thus Dale is saved, hurrah. The giant light bulb is destroyed and The Earth People are free to return home

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Akim the Terrible
On the planet Karim, brotherly love is a weakness, inhabitants are encouraged to steal and kill. One honest man attempts to escape to another planet, but is caught and robbed.
King Akim rules over this lawless planet. In his absurd costume, he dreams of extending his empire. Jorgo, has the nerve to tell Akim, that his laws are cruel. For such outspokenness he is strapped in a fiendish machine, which breaks his will.
Commander Harris despatches agent Kurt to Karim. "Watch old Akim," are Flash's wise parting words to him.
As soon as Kurt lands, he is surrounded, and taken into the presence of Akim. Akim's command is to go back to Earth and kill Flash. "Need I answer?" responds Kurt with scorn. But a spell in the machine bends his will, and he sets off back to Earth, with a knife kindly donated by Akim.
Kurt makes for Flash's office. Dale spots him about to wield his knife and averts the treachery. Then Flash and Dale are despatched to give Akim a good lesson. Their heads are protected so they cannot be brainwashed.
"Akim, what did you do to Kurt?" is Flash's obvious first question. He gets his answer, by first Dale and then he being forced into the awful machine. Thinking they are brainwashed, Akim orders them to kill Commander Harris and Dr Zarkov. Flash plays along, and summons them to Karim in a coded message which actually warns them not to come. Flash goes beserk after this, and he and Dale overcome Akim the not so terrible and destroy his machine in a puff of smoke. Akim and his men are taken prisoner back to Earth

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Claim Jumpers

"The golden dream" of every prospector has been realised by one old timer named Peter (Erich Dunskus), who shares his joy with his daughter Marie (Wera Frydtberg), who pleasantly dreams of their new wealth, and how it will help her attract a man.
However beware claim jumpers!
In his Black Pirate spaceship is one captain with the unglamorous name of Fred, who with his assistant Hans are making for their hideout.
Flash and Dale are on their tracks, and when Fred's ship lands on a lonely uninhabited planet, Flash bravely goes up to the ship and manages to place a bugging device on it. Dale has been left to guard Flash's ship, and she is surprised and captured by Fred and Hans. When Flash returns to his craft, he too is knocked out.
Fred leaves the unhappy pair to their death on this radiation filled planet.
Dale wriggles free and awakens poor Flash, and they follow Fred who opportunistically has seized the chance of landing on the old prospector's planetoid to grab old Peter's fortune.
Peter and Marie are held at gunpoint, "you dirty thieves!" Flash arrives in time to arrest these claim jumpers, and is congratulated by Dr Zarkov

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The Breath of Death
(made in West Germany)

On the farthest outpost in the universe is Gemini, this is where the worst criminals are banished. Flash and Dale zoom in the Skyflash to patch up a faulty oxygen purifier that, unless repaired will mean the death of everyone on the planet. Flash is old fashionedly male chauvinistic about Dale going with him, but since only she can effect the repair, he has to concede to her coming.
"One of the worst criminals in the universe," No 34, swears he will escape and get even with Flash, who had put him behind bars. 34 makes one abortive escape attempt but fails to overpower his guard. But he needn't have bothered, he has a Plan B, that is the old Remove a stone Block from the Cell Wall trick.
Overcoming one worker, he stows aboard Skyflash for the return trip. Too late comes Warden Morris' warning! While Ground Control are forced to consider blowing up Skyflash, Flash and 34 punch the living daylights out of each other and the craft veers violently out of control. Dr Zarkov and Commander Harris speed to the rescue. But Flash is compelled to land on a poisonous planet where he and 34 have to hold their breath.
Flash, naturally, has the much bigger lungs, and after another fight, "disintegrator guns" just save Skyflash from annihilation. "Thank heaven!" Flash and Dale return to base nicely in tandem with Zarkov's spaceship

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Return of the Androids (filmed in France)

"Creatures without minds"- these are the Androids. Only Flash and his buddies hold the secrets of how the robots known as Androids used to be made. Flash knows the location of their currently unused power source.

Forcing Flash to reveal all will enable an evil Queen take over (shock horror) the galaxy! She gets her right hand man Trigon to capture our trio, Flash, Dale and Dr Zarkov. Unless Flash tells her the secret, he will be eliminated. Of course Flash won't play ball, so the queen tries a more dastardly trick: Dale is to be disposed of. On a fiendish whirling machine, she is strapped, and it revolves faster and faster, until Flash is forced to yield his information. On a map he shows where to find the Android power source. "The universe is ours!" gloats the queen.
Incarcerated, Dr Zarkov has nursed Dale back to health.
Meanwhile, The queen and Trigon reach their goal, and the androids are activiated, a surreal sequence depicts them marching. "Androids - destroy. Attack GBI headquarters!"
Flash uses the old prison routine escape trick and the three race to prevent world disaster.
But it turns out that Trigon is "a filthy traitor," keen to annex power for himself. As she learns the nasty facts, Flash & co pounce and thwart Trigon, causing the androids to collapse "once and for all"

