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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Forget From Russia With Love - this is probably the greatest Spy movie
ever made (and it's Italian, too) - the 1967 screen debut of the great
and tragically neglected Neil Connery, playing the brother of the
world's most famous secret agent, the lip-reading hypno-plastic surgeon
Dr Neil Connery, along with Adolfo Celi, Daniela Bianchi, Bernard Lee,
Lois Maxwell, Anthony Dawson and, of course, Gina Lollobrigida's
brother, Guido. But it's Neil who's the real star: Sean, Roger, Pierce,
Timmy, George - none of them can do the standing still bit as well as
Neil. One critic at the time said that if the producers had bought a
two-headed pygmy, put him in a glass case and charged admission it
would have been less cruel than what they did to Neil Connery, but
don't you believe it.
True, the first half hour or so is a bit on the slow side, but once it gets going, it just keeps on getting better and better. There's a glamorous Bond girl called Mildred ("I've ordered Mildred to flirt with Dr Connery"); an obviously soused Bernard Lee in an ill-fitting suit he could well have slept in; baddies who can't afford the natty boiler suits that SPECTRE employees get so have to make do with berets and Burgundy C&A jumpers; blind Arabs being forced to make radioactive rugs ("You're working with radioactive materials. They will kill you!" "What is it that you are trying to say?" Pause: "You're working with radioactive materials. They will kill you!"); Neil Connery imitating one of the aforementioned blind Arabs while Adolfo Celi fights a losing battle to keep a straight face; Dr Connery, on seeing a man with a bloody great dagger sticking out of his heart noting "This man is dead. There's nothing more I can do for him."; teen ravers playing their crazy happening sounds on the runway of Malaga airport for no particular reason; a Lesbian torturer who makes Lotte Lenya look like Cameron Diaz telling a Japanese girl that if she tells her what she wants to know, "I'll reward you with pleasures beyond your imagination. You can live with me in a palace!"; the villains' henchwomen hijacking an 'atomic nucleus' by dressing up as can-can girls stranded in the desert; a 120-second countdown that is long enough for someone to run away, escape the villains' lair, fly a helicopter along the longest road in Europe, land, get out, go to a café and phone Londonn (in the days before direct international dialling) before it gets to 35 seconds on the clock; and a climax that sees a group of Scottish championship archers riding to the rescue through the snow to the villain's underground lair, the entrance to which is cunningly disguised as a small hut opposite a castle a few miles outside Munich.
Oh, did I forget the Ennio Morricone title song, 'OK Connery' ("You're the one for me!")? And the fact that the finale includes the line "Twin vibrators inserted"? Or that the villain's plot to render all mechanical devices useless via a magnetic pulse is the same as GoldenEye? I tell you, Casino Royale has a lot to live up to...
Forget Antonioni, Fellini and Visconti: this is Italian cinema at its finest.
I remember so clearly how excited I was to see this movie into theaters were the first came out. When I remember most was seeing so many great familiar faces from the Sean Connery 007 series. Little did I know that composer Ennio Morricone would later become famous for the theme for "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly," but I did love the theme song "O.K. Conneryand," which incidentally is an alternate title for this film is. Many will tear this film apart, but I say no fair. It was meant to be for fun, and succeeds quite well there. True, the dubbing is awful, especially since I really wish I could have heard Sean's less famous brother speak for himself, but no matter. There are lots of great locations to see how the many attractive Italian girls, and if you don't take it too seriously (God knows how you could) it's a fun and entertaining way to pass the time. Hell, it beats the crap out of "Casino Royale."
This is a fun movie.Leave it alone! Neil Connery may be to acting what Mia Farrow is to cage fighting but so what? I find 007 frere almost endearing in this movie as he battles Adolfo Celi and his criminal organisation THANATOS in a style very reminiscent of his brother and anyone who thinks that this film is meant to be taken seriously is sadly deluded. This is a fast paced action romp that ends up in a secret base where the bad guys are defeated by fists,guns and archery action. Any movie that ends like this has always got something going for it and it is topped and tailed with a song written by Ennio Morricone which is as explosive as anything ever written for a real Bond movie(or any movie come to think of it)It is called "O.K.CONNERY" and is a magnificent piece of kitsch as is the movie itself.This was always intended to be a one-off.What did you expect?.....18 sequels!
