I watched Man Of The World, which ran for 20 episodes in 1962-3.
The title sequence shows us the world through the eyes of its central character: internationally-renowned photographer Michael Strait, travelling the world and taking pictures. These ones are from the pilot episode, the only one available in colour:
Zoom in to and through the lens of the camera:
…and then see various great cities of the world.
The theme music is by Henry Mancini, who also worked on the music for Peter Gunn, which was Craig Stevens’s previous hit show. There are a few moments when he gets some groovy Gunn-style incidental music for his action scenes as well.
The time of the show is absolutely contemporary, with events from the late 50s referred to as recent. The Wall is up in Berlin, and there has just been a revolution in Cuba. Strait is in his early 40s. We don’t hear too much about his early life though we pick up that he is a Yale graduate, so he may have been born into the well-off lifestyle he enjoys. He might well be an accomplished linguist as he never has any trouble talking to people from many different countries. He has a yacht and a fancy apartment, possibly several in different cities. Unless he inherited a private fortune he must do an awful lot of high-paying work for big news magazines like Paris-Globe as well as fashion shoots. We do learn however that he was in OSS during the war, and the one time we see him shoot a man it doesn’t seem to be the first time. He gets called in to assist the military in counter-espionage projects and there is one episode that starts with him getting a briefing from a guy in Washington before going undercover into a communist country. So an unspoken possibility is he never actually left the intelligence services, and his current occupation is a cover story for a man able to turn up anywhere with a camera. We never hear of any competitors such as Richard Avedon, maybe they’re just not in his league. Still, at least he gets to drive a fancy Mercedes-Benz 300SL with gull-wing doors.
Strait’s politics might be called “Cold War liberal”: communism is bad and a false answer to the problems of the Third World, but not everything is great when the anti-communists are on the warpath. “Progress” and “modernisation” are good things and it’s good that old aristocratic elites get unsettled by them. “I understand that…” is the lightly-mocking, ironic tone when he queries the pronouncements of a social conservative. He sympathises with the young Indian nurse who thinks that the quietist attitudes of Buddhist monks have held her country back for thousands of years. He argues with the Sheikh in the Iraqi desert who rejects his ideas of justice. There are 2 stories in which Missions run by saintly volunteers are seen to set a higher example amidst the ideological battles around them. A trip to Scotland shows that old ideas of clan-loyalty persist even when the fruits of the liberal social order are available nearby. Oddest of all is the episode “In The Picture”, set in a weird south-eastern European state that seems to be a composite of everywhere from Austria to the Aegean and belongs in a Mittel European avant garde satirical novel rather than a 60s TV series. We go around Europe and Asia, but never further into Africa than the streets of Algiers and the end game of French colonialism. The struggle in Vietnam is also presented oddly, with the Northern Army apparently already actively overrunning southern villages, which was not occurring in 1962.
Strait is unmarried nor is there any mention that he was previously or that there are any kids, but there is also no suggestion he is anything other than a ladies man. He has a swell time with his assistant Maggie MacFarlane (her surname is not mentioned till the second episode) and many other single women, though the young heiress who compulsively falls for every man she meets is seen as a silly nuisance when she has him in sight. There are no outright comedy episodes though the tone is comical quite a few times. One episode goes close to a paranormal theme, but no outright supernaturalism. The first series has a group dynamic with Maggie and also sometime odd-job man Hank, though the latter is only really useful when the yacht is involved. The episode “The Sentimental Agent” was spun out in to its own series. The later episodes focus on just Michael himself, increasingly on tough solo missions. There is no explicit chronology and it is not clear if the reference in the 1st episode to Strait being at the India-China border dispute was the story that is told in “The Frontier” later. However a few common characters reappear: the wealthy American family in “The Runaways” and “Portrait Of A Girl”; Colonel Cutler in “Specialist For The Kill” and “Shadow Of The Wall”. And of course “In The Picture” must happen later as we see an exhibition of Michael’s work that includes many characters from earlier episodes.