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The Lure of Light
Controversially, Commissioner Harris has authorised the release from prison of Queen Tridentia, authoress of the last inter galactic war.
She admires the plans of Dr Wetherby for a new Sky Flyer that can exceed the speed of light. Flash himself merely quips, "you build it, and I'll fly it."
Yet the serious question is, could any human survive such a trip? The professor has created "a time vacuum", but will it work?
Of course Dale is nervous on Flash's behalf. "Why?" is her simple question. The Commissioner decides the whole enterprise is too risky, but The Queen has other ideas. Her hooded gang knock Flash out and kidnap Dale. Why her? The queen wants to know Dr Wetherby's secret formula.
Dale is whisked away to Planet Diana, where she will be made to reveal all. Then Tridentia will be able to become "the supreme ruler of our galaxy." Dale is tortured to make her reveal the secret. She will not yield. "You fool, you will die!"
So Dale is starved of oxygen, but hurrah, in the nick of time, Flash shows up. But oh dear, for once he is too late, Dale has died.
Only one way to save her. Flash must travel faster than light, and thus the first ever such journey is attempted.
After a lot of flashings and weird noises, time starts to reverse, "are we really back in time?"
Thus Dale is found alive and well, and the wicked Queen Tridentia is taken prisoner

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Race Against Time (French production)

It's 3063AD.
The great Galaxy Bureau of Investigation is the key to peace anong all men. But voices are clamouring for the planets "to guide their own destiny." A vote by all members will decide whether to accede to this demand- Earth is last to vote and its vote will decide the issue. Cmdr Richards flies off to Mars to attend the conference.
But an arch villain aims to prevent him reaching there. He employs the Meltner gang, who bear a distant relation to Three Stooges. They activate a ray machine which forces Flash and Dale, who are taking Richards, to go into a tailspin. "one chance in a million," to survive, but that millionth chance comes up, and they make a forced landing on the planetoid Epsilon 30. However Cmdr Richards will never make the meeting in time.
Meltner and his less than enthusiastic minions greet the newcomers: this takes the form of a pitched gunfight.
Back at base, Dr Zarkov tricks the arch villain into thinking Richards has reached the conference, though actually he is being chased all around Epsilon 30 by the Three Stooges. Flash delivers some hefty punches, enabling Richards to eventually keep his appointment

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The Wicked Witch of Neptune

Introducing the sinister Zydereen (Marie Powers) who has managed to penetrate GBI headquarters, appearing and disappearing there at will, now she holds Commander Richards and Dr Zarkov in her power, "noone can resist my will."
Once, she had been banished from Neptune, and she forces these puppets (well they always were actually) to destroy the methane to oxygen Atmosphere Converter on this planet. Without it, soon it will be impossible to survive, all life will be destroyed, including the millions living here.
She dreams of returning to rule over Neptune, "I shall return all right," she promises Richards- once all its inhabitants are destroyed. Explosions and panic, as she gloats over the "miserable" people's fate.
With oxygen running short, and no communication possible with GBI on Earth, Flash and Dale work hard to restore the supply of oxygen, "together we can do it." Despite Zydereen's minion attempting to sabotage their efforts, of course it is another win for Flash Gordon!
(the story however continues in two more parts)

to part two

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The Brain Machine
(Second of three stories about The Witch of Neptune)
Commander Paul Richards and Dr Zarkov have caused an explosion on the inhabited planet of Neptune. Flash and Dale succeed in installing a converter to prevent the population from suffocating.

Prostar, agent of Zydereen the Wicked Witch of Neptune (Marie Powers), is reproved by his mistress. "You have failed... you stupid blundering fool."
Her dream is once more to rule over Neptune, but Prostar extends her vision that she could "control every planet in the galaxy." For she has this machine, a Brain Recorder, that can suck the will from men's hearts. That is why Richards and Zarkov had performed such a dastardly act and behaved like zombies- okay, let's be honest, they're always like that anyway.
They have had a Remote Controlled Projector attached to their persons, and are whisked away into Zydereen's presence for a spot more brainwashing, to suck their brains dry, and also grab their knowledge of "the safety of the entire galaxy." Thus will she get "every human to bend to her will."
Flash interrupts proceedings, but the witch paralyses him too. However by some force of will, Flash overcomes the power, and she is forced to dematerialise.
Flash vows to catch her, and also clear the names of his colleagues

To final episode

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Struggle to the End
(final part)

In this final part of the triology (if I may use such a pretentious term), Flash and Dale come to the rescue of the captured Dr Zarkov and Commander Richards. They have been in the hands of the mad witch of Neptune, Zydereen, and have been brainwashed.
The witch evaporates in a neat trick so she can evade capture herself. The two prisoners, minds utterly blank, are returned home.
Several weeks later, both are recovering, except that Zarkov is still in Zydereen's power.
The witch attacks the rocket which carries essential galaxy power supplies, forced to land on Saturn, where Zydereen is in command. She radioes to Flash to come to her immediately- or else "one planet after another will be destroyed!"
She has the power of solar rays to enforce her threat. So Flash and Dale speed to Saturn in obedience to her command. They land, and guards escort them to into the presence of the Mad Witch. But Flash has discovered her secret of how to evaporate, and angered she orders her ray machine to be turned on full power. But Flash unevaporates, I think the word is, and stops her nonsense for ever, Amen

