|Index||4 reviews in total|
This is an early film from the indefatigable Jess Franco (you just
can't defatigue the guy). Franco is interesting in that he has had the
exact opposite career trajectory of most low-budget filmmakers. Most
filmmakers, especially these days, start out doing amateur
shot-on-video stuff, then perhaps dabble pseudononymously in the
hardcore porn industry, before eventually making a career in fairly
decent low-budget films. Franco, however, made his decent low-budget
films from the mid 60's to early 70's, then dove (apparently quite
willingly) head-first into the porn industry, and nowadays he does
amateurish SOV fan-boy type stuff. His stuff after 1975 is usually to
be avoided (often with extreme prejudice), but some of his stuff before
1975 is pretty good.
This is one of the countless spy-spoofs made in the 1960's. It was obviously made on a fraction of a fraction of the budget of a James Bond spy flick or even a Matt Helm spy-spoof. Still, Franco always gets the most out of his very low budgets. This is movie also has elements of the then-popular "Batman" TV series with its kind of campy, pop-art sensibility (although it was probably much more inspired by European serials and "fumetti" comic strips than the American TV show). The hero "Lucky" (Ray Danton, then an actor but later the director of the 70's cult film "Psychic Killer") often wears a Batman-type costume as he becomes involved in some ridiculous spy caper to blow up a counterfeiting factory for some reason. (The plot actually makes little sense, but it doesn't really matter).
This is a very energetic film apparently filmed all over the world (Rio, Europe, America). The music is good and it is occasionally funny. It is sexy, but in a whole different way then his graphic post-1975 work (which too often seemed to involve VERY long scenes of Franco basically giving his actress-wife Lina Romay a gynecological exam/colonoscopy with his beloved zoom lens). Here though he has collected a whole bevy of voluptuous Euro-beauties like Teresa Gimpera, Barbara Bold, Beba Loncar, and my perennial favorite, Rosalba Neri. He puts them in sexy, scanty costumes and gives them all fast-paced flirtation and/or seduction scenes with the hero. I'm not sure about the title though. Somehow they went from a Spanish title that translates to "Lucky, the Fearless" to an English-language title "Lucky,the Inscrutable" (an adjective usually applied to the Chinese). By any title though, this movie is surprisingly entertaining.
This is a very silly movie. It's an Airplane-style, comic book-type
agent adventure with Ray Danton (Code Name Jaguar (65), Secret Agent
Dragon (66)) as Lucky the Inscrutable, a master of disguise, among his
other amazing qualities. He's not only prepared for every situation,
an expert in every situation. The gags fly fast and furious and with so
many jokes thrown our way, some are sure to stick. And some
I'll admit that I'm not a big Jess Franco fan and I had serious misgivings about this flick but after half an hour it won me over. It has a terrific Bruno Nicolai score and boundless enthusiasm for the material. Danton turns out to be a good comedian in his last spy flick.
There's plenty to laugh at and also to groan at during this chase-heavy comedy that should ultimately tickle your funny bone. If you're feeling Lucky, it's not a bad way to waste ninety minutes.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've never been a big fan of the extremely prolific Jess Franco, and two of the most important reasons for this - his incoherent stories and his often sleep-inducing pacing - are all-too-evident in "Lucky, The Inscrutable". This is supposed to be a comedy, but there are very few laughs in it ("This is the best glass of poison I've ever drunk!", the market of spies in Rome, Lucky forgetting his own name....and that's about all I can think of right now, after seeing it twice). It mostly plays like one long chase, and it gets downright boring at times. And don't be fooled by the cast filled with familiar female genre names - all of them are wasted in brief parts. Ray Danton tries hard, and there is some good stuntwork, but if you want to see this kind of spoof done right, try to find "Dorellik"! *1/2 out of 4.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
By the first looks of the film, you may be deceived that this is a film
in the same range as ''I Fantastici 3 Supermen'', an amusing Italian
film, from the sixties, set in Yugoslavia.
Well, the poster, and the first few minutes of the film promise something similar, but you begin to loose hope at the moment when the protagonist goes to Albania, and you see - what just might be the one of the worst sceneries chosen and recorded for a theatrical release. By the time when the main character is chasing around with Albanian police on a very small steam engine, you loose all hope of recovery, as the scenery is awful (set on a generic abandoned industrial site), and gamma and brightness messed up to make it look like night? The tricks the two protagonists use look made up right on the spot of the shooting, and for people who recognise Albanian and Serbo-croatian language - you're in for a nasty surprise - Albanians (in Albania) speak Serbo-Croatian, and occasionally German. This is rather inconsistent, as only Kosovar Albanian minority (in Yugoslavia) could speak some Serbo-croatian. This is "hilariously" probably noted as Lucky el interpido says in one moment that he also speaks Albanian, with "Yugoslavian accent".
Anyway, the film is filled with gags and tricks, most of them not really funny, and when Lucky travels to the Caribbeans the scenery doesn't even change much, mainly because of bad camera positions, over-saturation and other lightning issues, and the ending is practically a reflection of the whole film in terms of quality.
But it definitely was worth watching. 5 Stars.
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