Here are all 20 episodes in the production order preserved on the disc release; ITV re-ordered them slightly for transmission. The re-ordering avoids having similar stories back-to-back (most obviously “The Enemy” and “Jungle Mission”, which UK viewers had made into a sandwich filled with “Double Exposure”). The side-by-side quality would only be appreciated if they could be seen in quick succession any way. One eerie feature of these stories is that several of them feature political assassination as a theme, and we sometimes hear US officials discussing the topic with a big portrait of President Kennedy in the background, in the year 1963. Michael Strait seemed to be turning into a different character by the end of the second series compared to the one that set out in the first one; it’s hard to tell what he would have done if he’d carried on in the rest of the decade. He could not have avoided the civil unrest and battles occurring in the US itself, which pass unmentioned in these stories where we do at least see angry people marching an d rioting elsewhere, sometimes angry at the US. A sadder, older American man walks away at the end, maybe to go away and think about the simpler battle lines of his OSS days.
1 Masquerade In Spain
Opening with lush orchestral sounds and 2 men racing around near Gibraltar in a sports car, checking their journey time and speed.
After some chatter with a charming foreign gentleman, we learn this is all part of the prep for “the smoothest kidnapping ever”.
After the title sequence, we see a speedboat going for a meeting at a yacht. “Welcome to Algeciras!” we hear.
We are briskly informed that this is the yacht owned by Michael Strait, the renowned photographer. Maggie McFarlane gave up her job as a fashion editor to work as his assistant, which she doesn’t regret as “there hasn’t been a dull moment. Besides, I’m getting to see the world.” Our visitor is magazine editor Martin Lennard.
MARTIN: How would you like to do a picture story on a beautiful girl who’s never been photographed before?
MICHAEL: Martin, I would say at least 50 million beautiful girls have never been photographed before.
However this isn’t a routine fashion assignment. She’s “the richest girl in the world” because she’s the daughter of a vastly wealthy man who lives in a villa in Algeciras. Martin explains that “her father keeps her locked up… it’s a modern fairytale.” Mike and Maggie aren’t too impressed – they know the background already, and Mike points out that the extra special security is due to a kidnapping attempt on her when she was a child. But Martin counters that “now she’s a woman – and from what I understand, a very beautiful woman too – it would be abnormal for her not to want to be recognised.”
Whilst the Americans are gazing at the villa, it turns out the great man himself is looking back at them, and discussing with a flunky about the prospects of this plan to have a photo-shoot for Cleo. However the young lady herself cuts in to insist that “I don’t want to be photographed” and she is tired of the restrictions Papa puts on her freedom.
At least Papa has the consolation of a special cable from New York filling in more details of Michael Strait’s background. A renowned photo-journalist, retained by leading magazines and news services. Regarded as the foremost man in field for his coverage of China-India border dispute, and he went to the South Pole for National Geophysical Year, and is also an “outstanding fashion photographer”.
Word gets back to the yacht that the big man is ok to discuss Michael working on a feature, but the photographer must go alone tomorrow. Meanwhile Maggie is busy with her own business.
MARTIN: You can’t always tell what he’s thinking.
MAGGIE: You can if you look at his pictures.
As Michael gets drawn in to her world, he gets caught in the schemes around her.
CLEO: I don’t want to be wise, I want to be happy.
He’s persuaded to take her out on a drive to see some Spanish dancers and then back home late at night… of course getting caught in the plot.
But by now we know that no one is quite who they seem in this world of wealth and boredom. When the kidnapping occurs, Michael is left wondering about all the details that just don’t sit right.
And so he solves the mystery.
2 Death Of A Conference
We start with real footage of rioting in Algeria, as French rule is near its end. We see a gunman getting in position to hit a target.
The target is a leader of the independence movement, preparing with his aide for the forthcoming negotiations. He is hit by a bullet while standing near the window.
