Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Persuaders - Episode Six - The Gold Napoleon (1971)


All that glitters may not be gold - but the question for Danny and Brett is whether there's glitter beneath the bronze of Napoleon coin replicas in this, the sixth episode of the legendary ITC classic, The Persuaders.......
Who was the intended victim - Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) or the pretty blonde Michelle Devigne (Susan George) standing by his side at Nice Airport?

Danny can't believe the bullet was for him. Michelle is certain that it was not for her - or so she says. Whoever fired the shot has wounded her sufficiently for her to be taken to hospital. Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) expresses the option that the shot was meant for Danny, but Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) disagrees. A newspaper cutting explains why: "Mdlle Devigne, who lives with her uncle, one of Monte Carlo's most exclusive jewellers, had been voted the most talented student at the Valouris Art Centre before her sudden decision to continue her studies in London."
Fulton wants to know why she should have made this sudden decision. He links this up with the fact that her uncle deals in gold, specialising in gold coins, medals and plaques and that it is on record that he sold a gold Napoleon 100 franc piece which turned out to be counterfeit. Is it a coincidence that, while at the airport, Michelle dropped her belongings, among them an ink portrait of Napoleon III, encircled as though on a coin? Fulton produces a similar coin - literally worth its weight in gold. Hundreds of them have appeared periodically in Paris, Rome, Geneva and Beirut, which could be a good way of unloading gold bullion.
This, in fact, provides the moment of truth for Michelle when her uncle, Monsieur Devigne (Harold Goldblatt) visits her in hospital and she challenges him: "Those moulds I made of the Napoleon coin were not for bronze replicas." Her uncle tells her he had no choice: he is in the hands of a ruthless syndicate. And it is because she has visited the foundry and has been seen running away that an attempt was made to kill her. Devigne taxes the syndicate boss, Pullicino (Alfred Marks) with this, but is told that everything will be all right so long as Michelle keeps her mouth shut. This is a critical moment. Two-and-a-half million dollars worth of gold are about to be moved through Devigne's "imitation" coins.
Later, a quarrel between Devigne and Pullicino is to lead to Devigne's murder, which means that Pullicino no longer has control over Michelle. Once again, he orders that she must be silenced.The death sentence is also passed on Danny when he breaks into the foundry and discovers the truth, but he and Michelle escape their fate and, with Brett, set out on the dramatic chase to prevent the gold getting across the border into Italy.
It's a chase with hazards in every bend of the winding roads and unexpected drama just as triumph appears to be in their hands.

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