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Saboteurs from Space

Machines on Earth are paralysed by an "electronic distorter." Flash's spacehip is blown off course, "sucked thru space into a trap." Flash radios for help, but only his parrot answers.
Dale calculates that their craft is in uncharted territory, but why? "Someone knows the answer."
An evil mastermind behind this evil scheme could tell them. He watches as our heroes dock on this unknown planet. Emerging from their ship they are overpowered by robots, "you will come with us," uttered of course in a foreign accent. Thus our three heroes are locked up in a kind of torture chamber with the floor tilting from side to side drunkenly. Then Zarkov is taken away for interrogation. Flash hatches a plan to agree to supply the names of scientists, a list that will conflict with any that Zarkov is forced to produce. But this proves unnecessary.
Flash and Dale escape just as the names of scientists are being transmitted to Earth. Flash grabs hold of the mastermind. "Deactivate the electronic distorter," Flash orders. Since Flash has gained power of the robot minions, it is done. Then Flash destroys the distorter, and, trying to save his evil machine, the mastermind also perishes

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The Forbidden Experiment (French production, 1953)

On the barren planetoid M1, which contains only one oasis of life, Dr Prendiss, "a voice out of the past," sends a radio message to his old friend Dr Zarkov. He requires the chemical electroscillin, and judging by his distorted face, he needs it urgently.
But it is a trap. Zarkov pilots his craft to M1 and lands on the planetoid, which is eerily quiet. He walks to Prendiss' home, where an unseen deep voice informs him that the doctor is dead. "We have work for you," the voice demands.
Cmds Richards is worried that Zarkov is missing so Flash and Dale are despatched to rescue him. Zarkov does try to contact Earth, but is overpowered by the mystery voice, who turns out to be The Lion Man. "You are prisoner." Zarkov has refused to help with experimentation.
"I hope we're not too late," Dale breathes to Flash as they land. Guns at the ready, the explore M1. They reach the house, greeted by fierce growling, and come face to face with this genuine monster, or at least a man with hairy make-up. He has all the wild animals at his command.
The four of them share a meal, though his eating manners are deplorable. Zarkov is still, despite threats, refusing to cooperate, this makes Lion Man go beserk, but Flash overcomes him, so Lion Man summons his fellow creatures. We only see them on film. Flash makes him call them off and manhandles Lion Man to the waiting craft. After a fight, they leave without their prisoner, but on board is one escaped cuddly monkey to give them a happy farewell

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The Earth's Core
In the heart of the earth an evil hunchback lurks, he has developed a process that is causing earthquakes all the way from Alaska to Oregon, "it's fantastic."
Dr Zarkov perfects a heat resistant metal that can liquefy all rock in its path, on its trip to the earth's crust.
In double quick time, this craft is built, odds are a massive 100 to 1 against survival, but off fly Flash, Dale and Zarkov. After much juddering, they speed inwards, temperature 2,500 degrees Centigrade, "a trifle warm in here." It rises to 3,900, the controls stop working.
"They can't escape," smirks the sub earth leader, 4,500 degrees, and the ship is smoking. "Hang on," breathes Flash. Though it is "impossible," they emerge from the 'fissure' and things cool down. They crash into a cave.
The three set out to explore, but are taken captive by the ugly sub earth dwellers. They come face to face with their leader and offer him peace. That is met with a refusal, "I shall conquer."
The three are chained up, then to be thrown into a sea of bubbling gas. But Flash breaks loose, and finds out the secret of how these artificial earthquakes are created- a machine that looks like a giant fire, which Flash causes to explode, having got Dale and Zarkov away to safety of course

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Deadline at Noon

In a galaxy of dead planets, Isis, Osiris and others are blown up by an enemy that "has sworn eternal war against the Earth." The only survivng planet is Minerva, where an evil villain, who speaks, unsurprisingly, with a German accent, warns of the Earth's destruction.
"In one hour, your precious earth explodes," he warns. It is now 11am. Already, as warning, on earth have been explosions, and wildfire, an early intimation of Climate Change. The cause is a bomb that had been placed way back in 1953, but where? "Completely hopeless," sighs Dale.
Dr Zarkov's time machine whirrs and flashes, but nothing much else, and delivers Flash, Dale and Zarkov to 1950s Earth. "There's New York,"very primitive!" East by north they travel as they reflect on life in those days, which is surprisingly advanced. They see a "clumsy" aeroplane. At 11.40 they reach "a place called Paris," before the bomb detector leads them to where else?, Berlin ("the inhabitants may be hostile").
This gives the series an unusual opportunity for some genuine location filming as, with radios alerting to a space invasion, police give chase around the city. The destination is a bomb site, and a gunfight with three cops is ended when Flash turns them to stone with his gun. The trio search the rubble. The bomb is unearthed, thankfully it is simple to defuse. "Two seconds to spare!"
Mission accomplished, our heroes disappear off into the future

