I'm sure I remember first watching this film in a cinema on holiday in probably Blackpool or Scarborough in 1970 or 1971 when I was 10 or 11 as the second feature below a lovely family entertainment film called "The Amazing Mr Blunden", although my memory could be playing tricks as they hardly seem complementary. Recalling it with affection, I nevertheless decided to track it down and rewatch it again, but as so often with revisiting childhood memories, with the experience or even slight cynicism of older age, it doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny.
What struck me over the title sequence was the plethora of parties who worked with star Patrick MacNee on his then recent hit show "The Avengers", including the writer, director, producer and musical director, even the titles themselves are in the familiar Avengers font. I was almost anticipating a cameo from Diana Rigg or Linda Thorson for good measure. The story is light as befits MacNee's acting style, he's a globetrotting con-man who with his girl-watching little side-kick, Marty Burns, seeks to part mega-rich Herbert Lom's tycoon from his money over a valuable diamond he wants to possess. This all takes place in the Mediterranean sun, so we get to see lots of shots of fetching young girls in mini-skirts and bikinis (usually with Burns' eyes following them as they stroll by) and MacNee out of his Steed-tweeds and instead lolling about in lilac floral shirts, unmatching canary yellow slacks topped off with a cravat. His rival for the stone is Connie Stevens in let's say a variety of guises and with some minor twists and turns they both at least partially achieve their goal.
I found it easy, watchable, if very dated entertainment. MacNee and Stevens are good value and Lom plays with his usual aplomb, although I could have done without the casual sexism displayed towards women throughout. Written by Avengers regular scripter Philip Broadley, I preferred the late Brian Clemens edgier and more imaginative screenplays for the show. I gather this was a pilot for a non-existent TV series and can see why it didn't take off but it might have made for a pleasant diversion on a rainy day in a UK holiday resort, back in the day...which is where I came in...
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