What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Crime  |  2 November 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 7,441 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 43 critic

In comic Woody Allen's film debut, he took the Japanese action film "International Secret Police: Key of Keys" and re-dubbed it, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe.

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Cast overview:
The Lovin' Spoonful ...
Frank Buxton ...
Vocal Assist (voice)
Len Maxwell ...
Vocal Assist (voice)
Vocal Assist (voice)
Mickey Rose ...
Vocal Assist (voice)
Julie Bennett ...
Vocal Assist (voice)
Bryna Wilson ...
Vocal Assist (voice)
Tatsuya Mihashi ...
Phil Moscowitz (archive footage)
Teri Yaki (archive footage)
Himself / Dub Voice / Projectionist
Suki Yaki (archive footage) (as Kiko Wakabayashi)


So you want Plot? Woody Allen bought a Japanese spy movie, removed the voice track, and replaced it with one of his own. He doesn't seem to have bothered with the original script at all. Typical Joke: "Back off! My secret spy camera has taken pictures of you all through your clothes. Unless you release me, your naked photos will be sold in every school yard in Tokyo within the hour. Unless you are totally comfortable with your body, you must release me." Very funny, but also very unusual. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's not the world's greatest lover... but 8th place is not bad! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

2 November 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lily la tigresse  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD edition)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The addition of The Lovin' Spoonful was a studio imposition to bump up the running time. Woody Allen was so incensed by this that he threatened to sue the studio, although he later recanted when the film became a hit. See more »


When the Port of Yokohama is shown, the captions call it "Yokahama". See more »


Phil Moscowitz: Nothing much to report... oh, somebody tried to shoot me just before the opening credits.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Woody Allen is laying on a couch eating an apple while a woman stripper is taking her black dress and undergarments off in front of him. Meanwhile the end credits scroll up on the right side of the screen. The credits say: The characters and events depicted in this photoplay are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. And if you have been reading this instead of looking at the girl, then see your psychiatrist, or go to a good eye doctor (the credits now scroll faster and give and eye test): E 1 FP 2 TOZ 3 LPED 4 PECFD 5 EDFCZP 6 FELOPZD 7 DEFPOTEC 8 LEFODPCT 9 FSFPTFED 10 ????????? 11 By this time, the stripper is about to remove her underwear. Woody stops her and says, "I promised I'd put her in the film somewhere." (only his voice is dubbed) THE END (appears in the lower left) See more »


Spoofs What's New Pussycat (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the few Woody Allen films that doesn't work for me
14 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Woody Allen gives a Japanese-directed James Bond-styled actioner a new soundtrack, including different dialogue telling a new story. Allen's changes turn the film into a spy versus spy quest for the recipe of the world's best egg salad.

I'm a huge Woody Allen fan. The idea behind this film is promising and the basic premise of Allen's story, grafted on to a pre-existing film, International Secret Police: Key of Keys (Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi), from 1965, by Senkichi Taniguchi, is funny, if silly. However, this is one of the very few Allen films that just doesn't work for me. The Taniguchi film seems chopped up to a point of incoherence (maybe it's presented here in its entirety and in the same order, but that would mean that its running time is around 60 minutes or less), although that could be a factor of the changed dialogue. I found myself wishing there was an alternate soundtrack that was a legitimate dubbing of the original film.

Although there are a few very funny scenes, one-liners and ideas in Allen's new story, most of it isn't very funny. Too many scenes seem like they may be serious translations of the Japanese dialogue. There are too many occurrences of silly vocal noises, but not enough to make that a motif so that it's funny. There are too many long sections where the film is mostly boring. The untranslated beginning goes on far too long. The mini-interview with Allen that explains the film's premise would only be funny if it weren't true. The Lovin' Spoonful scenes aren't funny, and perhaps weren't intended to be--they seem like a studio attempt to try to put more butts in theater seats upon the film's release by featuring a popular rock group. It doesn't seem like Allen spent much time on this—the dialogue seems largely improvised and mostly disjointed. In short, the film is basically a mess, and only worth viewing for Woody Allen completist, and men with a serious Asian woman fetish (it's also worth noting that Taniguchi seems to share a foot fetish).

What would have worked better, and probably would have made the film much funnier, is if Allen would have written and directed both the film that we're seeing visually and a completely different story for the soundtrack. Much more time would have to be spent crafting each component to make them seem unrelated but coherent and funny. That's an experiment that remains to be done, to my knowledge.

There are enough positive aspects that the film doesn't deserve a 1--as I noted, there are times that What's Up, Tiger Lily is funny--but the best I can do is a 5 out of 10.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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