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The Subworld Revenge
This is a sequel to a previous story. The enemy beneath the earth had been destroyed, but bad news, Dr Zarkov has spotted signs of activity.
1,500 miles inside the earth's core is the evil Zaldo and his rotund henchman, this pair ham it, mit German accents. They gleefully look forward to conquering the surface of Earth. How? They are stoking the fires of Hades, to fire a deadly machine that will turn the earth into a ball of fire, centre of the attack is the United States.
Off fly Flash and Dale with Dr Zarkov, but "they are riding into a trap!" Crash! "What was that?"
They are caught in Zaldo's magnetic field. Laughter down below. They watch as Flash's craft careers wildly, no hope left. "Poor Flash... and soon it'll be poor us!" Though the three occupants are paralysed, how does Flash manage, very slowly, to regain control?
By this time, their craft has been sucked in to the subworld. But Zaldo is in for a shock, since Flash and Co have survived their ordeal. "Turn off the fire," he is ordered

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Orient Express (1952/3)

A series made by Thetis Film Cinetelevision, in various European studios as indicated
* Rome, + Berlin, # Vienna, ^ Paris.
From the map of the express shown in the opening credits, it is possible studios in other locations may have been used.
The series was produced by John Nasht, shown in the UK by the BBC.

All the stories featured different characters, very loosely linked by the famous train on which they were travelling. In some stories, it is merely any old train, not THE Orient Express!

*2 Uppercut
+8 The Hunted
#12 Runaway
*13 13th Spy (BBC tv: April 24th 1954)
^ Portrait of a Lady
^15 The White Mask
+ Blue Camellia

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Uppercut (aka The Gladiator)

The train is approaching Rome, and manager Dan (Patrick Crean) is warning his boxing protege Freddie (Steve Barclay) about the dangers of overconfidence. For Freddie, "the most famous fighter in the world," has never lost a fight yet but the knowing Dan is only too aware that he could "go down the drain," his head turned by money or dames. For Freddie is something of a ladies' man.
In Rome Freddie's Italian father looks up an old friend whose daughter Anna (Nadia Gray) Freddie is soon making eyes at. "Are all Americans as sure of yourself as you?" she asks him naively, as he wines her at a nightclub. Freddie is so enwrapt with her he forgets about an important news conference, which makes "the reporters sore."
Training begins in earnest next day, though Freddie's mind is elsewhere. As Dan comments, "you can't mix late nights with a girl on the brain and a big fight." Anna is persuaded to call off their pre-fight date.
The fight sequence is too long, with Freddie the clear loser. Sore at Anna's apparent rejection he tells her "I don't need your help." His dad though is glad his son has been taught a bit of a lesson: "you're getting too big for your own good." He helps Freddie face up to his feelings and encourages him with "you work at it hard enough, you could be a winner." Now Freddie is man enough to patch things up with dad, and then with Anna

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The Hunted
Script: George and Gertrude Fass.

A Russian prisoner, Dr Peter Darov has escaped from a Warsaw labour camp. He had been a scientist working on biological warfare, "how truly horrible." Refusing to continue his research, he had been incarcerated.
Now he's at large in a snow bound East Berlin, both East and West after him. He doesn't want to work for either, and approaches a doctor, but he refuses to help him.
Friendless on a street, he meets Billy Jacobs who kindly takes him to the Czech camp where he lives, and passes him off as of that nationality. However his room mate recognises Peter and Peter has to leave in a hurry, to the address of a girl Billy knows will help, Lisa Landau.
She puts him up for the night, but when her landlord calls, he has to be silenced. It's too dangerous to remain here, so "the only thing to do," is seek her sister Alice's aid. Unfortunately she happens to be in love with a Russian officer, and when he insists on entering her flat, the fugitives have to run off.
But lonely on the streets, a policeman spots them, though luckily an American agent has been trailing them, and he overpowers the law. "We're quite safe!" Well almost. The agent helps them get out of the eastern sector and soon the couple are indeed safe, sipping good American coffee

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13th Spy
The three coach express is travelling through Commie country en route to Rome. On board is young American soprano Francine Gilman (Cathy O'Donnell), who is pestered by a fan from USA, Norbert K Thompson.
She retires to her compartment, only to encounter an even more annoying man named Krauss who insists on calling her Carol. He knows she is really the leader of the local Resistance, and will be arrested when the train gets to the border. As he is a friend, or so he says, he orders her to get off the train at Bergenhof, otherwise she will be executed as a spy! There's one slight drawback to Krauss' incredible plan- the train only stops at Bergenhof by request, and it's too late for that request to be made. Francine tries to brush Krauss off, presumably he's mistaken her for this spy.
Marc, Carol's brother, a pacifist professor, joins them. Alone with her, the pair exchange ideas on the American way of freedom, compared with the oppression in this benighted state. She is tempted to play along for some reason, perhaps to help him. He tells her, "Noone will doubt that you are Carol, when they see me with you."
Bravely, the professor braces himself to betray his principles and shoot their guard, in order to escape. This is the best bit of the story. She sings as he readies to shoot. But the gun isn't loaded, and after this failed attempt, Krauss leads his prisoners to the rear of the train, from where they must shortly jump off.
However in this end carriage is Thompson, singing with a barbershop quartet, and as they weirdly sing Joshua Fought de Battle of Jericho, it is the good old Americans to the rescue as Krauss is pushed off the express. Very offbeat

