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A successful London ad-exec hires a beautiful Hungarian girl to pose for some modeling shots, little realising that she has overheard an assassination plot and is now being hunted by some dangerous killers. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
A boyish pre-James-Bond Roger Moore plays advertising executive Gary Fenn in this preposterous tale about uncovering a sinister plot in London. "Crossplot," directed by Alvin Rakoff, is more 60s nostalgia than exciting movie-making. The dated costumes and hairstyles, the period dancing and songs, and the misfire mix of comedy and espionage seem like an early Bond film gone haywire. The presence of Bernard Lee, who distinguished himself as "M" in the Bond series, adds to the faux-Bond look, but adds little to the proceedings. The flimsy plot gets underway when a photograph is substituted in an advertising proposal, and Moore pursues an elusive model for his campaign. The writers were likely inhaling something stronger than Lucky Strike when they came up with this idea. Claudie Lange plays the exotic model as though she had studied under a drag queen doing Gina Lollabrigida, and she gives new meaning to wooden. Only her ample bosoms show any charisma. The scenes between her and Moore lack any chemistry, and the photo shoot destroys her supposed appeal for the advertising as she poses and grins embarrassingly for the camera. While Martha Hyer looks lovely, well coiffed, and classy as Claudie's aunt, she has little to do but make eyes at Moore and keep her hair in place.
The story wanders over London and the English countryside, but the sights offer little distraction from the nonsense. "Crossplot" does offer a pastiche of scenes culled from other, better movies. A sequence that takes place in an antique car and period costumes seems like it was lifted from "The Great Chase," but without the talent involved in that film. Like the Bond films, the villains all have lousy aim, and the mechanics of the plot when it unravels make no sense whatsoever. A helicopter chase has been included to remind viewers that "From Russia with Love" was a far better film and starred a far better actor. The scene in which Moore disrupts a wedding is more than an echo of Cary Grant's antics in the auction scene in "North by Northwest." Only die-hard fans of Roger Moore will relish this movie, although he was admittedly more appealing here than in much of his later work. Either "Crossplot" was made as an audition for Moore to play James Bond or as a tax write-off for its investors. Either way the audience suffers.
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