Dial A Deadly Number Full Movie In ...
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Company chairmen across the city are dropping dead, apparently through natural causes. Can Steed and Mrs Peel discover who is making a killing?
"Dial a Deadly Number" is one of the most indelible episodes, one that could have been done with Cathy Gale, but works so much better with Emma Peel. The death of a high finance executive is wrongfully diagnosed as heart failure, when it is revealed that a pen-shaped beeper lodged in his breast pocket is responsible for killing him, courtesy of a mysterious electronics genius named Fitch (John Carson). While Emma follows Fitch's trail, Steed looks to invest with the banking house of Henry Boardman (Clifford Evans), leading to a vast array of suspicious characters, all of whom seem to have their share of secrets to hide. Steed gets to flirt with all the women in this one, including a pretty secretary (Tina Packer) discussing "round figures!" One of the series' most suspenseful sequences involves Fitch's attempt to eliminate Steed by replacing his pocket watch with one booby trapped to kill when he opens it. There is an undeniable level of added sexual tension when the diabolical Fitch unzips part of Emma's leather costume, and indulges in a bit of fondling before the camera cuts away to Steed's predicament (aware that his watch is a deadly weapon, Emma is helpless to warn him). Jan Holden, last seen in "The Undertakers," is in smoldering form as the conniving wife of Henry Boardman (even Steed is intrigued by her, to Emma's apparent annoyance), while Peter Bowles, returning from "Second Sight," is barely noticeable (he'd be back in form for "Escape in Time and "Get-A-Way!") Also back are Norman Chappell, last seen in "The Gilded Cage" (he would return for "Murdersville"), John Bailey, last seen in "Killer Whale" (he would return for "Killer"), and Gerald Sim, last seen in "The Wringer" (he would return for "The Rotters"). In the last of his three series appearances, John Carson enjoys his meatiest role, while Clifford Evans, star of Hammer's "The Curse of the Werewolf" (1961) and "The Kiss of the Vampire" (1962), is a standout in his first appearance, later to be seen in both "Death's Door" and "Whoever Shot Poor George Oblique Stroke XR40?" Two other newcomers would also return, Anthony Newlands in "Game," and Michael Trubshawe in "All Done with Mirrors."
The plot revolves around "bleepers" given to top businessmen, which kill them when they're dialled; it's a plausible plot and I think the story holds together well. My only problem is that it starts off a bit stuffily, a business background, lots of suits and talking – like a dry old Cathy Gale episode, (not that all Cathy Gale episodes are dry by any means) then something happens and several intriguing elements come in and transform the whole story. There's a dinner party with the baddies – Peter Bowles is his usual suave and unsettling self, turning in an excellent performance – and the party is so tense – you just don't know where it's going. Then there's the (now famous) wine tasting duel, which is also tense for some reason, but is so transfixing, so Avengers. There is the introduction of the unhinged clock collecting killer who stops a clock at the time of death for everyone he kills – this bit of characterisation isn't needed, but we get it anyway and it adds a new unsettling dimension to the character and lifts the story yet further. I found it particularly interesting as I'm fascinated by clocks and time – though I don't kill people. After the Avengers setting up the baddies there is a fight scene in the wine cellar – it's not the best fight scene, but it does the job. The end tag in a London taxi doing a bit of wine tasting is simple but rounds off this episode perfectly. I would suggest this was a Cathy Gale script which was polished up and given a bit of extra quirk and it's all the better for it. It almost deserves a ten, but there's a bit too much business chat near the beginning. 9 ½ out of a possible ten.
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