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Runaway

Karin is running away from her harsh guardian Frau Krempfmeier. At Vienna's main station, she purchases a rail ticket for Venice, a single. Also on the train is Johnny, and in Karin's basket he hides something.
At the border there's the usual customs stop- she gets off the train before she can be searched- we learn later she has stolen a ring from her guardian. We, though not she, also learn later that Johnny is wanted for murder, so he has to avoid the customs search also.
The pair make for the border on foot, but when she twists her ankle, he steals a Lambretta. They find a guide, who at sundown will take them over the frontier. So there's time for a spot of kissing and exchanging stories, before he quietly leaves her. But she goes after him- he tries to persuade her to go back, as so many police are on the watch for him.
At last she sees him for what he really is. "Everything you did was a lie." However he claims he had been falsely sentenced for murder.
Gunshots, and Karin is wounded. Johnny runs off, but thinking better of it returns to carry her to safety in his arms- aaah!

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The White Mask
This is simply another medical drama, with a love triangle thrown in.

Having just arrived in Paris, Alan phones Monique (Andree Debar), but she refuses to meet him. After a confusing montage of shots showing us Paris, we can see Monique must have met him, for she is by his side in an ambulance making for the American Hospital, where her husband Dr Carl Curtis (Philip Reed) is a surgeon.
Monique admits to Carl that she does know Alan, just a little. Alan has a fractured skull, and Dr Caron is certain it is the result of a heavy blow, not a fall. "Surgery is called for." Carl asks the inexperienced Dr Caron to perform the operation.
Carl whisks Monique swiftly away from here when police start their inquiries. They were going on a night out, and it gives the opportunity for him to ask why she had lied about Alan.
"He wanted me to leave you," explains Monique, but she had refused. That's why they had argued. It makes Carl decide that he must return to the hospital and operate himself. Monique fears it is so Alan will never be able to tell what had occurred.
Will Carl save his patient? As he is in theatre, she confesses to the police.
The final scene shows the married couple chatting again

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Portrait of a Lady
This has some pretensions at style, and at times is intriguing. The story moves at a lightning pace.

Pierre (Roger Treville) has been called back to Paris by Francois his friend, who wants Pierre to see this painting at an exhibiton by American David Miles (Peter Walker). Pierre wants to buy it, but is told it is not for sale. It is a head and shoulders portrait of a lady.
We then see the lady in the flesh. It is Pierre's wife Nadine (Colette Marchand). All sorts of suspicions flood Pierre's mind. He takes her to the exhibition and watches closely as he introduces her to David. It seems she doesn't know him.
Pierre proposes that David paint her. The artist is adamant he had never met her before. He does admit the picture looks very like Nadine, but it is a picture of his "ideal woman," so he says. He is persuaded to accept the commission but his finished product is mediocre compared with the ideal woman.
But privately David declares his love for Nadine. She tells him he has always been in love with only a dream. Pierre overhears this conversation, and has his moment of truth, that he himself has been treating his wife like a painting. They kiss and make up and David, though he's asked her to run away with him, waits at the station all alone

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Blue Camellia
(the title is spelt thus on screen- made in 1952, maybe as a pilot for an abortive series)
A tale that has aspirations at style and occasionally succeeds in the scenes with the two principals, Ron Randell and Lois Maxwell, who briefly strike up a pleasing rapport.

Major North is travelling to Berlin undercover as Hugh Webster. Lynn Walker, secretary to consul general Sir Arthur O'Brien has orders to give him "official help," though that does not extend to going out to dinner with him!
North contacts antiques dealer Vorhees who had claimed to have glimpsed the infamous Blue Camellia in the city. She owns a file that once belonged to her friend Karl von Luter, which contains the names of the allied traitors who betrayed our troops to the Nazis. She has reddish hair, in her late 20s, and is or was a singer.
At a party, Lynn introduces North to a blonde Frenchwoman named Thea, who is about to sing when her pianist suddenly collapses and dies. Cyanide. It had surely been intended for North. Later he is attacked again in his hotel room, the villains as ever inept, so that North emerges with only a small plaster on his forehead.
Lunching with Thea, North learns from her own lips she is the Blue Camellia. She claims to know nothing about the dark secret about the traitors, but is willing to sell the file. However there is another bidder, it seems Vorhees is the one behind this bid.
Thea tells North the file is in a locker at the airport, but Vorhees has got there first. There is a chase round the city, "can't you drive any faster?"
Through a tunnel at 90 km/h, then the car is stopped and a chase on foot over the bombed rubble. Thea is shot before Vorhees is captured.
Major North bids Lynn farewell, as the express pulls out of Berlin
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Paris Precinct (1955)

An interesting series filmed in Paris with
Louis Jourdan as Inspector Beaumont and
Claude Dauphin as his sidekick Balbec.
"Based on cases from the official files, and filmed with the co-operation of the Paris Police Department."

