Sunday, May 10, 2009

P3 - The Wheel of Fortune

For years, this was the only surviving episode of The Crusade in existence, until The Lion turned up in 1999. As such, it seems a lot more familiar to me than it's surrounding installments. However, two scenes still stick out for me.

The first scene is where Joanna confronts Richard about the latter's plans to marry Joanna to Saphadin. Both Jean Marsh and Julian Glover give it their absolute all in a couple of blistering performances, yet neither seems to go over the top. My favourite line in the exchange is Marsh's delivery of the line, "Well I like a different way to meet the man I am to wed!". She drags out the "Wellllllll!" so magnificently. Joanna leaves the room in a huff, pursued by Glover, who then raises his stakes by shooing everyone out of the room with equal intensity. There has seldom been a more well acted scene since then in the show's history, and there certainly wasn't one this good in the days before it.

My second favourite scene is the very last one of the episode. A very short scene, to be true, but so chilling. In it, Barbara is thrown to the floor before El Akir, who is coolly sitting on a bench, gently flagellating his shoulder with a whip. As Barbara looks up with a mixture of fear and defiance, El Akir tells her :

"The only pleasure left for you is death. And death is very far away."

I have always loved that line, and it is delivered with perfection by Walter Randall. Goosebumps!

For a "children's show" to imply impending torture in such a manner is almost shocking, and these two scenes went a long way towards lifting that "children's show" tag that it had unfairly been encumbered with.


Anonymous said...

This truly is an astonishingly good episode, as it would have to be due to the master director, Mr Douglas Camfield. For me, the most graphic scene is all verbal: first you have the distraught father telling of the abduction of his daughter and the murder of his wife and child; then you have him give Barbara a knife and telling her to kill his only remaining daughter and then herself rather than be captured. Terrifying when you actually consider it.

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