|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Actually more of a spy comedy than a thriller, "The Peking Blonde" is a little confusing at first, but eventually the story (based on a James Chase novel!) and the various conflicting parties involved in it become more clear. Claudio Brook makes for an interesting hero: he's not a spy, but an actor hired to impersonate the husband of an amnesiac woman, who used to be the mistress of a Chinese missile expert, and help her regain her memory. He has no spy skills and he does not care to acquire any spy skills; he's in it only for the money. Brook shows a lot more life in this role than he did in another spy film he made around the same time, "Coplan Saves His Skin". The most beautiful woman in "Peking Blonde" is neither Mireille Darc nor (even) Giorgia Moll, but a redheaded secretary who, at one point, is attacked in her room by two Russians; she fights like a wildcat before they subdue her. But the single most unforgettable moment of this film (at least for me) involves a deadly Asian girl, her toes, and a phone cord - I'll say no more to avoid spoiling it. **1/2 out of 4.
Second effort by Nicolas Gessner,it continued the director's modest
ambitions:pure entertaining stuff ,but entertaining !"un Milliard Dans
Un Billard" was a thriller verging on parody with a lot of unexpected
twists ;"La Blonde De Pekin" is some of kind of spy thriller verging on
a spoof on Bond and co.
Although there's a lot of death (and a character deplores it),nobody seems to take it seriously.If you want to know why it is useful for a woman to be at once blonde and brunette ,this is the movie to choose.Giorgia Moll is so attractive as a nurse she almost outshines Mireille Darc,the star of the film ,an actress I have always found limited.It is a pity that Françoise Brion -who resembles Catherine Deneuve's sister ,the late Françoise Dorleac- only appears a few minutes.Claudio Brook is mainly remembered for his supporting part in "La Grande Vadrouille" .
Gessner had begun to use American actors as early as his first movie; E.G.Robinson was cast in this one -in a part unworthy of the actor's talent-and Gessner would later direct Bronson,Perkins,Sheen and Foster.
This dreary Cold War adventure with tongue-in-cheek results in a
misfire, despite interesting credentials: novel author James Hadley
Chase (I hadn't quite realized just how many of his work has been
adapted for the screen, particularly from the 50s through the 70s,
albeit mostly French-made programmers
such as this one), screenwriter
Marc Behm (The Beatles' HELP! ), director Gessner (THE LITTLE
GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE ), composer Francois de Roubaix (LE
SAMOURAI , DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS ), cast (a couple of
lovely Godard alumni Mireille Darc and Giorgia Moll, Bunuel regular
Claudio Brook here making an unsuitable leading man and, of course,
Edward G. Robinson who's wasted). While occasionally sexy and
featuring colorful locations, it's neither very thrilling nor very
funny though being, mercifully, short enough to be palatable.
The only other film of Gessner's that I've watched is the similarly international though superior 12+1 (1969) based on the same source material as Mel Brooks' THE TWELVE CHAIRS (1970) and for which an equally eclectic cast had been assembled, including Sharon Tate (in her last role) and Orson Welles.
This was among a handful of 'sixties crime caper films with Robinson that scarcely were in the theatres before being sold to television. He is a government agent here, and his role is brief. The plot is fast-moving, moving from Europe to Hong Kong as the protagonists chase a jewel known as "the Blue Grape." The younger performers in the leads are adequate; what mars the work is the often laughable dubbing of voices. Robinson's excuse for being involved was that it gave him yet another chance to go abroad and gaze at art treasures.
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