Season 1 - originally broadcast
December 15, 1965
French: "Les tigres de l'enfer" (The Tigers of Hell)
Writers: Mort Fine & David Friedkin
Director: Allen Reisner
An anti-American group in Japan provides a prime target for Kelly and Scotty.
Miiko Taka (Yoshino Tosuko), Teru Shimada (Mr. Okura), George Matsui Kozo ) Soon Tek Oh (Kabuki), Grant Sullivan (Colonel John Allen), Kay Reynolds (Woman), Maureen Arthur (Miss Merriweather), Yuki Shimodo (Ishikura), George Takei (Ito), Aly Wassell Uunnamed man), David Friedkin (Marine Lieutenant), Hiroshi Mismi (Toshio)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS
Synopsis: Protecting members of a Japanese family, they meet young fascists.
Highlights/Comments: Culp's performance before the duel.
The “I Spy” Forum comments on "TIGERS OF HEAVEN"
Date: 8/13/01 4:23:54 PM
I enjoyed the Teaser - which had us getting a taste of Tokyo (or Nara?, complete with Mr Hagen's jazzy background music. I was jarred a little when the men did not follow through with asking their host about the Tigers -ie was he in danger, could they assist him etc., but the plot had to include the Colonel, to `officially` involve them, I suppose. That seemed rather weak. I also HATED that ditzy blonde - why did there have to be a token zaftig but stunned female at so many of these parties? (at least Tia in Dragon's Teeth was SMART!) But conversely, I was pleased to see Scotty speaking to the mixed race couple - excellent little inclusion.
I liked the storyline but I did feel that Hiroshi Minami"s accent was so strong that it was difficult to hear his words, and they were important. Again, we see themes that are so relevant today - and to hear their host describe how young people must feel, was spot on. I was happy to see Kelly actually playing some tennis but wasn't that hastily-covered hole a bit obvious? I also enjoyed David Friedkin`s surprise cameo - he looked terrific in his uniform.
I loved the scene with Toshio"s father was at the temple (I think that is in Nara, Tatia, but will have to try to look it up) but one could see for a few moments how very flawed the print was- again Hagen's background provided perfect shading for the moment.
But the last act was the best - with Kelly's impassioned but spare words elevating the moment (as he had done countless times before). Yes one could see the stunt double but still the fight scene was very dangerous to stage.
I also thought Scotty's little English Lesson was very charming and a nice change.
8 out of 10 -
Author: Colonel Boris Benkovski
Date: 8/14/01 11:24:28 AM
Following SAM`s lead, I present The Tigers of Heaven.
This is one of those episodes I didn't like much when I first saw it, but like it better each time I see it. The whole idea behind the plot is very good. Since the end of World War ll, there have been a lot of movies and books dealing with a neo-nazi movement in Germany, and by the mid-1960`s, it was a common theme in several spy series and movies, for instance the Quiller Memorandum, the Odessa File and several others. The trend continued into the 1980`s with The Boys From Brazil. But it was always in Germany. I Spy's episode "The Tigers of Heaven " is the only time I have ever seen anyone examine that theme in Japanese. And in many ways, it works better in a Japanese context, because the Bushido culture and the military government had been in place for many years when it was toppled in 1945, whereas the Nazis had been in power only 12 years. So the idea that a small but dedicated element of Japanese youth would long for the old days of glory and excitement was a fresh approach to the "neo-fascist organization" plotline of the spy genre.
I agree with SAM that both Mr. Okara and his son Toshio have very strong accents, especially the younger actor, and at times it is hard to completely understand everything they say. I cannot tell if the voices were dubbed, but I suspect not. Teru Shimada, who played the elder Mr. Okara, appeared two years later as the evil Mr. Osawa on the Bond film "You ONly Live Twice". I read that immediately prior to his being cast for the part of Mr. Osawa, his fortunes as an actor had sunk so low that he was working as a janitor.
I also agree with SAM about Miss Merriweather, the dizzy blonde at the cocktail party. But at least in this case, even Kelly showed that he is annoyed with such empty-headedness, even going so far as to call her "Miss Dingaling".
There are some good scenes throughout the episode, and great use of the Japanese landscapes and cityscapes. The opening fight scene grabs your attention, and it is good to see the old Mr. Okara able to defend himself instead of relying on Kelly and Scott to save him. The scene with puuting the landmine in the tennis court is tense, but to me it lost a little of it`s seriousness when the actor is sneaking around on his tip-toes, he looks like Wile E. Coyote doing that. The cocktail party scene really gets the essance of this aspect of the tennis bums life and Kelly`s cover. As the series progressed there would be much fewer of these scenes, but the first season had several cocktail party for the tennis player scenes.