From Contemporary Crime/ Spy-fi

The Sentimental Agent Episode 4: Never Play Cards with Strangers

Never Play Cards With Strangers Title Card

A client has come to Carlos for help. On an ocean cruise, her parents lost all their money on a series of cards games. This is not so strange except that it is suspected that card cheats are on the cruise ship. So Carlos decides to take the cruise with his client and win back the money.

Personal Synopsis

The cards are stacked against Carlos and the game is not one he is an expert at. Never Play Cards with Strangers has a wonderfully rich cast of old and new stars and brings a new light into the game of bridge. One of those old stars, Bessie Love, was a silent film actress who worked with D.W Griffith and performed the first ever recorded “Charleston Dance”. Others in the cast like Donald Stewart and Burt Kwouk really make this episode so far my favourite.

Original Air-Date: Oct 19th 1963

Directed by John Paddy Carstairs

Written by Julian Bond

Carlos Varela- Carlos Thompson

Chin- Burt Kwouk

Miss Carter- Clemence Bettany

Mamie- Bessie Love

Elmer- Donald Stewart

Lyons- Hugh McDermott

Jean- Suzanna Leigh

Phillips- Peter Stephens

Manager- John Glyn-Jones

Colonel Dewer- Jack Melford

Mr. Johnson- Bert Brownhill

Mrs. Johnson- Eve Eden

Mrs. Dewar- Olive Milbourn

You can Buy the DVD here:
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The Sentimental Agent Episode 3: Express Delivery

The Sentimental Agent_Express Delivery Title Card

Travelling through Poland, Carlos is harassed by the authorities far too often. Whilst being troubled he meets with Katrina whom is trying to escape the regime by heading to Vienna. After getting himself in trouble he begins to suspect that things are not what they seem with Katrina or with his own safety.  He decides to take the express train to Vienna to get out of this mess but does he?

 

Personal Synopsis

In a world of suspicious types, there may be nowhere to turn. Carlos is off again trying to get more business for his company when he becomes unnerved by the treatment he receives. His only solace is a young woman whom is trying to escaped from the terror as well. Finally fed up, he leaves for Vienna on the express train and has some suspicious followers.

Original Air-Date: Oct 12th 1963

Directed by Charles Frend

Written by Lindsay Hardy

Carlos Varela- Carlos Thompson

Katrina- Gabriel Woolf

Major- Patrick Magee

Anders- Gabriel Woolf

Priest- Donald Morley

Captain- Lawrence Davidson

Police Sergeant- Frederick Schiller

Man in Trenchcoat- Robin Chapman

Official- Philo Hauser

Hotel Clerk- Sandor Elès

Policeman on Train- Michael Goldie

Sergeant- John Stark

You can Buy the DVD here:
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The Sentimental Agent Episode 2: The Beneficiary

The Sentimental Agent_The Beneficiary Title Card

Carlos gets a call from an old friend named Farrell, when the phone line goes dead he suspects foul play. Upon his arrival he is faced with a reminder of his past and a future under suspicion by greedy unsavories. Carlos is believed to possess a missing key to a safe deposit box owned by Farrell which has some substantial secrets inside. There are many faces around but very few trustworthy for Carlos to depend on since he is Farrell’s beneficiary.

Personal Synopsis

A slowly built up storyline of an old wartime friend and a specific symbol of that friendship playing a strong role in this episode. The Sentimental Agent’s charisma and extensive knowledge allows him to stay safe even when greedy villains are all around him. This episode has a couple of guest appearances that peak my interest such as Aubrey Morris and Derek Francis, both being throughout their careers stereotypical criminal types.