I haven't got complete details of the series' showing in England, but as an example Granada showed it in their summer 1957 schedules on Wednesdays at 7pm.
Here are my reviews of surviving stories of the 27 made, based on their order of transmission on ABC (America):

0 Police Headquarters
6 Two Blind Men
7 The Actress
8 The Cemetry
11 The Case Of The Pastry Chef
12 A Woman Scorned

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The Actress
The newspaper headlines read First Lady of Paris Stage to Wed her Director Tomorrow, but in her dressing room, the talented Michelle Lorraine is shot dead. The body is discovered by her hysterical personal maid Marie when she tries to give Michaelle her final curtain call.
Death is put at between 11.15 and 11.35pm during the time when Michelle was off stage in the final act. This was actor Jean Paul's big scene, when he shoots Lord Darnley, with blank bullets of course. So he has the perfect alibi.
Her fiance Louis Poiret (Roger Treville) soliloquises on his late fiancee's radiance, "like Joan of Arc." He had "moulded" her career. He'd been in his office at the time of the murder. But Danielle, the understudy, said she had overheard a row between the two which had involved his ex-wife Georgette (Madeleine Robinson), his former leading lady. Naturally she was jealous of Michelle.
The murder weapon arrives anonymously through the post, it's Poiret's revolver and it has recently been fired. A note adds that this gun "will kill again."
Beaumont puts on "a little show" as the last scene of the play is re-enacted. Georgette plays the part of Michaelle. The shooting of Lord Darnley is repeated, and it is clear that the bullet could have reached Michelle in her dressing room. Poiret is arrested even though privately Beaumont has declared he's not guilty. "Would I destroy my greatest masterpiece?" protests Poiret.
Retorts Georgette, "you said the same thing to me once." The spotlight turned on her on Beaumont's orders, she delivers a theatrical monologue to a non-existent audience.
The story ends with an effective scene without any words, as the police escort the killer away.
Dramatic but highly unreal

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8 The Cemetry

In her home, Marie Durand discovers a thief, who has to murder her. Her son Antoine discovers her body, after returning home on completing his night work as a taxi driver. He'd kept warning his mother not to keep all her cash in the house.
The nosy concierge Sara says Marie had a habit of chatting with strangers about the money hidden in her rooms. One is traced to a Boucherie, who claims Marie and her son often quarrelled over her late husband's will.
"Everything points to the son." The key to the crime is at the cemetry where Marie used to sit by Durand's grave. A lady in a black apron had been seen talking with Marie. This woman was visiting a grave also, and it is one with an angel with a broken wing.
Mme Carefour now runs a market stall, and her new husband bolts.
After a chase he's arrested. So is she

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11 The Case Of The Pastry Chef

The plot of this story is reused blatantly in a Saber of London story, The Maid Was Curious.

In the Hotel le Bourgeois, "a nice little place," a maid is cleaning a room. Her curiosity leads her to open a trunk left here, and she screms!
Inside is a totally mutilated corpse, a man about thirty years old. The trunk belongs to a seaman who had booked in yesterday. He was a sailor. From a scrap of paper in the dead man's pocket, is found a list of restaurants, with a list of payments.
Beaumont and Balbec go to The Wepler where the barmaid (Martine Alexis) traces the bill to a baker: two dozen small cakes 1,650 fr. The man was Andre Martin, but he has not been a work for the past month, according to his girl friend Alice (Genevieve Page). They had been saving up to buy their own business.
Beaumont learns that Andre had recently withdrawn all their savings. After a comedy interlude at the bank in which Balbec helps an attractive lady, the two detectives drive to the station to catch the boat train for le Havre.
The ship Lavoisier is very busy, ready to depart, but Beaumont and Balbec are taken to the kitchens where they learn that the sailor is missing. His friend Paul Morais is questioned and tamely admits to murder, having fallen out with Martin

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Police Headquarters
Possibly the pilot?

A gendarme picks up a scruffy looking man, perched on the edge of the Seine. Roger Vezenay (Marcel Dalio) his waving plenty of money around. He claims it's the ransom for Edouard his seven year old boy, kidnappers have demanded half a million francs to be paid at 10.30am.
With Beaumont keeping a watching brief, Balbec takes Vezenay's place, but at the drop-off, La Lune Cafe he's phoned, ordered to go to the Eifel Tower. Once there, a message is handed to him by a stranger who's promptly arrested rather ostentatiously.
"You were careful when you arrested him?" queries a hopeful Balbec, who's ordered to St Lazare station. The railway police think Balbec looks suspicious so Beaumont has to step in, just as the station announcer's voice booms up that there's an urgent call awaiting at the Information Desk. Balbec is told to catch a 32 bus, which he does.
It all seems rather odd, observes Balbec, the voice on the phone "sounds like Vezenay himself." for sure, "it doesn't make any sense."
The uneventful bus trip takes him to the Champs Elysees.
Still nothing. So the police question Vezenay. He's in hospital where a doc solves the feeble case, "there was no kidnapping," he explains to the incredulous policemen.
So this was all an excuse to show us the sites of Paris!

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Two Blind Men

Odd, but the Metro this night is utterly bereft of passengers, except for one blind man who topples in front of a train.
Balbec's lovemaking is interrupted by a phone call. He has to go to the Metro station with Inspector Beaumont to question eyewitnesses. A torn half of a 1,000 franc note is in the dead man's hand. A ledger near his body reveals where he had been begging, and this leads the detectives to a cafe where he had had an argument with a customer.
In this man's possession is found a missing white cane. He says he took the man's cane because he was a fake, he wasn't blind. But this is incorrect.
"You pushed him under the train," accuses Beaumont.
But later in the Metro tunnel a second cane is found. The hunt is on for a second blind man. The ledger that had been found must belong to this person. He is Falot, and is found at an air teminal building, and it's evident he is not blind, though he pretends to be. He is the one who had argued with the dead man over begging on "his pitch."
"It was an accident," or so he says

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A Woman Scorned
Note- this story is on YouTube in its entirety.

