MILESAGO - Television


DATE: 1973
Nine Network / Australian Amalgamated Pictures
1 x 75 min (telemovie pilot episode)
35mm colour film

EXEC. PRODUCER: Charles B. Walnizer
John Daniell
Mende Brown
Mende Brown, Michael Fisher
Leslie Martinson
Laurie Lewis
Paul Onorato
Richard Hindley
Pat Hutchence

Richard Basehart (Dr. Pruitt) 
Susan Strasberg (Heather Kessler) 
Peter Sumner (Dixie Hart)
Joseph Fürst (Franz Kessler)
Alwyn Kurts (Dr. Mitchell)
Tony Wager (Inspector Bigelow)
Shariff Medan (Postman)
Leslie Nielsen (Gallagher)
Jack Allen (Tootoochy)
George Assang (Chen)
Niki Turner (Tootoochy's Girl)
Rick Scully (Officer)
Rowena Wallace (Maggi Christopher)
Carmen Duncan (Jill Brennan)
Willie Fennell (Sid Broomberg)
Les Foxcroft (Henshaw)
Rici Effendl (Captain)
James Ho (Ohn Nu)
Malik Selamat (Chi)
Gary Mulloy (Sergeant Wilson)
June Cheong (Gallagher's girl)
Bill Jervis (Governor)
John Huggins (Aide)
Russell Waters (Dr. Guttner)
John Wallace (Policeman)


An unsuccessful US-financed TV pilot for a proposed crime thriller series with environmental angle. The film’s plot centred on Nazi war criminal Franz Kessler, an expert in germ warfare, now living in Hong Kong. In order to maintain his lavish lifestyle he strikes a deal to provide a terrorist group with a lethal gas, but to protect himself, Kessler plants a time bomb in a Hong Kong sewer along with a large cache of poison gas. When things don't go to plan, the authorities call in "E-Force", a special unit which deals with in environmental disasters, to locate the bomb disarm it before.

The villain Kessler was played by Viennese-born actor Joseph Furst, who was a regular on Australian TV and film, as well as featuring in many notable UK and US film and TV productions. The three imported stars, while not A-list, were all major names. Richard Basehart was very well known in Australia for the role of Admiral Nelson in the Irwin Allen sci-fi series Voyage To The Bottom Of The SeaSusan Strasberg (who died in 1999) was the daughter of legendary 'method' acting teacher Lee Strasberg; besides her considerable film and stage work she was a familiar face on TV and made many guest and starring appearance on famous American series. Leslie Nielsen kicked off his career starring in the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet in the 50s, followed by regular film and TV work. Just prior to this telemovie he had another major success starring as the captain in the hit 1972 disaster film The Poseidon Adventure. At the time Nielsen was still primarily known for serious roles and it was not until some years later that he switched to the broad comedy of films like Flying High (aka Airplane) and the famous parody films in the Naked Gun series and the associated Police Squad TV show that have made him an internationally famous comedy star. The film’s makeup artist Pat Hutchence (Patricia Glassop) is the mother of the late Michael Hutchence, former lead singer of INXS.

Albert Moran
Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series
(AFTRS, 1993)

Tony Harrison
The Australian Film and Television Companion
(Simon & Schuster, 1994)

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