Monday, February 09, 2015

Deadlier Than The Male (1967)

     Deadlier Than The Male (1967) [D: Ralph Thomas. Richard Johnson, Elke Sommer, et al] A James Bond-style thriller, with a wannabe world-class villain pitted against Bulldog Drummond, hero of I don’t know how many pulp fictions of the 1920s and 30s, later updated in the 1950s and 60s. See
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulldog_Drummond.
     Not the worst of these attempts to cash in on the Bond genre, but lacking the crackle and tension of the Bond movies. The narrative pace is slow, even for its day, when film narration was much slower than nowadays. The villain uses good-looking women to do his dirty work, while Drummond is of course much too gentlemanly to take advantage of them, so that a ploy or two fails. But it provides an excuse to show Sommer and others in bikinis. Scenery and sets suitably exotic, a nicely done chess game using large pieces on a computer-controlled board, a cool hero, and fast cars and boats froth together in a pleasantly entertaining but ultimately uninvolving mix.
     Oh, the McGuffin is the villain’s offer to eliminate bothersome business obstacles in return for a fee, and his tendency to encourage payment by offing people who refuse to pay up when the obstacles succumb to accidents. Drummond almost becomes an accident victim himself, of course. **

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