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The Illustrated Guide to I Spy Chrysanthemum





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I Spy Season 1



Season 1 -  originally broadcast
October 6, 1965

French:    "Mon cher Max" (My Dear Max)
German:  "Monsieur Beaujolais greift ein" (Monsieur Beaujolais Interferes)

Assigned to recover stolen documents, they are ordered to assist Maximilian D'Brouget, an eager but hopelessly confused counterspy.

Cast:

Marcel Hillaire (Maximilian de Brouget), John Hoyt (Commander Riddle), Franklin Sui (Charlie), Willard Lee (Wang Loo), Lawrence Ung (Bartender), Michael Sung (Waiter), Richard Lee Sung (Seaman), Anna Shin (unnamed girl), Alicia Li (Chinese girl)

FROM THE NOTEBOOKS

Synopsis:  Tale of erring French spy

Highlights/Comments:  Weakest episode yet.  Best line: Kelly, pleased with himself  “I was pretty good, huh?” Scotty, unimpressed “You were all right.”

The “I Spy” Forum comments on CHRYSANTHEMUM.

Author:  SAM
Date:  7/9/01 5:22:56 PM
e
. I must confess I did not enjoy Chrysanthemum much at all, I never liked the complete fall into slapstick that these two occasionally made, I always preferred Culp`s writing and also the `darker` episodes. About halfway through this hour, though, I began to like it a little better - I thought the harbour swim was very amusing, and after that there were some redeeming qualities.
I think the BEST thing about this whole episode was in the office when Kelly suddenly turned serious, exemplifying that this earnest man was in danger, was doing his best, and was worthy of respect. SAM

Author:  Colonel Boris Benkovski
Date:  7/12/01 3:22:41 PM

It looks like we all agree that Chrysanthemum was, if not the weakest, one of the 3 or 4 weakest episodes of the series. I'd place it at the bottom myself, along with Turkish Delight, Red Sash of Courage and Pinwheel. Take within the context of the series as a whole, Chrysanthemum does not fit, it is too comic, too slapstick and the characters as we know them are not present. The show was played so much for laughs that it was hard to take the threat of the enemy agents seriously. It seemed more like a Get Smart episode than I Spy.

Marcel Hillaire
Marcel Hillaire

Having said all this, if you take the episode in and of itself, not compared with the rest of the series, it can be entertaining, in much the same way that the Inspector Cleauseau movies are entertaining. Except that whereas Peter Sellers makes the Inspector a sympathetic character, you never really are able to work up any form of identification with Max. In fact, next to Max, Cleauseau`s incompetence seems almost understated. And I wonder why it is that we Americans find a French accented character to be so incredibly amusing - Max, Cleauseau, Pepe Le Pew..... When they go into the water as the small motor boat sinks, I do laugh at Max's "Save yourselves, gentlemen!", and with the humor/pathos of the few moments when Kelly and Scotty think Max may have drowned.

The highlights of this episode (or at least the highest level of low lights...) were the scenes alluded to by Tatia and SAM. The description of how Kelly and Scott were united into a team, though it contradicts later episodes such as Anywhere I Hang Myself, is a good scene. And also the scene where Kelly defends Max, insisting that he be rescued because, even though incompetent, Max is devoted, loyal and brave. An undertone to this scene, lost in the slapstick, is the ruthlessness of the spy business, the willingness of the agency to sacrifice lives for their goals.

Outside of these moments, I really don't think Chrysanthemum has much to offer.


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