Thursday, June 9, 2016

Charlie’s Angels 1:15 “Angels on a String”

Airdate: 1/19/77

Polish professor Peter Wycinski is staying at a California chalet to deliver an anti-Communist speech intended to press forward a UN resolution – the same locale lodged by the vacationing Angels. But Sabrina is goo-goo eyed over the professor, he longtime idol, and her would-be vacation becomes an exercise in paranoia when she suspects his life may be threatened by some suspicious-looking men. One of them attempts to detain her, but she wrests loose and infiltrates Wycinski’s FBI-protected speech venue by posing as a klurzy waitress. Meantime Jill and Kelly spy on the bad duded and give chase when they notice a hostge – who turns out to be… Wycinski! A doppelganger had been arranged, by pro-Coms, to give a bogus, agenda-sabotaging oration, but the Angels step in just in the nick thwart such nefarious, anti-American scheming. Three cheers for the blonde, brown and brunette!

Another political entry (see “Angel Trap”) is mostly intrigue – precious little is revealed about what’s actually going on until the end – leaving Sabrina as the sole protagonist, the only one who suspects foul play and must orchestrate a scheme to uncover a web of conspiracy that seems to get larger and larger. In this way I was reminded of Hitchcock’s classic “one man” movies (usually starring Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant); pretty lofty comparison, I might add, but for the most part, the film earns it. Classic actor Theodore Bikel is perfectly cast: his esteem as an actor aptly informs his equally venerable character, and Sabrina’s idolatry of him feels natural (although why she all of a sudden has a thing for political theorists is a bit bewildering).

I also appreciated seeing one Angel take the lead for a change, as opposed to the usual even-handed teamwork. It gives the viewer a chance to explore the psyche of a single character in greater depth; here, we get that in Sabrina’s lengthy opening tête-à-tête with Wycinski, revealing the softer, more intellectual side of a regularly brazen, no-nonsense persona.

The chalet, the setting for most of he episode, is an absolutely sublime example of 70s style and architecture. Take note of all those awful greens and that woodsy, faux-cottage scenery. Fantastic!

A bit slower than average, but well-worth the required patience. Another winner!

Client: none (the Angels are actually on vacation).

Plot difficulty level: 6

Rating: ***1/2

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