Then we go to the offices of the Paris Globe, the leading news magazine of Europe. There’s a peace conference in Oran. They want Michael to cover it as he did a story on the French retreat from Indo-China.
MICHAEL: If I cover the conference I’m going after one thing: the truth. I’ll dig it out no matter who it falls on. It’s the only way I can work: both sides of the story and no censorship.
He talks to the local French commander, General Montreux.
GENERAL MONTREUX: If this conference fails, it will mean extermination for the Algerians – or for us.
The leader of the Algerians has died after the shooting. The suspect is Thiboeuf, a former Resistance fighter now strong in the anti-independence OAS, and played by Patrick Troughton with one of those variable accents he was so good/bad at. Michael talks to people who know people and gets to meet him in his secret hideaway.
MICHAEL: I think I’m aware of the motives. Frustration, failure, fear of facing the world… or maybe just a fear of facing yourself…. I have nothing but pity for such men, for in the end there’s no place for the hate to go but inside themselves, and they collapse – like your Nazi teachers, Thiboeuf.
In the end we get the peace conference underway, after Michael picks away at the story of the assassination – not all the rebel leadership are trustworthy.
3 The Runaways
Another heiress, this time she has eloped with a new man who impressed her by his ability to drive off some marauding drunks.
Michael is offered the chance of a big scoop, but this story doesn’t smell right. He realises that he’s being played by some grifters.
It turns out that celebrity culture is already underway and various dubious characters are figuring ways to manipulate the new global media.
5 Blaze Of Glory
Michael is photographing a motor race when one of the cars crashes. We have seen in the moments before that it was due to another driver having blurry vision and losing control.
There’s a glamourous young driver available to take the new car for the big race coming up, he’s the son of the Italian engineer whose team is doing well. But Papa doesn’t trust his son as he thinks he’s still inexperienced, and wants the older driver to do it. Michael observes the situation and comments on “the Latin mentality” and the “unconscious rivalry” of father and son.
Doing some background research he realises the older driver has serious long-term damage from a recent accident and shouldn’t be driving until his eyesight has recovered. He uses his best persuasion to try to get the guy to do the right thing. And then we get more scenes of cars racing around and some crashes.
5 The Highland Story
We start in Australia, where a Scottish traveller interrupts a couple have a fight, and he steps in to stop the drunken husband going too far… and ends up killing him.
Over to Scotland where Michael and Maggie are covering the Highland Games. Staying at a local big house they find there is another, ruder Australian guest present.
It turns out that the scion of the clan we saw at the start got arrested and imprisoned in Australia as he couldn’t locate the woman he rescued. Without her to support his story he was convicted for murder. He escaped with another prisoner and now has to give him sanctuary as they are both hiding out back in Scotland. Meanwhile Michael gets drawn into a debate about clan-based law and public law, and why the former will survive for a while longer in remote environments far away from modern police forces.
6 The Frontier
The Cold War finally makes a clear appearance in the world of Michael Strait. We start with footage of Korean War.
MICHAEL V/O: The aftermath of war, in the distant corners of the world. Wars such as that in Korea, which left in its wake an army of prisoners still fanatical, still dedicated in their ignorance and hate. Fields deserted, roads crowded with refugees old and young. The all-too-familiar picture of suffering and tragedy. This is a campaign which has been aimed at the weak links of democracy, as in Malaya, by an elusive enemy, invisible and deadly. We had little to go on but uncertain information – and that too little, and often too late. The same pattern of events took me to Indo-China, and the armies of France. It was the same turmoil, the same human upheaval. But this is not history, this is a story which is not yet finished. The same enemy prepares, only the points of attack changed.
The frontier in the title is between India and China, where Chinese forces have turned up and are taking control over the area, in which Indian authorities are too far away to stand up to them immediately. The local monks are happy with a policy of collaboration, but the village doctor opposes them, and thinks their attitudes of general acquiescence have held back India for too long.