Original Air-Date: Oct 5th 1963

Directed by John Paddy Carstairs

Written by Julian Bond

Carlos Varela- Carlos Thompson

Chin- Burt Kwouk

Miss Carter- Clemence Bettany

Anna- Lobna Abdel Aziz

Klaus- Derek Francis

Rattan- Aubrey Morris

Santos- Michael Godfrey

Bank Manager- Robert Rietty

Farell- Bill Mitchell

Hotel Clerk- Artro Morris

Bank Attendant- David Graham

Croupier- Andre Charisse

Fred- Wilfred Grove

You can Buy the DVD here:
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The Sentimental Agent Episode 1: All That Jazz

The Sentimental Agent_All That Jazz Title Card

A jazz group the Arthur Rogers Modern Jazz Quintet are having their London debut. They are frustrated that the compositions they play are organised already for them for their shows. The mysterious band manager provides the compositions and often with very little time beforehand. Carlos Varela stumbles across the hidden reason for these songs being curated for the band, it may have something to do with the important people attending the concerts.

Personal Synopsis

Off the banks of the Thames near the Wharf Pier lies Mercury International where Carlos Varela begins his story in this series. Carlos’s intelligence and charm plays to his spy-like coolness and bachelor style all make this character a great cover for whatever he is up to. This first episode sets the scene for a series of mysterious and chivalrous action.

Original Air-Date: September 28th 1963

Directed by Charles Frend

Written by Julian Bond

Carlos Varela- Carlos Thompson

Chin- Burt Kwouk

Miss Carter- Clemence Bettany

Major Nelson- Anthony Bushell

Stirink- Peter Arne

Sarah- Anneke Wills

Tania- Dora Reisser

Bill- Riggs O’Hara

Art- Jeremy Bulloch

Mooney- Hugh Futcher

Leavis- Stewart Guidotti

Wilson- James Luck

Piano Tuner- Tony Quinn

Inspector Shaunnesy- David Blake Kelly

Special Branch Man- Brian Cant

You can Buy the DVD here:
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The Adventurer Conclusion

As much as I can complain and pick apart this series, I am still inclined to be happy it exists. The Adventurer program came into the television world way late for the late 1960’s debonair bachelor secret agent character hype. This series would not be as entertaining without those clichés albeit in an older more mature form than its more glamorized predecessors. In particular the presumptuous star of the show, Gene Bradley played by the already self assured Gene Barry comes off as an aging privileged archetype character of what those slick agents would have become in the 10 years succeeding their career peaks.

The Adventurer is a one season television series (1972-1973) that collected a cast from different walks of life. Gene Bradley is Gene Barry visa versa and so the character reflects the actor in a unique way. From interviews with fellow stars,Gene Barry was at the very least a difficult person to work with and especially to act with. One particular example is Gene’s relationship with Catherine Schell who played Diane Marsh, a useful yet rarely used agent, working with Mr Parminter.  Gene Barry, recorded as being 6ft tall, took aim at Catherine, she was taller than him. Catherine was written out of scenes with Gene Barry and her role was greatly diminished for some time due to Gene’s anxiety with taller actors sharing scenes with him. Luckily, she came back to playing a bigger role as Gene slowly neglected the television series. Barry Morse was also in the crew, playing an über posh agent, Mr. Parminter, whose role morphed from the stereotypical “too right” Englishman to the somewhat inept bobbling sidekick to Gene Bradley. As the series went on, the storylines brought in the sidekick trio of Mr. Parminter, Diane Marsh and Gavin Jones to greater prominence in the show.

In the beginning, when I started watching this series I was filled with anticipation for yet another agent tv series. The European locations, the recurring characters and familiar actors make such series rewarding for a fan. Gene Barry does the show a disservice coming off as an old wealthy lethargic creep. Either he was always a poor actor or simply he wrote off the series, squeaking just by the minimal in acting requirements. Barry Morse, a regular on ITC shows throughout its history, does an admirable job with the role he was give as Mr. Parminter. Catherine Schell and Garrick Hagon fill in the gaps, joining forces with Mr Parminter whilst on each investigation.

It is rare when I mention negatives about a show made for entertainment sake so I will leave it to a minimum. The Adventurer is not a superb show and at times was laughable in it lack of authenticity.  Its place in time and tv history is one valid reason for me to watch it, the scenes of 1972 Amsterdam and the 70’s attire of Gene Bradley still gives me some joy that this show was recorded.