You just have to love the massive balls that it took to release this film at the height of the James Bond craze. It wasn't enough just to flagrantly rip off the Bond films, no, the producers actually got most of the supporting actors/villains/hot chicks from the real films and then had the nerve to cast Sean Connery's brother, Neil, as the hero (who is alluded to be 007's brother)! However, as bad'60's spy flicks go, this is astonishingly more entertaining than most of them. Give it a chance!
I was expecting the worst when I found a copy of "Operation Double 007" (one
of the many alternative titles for this film) in a bargain video rack for a
dollar. But I didn't get the worst -- I got a surprisingly OK
Neil Connery, Sean's little brother, is indeed a dead ringer for his sibling. The only major difference is Neil sports a beard, in keeping with his character, a plastic surgeon. As far as acting goes, he has many of Sean's mannerisms down pat, but in the print I saw his voice was badly dubbed by an American (even though his character is clearly said to be Scottish), so I cannot pass judgment.
The story is a pastiche of Bond films past, such as Thunderball, a similarity driven home by the fact the main villain in both this movie and Thunderball is played by Adolfo Celi, one of a number of 007 veterans who somehow managed to get involved in this bizarre Italian production. Anthony Dawson (another 007 vet -- he was Dent in Dr. No and also provided the body for Blofeld in From Russia With Love and Thunderball) plays a Blofeld clone named Alpha, another apparent nod to Thunderball.
Bernard Lee (Bond's M) and Lois Maxwell (the first and best Moneypenny) appear in very similar roles in this file, EXCEPT that Maxwell's character gets a lot more action here. Fans of Moneypenny will love seeing her mowing down bad guys with a machine gun, and she even kidnaps another character! Bernard Lee, meanwhile, gets to show some of his comedy skills. Both actors do a good job here, and for the record they weren't overdubbed.
For me, the real pleasure in this movie is a rare chance to see Daniela Bianchi. Five years after seducing 007 in From Russia with Love, the Italian actress gets to play an assassin with a heart of gold, and she is absolutely gorgeous in this film. Fans of her work in From Russia should check this film out just for her (sadly, she retired from acting not long after this film was made).
Although this movie has been heavily criticized as a rip-off of 007, in fact there are a number of original touches that make the film, if not good, at least interesting. For example, Neil Connery's character (who is, imaginatively, named Neil Connery) is a master of hypnotism and is more apt to use his brains than his brawn. A good example of this is when he creates a MacGyver-like device to get past a machine gun turret.
Released the same year as the infamous Casino Royale spoof, I have to say that OK Connery actually has a better storyline, and unlike that other film, it actually (sort of) makes sense.
This film is hard to find (though I understand Mystery Science Theater 3000 featured it once). But serious Bond fans should check it out at least once as an interesting curio from the height of Bondmania. And if you're a fan of Lois Maxwell or Daniela Bianchi, it is definitely worth checking it out.
"Do you ever walk upright like other people?" Neil Connery says to a sexy Eurobabe who's on all fours looking for a lost lighter. I love this movie. The sheer number of super-sexy actresses in Operation Kid Brother is staggering. Some enterprising video company should locate the negative and make a deal to put it on DVD in a widescreen version. The Ennio soundtrack is tremendous. You have to wonder why the man was never invited to contribute to a Bond film. Operation Kid Brother is more entertaining than all of the Bond films released since Diamonds Are Forever. I'll add Casino Royale to the list as soon as I see it. The big question is how come Neil Connery didn't speak at the American Film Institute's tribute to Sean Connery last year. Did Sean show the bouncers a photo of Neil and tell them to keep him out at all costs? Lois Maxwell got to do more in this movie than in every Bond film she made and she looks better too, strangely enough. It's a blast to see Dawson and Celi acting side by side. It was probably in Celi's contract that he gets to feel up the actresses. You have to wonder if Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman didn't go ape when Bernard Lee and Maxwell turned up in this.