In a Paris nightclub, a male singer is entertaining the clients (more or less), including an American soldier who is drinking at a table with Lucille. Suddenly Lucille collapses.
Insp Balbec is enthralled in a novel The Blonde Died Young, in which a detective is having a whale of a time, when Inspector Beaumont and he are summoned to the scene of the crime.
The brandy brought into the club by the soldier is the source of the cyanide poisoning. A picture of the soldier is found in Lucille's room, and the colonel in charge of the US army in France identifies him. The young soldier breaks down when he's informed she's dead. His story is that someone, the proverbial stranger, had handed him the bottle. This person had left in a taxi.
The taxi driver is traced and describes his passenger, a man in his sixties. It is M Fermont, owner of a Parfumerie. When Insp Beaumont meets him, he is mixing some chemicals, "that's him!" declares the relieved soldier.
Fermont admits he had given away his brandy bottle, but did not know it contained poison. He says it had been given to him by Miss Lamotte (Giselle Preville), a girl he had recently stopped seeing after ten years.
She is distraught when she learns the wrong victim has been killed. The final scenes are too protracted

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Captain Gallant of the Foreign Legion (1955/6)
starring Buster Crabbe as Captain Mike Gallant

The first series was filmed in Morocco, but a second series was made in Italy. Barbara Shelley stated that she appeared in five stories in this latter series.

