The People’s Democratic Republic of Karinthia is holding a Student Congress. The problem for Premier Rojek is to eradicate what he calls the “Edward Malik cult” among young people in his country, which is to say, their continuing admiration of the late former president, “a bourgeois democratic pig.”
Malik’s widow is safely ensconced in the Queen Sophia Mental Hospital. Their son died at the age of five, three weeks after his father. The impossible mission is to stop Rojek from appropriating the students to his political will.
He is the author of a book called Theory of the Agrarian Revolution, a heavy book because he’s “a heavy cat, man,” as student Barney says. Police officer Willy advises prisoner Barney to “read the chapter on ‘Self-Discipline of the Revolutionary Cadre’”.
Phelps is an American agent trying to kidnap a student, Peter Müller, and is questioned with truth serum to find the reason for this. Under post-hypnotic suggestion, and with a receiver implanted below his ear, Phelps is given the proper answers by Barney (who escapes from his cell to athletically place a transmitter in the government doctor’s office, and returns to broadcast from another concealed in the heavy book).
Peter Müller is the martyr’s son, Peter Malik. The Americans want him out of Rojek’s hands. He is a supporter of the new regime, Rojek makes him a featured speaker at the Congress, he will denounce his late father and destroy the cult.
A “country doctor” (who did the tiny implant) shows Rojek the boy’s grave. Rojek will let the impostor denounce him, as he expects, in the mother’s cheering presence (and the agent’s), then expose the fraud.
But Peter Malik rejects his father and is proclaimed an impostor by the mother, as hundreds of thousands watch and listen. Rojek is booed from speaking.
The crowd is earlier regaled by IMF agent Roxy accompanying herself on the guitar and singing, “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. Footage of Soviet student gatherings is utilized. The song is heard again over Rojek’s predicament.
Phelps surveys the banquet room as the final scene begins. The elegance of this operation is in its openness, the mother being prepared with a message shot to her in her cell by Barney from a tiny apparatus attached to the underside of the fuel-tank cap on his motorcycle. When Müller denounces the singer as a typical American idler and says, “If you want peace, you have to fight for it, if you want freedom, you have to help the oppressed masses,” Barney counters with, “let the chick do her thing, man.” They scuffle, Barney is off to jail.
Paris as Müller doesn’t know he’s the son of a hated enemy. This is told to him by Premier Rojek upon Phelps’ interrogation. The discomfiture of the government doctor afterwards is touching.
The Deputy Mayor has big ambitions for his political tool, the Mayor. A “professional provocateur” is hired to create a fracas at City College, which the Mayor will answer. Lives will be lost, he’ll be swept into the Governor’s Mansion.
The IM Force shift the provocateur’s bomb to the Mayor’s Office first of all, as safer. Dana is the Mayor’s illegitimate daughter, a radical. Paris is an associate of hers. Doug works for a wealthy admirer of the Mayor’s, Phelps. Barney is sent by the Governor to advise on security, he is a Highway Patrol captain and selected by the Deputy Mayor’s crooked cop to be the “pig” killed by the provocateur.
The daughter wants money for her cause and gets it. The admirer donates a million, but wants a stronger candidate—the real political boss, the power behind the throne. The radicals want a say in the appointment of a dean, and an end of cutbacks.
Paris takes the Mayor’s place and accedes, “she’s my daughter”. The boss orders him shot. Barney subdues the assassin, Paris fires a squib and fakes an arm wound, then exposes the boss and the cop with their hireling, the provocateur, in front of television cameras.
He’s taken to an ambulance, the real Mayor is apprised of the current situation (and provided with a scratch on his arm), the chance to testify is offered him.
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
The instantly compressed teleplay bears witness to a full-length treatment and becomes evident after a leisurely, classic Marlowe first-half.
Higgins is dismissed for grand larceny, objets d’art are missing and a large amount from the club’s “special projects fund”. They are being used to finance a military takeover of the Dothan Islands by a rogue MI6 agent who is to become Prime Minister. Higgins’ face is on the new flag (cross in circle) as Chancellor.
His replacement on the estate is an actress who once failed a three-hour hotel management course. She is first revealed as a conspirator, then an undercover American intelligence agent. A snafu develops, Higgins’ handwritten instructions are in a locked metal-lined drawer in his desk, she doesn’t have the key and cannot find a bottle of 1938 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (special reserve) with communications arrangements taped to the bottom (the bottle in the wine cellar is introduced from Notorious).
A former estate employee is traced to a garden nursery where arms are shipped to a base at Koolau.
Higgins is “back with MI6”, American and British intelligence have laid a trap. Vogel’s rapid direction includes two subtle points, Zeus (or Apollo) stands with one paw on Magnum’s foot as Higgins departs, and the nurseryman hies away in a comic flurry down an aisle of potted plants from Magnum’s finely-intuited questioning.
Mario and the Mob
The writer seems to have conceived the problem as answering somehow the line in Malle’s Atlantic City, “gambling and Howard Johnson’s don’t mix.” He proceeds out of Jewison’s 40 Pounds of Trouble and furthermore turns the whole question another way.
Mario Dante is the Chicago gangster watched closely by an FBI agent who plans to retire with a conviction, a Vegas rival makes moves, an underling wants action. “The Iceman” or “Mr. Cool” keeps a moll and gives cops ten percent off weddings at his restaurant, Dante’s Inferno. He hates kids.
His late sister’s children are dumped in his lap, he calls them “the mob”, two very young twins who while away the hours beating each other with Nerf sticks, two serious and critical teenagers and a boy the very age you were when you were his age, he loves his uncle. Mario’s idea of love is champagne and a chicken with his moll, the phone rings at just this moment so the nephew can declare his affection.
The moll moves out, the mob moves in. The rival has an impatient underling too, “camouflage” is a thing he doesn’t get. Mob war is just cooled by sending the hotheads up, Mario stands before a lady judge to adopt the children, his affection for them has grown amid attempted whackings. He goes legit and marries the moll.
Vogel plays this straight to the point, he doesn’t milk it or add any sauce. The children are children, the mobsters are mobsters, any confusion between them is the title’s equivoque.