The Persuaders - Volume 5


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Ah, the Seventies! The ultimate decade of nostalgia, when fast cars, flares and - somewhat unaccountably - Roger Moore, were the height of fashion.

What better way to capitalise on these three factors than to marry them up with an American heartthrob - Tony Curtis - and let them loose on an unsuspecting public in the form of The Persuaders?

Curtis and Moore star as Danny Wilde, the archetypal American self-made millionaire from the Bronx, and Lord Brett Sinclair, an upper-class English gent with a somewhat dubious taste in cravats. The dynamic Danny and debonair Brett, essentially move in playboy circles around the cities of Europe solving crime on the way.

This disc holds episodes 15-18 and provides the perfect opportunity for Seventies-style star-spotting, while being swept along by the cheerful shenanigans of Moore and Curtis.

The Man in The Middle concerns a British Intelligence spy, who Brett must expose by pretending to be his accomplice, and features a masterful comic turn from the king of upper-class silliness, Terry-Thomas.

Element of Risk relies on a classic "baggage switch" at a London airport, resulting in Danny being mistaken for a super-criminal in charge of a bullion robbery. This is the best episode on the disc, with Curtis on absolutely top form, Peter Bowles as the criminal who should be jailed for his hairstyle and a priceless few minutes where we see Moore "getting down" on the dance floor.

A Home of One's Own sees Danny buy a cottage in the country and is largely just an excuse for a meander through the tried-and-tested comic formula of house-building slapstick. An unfeasibly young Hannah Gorden makes an appearance and there is a lot of silliness concerning wax effigies. The emphasis here is definitely more on comedy than plot.

Finally, Nuisance Value, finds the unlikely pair caught up in an elopement staged as a kidnapping, while Ralph Bates is the famous name in the frame this time.

As this TV series relied so much on the high fashions of the time, it has certainly dated. Curtis's frequent mentions of "the Fuzz" are particularly amusing and Sinclair's neck wear - designed, according to the credits, by Moore himself - has to be seen to be believed.

However, there is still something very endearing about this show, which surely has some of the best title music ever. The camaraderie between Moore and Curtis, as a latter day Odd Couple, works perfectly, with Moore showing a surprising skill for comedic timing. Its strength lies in the fact that it never takes itself too seriously or tries to be more than an entertaining romp. It may have been made in the decade that fashion forgot, but these performances are worth remembering.

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2002
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The Persuaders - Volume 5 packshot
Roger Moore and Tony Curtis star as Seventies playboys with nothing in common but trouble.
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Director: Leslie Norman, James Hill, Gerald Mayer

Writer: Donald James, Terry Nation, Tony Barwick, David Rolfe

Starring: Roger Moore, Tony Curtis, Terry-Thomas, Hannah Gorden, Peter Bowles, Ralph Bates

Year: 1971

Runtime: 199 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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