Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Secret Agent Men

I wanted to write a "Things that Suck" post about bad James Bond knockoffs of the '60s, but I didn't have time today; meantime, here's a good two-part article on Bond ripoffs and spoofs, some pretty good, some very bad. Of course it only deals with the tip of the Bond-knockoff iceberg; there were so many Bond-inspired movies in the late '60s, not only in England and America but in France and, especially, Italy. Bond ripoffs were probably a far bigger part of the Italian movie industry in the '60s than spaghetti westerns.

My favorite Italian Bond ripoff, though I've only seen the trailer for it, is something called "Operation Kid Brother" (also called OK Connery) starring Sean Connery's brother, Neil. (I think Mystery Science Theatre used this movie in an episode.) Basically admitting its lameness up-front, the premise is that the best secret agent in the world can't be obtained, so they get his brother to foil the bad guys. The cast was filled out with people who had been in Bond movies -- Daniela Bianchi, Adolfo Celi -- plus cameos by Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell. The production values, as usual in Italian Bond ripoffs, suggest that they shot the whole thing either in the producer's apartment or on the yacht he bought by embezzling part of the budget. But it's mostly remembered for its promotional tagline: "OPERATION KID BROTHER is too much for one mother!"

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