Season 1 - originally broadcast
February 23, 1966
French: "Rêve de gloire" (Dream of Glory)
German: "Nur 5 Dollar Spesen" (Expenses Only Five Dollars)
Writers: David Friedkin & Mort Fine
Director: Richard Sarafian
They are assigned to learn what plans former Latin American strongman Ortiz has for returning to his homeland..
Victor Jory (Ortiz), Dolores Del Rio (Serita), Mark Dana (Martin), Antoinette Bower (Shelby), Roberto Klesias (Cordoba), Blaisdell Makee (Sniper), Stephen Michaels unnamed boy)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS
Synopsis: They must get a hold of deposed dictator
Highlights/Comments: Excellent performance by Victor Jory. Kelly's line “You hurt me. My man will step all over you”
The “I Spy” Forum comments on "RETURN TO GLORY"
Author: Colonel Boris Benkoski
Date: 10/9/01 12:13:30 PM
Return to Glory is a favorite of mine, I consider it to be one of the top 5 episodes of the first season, and the best episode from their first sequence of Mexican based episodes. The cinematography in this episode is a highpoint of the entire series. The Mexican city of Taxco and it`s immediate environs, though I have never been there, is one of the most beautiful backdrops for any of the I Spy shows, but the use they made of the city, the General's hacienda and the small alleys and steep streets of the city was a masterpiece of location filming. I did not see a single scene that appeared to be filmed in a studio, except for the narrative scenes in the embassy. The music in this episode was also a peak, the Mexican themed orchestral pieces were great, but at times there was some guitar solo music, Mexican and Spanish style that Ennio Morricone would have been proud of.
The plot itself is simple and relatively short. There is a lot of filler material in the show, not only the scenes in Shelby Clavell`s office in the embassy (more on that in a second) but also there are several short sequences that have nothing to do with the actual plot, but that fill in the time nicely in the way of travelogue and further development of the characters of Scotty and Kelly. The scene in the gift shop, where Scotty shows the girl a picture of his mom is a gem, even though it really has no bearing at all on the plot of the episode. Likewise the scene where Scotty explains the native dance to Kelly, and the scene where the young boy is dancing in the street, while having little to do with the plot, add a touch of travelogue information as well as heighten the sense of locale. Finally, the scene where Kelly is letting the shoe-shine boy polish his canvas sneakers, then offers Scotty a piece of sugar cane ("After a while it makes your teeth all gold"). By this this time in the series, these kind of scenes were frequent, and they add much to the personalities of Kelly and Scott, as well as insight to their friendship, and to fact that they have lives and interests and thoughts outside of their profession.
I have said before, that although the later episodes of the first season might not have the same caliber of writing that the earlier episodes did, it was at in the second half of the first season that the series really came together in its definitive form, and all these elements that I just mentioned really illustrate that.
But the plot itself. The idea of using a small item on the expense account as a catalyst for a voice over flashback narrative was very clever. I Spy often used the voice over narrative, but usually had an ingenius way of setting it up. The whole sequence in Antoinette Bower`s office was enjoyable and made a nice break from time to time in the narrative. Miss Bower, whom I believe died some years ago, was a very attractive woman, and was perfect for the role of Shelby Clavell. I remember her in a Twilight Zone (in quite revealing clothing for the times) but other than that I Spy is the only other place I have seen her work. I also enjoy their brief encounters with the photographer/contact.
The story of General Rafael Ortiz and his desire to return to his country and re-establish democracy after he had been ousted in a revolution 5 years prior illustrates quite well US policy in Latin America during the Cold War. In fact, both Cuba and Nicaragua could be cited as examples of this kind of cold war machinations. Victor Jory, whom I remember from many a 1950`s western, played the part perfectly in his short but attention getting scenes.
Mrs. Ortiz was one of the most complex women int he entire series, she loved her husband yet still had an affair with his aide, she was devious yet not vicious. Her enigmatic character added to the mystery of the episode and Dolores Del Rio was another great choice for the part.
The American mercenary, Martin Page, was an interesting character also. His motivation was nothing more than a violent need for battle, and he represents a frightening aspect of the military man. I am puzzled by one thing. He was said to have fought for the French at Dien Bien Phu in Indochina (1954) and again for France in Algiers in the late 50`s. But the third battle they refer to, which sounds like they are saying "The Plain of Jars". I have always thought I was well versed in modern military history, but this I have no idea what battle they refer to by this name. My guess is that it must have been in the late 50`s or early 60`s, possibly in the Congo, or maybe on Batista`s side in Cuba, or maybe it refers to a battle in the middle east. Any historians out there who can enlighten me on this?