In Southern Spain with a U.S. team, skydiver Fathom Harvill is approached by a Scottish colonel working for a top-secret Western agency. He's after a vital lost atomic device, and wants her... See full summary »
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In Southern Spain with a U.S. team, skydiver Fathom Harvill is approached by a Scottish colonel working for a top-secret Western agency. He's after a vital lost atomic device, and wants her to parachute into a house occupied by some Red Chinese agents to help get the thing back. Apart from all this there is a predatory continental doctor on his yacht to take account of. Fathom soon realizes nothing is what it seems to be, but can she fathom the truth out? Written by
Jeremy Perkins <email@example.com>
This movie was based on Larry Forrester's second "Fathom' novel, which was never published and was only in draft form when this film was made. Forrester's first "Fathom" novel was called "A Girl Called Fathom", published in 1967. See more »
While being chased by a bull, Fathom falls down at least twice. The first time her underwear is black. The second time her underwear is white. See more »
MASTER PLAN: get the Fire Dragon. The spy / secret agent craze was in full swing by this time, with several James Bond movies already dominating the decade and a few imitators (Flint; Matt Helm) getting started. They also put out a "Modesty Blaise" film the year before this. So, why not place the newest sex symbol / bombshell into a similar vehicle? Why not? The main difference with this plot is that the title character is not really a secret agent; she works in a dentist's office and her key skill is being an able parachutist, an activity she partakes in while on vacation in Spain. She's also...Raquel Welch, the poster child for feminine perfection since her role in "One Million Years B.C." the year before. Frankly, I was surprised when I found out she wasn't really a spy or secret agent - she seems such a natural for that adventurous occupation on film - she's recruited or drafted by a couple of supposed government agents for a mission. The mission involves acquiring a mysterious Chinese object known as the Fire Dragon; or, it's the 'MacGuffin,' the term Hitchcock used to describe the object that drives the plot in a story. Welch is presented as the ideal female - not silly & stupid as we might expect, since she does regard her supposed allies with suspicion (though, the reveal that they represent an organization called HADES, another word for Hell, might have clued her in somewhat... but, oh well, she's pretty athletic to complement her 'easy on the eye' great figure). This doesn't have as much of a campy tone as many other spy movies of the sixties, so you're not sure how seriously you should take it in some scenes.
The story does keep you guessing as it moves along at a fairly good pace, or tries to. Poor Fathom (Welch) doesn't know who to trust, her recruiters or their enemy, an adventurer (Franciosa) who lives in a villa with some other compatriots - this is Fathom's initial destination as a secret agent, where she quickly finds a dead body. Her new acquaintance, Merriwether, claims to be a detective, but he could be a master criminal (he also refers to her as 'Poppet' in every other sentence, which drove me nuts after the first hour). Then there's Serapkin (Revill, hamming it up, as usual), some kind of Russian oddball villain and probable master criminal on a yacht whom Fathom is placed in the position of seducing. On top of that, there's a local café proprietor (Tom Adams, formerly "The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World") who is not all he seems to be. Most of the story thrust has Fathom starting to trust a couple of these characters at some point and then getting a rude reality check. She escapes becoming a dead body herself once or twice only by luck; that, or her stunning good looks prevent the villains from taking that final step. The most memorable scene, and the one which stuck with me when I saw this as a kid and didn't understand what else was going on, is Fathom being chased by a bull. It's emblematic of the strenuous action she is put through during most of the movie. Most of it is fairly trivial and forgettable, and Welch could not win any acting awards, but yet, it's kind of entertaining, if just a bit on the dull side due to mostly bland characterizations. Heroine:6 Villains:6 Male Fatales:7 Henchmen:6 Fights:5 Stunts/Chases:6 Gadgets:4 Auto:5 Locations:7 Pace:7 overall:6
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