The Indian Army is on its way over, but for the moment only a young officer has arrived as an advance party.
Michael is caught up as an observer as the Indians try various schemes to get the Chinese out without a big confrontation.
7 The Nature Of Justice
Western archaeologists are busy in Iraq and they think they may have discovered a valuable relic of ancient civilisation.
Another archaeologist turns up and seems to be intent on sharing the glory for a find he wasn’t involved in.
The two scholars get lost conveying the discovery in the desert, so Michael goes in search of them with the aid of a female archaeologist (Maggie is not present in this story). They travel into the Neutral Zone and find the overturned car of the travellers, and a dead body. Then they meet the Sheikh of the desert tribe in this area.
Michael suspects that one of the archaeologists murdered the other, and that the guilty man is now hiding amongst the Bedouin. The Sheikh reprimands him: “The desert Arab is not always an illiterate nomad” and insists he will not let him take away his new guest according to ideas of law that he does not recognise, and do not apply in this zone anyway. So we have another debate about cultural differences and the nature and enforcement of justice.
8 The Sentimental Agent
This episode was the basis for its own spin-off series. Michael is Cuba after the revolution and gets arrested for taking a picture of an old building. The secret police search his room for the pictures and arrest him.
So Maggie goes to international fixer Carlos Barella in Panama. He has contacts with the new government, because of course it’s his business to have contacts with everyone.
For a fee Carlos fixes his way in to the new socialist country, where of course everyone is bribeable, including the new Commerce Minister played by Peter Jones.
Some hi-jinks and clever tricks follow as Carlos figures out where Michael hid the pictures, what they mean, and how to get all the good guys out of Cuba. It’s fun though you’ll notice a few tricky bits are missed out, for example the details of how the drugged scientist played by Cyril Shapps was manhandled all the way back the route that Carlos needed a grappling hook and a lot of luck to get through solo.
9 The Mindreader
A different kind of story, we see Michael at Scotland Yard watching a suspect being exposed as a murderer by a new psychic girl causing a sensation.
Her dad is a disappointed with his life and keen for his daughter to be acclaimed as a special person, so he has invited Strait to work on a story about her. Michael isn’t sure, and so he asks around amongst the professional acts. They tell him some of their tradecraft but have no clues about the new wonder girl in the headlines.
Further investigation suggests she may in fact be genuine… but Michael has some way further to go in the investigation.
10 Specialist For The Kill
We see an injured figure being hunted through the ruins of Berlin. He starts a phone call warning about something, before getting shot.
Michael is nearby watching the circus, when he is called away to assist at NATO headquarters. They’ve had a tip-off that an Eastern Bloc leader will be assassinated on western territory and the event blamed on his hosts.
Michael has to secretly photograph everyone on the flight that the killer is expected on, in order to identify the assassin.
But no leads come out of it. The communist leader is assassinated anyway. Michael and the team are left wondering, and in the background is a picture of JFK, 1 year away from his own assassination.
11 Portrait of A Girl
The Van Kempson family from “The Runaways” are back, and now they’re visiting dear old England and are keen to find out about their quaint old relatives on the other branches of the family tree.
They see what they are told is an old Gainsborough, which has a striking resemblance to young Joanne.
After a lot of haggling, Daddy buys the painting for a lot more than it would be worth if it were genuine… but Michael has doubts about that.
This is confirmed when Joanne sees the old English guy acting the part of a butler in a TV drama.
And so we go on a quest to unravel how the scam was done… along the way, young Donald Sutherland is found living in a basement flat.
12 A Family Affair
Michael is taking some fashion pictures in Paris. A minister and his wife are visiting the store at the time.
There is a sudden explosion.
A man claiming to be a Surete detective confiscates the film Michael shot of the incident.
Things get mysterious when Michael goes to the Surete headquarters the next day and they have no knowledge of any “Inspector Duval”.
