A peer of the realm, who’s a photographer as well as a cat burglar, comes to America and, in flagrante delicto at a Long Island costume party, witnesses a killing at the hands of Irish bombers, all of which sends McCloud to Blighty, where the target remains to be found.
Down among the Dead Men
The first part centers on a wall safe belonging to John Keaton, a Long Island socialite who sells arms. Secreted in a ring inside a coffer in the safe is a piece of microfilm containing plans for a terrorist bombing at a garden party on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, and photographs of the Irishmen he’s dealing with. This is insurance for Keaton, who has just raised the asking price for his carefully expert work.
The Irishmen force the issue at Keaton’s costume party. Another guest is Lord Charles Bridges, a photographer who steals for a living. Bridges is at work replacing Mrs. Keaton’s jewelry with paste when the Irishmen burst in with Keaton. The film isn’t there, naturally, the Irishmen are furious. Bridges, behind a curtain, sees Keaton accidentally shot while wrestling for a gun.
Now, the NYPD is at the party incognito, due to the number of jewel thefts in the area. McCloud finds Bridges outside after the murder, and holds him on suspicion.
Bridges has a friend in Chris Coughlin, who puts a picture of him and McCloud and the latter’s six-shooter on the Chronicle’s front page. McCloud is dismissed from the case, while the Irishmen pressure Bridges and then put the marshal’s girl in the hospital.
Lord Bridges flies back to London, and McCloud takes the same plane. There is an amusing political discussion at Lady Sinclair’s party. Bridges says he’ll abstain from the Common Market vote, and a colleague, whom Bridges recognizes from the microfilm, jokingly accuses him of tepidity.
The “Sweeny” (so given on Keaton’s blueprints), Inspector Craig explains, is the Flying Squad or “Sweeney Todd” in Cockney. A dog and bone is a telephone, etc. McCloud’s own manner of speaking (of Bridges he says, “he’s just slicker’n a greased shoat, he’d cop the knobs off a nickel-plated bedstead”) baffles the English. “Bleedin’ foreigners,” says Inspector Craig.
Lord Bridges has converted the microfilm into a slide show, to which he invites the marshal. What do those cryptic diagrams mean? A live television broadcast from the palace grounds at a high angle gives McCloud the answer.
The music at the Buckingham Palace garden party is “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” Two bombs are placed amongst the empties (“dead men” they used to be called), but where is the third?
It’s at Big Ben, right in the works. McCloud dukes it out with a bomber on the gear shaft behind one of the faces, and defuses the thing with seconds to spare before tea at half past four.
Jack Cassidy Lord Charles Bridges
Written by Michael Sloan
Directed by Noel Black
The garden party scene at Buckingham Palace was filmed at the Huntington Library (San Marino, California).
London theater marquee: The Flip Side (with Barbara Murray et al.)
(The detectives gather in costume for undercover work at
John Keaton’s Long Island party, as a Yeti, a magician, the Easter Bunny, and
Batman & Robin.)
DETECTIVE: (In an Easter Bunny costume.) What’s McCloud going as?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Himself! (Laughing... and still laughing as the detectives file out and the scene ends.)
(At John Keaton’s costume party.)
MOUNTIE: (A guest in an RCMP costume.) Where’d you leave the Lone Ranger?
SGT. BROADHURST: (Dressed as an Indian brave, and partnered with McCloud.) I think he’s talking to your Den Mother.
FIRST LADY GUEST: (White hair, red-white-and-blue
sequined dress, tiara.) Lord Bridges, I saw you on television the other night
LORD CHARLES BRIDGES: Ah, that was Lord Olivier.
SECOND LADY GUEST: (White hair, red-white-and-blue sequined dress, tiara.) And what do you do?
LORD CHARLES BRIDGES: I take photographs with his cameras.
(After being awakened in the middle of the night by a
telephone call from McCloud in London.)
MRS. CLIFFORD: Poor baby, shall I bring you an aspirin?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: No, just bring me that bottle in the liquor cabinet marked “McCloud”.
LORD CHARLES BRIDGES: Marshal, I can’t tell you how
comfortable it is knowing you’re on my side.
McCLOUD: There ya go.
LORD CHARLES BRIDGES: (Quizzical, then acknowledging.) Oh, yes.
McCLOUD: (Of Lord Bridges.) I wouldn’t
bet the homestead against him. He’s just slicker’n a greased shoat. He’d cop
the knobs off a nickel-plated bedstead. (Exits.)
DEPUTY INSPECTOR PHILLIPS: What’s he talking about?
INSPECTOR CRAIG: Don’t ask me, I don’t understand a word he’s sayin’. Bleedin’ foreigners.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Awakened in the middle of the night by a telephone call from the Commissioner.) Whatever McCloud is doing in London has nothing to do with... Scotland Yard is thrilled with our cooperation in this case?... Biggest breakthrough they’ve had in years?... Well, as I was saying, when I sent McCloud to London... Now, don’t worry, we’ll crack this one, whatever it is...
LORD JAMES ROTHWELL: (To Lord Bridges, on a bomb scare in the House of Lords.) Just a hoax. Probably planted by some backbencher who didn’t want to hear the Foreign Secretary’s speech on Rhodesia.
McCLOUD: (In a conference room at Scotland Yard.) I’ll tell ya, Chief, this whole situation is just a bubble off o’ plumb, as far as I’m concerned.
(In the conference room.)
CHIEF CLIFFORD: Where are you going?
McCLOUD: (Exiting.) Buckingham Palace!
DEPUTY INSPECTOR PHILLIPS: (After defusing a bomb on the Palace grounds, with seven seconds to spare.) OK, boys, take it away, it’s not worth a firework on Guy Fawkes Night.
McCLOUD: (To a bobby at Big Ben.) That was no maintenance man, that was Liam O’Brien.