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BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD aka Our Man In Marrakesh seems a low budget
homage to the talents of director Alfred Hitchcock and actor Cary
Grant. Imagine, if you will, a blending of THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
and NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and you might have BANG BANG.
Tony Randall is very appealing as the much harried, put upon innocent who is caught up in a series of misadventures (his character Jessel actually says something like "We're suspected of being murderers, and we're being chased by murderers"). Randall is certainly not someone you would cast as the romantic lead, but you can readily accept that he and Senta Berger will become lovers.
Ms Berger's characters is very fond and adept at telling lies, and shaping the truth as she sees fit. She does it well, and is charming, and everyone likes her, not least the wily Arab truck driver Achmed (Gregoire Aslan), who twice saves the couple.
I had mistaken Margaret Lee for another Italian starlet but apparently she was born in Wolverhampton, England in 1943. She plays the sex kitten very well, and again, has some good lines.
The script is actually very good, the dialogue especially, with more memorable lines than I expected. The line-up of character actors is also fine, though Klaus Kinski's thug is nowhere as effective as the one he displayed in GRAND SLAM.
Locations are well chosen, the action good for its day, and the music by Malcolm Lockyer (someone who doesn't seem to have worked much in film) catches the flavour of Marrakesh, Morocco.
All in all, highly recommended (If you can find it!)
`I think there's been some foul play' says Tony Randall upon discovering
dead body with a knife in its back stashed in the closet of his hotel
Comedy is hard and although this one spends too much time as a chase
it is still largely successful thanks to a great cast and good
Director Don Sharp, in his only spy outing, has crafted an enjoyable and funny film that doesn't resort too often to slapstick or other forms of cheap laughs. It manages to tread the line between humor and danger keeping the viewer interested enough to evoke plenty of hearty chuckles. A light and entertaining spy comedy, this is one of the best of the bunch.
So..... Andrew Jessel (T. Randall) checks into a hotel in Marrakesh, and we see a (dead) body fall out of his closet. Some chick barges into his room, and talks him out of calling the cops. Kyra Stanovy (Senta Berger) is involved in this somehow, and we have to figure out how. For Randall, this was still a couple years before Odd Couple. Also in here is Herb Lom, you will recognize as Commissioner Dreyfus from all the Pink Panther films. Look for Brit actors Wilfrid Hyde-White and Terry Thomas (from the hilarious Mad Mad World....). A lot of talking and posturing, but not a lot of action for the first half. SOMEONE here has two million dollars in a suitcase to buy a vote. Jessel seems to be caught up in some spy trap. Whe confronted by the bad guys, we seem him in one of the more "tough" roles he played. The fancy hotel at which he stays also seems to be the same hotel that Patsy & Eddy stay at in Ab-Fab. More dead bodies. And for a while, we can't tell who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Pretty entertaining film. Dr. No and Russia with Love had already been made into movies, so this was kind of a knock off of those. Randall had just made all those films with Doris Day & Rock Hudson. Written by Harry Towers, who had produced and written the screen plays for Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Local crime boss Mr. Casmir (Herbert Lom) has a briefcase full of
important documents to sell. He has an appointment with an unknown
courier fresh to Marrakesh carrying $2 million. But which of the six
seemingly innocent travelers/vacationers is the courier? When American
Andrew Jessel (Tony Randall) stumbles upon a dead body in the closet of
his hotel room, he gets mixed up in more intrigue than he bargained
for. Jessel joins forces with the beautiful Kyra Stanovy (Senta
Berger), a woman who seems incapable of telling the truth, just to
survive his holiday in Marrakesh.
Our Man in Marrakesh is a highly enjoyable Euro-spy film mixed with copious amounts of comedy. I mean how can you take things too seriously when your action hero is Tony Randall? Yes that Tony Randall. Not really a he-man or anyone's idea of a spy, huh? But that's part of what makes Our Man in Marrakesh so much fun. Randall plays against type and does so brilliantly. His fish-out-of-water, put-upon nature is perfect for the role of Jessel. One of my favorite lines comes as Jessel discovers the dead body in the closet and proclaims, "I think there's been some foul play." Funny stuff! Randall is joined by one of those all-star casts that, in this case, actually works. Senta Berger, Herbert Lom, Euro-spy fav Margaret Lee, bad guy Klaus Kinski, the always funny Terry-Thomas, and Wilfrid Hyde-White add their considerable talents to the film. Sometimes when you put together one of these casts, things don't gel the way they should. Not here. Everyone comes out looking good. My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more from Lee and Kinski. But, then again, you can't have everything. Other big pluses from Our Man in Marrakesh include: a well-written, witty script that, fortunately, does not resort to slap stick for its humor; snappy, well-paced direction from Don Sharp; and terrific Moroccan locations. Overall, it's a wonderfully entertaining romp. An 8/10 from me.
Quickie producer Harry Alan Towers had a set routine when making films
in the 1960s: he'd assemble an all-star cast, whisk them off to an
exotic (typically hot) location and proceed to film a sub-par story
designed to make maximum use of the familiar faces he'd gathered
together. Such films are invariably disappointing, although film fans
will probably want to watch them for the casts alone.
OUR MAN IN MARRAKESH is a case in point, a quirky caper that mixes together three different genres. The first is a spy flick, with the rubber-face Tony Randall playing a man mixed up with scheming villains and beautiful femme fatales (Senta Berger). The second is a Hitchcock 'wrong man' thriller, with plenty of nods to the director's output a la THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH. Finally, Towers can't resist adding a little 'whodunit' aspect to make the most of his famous cast members, although technically this is more of a 'who is it' as identity plays a key part.
Inevitably the script is disappointing and the various action sequences are routine to say the least, but the cast members make this worthwhile. Herbert Lom is the villain and Klaus Kinski his creepy henchman; also along for the ride are an out-of-place Wilfrid Hyde-White, Terry-Thomas, and John Le Mesurier, their upper lips stiff and quivering with indignation. OUR MAN IN MARRAKESH isn't particularly bad - although the comedy has certainly dated - but in comparison to Bond or Hitch it just looks dumb.
British-made film (released under a variety of different titles around the world) involves Tony Randall as an American hotel-builder, newly-arrived in Morocco, who becomes involved in a $2M plot to change votes at the United Nations. Despite poster art designed to look like a spy spoof (with Randall an unlikely substitute for James Bond), this minor, droll offering is more in keeping with the latter-day Hitchcock films ("North by Northwest", in particular), with the dryly-resolved star getting deeper into hot water with every plot turn. Senta Berger is a very attractive mystery woman, and she matches up surprisingly well with Randall (grounded and more affable than usual), but the supporting cast of old pros is never given anything especially exciting to do. Director Don Sharp, working from a wayward, rudderless screenplay by Peter Yeldham, does some keen work, yet the finale is confusing instead of suspenseful, and the overall air of familiarity is wearing. ** from ****
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