It turns out he’s an ex-Foreign Legionary called “The Swan”. We learn Strait’s war service, and that’s how he was sure of the identity of the other man he saw with The Swan – but the Surete think he’s dead. And so Michael sets off to check up on the sister who identified the corpse of Bertrand Corbet – she runs a left-wing paper, and detests the politics he took up after the war.
MME. DUCLOS: Oh yes, I hate the fascists, but only the ends they chose, not the means they use. Let them tear down the rotten structure of the state. We will build from the ruins!
After being tailed around Paris by the men in raincoats, Michael gets to meet the old Resistance man turned OAS fighter, and we learn that this one turned to the far Right as he was disgusted with the softness of post-War France that had forgotten the spirit of its great warriors of the past.
There is a tense climax with a siege at his hotel room and another bomb ticking away. The “family affair” is the Algerian crisis itself, tearing apart France, which doesn’t want outsiders intruding on it.
13 Shadow Of The Wall
Another stranger getting about, challenged by authorities.
…and he suddenly guns them down…
and swims across to the west.
Michael’s in the city taking pictures.
The guy who got away from the East turns up at the apartment of Michael’s friend in West Berlin. He’s an agent with a proposition.
Unfortunately he gets killed off before he can cut a deal with western intelligence services. And so begins a twisty hunt for the mole who has been active for years, and Michael has to confront the possibility that an old mate of his might be the double agent, even though they were together covering the Hungarian Uprising of 1956.
14 The Bandit
Off to Sicily, where a war film is being made. Nigel Hawthorne is one of the crew.
A scene that is supposed to be a kidnapping turns into an actual kidnapping when the gang infiltrate the cast.
Meanwhile Michael is driving around, looking for some old ruins to photograph.
It turns out the gang are hiding out at the ruins, and their captive takes over doing to catering.
So Michael gets taken prisoner as well, and we are in for a long, tense situation, though the Bandits have a few touches of comedy. Their chief prefers Bridge to Poker, which he learned from the British officer guiding his Resistance team of saboteurs during the War.
15 The Enemy
We start with footage of war in the jungle.
Then we see Michael in uniform, in a platoon checking what seems to be an abandoned campsite.
It turns out to be an ambush, and Michael is left lying on the ground, his camera taken from him by the communist soldiers nearby. He wakes up sometime later in a hospital bed at Kampala Medical Mission – an independent establishment run by an Italian doctor committed to aiding whoever needs help. Meanwhile the communist forces are planning to take over the centre to use as their own field hospital, and also get the highly respected Dr. Moretti to win the local peasants round to their cause.
Michael meets Dr Moretti, who insists he is “a doctor, not a politician” and he will cure the sick whoever they are and however they get here.
Michael can’t persuade the good doctor to care about the War all around, as he believes that whoever wins will expect the hospital to still look after the poor and hungry for them.
Then the Glorious People’s Army turns up and declares that it brings everyone liberation. They are happy for Michael to carry on his work as a War Correspondent so that he can give a positive impression of them.
Of course they want the hospital turned over to treating their own wounded ahead of any civilians, as well as controlling the nurses to prevent them spreading “superstition” and “western literature as propaganda” and “imperialist attitudes towards sport”. When Moretti won’t play long, he is put on trial for offences against the People’s Revolution, with the staff called up to testify about all the bad non-Communist things that went on, such as lending one of the nurses his copy of History Of Western Philosophy.
However there is dissension amongst the Communist leadership and things don’t play out according to orders.
16 Jungle Mission
Unusually we go right into the title sequence with no prologue. And then we are in the middle of the Amazon jungle.
Nuns are disturbed at the sight of a canoe approaching up the river, since it is crewed by a tribe whose “hatred of white people is well known”. However it turns out they want the missionaries to treat their child who has been bitten by a snake.
Later, we see Michael in a helicopter with some important-looking men flying out over the jungle.