Another touchstone of the Eurospy subgenre, Operation Double 007 better
known as Operation Kid Brother, is a fair Bond copy, albeit on a slightly
smaller scale, and is as entertaining as any of the legitimate Bond
This was the first time out for Neil Connery, brother of Sean, and it was
the only spy movie in his movie mini-career. He manages just fine as the
super surgeon cum super spy although his distinct lack of charisma makes
a rather bland lead performance.
Fortunately director Alberto De Martino (Upperseven the Man to Kill (65), Operation Lady Chaplain (66)) keeps this colorful, active film moving at a good clip so we don't have too much time to mull over Connery comparisons. The use of Connery's real name for his character is a strange stroke due no doubt to the forbidden use of the name Bond. It sort of screws up the (weak) attempts at humorous mentions of the Bond mystique when you can't even say the word.
Thank goodness Connery is surrounded by exotic locations, beautiful women and villains as good as Adolfo Celi. Celi plays it to the hilt too as Thair, the number two villain of Thanatos who wants to be number one. Celi is deservedly one of the most famous Italian character actors whose talents can be seen in other spy movies such as That Man From Rio (64), Target For Killing (66), and Death Knocks Twice (69). Perhaps the film's finest asset is the presence of the lovely Daniela Bianchi as Maya, a bad girl turned good.
You could do worse than this Bondian escapade; there's plenty to look at and laugh at and there's a Morricone/Nicolai score to boot. We should be used to checking our brains at the door by now.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a recent article, TV critic Jamie Weinman noted that 1967 was the
year that James Bond stopped being cool. The Bond film that year YOU
ONLY LIVE TWICE was less successful than predecessors, and that was
also the year that Italian filmmakers stopped cranking out spy films
and started cranking out westerns . . .
Before they quit, though, they gave us just about the goofiest and most enjoyable Bond rip-off ever made-- OPERATION KID BROTHER, which is also know as OPERATION DOUBLE 007 and OK CONNERY, all of the titles pointing wildly to the star of the film as saying "He's actually SEAN'S BROTHER!!" At any rate, Sean's brother Neil Connery plays Neil Connery, a plastic surgeon/hypnotist/archer/lip-reader/karate-fighter . . . No doubt he can also unblock drains and make a perfect angel-food cake, but nobody in the movie asks him to . . . At any rate, Dr. Connery is plastic-surgeon-ing/hypnotizing/lip reading for a gathering of medical experts on the Riviera when his patient is kidnapped, first by Allied Counter-Intelligence, then by bad guys from the criminal gang Thanatos (no doubt formed by people who were fired from SPECTRE during one of Blofeld's efficiency drives). Apparently, the young lady knows something she doesn't know she knows. and after being kidnapped, she gets tortured by a short lesbian and shot to death by a hot-cha-cha Italian lady. There's also a lady spy who dresses at various times like Barney Rubble, Phyllis Diller, and a can-can dancer. She's played by Daniela Bianchi, who co-starred with The Other Connery in FROM Russia WITH LOVE and manages to remained poised and amused throughout. Her boss is played Adolfo Celi, who was in THUNDERBALL, which also starred The Other Connery, although like Ms. Bianchi, he pretends to find Neil terribly impressive. Almost with a straight face.
One of the great things about this movie is the presence of Lois Maxwell, who played Miss Moneypenny for years in the Bond films, and was always a highlight. She is here as well, and for once, she gets out in the field and proves she can kick ass as well as any plastic surgeon/hypnotist/lip-reader/archer. And look cool while doing it. As for Bernard Lee, he's along for the ride as well. Smiling broadly and apparently a bit soused. What the heck. The movie can survive it . . .
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you're a fan of the Euro-spy movies made in the 60s, how can you not
just love Operation Double 007? Using the success of James Bond as a
model, those crazy Italians certainly made some crazy spy movies. This
one stars Sean Connery's brother, Neil Connery (who plays a character
cleverly named Neil Connery) as a plastic surgeon / hypnotist / lip
reader. With tongue firmly in cheek, we also learn that Neil is the
brother of a famous spy and, as his brother is unavailable, the
government wants Neil to stand in and give them a hand. Before you can
say Dr. No, Neil's up to his neck in beautiful women, a super-villain
with a nuclear device, the obligatory henchmen, archers on horse back,
gun fights, car chases, blind Arab rug-weavers, can-can dancers,
explosions, underground lairs, and a Japanese woman kidnapped by the
world's most vicious nun/nurse. Don't worry, it all makes sense in the
end (well, sort of anyway). Besides, if there's a loose end here or
there, who cares when you're having this much fun.
