Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Diana's Diadem - In Color

Previously circulated in a somewhat longer black-and-white cut called THE DIADEM, DER GOLDENE SCHLUSSEN ("The Golden Key") is the shorter - and tighter - color version of a short film that Diana Rigg shot for the German 8mm market sometime in 1967 or thereabouts. She's not really Emma Peel here, but she does play some sort of karate-wise female spy beset by assailants in stocking masks. What I find fascinating about this somewhat rickety project is that it shows how important the whole AVENGERS production unit was to creating the pop phenomenon that was Mrs. Peel, above and beyond the contributions of Ms. Rigg herself. On THE AVENGERS, she is sheer magic; here, in a similar role, she shows her limitations. Without Steed, without sparkling dialogue, without perfectly controlled wardrobe, makeup, hairdressing and cinematography, and (to say the least) without expert direction, we are left with a very special, delicate and exposed dramatic instrument that, without the support to which she (and we) are accustomed, is not quite able to create a believable character or hold her usual share of our interest.

Next week, I'll be reviewing here StudioCanal's new Blu-ray of THE AVENGERS - THE COMPLETE SERIES 4, which streets in the UK next Monday, February 23.

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