Saturday, October 17, 2015

TV review - "Spyforce" Ep 1 - The General (1971) **1/2 (warning: spoilers)

The first episode of the cult TV series is set immediately after the Japanese sub attack on Sydney Harbour. New Guinea planter Jack Thompson is dragged from a pub to Spyforce, where Col Cato orders him on a convoluted mission - apparently the Germans want Australian troops out of Africa to help Rommel's campaign so want to give the impression that the Japanese are going to attack the Australians again when they aren't (hmmm... wonder what the soldiers in New Guinea had to say about that), and Thompson needs to go find proof. This involves him being teamed up with a fellow former planter who Thompson knows and hates, German Peter Sumner (they fought over a girl way back when). Thompson and Sumner bicker as they're sent back to New Ireland - it gets worse when it seems Sumner is a traitor but actually he's only pretending and they manage to get to safety.

There's a subplot about Cato interrogating a sexy German agent in Australia - this involves her being tortured by a member of Spyforce played by Max Cullen, who is clearly mad, and results in the Spyforce secretary (Katy Wild) being disgusted... Which is surprisingly dark, and reflects one supposes on the influence on bleaker spy shows like Callan. It doesn't quite work for Spyforce because Spyfore is basically silly; this nasty side kind of ruins the fun.

The adventures  in New Guinea are entertaining, if you overlook the illogical nature of the story (fighting the Japanese to hurt Rommel, the quick way they jet around the Pacific).

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