Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Ben Casey as spy: Vince Edwards
HAMMERHEAD (1968). Director: David Miller.

"Is she pretty? Or is he pretty? Well, you never know."

Agent Charles Hood (Vince Edwards) is brought in by British Intelligence to investigate a character known only as Hammerhead (Peter Vaughn). Hood pretends to be a dealer in pornography so as to get on Hammerhead's yacht, where he learns a plan is afoot to steal some very important papers. Another part of the dire plot is to have someone impersonate Sir Richard (Michael Bates), a British dignitary, spiriting him away from a classical music concert and replacing him with a double. A laid-back Vince Edwards [City of Fear] is effective enough as Hood, but he has absolutely no chemistry with his leading lady, the somewhat monkey-faced Judy Geeson, and the romantic scenes don't exactly sizzle. This might not have been the case had these moments been turned over to the sexier Diana Dors, who runs a nightclub where Geeson sings and who is Hammerhead's girlfriend. What Hammerhead has going for it is great locations, good photography, and some lively fight sequences. The movie isn't campy for the most part, although it is way too "mod" at times and includes too many scenes with "flower children." Perhaps the most interesting scene has Hood taking a piece of film he needs to see into a porn theater, where the projectionist has to show the horny fellows a comparatively dull movie. The funniest scene is when Geeson performs a number with her voice dubbed by Madeline Bell, whose deep smoky voice is hardly suited to the squeaky Geeson. Peter Vaughn isn't given a chance to make much of an impression as the master villain, but Patrick Cargill is his usual efficient self as a British agent. Geeson and Dors both appeared with Joan Crawford in Berserk and David Miller directed her in Sudden Fear.

Verdict: Not great, but there have been worse sixties spy films and Edwards is appealing ... **1/2.


angelman66 said...

I was a Ben Casey fan, too, so I will have to check this out.

William said...

Big, Big Ben Casey fan here, and I don't mean the TV show, LOL!