PEREZ: I’m sure you went over my head, Signor Strait. Only the President himself could have given you permission to accompany me. I don’t see what kind of story you expect to get from Padron. He’s a common criminal, a killer.
MICHAEL: I’ve read most of the things he’s written. For a common criminal he has a remarkable intellect.
PEREZ: He’s an irresponsible gangster. He roused the peasant population tom plunder the big estates.
MICHAEL: I understand they were starving.
PEREZ: No, they were poor, they were used to poverty. Due to his madness they have burned, pillaged, even killed.
MICHAEL: And been killed in return.
PEREZ: Well we had to restore order.
MICHAEL: I understand most of the things he’s demanded have been met.
PEREZ: They would have been anyway.
Fun fact: Perez is played by Paul Maxwell, who was Colonel Cutler in West Berlin in “Specialist For The Kill” and “Shadow Of The Wall”. But he has a totally different accent and his face is rather tanned in this episode.
The boys land near the Mission and set off on the hunt for Padron and what remains of his fighters. Meanwhile Padron has turned up at the Mission with some injured fighters. The nuns are keen for them to stay for more care.
But Padron is keen to get back in the jungle before the police patrol arrives.
Perez of course isn’t keen on the Mission, being close to the “savages” who he thinks should be dealt with using machine guns. Just after the nuns send Padron on his way with food supplies, the police arrive and start questioning.
Perez is sounding off his great white wisdom.
PEREZ: The tribes must think these women have some kind of strange magic, there’s no other reason why they should have been allowed to stay alive. They’re surrounded by enemies.
MOTHER SUPERIOR: What enemies, Commandante?
PEREZ: There are always enemies, Reverend Mother.
MOTHER SUPERIOR: A theologian as well as a Commandante, Signor Perez.
The nun is very clear that the Mission has to help anyone who needs help, and she cannot be concerned with politics.
Of course Perez’s vainglory and contempt for “stupid peasants” causes him to lead his men straight in to the ambush Padron set for them.
Michael gets to meet Padron and is hired as his own War Correspondent. However the rebels and police have to join forces to defend the Mission under attack from the tribe.
MOTHER SUPERIOR: It’s sad that men need a common enemy before they find that they are brothers.
In the end Perez tries to fight his way out, after failing to persuade Padron to join in a plot to use the chief’s son as a hostage. But there is a peaceful conclusion, and this time Michael stays at the Mission to see it.
17 Double Exposure
A big country house is defended by soldiers.
A man in civilian clothes tries to get near to photograph the important military man standing outside, but the guards catch up with him and shoot him. Meanwhile back in Washington Michael is being asked to give his professional opinion of some film footage of a foreign leader reviewing crowds marching by.
The question is whether this “Field Marshal Nagy” is the same man Michael saw in 1958, or has he been replaced with a lookalike?
WASHINGTON GUY: We think the Field Marshal was murdered 3 years ago and this guy’s an imposter, brought out as a figurehead when convenient.
Another one of those JFK moments.
Michael accepts the mission of posing as the chauffeur of an American widow living in Vienna. He didn’t have much choice since the arrangements were already made – it seems he’s slipped over into doing intelligence work again for his old employers. Maybe he never really stopped working for them?
Travelling into a communist country they are assigned a stone-faced interpreter who spouts statistics about the latest Five Year Plan. Nigel Davenport is the secret policeman she reports to.
We see the official Communist cabaret.
It’s all a jolly old bit of fun as Michael helps a Communist to defect to the West. Notice that the sign on the border seems to imply we’ve been in Yugoslavia.
18 In The Picture
Another episode with no pre-title sequence instead we are straight into a view of a modern bridge development.
Michael is doing his job, photographing the bridge from a helicopter, when 2 guys down below realise they’ve been seen.
The next day Michael is expecting the enlargements of his bridge photos to be ready for his latest exhibition of work. But somehow the mystery men are on his trail and are waiting to intercept the courier.
