Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Spy Who Loved Flowers (1966)

Original title: Le Spie Amano i Fiori

Director: Umberto Lenzi

Writer: Umberto Lenzi

Composers: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino, Armando Trovajoli

Starring: Roger Browne, Emma Danieli, Daniele Vargas, Marino Mase, Salvatore Borghese, Fernando Cebrian, Pilar Clemens, Tulio Altamura, Giovanna Lenzi, Yoko Tani

More info: IMDb

Plot: After retrieving an electronic device that can shut off the power of entire cities, a secret agent is assigned to eliminate the only 3 remaining persons who have knowledge of the device. His first two missions (in Paris and Geneva) are accomplished easily enough, but the third (in Athens, where the rest of the film is set) turns out to be more complicated. His target seems to be aware of his every move, and it is likely that there is a traitor within the agency.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

 Lenzi's films are generally watchable and there are some really good ones in his catalog.  This one's mediocre and it's an average EuroSpy flick at the height of the James Bond craze but it's got its moments.  Granted, some of them are rather silly (intentional) like a quick swivel to machine gun a guy that comes out of nowhere.  The print I watched was a good but sometimes dirty (the way I like it) widescreen print.  That really helps sell the location shooting in Paris and largely Athens (nice!).  There are a lot of spies in this picture and there's a quick quip that gets tossed out near the end when things are looking bad when one of them says about another, "He's no James Bond.".  The actors all do a decent job but there's nothing in this picture that comes close to matching any of the Bond pictures of the era.  The EON Bond films were pretty much the best out there in every aspect.  The jazzy score is serviceable but it pops in and out at odd times which feels like somebody not the composer was responsible.  The dialogue is sometimes silly (unintentional) but then this isn't art we're talking about.  Besides all of that, the pacing is rather slow and the lack of really good music to help zip the picture along is obvious. I dig this genre and I'll go to my grave attempting to see every 60s EuroSpy flick (and Spaghetti Western and Krimi, etc.) even though I'm sure most of them are poor time killers. 

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