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Friday, June 19, 2009

The Roundtable: Week 7 - Your Contributions

"Outside of 007, what is your favourite Spy/Eurospy movie? If you have more than one then give us a top 3!"

Ian Price

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
The Ipcress File
The Mackintosh Man

Keith Brown (Giallo Fever)

For me the 007 part of the question is pretty much irrelevant: I do not like Bond films, maybe because I associate them more with Roger Moore and beyond.

Perhaps because of this the Spy / Eurospy film is something I'm more aware of in the breach than the observance; I'd recommend that anyone who has an interest in the cycle gets a copy of Matt Blake's Eurospy Guide ASAP.

These caveats aside, I can still give a top three:

First, Jess Franco's Lucky the Inscrutable, a charming little film with good humoured performances from Ray Danton and Rosalba Neri and a cool Bruno Nicolai pop soundtrack.

Second, Fritz Lang's The Thousand Eyes of Dr Mabuse, the late Mabuse entry from the man who laid the foundations for the genre pre-Hitchcock with Spione.

Third, Joseph Losey's Modesty Blaise. In truth, it's not that good a film and Losey seems ill-suited to the material, but it's got Monica Vitti and Terence Stamp and I'm a big fan of the comic strip and novels; tellingly the filmmakers pretty much threw away Peter O'Donnell's script.

Kit Nygaard-Gavin

For me it has to be:-

1. Le tigre se parfume à la dynamite
Roger Hanin and the luscious Margaret Lee, directed by Chabrol - need I say more??
(A review I wrote back in the day)

2. Pas de roses per OSS 117
This is the best of the 1960s OSS 117 movies, the cast and ambience really add something to the movie. The poster art is on the cover of the fantastic French coffret containing all the 1960s films.

3. OSS 117: Le Caire nid d'espions
[One of the most recent Euro Sy movies proving that the genre is not completely dead and buried - I believe a sequel is on it's way]
The mood and ambience is spot on to the 1960s and a worthy successor to the earlier "Jean Bruce" movies. It also pays hommage and credit to it's predecessors.

Douglas A. Waltz (Divine Exploitation)

Being a huge Franco fan I am going to go ahead and cast my vote for the lovely ladies of the Red Lips Detective Agency. That means that my favorite Eurospy flick would have to be KISS ME MONSTER.

KingMob (Dear Bastards)

How much would it show my age if I said the Bourne stuff? I'm just not a huge fan of spy material, but I have really enjoyed that series of films, and in spite of the diminishing returns, the Austin Powers stuff was amusing for what it is.

I would also mention being a big fan of The Avengers television show from my childhood, but I think that had more to do with Diana Rigg than with an interest in spies.

Matthew Bradford (Double O Section)

Great question! But, my God, it's a hard one! This is exactly what my whole blog is devoted to, so it's really tough for me to pick just three! I'll solve that by limiting myself to just Eurospy titles, thus disqualifying some sublime mainstream fare like Billion Dollar Brain and The President's Analyst and making it easier to pick... My very favorite is Deadlier Than the Male, with its astonishingly sexy speargun-toting, bikini-clad killer duo of Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina. Besides them, you've got great locations, a solid hero in Richard Johnson, a finale on a giant chessboard, a terrific score and that wonderful Walker Brothers theme song! It's bliss.

Some people might quibble with the notion of Danger: Diabolik as a spy movie, but it is, through and through. It may not have a spy hero, but it's got all the trappings, which are far more important to the genre: the cars, the girls, the setpieces, the lair! I'll venture into more obscure territory for my third pick and choose Otley, with Tom Courtenay. This one's an incredibly fun example of the regular-guy-mistaken-for-a-spy subgenre, and it all takes place in Swinging London at the height of its swing! A woefully overlooked Sixties gem. These are all classy films, though, so they're not really representative of sheer Eurospy sleaze. If that's what you're after, you can't go wrong with any of the Kommisar X films. Now could I possibly stretch your three-film limit any further?

Holger Haase (Hammer and Beyond)

My favourite is definitely the Bulldog Drummond movie DEADLIER THAN THE MALE. I actually much prefer this one to a lot of the James Bond movie.

Guilty pleasure: MODESTY BLAISE. I know it doesn't get a lot of love and has little to do with the original novels, but it's so much fun!!!

Dark Horse as it doesn't get talked about much is LE MAGNIFIQUE/THE MAGNIFICENT ONE, a wonderful French homage/parody with Jean Paul Belmondo and an absolutely stunnning Jacqueline Bisset.

I am also a great fan of the JERRY COTTON and KOMMISSAR X series that are constantly mentioned as part of the Eurospy phenomenon, but I could never quite figure out why as none of them actually feature spies! Jerry Cotton is an FBI agent, Kommissar X a Private Eye.

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