Joining Connery in the cast is a plethora of Bond vets including Daniela Bianchi, Adolfo Celi, Bernard Lee, and Lois Maxwell. It's a real treat to see them all in a different setting. In particular, it's great to see Lois Maxwell out from behind that desk she always sat at in the Bond movies. Here, she's not only gets out in the field, but she gets the chance to mow down baddies with a machine gun as well. Celi, always the bad guy in a movie like this, looks like he's having the time of his life. There's at least one scene where it's not hard to notice a small smile come to his face and you've got to wonder how close he came to losing it. But as much as I enjoyed both of these fine actors, I was particularly impressed with the work of Daniela Bianchi from From Russia with Love fame. In Operation Double 007, she gets to play both the good and bad girl, wear some over-the-top outfits, and look generally fabulous. It's a shame she didn't go on to do more after this movie. She had a definite screen presence about her.
There are some out there who want to label Operation Double 007 a "James Bond rip-off". It's not a rip-off, it's a parody and a good one at that. Operation Double 007 was released the same year as the more famous Bond parody Casino Royale. The big difference is that Casino Royale is one big, bloated mess of a movie that's rarely funny. Operation Double 007, on the other hand, is a blast. In fact, and this may be blasphemous to some, but it's more fun than about half of the Bond movies. It's too bad it's never had a proper R1 DVD release so that more people might discover this movie. The only way I've seen the movie is courtesy of a DVD-R of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode on which it appeared. It's a great episode, but I would love to see a good release without the bots and their comments.
MASTER PLAN: Operation Blackmail - controlling the world's gold
reserves. A very calculated attempt to copy & make money off the James
Bond craze of the sixties, this comes off as a silly joke, maybe
intentionally. It's similar to "Licensed to Kill," the 'Charles Vine'
Bond cheap copy, but less creative. The plot can be deduced from an
alternate title, "Operation Double 007" - that's not a typo - the spy
agency of the Bond world requests the services of 007's brother; hence,
this is about 007's double (they never completely finish saying '007'
out loud, always stopping short of voicing the '7' - ha). 007's brother
is played by Sean Connery's real life brother, Neil, with a goatee and
a talent for hypnotism. This starts off badly, with Neil Connery,
playing a famous genius plastic surgeon, explaining his advanced
techniques and how he combines them with Tibetan mind control - it's
pathetic drivel - and then some mêlée breaks out. It's groan-inducing.
But, the main attraction is for film buffs and Bond fans making all the
connections with the real Bond films.
All the main actors (besides N.Connery, whose connection to Bond is already explained) in this one are from one or more James Bond movies. Celi, as the main villain, played a similar role in "Thunderball" (Celi, who looks like an overweight banker, was always playing villains or gangsters in the sixties). Bianchi, the femme fatale, was in "From Russia With Love." Dawson was in "Dr.No." Of course, Bernard Lee (aka M) and Lois Maxwell (aka Ms.Moneypenny) were from most of the Bond films of the sixties and seventies. They duplicate their roles from those here, though Maxwell gets a chance to run around shooting a gun, something she never had a chance to do with her 'receptionist' role in the Bonders. The villains seem to be SPECTRE, though they're referred to by another name, Thanatos, who plan to use some kind of magnetic waves to imbalance the world. The other strange and amusing aspect is that some of the main characters are referred to by their real names (Dr.Connery, Ms. Maxwell, etc.) rather than as Mr.Bond - get it? It's goofy, somewhat dull and a curiosity. Hero:3 Villains:3 Femme Fatales:4 Henchmen:2 Fights:3 Stunts/Chases:3 Gadgets:3 Auto:3 Locations:4 Pace:2 overall:3
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