Sandwiched between the sword-and-sandal epics inspired by "Hercules" and the spaghetti westerns inspired by "A Fistful of Dollars" came a spate of 1960s secret-agent movies riding on the coattails of James Bond. Most of these movies fell into the "forgettable" category but, like this one, they offered an entertaining blend of action, pretty girls, snatches of arch dialog, glamorous locales, and a debonair leading man.
The leading man in this case is 37-year-old Wayde Preston, best known for his "Colt .45" series which premiered on American TV in 1959. Preston was sort of a Lee Horsley type with a touch of Howard Keel and our first glimpse of him here comes when all 6 feet 4 inches of him steps out of a hotel room's bath wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist. He goes to a window, giving us a view of his broad shoulders and bare back, opens the curtains, then turns, putting his tanned, hairy chest on display. Though a few years past his prime, Preston's chest still looks mighty good and as if to emphasize its appeal, Preston casually runs his hands down it, thus pointing out its suitability for both loving caresses and torturous assaults.
It isn't long before a torturous assault occurs. Jumped by a bevy of bad guys, Preston is forced to strip down to a pair of white boxer-shorts whose fly, in true Hollywood fashion, never seems to gape open. He's then strapped into what looks like a barber chair and his head is positioned between a pair of metal rods which proceed to press in on the sides of his skull. (All of which vaguely anticipates "The Salamander" in which Franco Nero i bound to a torture-chair wearing nothing but a jockstrap.) As movie tortures go, this one's unusual quality fails to make up for its lack of visual effect. A later torture scene, done without the benefit of a bare chest, has the bad guys holding lighted matches to Preston's fingertips. Painful, yes, but one could think of another appendage on the male anatomy which might more effectively be subjected to an open flame.
Though "Man on the Spying Trapeze," (an amusing title), could easily have evolved into a series, such was not the case and so it's fallen into the often-neglected pool of Euro-spy movies from the 1960s. Fans of the genre, however, will find it worth a second look.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?