3/7/16

Double Feature #23 : Secret Agent Man (Part 2)


Continuing our walk through spy cinema, we take a look at another Man from UNCLE flick as well as an Italian stab at the secret agent genre with One Spy Too Many (1966) and Dick Smart 2.007 (1967).



One Spy Too Many (1966)


One Spy Too Many is another Man from UNCLE television episode released theatrically in overseas markets.  As I've mentioned, Americans had a hard time shelling out the dough for something on the big screen which they could catch on the small screen. On TV this was a two parter called "The Alexander The Greater Affair".


As always, Illya and Napoleon are dispatched to save the world from a megalomaniac.  This particular baddie, named Alexander, has stolen a biological weapon called BG30 which causes a person to "lose the will to win". (?)


Napoleon Solo gets the address of Alexander's hotel from Maude Waverly... but not before she's had a chance to give him her own address (they have a date tonight).  All the girls are gaga for Robert Vaughn in these shows.

Maude is played by none other than Yvonne "Batgirl" Craig, who delivers epic levels of cheesecake in a scene coming up.


Hot on the heels of Alexander, Solo runs into his wife Tracey (Dorothy Provine).  She's actually consulting with her lawyer about getting a divorce..... so, both Tracey and Solo have something in common -  they want to see Alexander go down in flames.

Solo gives Maude a call to cancel their date.  He's got to find Alexander who's now in Athens.  Maude is working on her tan....


I'm going to go out on a limb and say this scene was not in the TV version.  Yowza!  Granted, we don't actually see any naughty bits, but it's still highly risque for a 1966 Man from UNCLE flick.


Napoleon and Illya crash Alexander's party where there's a casual game of human chess going on.  Napoleon (perhaps the only person on earth cockier than Alexander) challenges him to a game, and wins in predictable fashion.


Then it's on to the tombs of the pharaohs (with Tracey, still intent on getting that divorce).  There's some mumbo jumbo about how Alexander is following the Ten Commandments in his crime spree (Commandment 8 was broken, for example, when he stole the BG30 gas).  It's all rather ridiculous.


The trio fall right into Alexander's trap.  Solo is tied to a slab with pendulum blade swinging above him.... Leave it to the Dr. Evil characters to always come up with elaborate means of death, which never, never work.  If only Dr. Evil's son, Scotty, was here to just shoot them and be done with it.


As beautiful as Dorothy Provine is, she provides zero eye candy in the film.  Even sadder, we don't get to see much of Yvonne Craig either.  Only Princess Nicole (Donna Michelle) steps up to the plate providing a bit of Bond girl sizzle, but it's woefully tame.


Of course, I need to mention who's playing Alexander... (drum roll, please)..... Rip Torn!

"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."


I'll spare you the play-by-play of the cat-and-mouse game that leads up to Alexander's inevitable demise.  We end with a dusty Illya and a dapper Napoleon and a widowed Tracey raising their glasses.  Everyone's happy.... except Alexander and all his henchmen, who are now dead.

Aside from a topless Batgirl, this UNCLE entry isn't much to look at - a fairly run-of-the-mill spy movie.  As an entertaining, campy romp it's fine, I suppose.  But, in the end, it works as a TV episode, but doesn't deliver enough to be cinematic.  Gilligan says skip it.



Dick Smart 2.007 (1967)


Dick Smart 2.007 is an Italian entry into the spy genre.  Yeah, I know, the title makes it sound like a porn; I promise you - it is not.

As with any Bond clone, it revolves around a megalomaniac super villain who's gunning for world domination.


This villain just happens to be a smoking hot lady named Lady Lister (Margaret Lee).  She's found a way to make diamonds, but it requires controlled atomic bombing.


The Italian Bond, Dick Smart (Richard Wyler), is called in by the CIA to save the day... but this secret agent gets $1 million per mission.  Plus, he's even more of a womanizer than Sean Connery (if your brain can even comprehend).

He's accompanied by his legally blind and mildly retarded female assistant, Jeanine (Rosana Tapajós) who is supposed to provide comic relief, I suppose.


And, like any good Bond clone, it's got to have an exotic locale; in Dick Smart, it's Rio, where Smart is barely off the plane before he's busy shagging.  Unfortunately, this babe is working for Lady Lister.


Dick visits a bank and poses as a British stereotype - and this somehow gets him access to Lady Lister's Reducer (the thingamajig that turns carbon dioxide into diamonds).

Lady Lister recognizes Dick's handywork and tracks him down, telling him he'd better cough up her Reducer, but Dick ain't scared.


We learn that Lady Lister is working with this creepy dude named McDiamond who talks through a tracheotomy.  David Lynch would approve.


It's time for Dick to storm Lady Lister's secret lair, and so he takes off in a vehicle that looks like it costs a quarter to ride.


But looks are deceiving.  This bad boy can fire torpedoes and can transform into a helicopter!


Meanwhile, McDiamond has sabotaged Lady Lister's plans for personal gain and glory.  He now has the atomic bomb, the Reducer, and the secret underground lair.  He will now be able to make diamonds and become the richest man on earth! Bwa-ha-ha-ha!


Lady Lister is tied to a bomb and thrown overboard. Hot damn, Margaret Lee is super fine.  (Why the Dr. Evils of the world can't just shoot their enemies is beyond me.)


It ends with Dick Smart and Lady Lister breaking into the lair, killing a bunch of nameless henchmen, then ridding the world of McDiamond.

The whole thing is just about as nonsensical as you can imagine.  Terrible dialog, dumb action, and precious little T&A make this a bottom-of-the-barrel Bond clone... yet, there's something about its inherent silliness that makes the experience a fun watch nonetheless.

4 comments:

  1. I wonder if Dick Smart was the inspiration for Spy Hard's Dick Steele. All the Dicks you got can't stop me now.-General Rancor (Andy Griffith in Spy Hard)

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  2. What is with "Human Chess" ? It was used again and again in the 1960s films and TV shows. Was this a big event in those days? Did people really stand around for hours while opponents sat in Tennis ref chairs telling them where to move? I could see this if it was Bobbie Fisher /Boris Spassky match.

    I loved these movies growing up. Does Europe make movies anymore? Do we not have the American distribution companies to buy them? Italy always seemed to spend more money on wardrobe than writers.

    Thanks

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  3. The Man from UNCLE movies on video and that were shown on late night TV in the 80s & 90s were produced for British theaters. They had more sex added. The versions for theaters in Italy tended to have more violence added.

    The interesting thing about One Spy Too Many is that the movie version adds the segments with Mr. Waverly's niece played by Yvonne Craig. These are not a part of the original TV version. What is in the TV version but not in the movie is a scene where we Solo and Kuryakin find Mr. Alexander's parents being held hostage in a cave (marked with a big number 5). His mother is played by Madge Blake, who like Craig, was a member of the cast of Batman.

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    Replies
    1. And in an episode the previous season, Blake played an U.N.C.L.E. courier...

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