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Hammerhead is a dangerous international criminal suspected by British Intelligence of trying to steal NATO defense secrets. In desperation, a young, charming soldier of fortune is called in to match wits and guts in man-to-man combat with Hammerhead. His name is Charles Hood and he operates in London (the wilder parts) and moves on to the Portuguese coast in pursuit of Hammerhead and pursued by pert, kooky London model Sue Trenton. Written by
Stephen Coulter (as James Mayo) wrote five Charles Hood novels of which 'Hammerhead' (1964) was the first. The remaining four (none of which have been filmed) were 'Let Sleeping Girls Lie' (1965); 'Shamelady' (1966); 'Once in a Lifetime' aka 'Sergeant Death' in the USA (1968); and 'The Man Above Suspicion' (1969). See more »
MASTER PLAN: obtain the info on some secret papers. By this point in the late sixties, some filmmakers were getting a little carried away with all the psychedelia and decadence of the decade, including a few who jumped on the James Bond bandwagon. The first scenes seem to say that the director & his crew were dropping acid during the filming, though it turns out to be some bizarre performance art depiction. We're also introduced to Mr. Hood here (Edwards), the secret agent of the story, looking on bemused. He fits the profile - an American but working well within the British & other European locales as a handsome man of adventure. He's not all that impressive, however: though able to handle himself well in a fight, he does get knocked out a couple of times quite easily (one of these fights, in a dark garage, recalls a similar scene in "Deadlier Than the Male" of the previous year). As the very British girl who keeps popping up unexpectedly throughout the movie, Judy Geeson is an acquired taste and can be a bit annoying; I didn't blame Hood for wincing the 3rd time she reappears. I also kept thinking, what is she doing in this movie? This sense didn't change much for me by the end of the film. Much of the action at the forefront of this film takes place against the backdrop of the youthful generation doing their thing during those swinging sixties.
The plot involves the machinations of the very Bondian uber-villain Hammerhead (Vaughan), complete with peculiar eccentricities, such as white gloves to keep the germs away and especially sadistic tendencies towards females. The actress Adams plays the more interesting female character, in a brief role. Oh, and, to make sure we understand that this bad guy is a sleaze, he also has interests in pornography. His dastardly plans are hinted at during Hood's briefing in a train cabin; there will be a special meeting of top men from NATO nations and one of these men has papers that Hammerhead wants a gander at, involving defense plans. This offers a good dual role for versatile actor Bates, who plays the target and one of Hammerhead's key henchmen. The film meanders a bit in the first half, even with the intriguing scenes on the villain's huge yacht, with everything moving at an easygoing pace, as if the filmmakers were unsure of themselves or the story. But, it does all come together in the final half-hour, when the details of the villain's subterfuge are played out (though why Hood and his girl aren't simply shot instead of that protracted scene in the coffin...never mind). Watch for Dave Prowse, soon to be in "A Clockwork Orange" and future Darth Vader, as the huge henchman - the strongest man Hammerhead knows. The climactic action, especially the unexpected end of the villain, will either irritate or enthrall you, depending on how much you like darkly ironic, satirical endings. I thought it was a bit out of left field. Hero:5 Villains:5 Femme Fatales:5 Henchmen:6 Fights:6 Stunts/Chases:5 Gadgets:4 Auto:5 Locations:6 Pace:5 overall:5+
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