Mission: Impossible (1967) – Action!, and The Train

Dan Briggs (Steven Hill) is missing from this week’s first mission (apparently he was written out of the script as punishment for observing his religious beliefs), so Cinnamon (Barbara Bain) picks up the mission while Rollin (Martin Landau) concocts the plan in Action! written by Robert Lewin. This episode first hit the airwaves on 4 March, 1967 and was kind of meta, because the IMF team had to break into a film studio to stop a newsreel cut together by the Eastern Bloc from being aired and damaging the international reputation of the United States.

Cinammon, Rollin, Barney (Greg Morris) and Willy (Peter Lupus – who has just a couple more lines this week) head into the foreign country, and infiltrate their production company, each of them working to first sabotage the existing film forcing reshoots, which will at the episode’s climax, allow them to bring down the film’s creator, discrediting him and his work and keep America safe for just a while longer.

Of course nowadays, the government officials who screen the film in this episode, and see how it was made would no doubt suppress the making of shots, and simply release the newsreel to embarrass the States. But in the world of Mission: Impossible, well, in this time frame, even the country’s enemies have a working honour- so y’know, not a lot of today’s politicians.

There’s some good moments in this episode, and it almost doesn’t come off as planned, but Barney comes through – when does this guy get to lead the mission?

The Train was written by William Read Woodfield and Allan Balter. It first debuted on 18 March, 1967. In a way, this episode continues the theme of filmmaking introduced in the previous episode. This time the IMF team has to use movie magic to keep a foreign country a democracy and prevent a communist power from taking it over.

The usual team is thrown together with a couple of additions including the immediately recognisable that guy, William Schallert, a doctor who is helping the IMF out.

Heading into the country, they work to assist Prime Minister Ferenc Larya (Rhys Williams) who has maintained a democratic rule, while his Deputy Premier, Milos Pavel (William Windom) is chomping at the bit to seize power when Larya dies, something that is imminent.

A train journey is the key as the team employs movie tricks to convince the minister and his associates that the Prime Minister is travelling with them on a moving train (a trick) and that the train car jumps the track causing an accident, and the death of the Prime Minister. Or does it?

The episode closes with a very familiar reveal, one that has even been used in the feature films, but it’s still fun to see it play out, and the events of the episode pay off.

The missions keeping coming from Paramount Pictures next week as I explore Mission: Impossible – The Complete Series on blu-ray, now available!

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