Thursday, July 30, 2015
THOSE AMAZING "EUROSPY" MOVIES
The success of the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, not only led to many, many more 007 films, but literally dozens of movies and TV shows that were influenced by the Bond movies. The chief TV show that came in Bond's wake was The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and this in turn influenced the lighter tone of certain Bond movies, as well as some of the Eurospy movies that came afterward. There were British and American imitations of Bond as well, not to mention productions from Italy, Germany, and elsewhere, generally dubbed into English and given silly, if appropriate and generic, titles such as Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Kiss Kiss Kill Kill. All sorts of secret agents wandered through a mostly European landscape, giving rise to a whole genre of "Eurospy" movies. In each of these there was a handsome, skirt-chasing devil, seemingly irresistible to women, trailing after spies and criminal masterminds, many of whom were inspired by such Bond villains as Goldfinger, Blofeld and Emilio Largo (Adolfo Celi), among others. Perhaps the most outrageous Bond imitation was Operation Kid Brother or O.K. Connery, which had the chutzpah to cast Sean Connery's younger brother, Neil Connery, in the lead, and even used his name for the main character. The Italian producers even hired Bernard Lee (M) and Lois Maxwell (Miss Moneypenny) to play parts virtually identical to the ones they played in the legitimate 007 features. [In spite of this, the Bond producers hired them back, probably figuring no one would actually see the dreadful Kid Brother.] You can read about this film and several others below, as this week we review a few Eurospy movies along with a couple of genuine James Bond features. In future weeks we'll be looking at other Eurospy movies starring everyone from Horst Bucholz to Kerwin Mathews to Ray Danton and more.