Saturday, 2 February 2013

Mission: Impossible S2E14 - The Echo Of Yesterday

Can anyone tell I'm having a bout of watching Mission: Impossible recently? Can anyone tell Peter Graves has leapt back into full-obsession mode in my brain? Sorry to bombard people with poorly analysed, non-intellectual picspams, but I can't help it. It's been a hard start to the year, and January-February-March is always a bad time with SAD, so permit me to indulge in pure Graves-gazing. Pretty soon I'll go through the Peter Graves episodes of Route 66 on my other blog, and that will be fun :-)

This episode really deserves better treatment. The scenes with Cinnamon and Otto Kelman (Wilfrid Hyde-White) in the park deserves watching for the light alone, for the colours, for the carousel in the background and the beautiful air of spring. Even if we didn't get treated to images of Jim sword fighting this episode would be worth it.

 I know, I haven't done any of these edited shots for a while. I'm either too lazy or I like the shots in their original aspect. A bit of both. But I like this segue from the tape machine exhaling smoke to Jim exhaling smoke. Sexiness aside, tell me how anyone ever thought all that lot in your lungs could be good for you?

There's a focus on Jim in silhouette at his window - which works better moving than still. I'm pretty sure it's all set up so they can have a silhouette of him doing a Nazi salute at the end of this piece.

Aren't they a lovely couple? I always get the sense of Cinnamon and Rollin being something of a couple, as well as Landau and Bain.

And here's Jim's Nazi salute. He's going to pretend to be an American Nazi. I wonder if this gave Peter Graves flashbacks to Stalag 17 and how people stopped giving him good roles because he was a nasty Nazi spy?

Meanwhile, Otto Kelmann is leaving - somewhere. I don't know where, but I can't help but wonder if he's just leaving Paramount.

Jim is an over-zealous American Nazi. Look at him with his blond hair and blue eyes. The perfect picture of Nazism (if you don't look at Hitler.)

Forgetting the fact that the reason he's all excited is because he's meeting a high up Nazi, he's rather lovely when he's enthusiastic.

Earnest, pretty, tall. Or 'a man to inspire and lead.' Sigh.

The Nazi guy Jim is meeting is Col. Markus von Frank (Eric Braeden, who actually is German, and is billed as Hans Gudegast. According to IMDB that's his birth name), and he wants Jim to fight with him to test his courage. Are we going to object to seeing Jim engaged in a little swordplay? No, of course not.

Jim acts as if he knows nothing about sword fighting. I can't help but feel that he's probably some kind of fencing champion, really. He's probably an everything-champion really. (Which reminds me of Peter Graves being state hurdles champion while in high school. What I'd give to see pictures, or better still, film, of that.)

He's taken off his jacket and tie and rolled up his sleeves ready to fight. Jim looks extra-good with the top button undone.

So here's Wilfrid Hyde-White, who played Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady, and he's every bit as much a loveable gentleman here as in that. He's been acting for something like 33 years by the time he's in Mission: Impossible. He manages to be a Nazi but make it nice. He stands for Nazism without the insane genocide.

Cinnamon is set up to remind him of his photographer wife, who was murdered by Hitler in the early thirties. She suits this look very well, and there's a lovely relationship set up between her and Kelmann. He's a complete gentleman with this girl who reminds him of the woman he loved.

I love the graffiti carved into the tree. Someone's been immortalised there.

Meanwhile, Jim has his neck wrapped in enough surgical gauze to protect the 'vital areas.' He doesn't look too happy, though.

Von Frank shows him how to block attacks. He's having to do this right-handed, too.

Suddenly we're treated to Steampunk Jim.


Post-fight, he's been wounded on his arm, but he didn't step back and spill the brandy that was in glasses behind his heels. Well done, Jim. He's shown himself to have courage.

So he has a little drink, and looks pleasing and ruffled, with a bloody hand.

Oh sweet lord, he looks pretty like that.

I'm sorry. He just looks pretty with the gauze about his throat and his collar open.

All this while Cinnamon and Kelmann have been looking pretty in the park, with that wonderful oblique light. Her dress is torn, so he's giving her a lift home.

Meanwhile, Rollin is studying films of Hitler, because he's going to have to play him later. Landau says, 'I wanted that insanity, so I figured I'd play it in extremis.' (White, Patrick J. The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier. (London: Boxtree, 1996) p. 135) So he does.

Here's a little Nazi rundown. We have fat underling Nazi.

We have scarred, psychotic, paranoid Nazi.

And we have American ceramic-loving Nazi. I'll take this one, please.

For the foot-fetishists among you, here's Cinnamon's feet as she creeps downstairs in the night wearing pyjamas and a dressing gown. She's off to take photos of Kelmann's sitting room so that the team can restore it to how it looked when his wife was killed. It's all part of the ruse...

When Jim comes to the house with Von Frank he manages to get Cinnamon's film, and hides it down his trousers. Where else? It's a pleasure to watch him shoving film down his trousers.

I took this not so much because Kelmann is looking so lovely (and very English, but I suppose that's not far from being German) with his cup of tea, but mostly because - just look at the armchair! That's my size of armchair!

Jim just looks nice here. The red of the chairs setting off his eyes and making his suit look more blue too.

Still looking nice, and sowing seeds of suspicion about Cinnamon in Von Frank's head.

So off they go to Cinnamon's rooms and Jim gets to rummage through her underwear.

Let's skip on to the Hitler ruse (let it never be said that this screencapping is coherent.) There's Rollin dressed as Hitler, being utterly insane, while Cinnamon pretends to be Kelmann's wife. Kelmann is drugged, so this is like a kind of dream to him. You get a glimpse of Willy, too. To my shame, I don't think I got Barney in this episode.

Sans grotesque Hitler mask, Rollin looks quite nice in that leather coat.

Meanwhile, Jim is still having fun rummaging through Cinnamon's drawers.

When Von Frank gets to Kelmann's house to accuse Cinnamon, they basically play out the scenario with Hitler that Kelmann has just witnessed. Jim hands Von Frank a gun and he 'shoots' Cinnamon. The first time Kelmann didn't act. This time he realises the monstrous reality of what Von Frank is like, and shoots him dead. You can't help but feel a terribly empathy for Kelmann. He's been forced to watch a play of his first wife's death and as he thinks, the death of Cinnamon, who he cast in his first wife's image. Now he's been manipulated into killing Von Frank, while Cinnamon isn't really dead. What will happen when the authorities get hold of him? Is this gentle, regretful man going to end up on trial for murder?

Wearily, Kelmann goes out to phone the police. You can see the feelings clearly on Jim's face. What has he done to this old man?

This is the reality of his job. Sometimes people get hurt - people who didn't deserve to get hurt - all in the aim of the greater goal.

Kelmann goes upstairs - which seems as telling of his exhaustion and grief as any other action. So Jim and Cinnamon are free to leave the house. And when the police come and find no dead woman, just a delusional old man and a dead man on the floor? Who knows.

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