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Dangerous Assignment - The Bloodstained Feather

episode 1.11

USA 1952
produced by
Harold E. Knox, Brian Donlevy (executive) for NBC
directed by Bill Karn
starring Brian Donlevy, Herb Butterfield, Martha Wentworth, Bruce Lester, Henry Corden

tv-series
Dangerous Assignment

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Agent Steve Mitchell (Brian Donlevy) is sent to Cairo to track down the secret killer society of "The Order of the Sacred Dove", and of course, as soon as he arrives there, he learns he is on his own, & his contact Linacos (Henry Corden), a small fry spy, proves less than trustworthy, ultimately bushwacking him to get his credentials for a getaway. But since Linacos did try to blackmail the order, he soon ends up dead anyway, while Mitchell finds a bloodstained feather - the order's death-verdict - in his pocket. But when he is attacked by a member of the Order, Mitchell manages to overthrow him, &, dressed in his Kaftan, enter the Order's secret lair. Once there, he fights his way through the Order's ranks, ultimately getting to their leader (Bruce Lester), an American writer no less. In the end, the leader is killed by a trap he actually set for Mitchell, while Mitchell manages to inform the police just in time to arrest the rest of the order before they can get to him.

 

The series Dangerous Assignment as such was just standard 50's secret agent-television fare, trying to give the audience exotic ambiente every week without ever leaving the studio, as is the case with this episode: Some Arab-style studio-interiors are doubling for (indoors) Egypt, while all the exteriors are just stock footage - makes you think why the story had to take place in Egypt in the first place. Egypt as such seems to be inhabitated by some crazed Arabs as opposed to many eccentric Americans (& of course the Paul Bowles-style author is among them) anyways, which is more the tourist's rendition of Egypt than the actual country, but hey, this is just a TV-show.

Brian Donlevy was not the youngest anymore - him being born in 1901 and a World War I-veteran - when he brought agent Steve Mitchell to the TV-screen, but he - famous for mainly playing heavies & tough guys - brings a certain convincing toughness & self-assuredness to the character that makes up for his age. Actually he had already played the role of hard-boiled agent Steve Mitchell in a long-running radio-series (1949 - 1953) before  - along with Herb Butterfield, who, in radio as on TV, played the supporting role of the commissioner. Later, Hammer's version of Nigel Kneale/BBC's Professor Quatermass would benefit greatly from Donlevy's tough guy image.

By the way, Brian Donlevy also played a character by the name of Steve Mitchell in the 1938 feature The Sharpshooters, which has nothing to do with this series.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD

 

 

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