1.5 Camel Race - Fuzzy unwittingly places a bet with the robbers of a mining company's payroll. He bets on Josephine, the legionnaire's best camel, but as Fuzzy is doped he loses the race and the stake. But Gallant's 80,000 bet on a return race results in the crooks unwisely trying to nobble Josephine, instead they get a deserved kicking from her. So this time Fuzzy is the victor, and the cash he is paid which turns out to be the stolen payroll
1.6 Esprit de Corps - Private Jan Novak, a bad tempered Pole (John Nash), is transferred to Gallant's batallion. He's a top field soldier but a bad legionnaire. He starts badly by brawling in a bar over a girl, and is very unpopular in camp, but on patrol, tracking escaped prisoners at a lonely oasis, he's wounded and rescued by his mates. That surprises him, teaching him a lesson in comradeship
1.7 Carnival in Zagora - Old pal Carla Robinson (Norma Eberhardt), for whom Gallant had got a suspended sentence, has got herself a boyfriend (Robert Christopher) who is involved with the shooting of a vizier, in a plot to secure oil rights. A reformed Carla gets Cuffy to warn Gallant of the scheme (Not sure of the relevance of the title, maybe this is a different episode?)
1.10 The Prayer Rug- General 'Ironfist' is to present an Arab dignitary with a prayer rug, but it is stolen. Captain Gallant has but four hours to retrieve it. For some reason it's worth ten million francs. Blonde Monique puts him on to a limping Arab, the clever oh so clever thief
1.15 Revenge - Now where have we seen this plot before? Aru Mettler (Bob Christopher) swears revenge on the man who has put him behind bars, ie Captain Gallant, "I'm gonna kill him." 8.30pm and if you're still awake, a bullet is fired. And another. "Where do you want it Captain?"
1.16 Stolen Treasure - Eric Grunner (Jean Werner) has been in the Legion seven years and at long last Galant is recommending him for promotion. Eric breaks the good news to his "young lady" Marthe (Marie-Jose Darene), who is thrilled for him. But two ex-Nazi colleagues blackmail him into showing them the oasis where in the war treasure had been buried. Marthe wisely informs the Legion and Grunner is tailed. The villains dig up the money and celebrate in a bar, where Gallant catches up wth them
1.19 Man with a Map - Recruit Michael Darney has deserted, Gallant must round him up. It's all to do with a girl named Lotti, owner of the Mauretanian Mining Company, He had been helping her locate her mine, exact location only known by the spot indicated on this map. Olmar (Gregoire Aslan) has kidnapped Darnley, to force him to hand over the map. Good old Gallant rescues him, but falls into the clutches of a rival for Lotti's hand, Arnold
1.20 The Dagger of Judah - Pte Jean Martell refuses to see his parents, "I sure feel sorry for his mother," notes Cuffy. But Jean relents and they order him to do another crime, kidnap a prince. But Cpt Gallant joins their gang also to trap the brains behind the operation
1.21 The Lady from Zagora aka The Purloined Envelope - Eric Gastin, managing director of Intercontinental Engineering, locks secret revolutionary aircraft plans "worth millions" in his safe, but his secretary Alice (Danielle Godet) removes them. Captain Gallant pursues her to the border and with all guns blazing Western-style, grabs the papers in time. There's a good twist when it transpires she's only nicked the documents to stop her evil boss
1.22 Pipeline
1.27 Ransom (aka The Search) - Englishman George Langton helps Cuffy buy a wallet, and Cuffy nearly repays the favour by preventing Langton's kidnapping. But not quite. Commodore Langton stumps up the cash for his nephew's ransom, £10,000. One legionnaire has to die before Captain Gallant tracks down the kidnapper via his ex-girl Charlene who spills the beans and warns that George has "kidnapped himself." After Cuffy has extricated his uncle from a closet, Gallant rounds up the naughty nephew with a bout of fisticuffs
1.28 The Legion is Our Home - Cpt Johann Schmidt is reluctant to take his leave in town, something about his spending three years of the war here. Jeannine was his girl, and they are finally reunited, to the anger of her brother Marcel, who, because he was injured in the war, still hates Germans. Makko, jealous of Jeannine, frames Schmidt for Marcel's murder, but Mike Gallant trusts his men and finds a clue, a keyring, that points to the real killer. Makko makes a run for it, taking Jeannine, but the legion always get their men, well, something like that
1.36 The Boy Who Found Christmas - Cuffy has never seen snow, and had been promised a trip to USA for Christmas, but Gallant can't get leave. Cuffy is disappointed again when a camel train with presents and a real Christmas tree fails to show up, so he rides off into the desert to find it. Alone at night, at an oasis, he is scared, but his Legionnaire pals find him and Uncle Mike teaches the lad about peace and goodwill, showing him the first Christmas of all- aaah
1.? As Long as There are Arabs - Bennet (Arthur Hanson) is accused of killing The Wise Man by angry Arabs led by Wise Man's less wise son. Gallant steps in to save the wretch who swears his innocence, though "the evidence against you is very strong." Bennet shows his thanks by bashing Gallant on the head. But we can guess who the real killer is, and Gallant plays a waiting game to catch him, and he still has time to rescue Bennet from the crazed mob
2.1 Gallant's New Post - In a "sea of sand" three days from the Med is Gallant's new post. He's come to sort out a security leak, but unable to spot any traitor, he takes the drastic step of leading his unarmed men into the desert to flush out the villain. He's easily caught, the ambush thwarted and naturally Gallant is a hero
2.3 The Long Night - "I don't like it," remarks The Colonel, when Mrs Drexel, Cuffy's aunt, demands to take Cuffy home with her. "I won't go," cries the lad in an unusually emotional tale, complete with violin music. To the cold desert Cuffy runs away (again) with his friend, who falls and breaks a leg. Uncle Mike sends out a search party, the pair are safe and sound and the aunt is so impressed with the legionnaire's devotion, she abandons her plan
2.6 Rodeo - Manuel Gonzalez wants to marry singer Franca (Mara Lane), but brawls with a sergeant and ends up in the guardhouse. A disillusioned Gonzalez deserts, and even more serious, the safe with the legionnaire's pay has been emptied. Gallant is assigned to "bring him back," while Cuffy's stages a rodeo ro raise money so the couple can get married. But Fuzzy accidentally exposes the payroll thieves enabling the marriage to go ahead. After all this, Cuffy has to conclude with "Love's mush!"
2.10 Informer's Map - Why did an informer alter a tourist map just before he was knifed? Gallant poses as an oil prospector and befriends the cruelly treated wife of an innkeeper. Just as well, for though he joins a gang of gun runners, he is found out and she saves him enabling Gallant to blow up their cache of arms
2.11 Cuffy's Good Deed - A mother desperately wants to trace her son Renate who joined the Legion four years back. Could he be the one lying in the infirmary after being badly wounded when a patrol were all but wiped out? Cuffy helps mum get reunited with him, while Gallant rides around getting revenge or maybe justice for the massacre. The ending is rather a poignant one
2.21 Dr Legionnaire - Two scouts lead Gallant's expedition into a trap, though natives only want a doctor to treat a sheik who seems terminally ill. Cure him, or be killed, the sheik's brother pronounces. "We'll have to operate immediately." Gallant prevents the wicked brother from trying to ensure the operation fails
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Passport to Danger
an unsold pilot made c1952 in Sweden.
It was produced by Robert Spafford and starred George Nader.

Scene 1: Svenska Nationalmuseet. Dr Mark Denison, director of the New York Museum, meets up with Per Ofstie with a view to purchasing some paintings, "no publicity," as they are being sold by an unspecified country. As Ofstie departs, he is warned not to contact Denison again.
Scene 2: Ofstie's shop. Despite the warning, another meeting is arranged.
Scene 3: At a travel bureau, Denison meets with Harry Grey.
Scene 4: In a restaurant overlooknig the city, Harry fills Denison in. Any cash from the sale will be used for "keyhole peeping in the United States." The contact behind the deal will be an old enemy in the war, Gregorin, who married Lisa, with whom Denison had fallen in love, in his days in the OSS in Austria.
Scene 5: Denison meets up with Ofstie's replacement. He will be notified when he can view the pictures.
Scene 6: A nightclub. Of course it is Lisa singing! Their eyes meet. In her dressing room later, they kiss, "oh my darling." She begs him not to meet Gregorin.
Scene 7:The art warehouse. A price of $3million is agreed. The two adversaries then fight, as a scared Lisa watches on. When Gregorin prepares to shoot Denison, she stabs her husband. Police swoop and they finish Gregorin off
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Passport to Danger
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