Thursday, February 10, 2022

Revisiting The Wild Wild West: The Night of the Diva

"The Night of the Diva"
Written by  Alf Harris (story) and Ken Pettus
Directed by Herb Wallerstein
Synopsis: In New Orleans, West and Gordon struggle to protect an opera diva from Italy from a plot to kidnap her. They discover she's not the only opera singer to meet with foul play recently.
Jim: New Orleans is a welcome change of venue! Also good to get the real return of Artemus. During the opening scene, Gordon is really on emotive fire, and Conrad seems to be genuinely enjoying his performance.

Trey: New Orleans is one of WWW's "go to" locales, but you're right, it has been a little while.

Jim: I loved the humorous tone of this episode. It may be a bit more tongue in cheek than some fans would like, but it hits the sweet spot for me. I also liked the natural convergence of both West's and Gordon's plots. The villain's identity reveal was a shocker too. Overall, this was excellent episode.

Trey: While I agree there are humorous parts to this episode, there are certainly aspects that are far from humorous. It's another with Gothic touches, and the reveal of its primary villain is positively Hitchcockian! Without Artie's travails with the Opera Singer, I'd call this one of the more horrific/thriller-like of Wild Wild West episodes.

Jim: Good point. It goes from a mildly humorous beginning to women in cages in a dungeon!  Did the cinematography seem different this episode? They must've used a hand held camera for the alley fight, because the frame was jumping all around, almost cinéma vérité.

Trey: I thought the same thing regarding the alley fight. I think it did use a shaky camera, much like part of the opening of last episode. This more cinematic camera work and shots at times definitely positions us more like the 70s TV to come than the mid-60s TV where we started. Another indication of changing times: the addition of Mason and other women secret service personnel in a few other episodes this season makes it seem to me they were considering adding a regular female cast member, but they never fully committed for one reason or another.

Jim: A female agent would have been a smart addition to the series. I'm a bit surprised they didn't use Gordon's medical leave as an opportunity to team West up with a female agent. I would've cast either Sandy Duncan, Teri Garr or Marlo Thomas in that role.

Trey: All good choices! But man, Diana Rigg as a visiting British agent would have been awesome.

Jim: Right?!

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails