Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies

This movie is a very funny parody of the '60s spy genre in general and James Bond films in particular. Knowing before I started to watch that it was a parody, I was surprised to see Jean Bruce's name in the credits. I'd read a few of his books during the spy fiction craze, and they were pretty straight-forward. A little googling revealed that there was also a straight-forward series of the OSS 117 movies long ago, so the characters in this one are based on those.

The look of this version of OSS 117 is perfect. If you told someone it had been made 40 years ago, they'd probably believe you. The music is funny. Even the hair is funny.

The plot's nothing worth worrying about. A missing agent, chickens, guns, beautiful women. OSS 117 an ethnically insensitive guy who makes Max Smart look like a Harvard professor, but he's good at karate. By the end of the movie, his "successful" mission has pretty much set the course for what's happening in the Middle East today.

If you're looking for a good laugh and if you have fond memories of '60s spy films, you might want to take a look at this one.

10 comments:

Fred Blosser said...

Bill, who published the novels in the U.S.? I remember the "Malko" editions from Pinnacle, but not OSS.

Bill Crider said...

It's probably the Malko novels that I was thinking of. Been a while since I read those.

Bill Crider said...

OK, I looked around. THE LAST QUARTER HOUR is one I have, from Crest in 1965.

Fred Blosser said...

Thanks. I'll probably get the pb via Alibris or Abebooks (lots of copies at low prices) and the new movie via Netflix. I missed the Bruce book by about a year. I had read all the Flemings and several of the Nick Carter/Killmasters by 1965, but I didn't start getting into the other wannabes until about 1966.

Max Allan Collins said...

I had read the Jean Bruce novels, too, which is part of why I sought out OSS 117 at an art house in LA a year ago. My wife and I went and laughed till we cried. I've shown the film (which I now have on a foreign blu-ray) to half a dozen friends, all of whom love it. A sequel is either shooting or recently was shot. The soundtrack CD is great, too.

Bill Crider said...

Al, the guys who made that movie obviously studied the Bond films (and others) very carefully. It's just great, shot by shot.

Fred, you had the same bad reading habits I did.

Graham Powell said...

I caught this movie on cable recently. My favorite moment: the line "Now Egypt shall know peace for a thousand years." My second favorite moment: OSS117 and his female conquest lay on the bed as the camera pans modestly away - only to catch their reflection in a mirror.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Who did the cover, Colorforms?

Vince said...

The sequel, OSS 117: Lost in Rio, has already been released in France. I saw it at a Seattle International Film Festival screening last week. It's a good bit sillier than the first, but still funny. And this time the style of late '60s filmmaking -- lots of split screens -- is sent up perfectly.

Bill Crider said...

A must-see for me.