Wilde Alliance: The Private Army of Colonel Stone

This episode is a deceptive one and its strength is in the complexity of the story it tells and the different impressions it gives to the viewer.
There is just one weakness, which is that it paints people in rather simplistic, almost stereotyped ways. I think probably the most naive character is Jamie's mother,who can believe no evil of him at all.
Colonel Stone is a type very familiar from the years after World War 2 - fake colonels and majors who boasted of their honours and tended to disappear when other members of their regiment were about. The seventies are a bit far removed for that sort of character but of course Stone is old enough to have served in the war.
Jamie himself is painted as a saint by his mother. Frankly - how can I say this - he comes across as irritatingly good. The story is that he has made a cottage over to Colonel Stone during the expedition in South Africa in which Jamie died. Much of the point of this episode is the exploration of whether this story is true. Sure enough mum is convinced by the Colonel's fondness for Jamie that he couldn't be lying. The characters are just very well delineated into goodies and baddies right from the start.
The clear delineation is made more complex by one single scene. There is a surprising undercurrent to this show, which is about porn. Patrick Newell's character is unashamedly pictured as a pornographer and I suppose it is one of those seventies things. Certainly I have recently watched several seventies sex comedies where it was fairly accepted that men  would  have porn (the Adventures... series of films). One of the baddies is shown sitting in a bar perusing a porn mag, and I really can't tell whether it is to paint him as a villain next to Jamie's saintliness, which is a mixed message next to the portrayal of Patrick Newell's character. I think a lot of men use porn, it's just become electronic now, which I think is a very common phenomenon, to judge by the comments of a friend who worked in a computer shop. This also is reflected in my own prolific habit of masturbating with porn over the years - I no longer have any magazines but do have lots of porn pics and films on my hard (lol) drive. Probably nowadays the cigarette ad on the back of the magazine would be the most shocking thing!
The golden boy image falls apart when they find out what happened at Jamie's school and then in SA. There are further revelations of what he was really like and the true nature of what the other men on the expedition are doing.
So as I so often find myself saying you will either like this one or not. I think the plot device is rather obvious, although of course this is a classic tale really. Certainly it means that this episode may not take much repetition, but then these shows were intended not to be repeated too much.

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