Meanwhile Michael is seeing the final preparations are done for his show in a gallery, as part of the cultural festival, though he has to talk to the Minister who didn’t want his work included. Some of the pictures we can see in the background may be taken from earlier episodes – the racing cars from “Blaze Of Glory”, the Mother Superior from “Jungle Mission”, the Sheikh from “The Nature Of Justice” and so on.
MINISTER: This festival should have nothing but national culture, national produce, national industry, not.. .er… ballet dancers from Moscow, or photographers from the United States.
MICHAEL: That’s exactly the attitude that’s held back this country. You should open your doors, let the world see what you’ve achieved, and at the same time be prepared to see what they’ve been doing. Learn from it – it’s the only way you can progress.
It is implied that the new President has introduced liberalisation policies. The pictures of the bridge arrive, though the driver laments that he was driven off the road. We learn that the President is going to be opening the new bridge in a few days time. Meanwhile the mysterious strangers are lurking outside. Michael meets an aspiring young photographer and they go off to a reception where the President turns up, whilst the other guys break in to the exhibition.
It turns out Michael and the President are “old comrades”. Young Maria admits she’s a daughter of one of the old aristocracy that ruled until recent times.
MARIA: The old aristocracy has no place or meaning any more.
THE PRESIDENT [shaking head]: If only they all understood that…
MARIA: Progress is inevitable.
We learn that the President needs to be closely guarded because “there are still many very discontented people in my country – the very rich, for example…” Michael goes off to have dinner with the old Count who is hoping to get back in power following the demise of the new President, and we learn that the 2 strangers are planning to sabotage the platform at the bridge and he knows about the plot.
Perhaps Strait met the President as a Resistance fighter during his OSS days. Unravelling the assassination involves working out what was in his earlier pictures that made the baddies desperate to get at them – an early draft of the Blow-Up plot.
Of course Michael is on the side of progress and liberalisation and against the reactionary conservatives, even though the official state media commentators sound desperately sycophantic when we hear them giving the build-up to the big event on the bridge. But there’s plenty of knockabout action in this story and not too much political debate. This is the only episode in which we see Michael shoot someone.
19 The Bullfighter
We’re in Spain, of course.
Michael is watching a young bullfighter at work. His companion explains that this young contender has a famous dad and is under a lot of pressure to live up to the great family reputation.
Michael goes back to stay with the family at their country estate, where it seems something mysterious is afoot. There are men hiding in the background, and someone tries to get rid of the American by trapping him with a wild bull.
There’s another strand about someone trying to steal Michael’s negatives. His photographs may upset the accepted story of how the boy’s father died.
There is a secret at the heart of this household but it is an unusual one, a rather benign conspiracy. Michael seems to be very insightful about the father-son relationship despite never discussing his own father or ever owning up to any kids of his own.
20 The Prince
Disturbances in a city, again.
In East Asia.
Real-life footage mixed up with studio scenes of soldiers chasing and machine-gunning protesters gives way to the gates of the US Consulate in “Loscha”, where survivors are desperate for refuge. The insiders are persuaded to accept a young boy, described as “Prince Tulan”.
The Consul calls in to Washington that the political situation is precarious, but the appearance of Tulan might be the “miracle” they need. Although it was believed that the old Royal Family was wiped out in the revolution, but “the Prince’s body was never found.” The country this is occurring in was a Buddhist kingdom until 6 years ago. For once we get a properly fake map showing that Loscha is just above Laos, which also had a “neutralist government” after political turmoil at the end of the 50s.
For the first time we see someone carefully looking at one of Michael’s photo-articles, in order to judge that he’s the best candidate for the job of going out and verifying the boy’s identity.
He joins a group of other people who had met the old Royal Family, whilst outside angry mobs rage at the building and American interference in general.
It all gets brutal as the stakes mount.
Michael has to figure it all out and save the day, and then fade away.