Mrs. Emily Pollifax of New Jersey goes to the CIA to volunteer for spy duty, being in her own opinion, expendable now that the children are grown and she's widowed. And being just what the ...
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Mrs. Emily Pollifax of New Jersey goes to the CIA to volunteer for spy duty, being in her own opinion, expendable now that the children are grown and she's widowed. And being just what the department needed (someone who looks and acts completely unlike a spy), she's assigned to simple courier duty to pick up a book in Mexico City. But when the pickup doesn't go as plan, Mrs. Pollifax finds herself handcuffed to a handsome stranger on a plane bound for an Albania prison. And it's up to her to get them out. Written by
When Mrs. Pollifax looks in the mirror at the reflection of her hotel door, the digits of her hotel room number(700) should all be mirror images, including the "7" digit. But although the digits are correctly reversed in their order (007), the "7" is NOT reversed, as its mirror image actually would be. This is presumably because the film-makers didn't want the audience to miss the allusion to James Bond's number, 007. See more »
Research for this film was done from a documentary picture - "The Three Faces of Communism" which was filmed in present day occupied Albania. See more »
In her final theatrical film (there would be a TV movie in 1972), Rosalind Russell plays novelist Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax in "Mrs. Pollifax, Spy." This 1971 film also stars Darren McGavin, Nehemiah Piersoff, Albert Paulson, Harold Gould, John Beck and Dana Elcar. The script is written by Russell under a pseudonym. Mrs. Pollifax is an elderly woman who after being widowed volunteers to be a spy for the CIA. Since she looks so un-spylike, one of the people at the CIA (Elcar) decides to try her out on a mission. She is to go to Mexico, head for a bookstore, watch for The Tale of Two Cities in the window, enter the bookstore when she sees the book has been placed in the window, exchange some code sentences with the owner, get the book and leave. Except it doesn't go that way. Before Mrs. Pollifax knows what hit her, she's en route to an Albanian fortress with a man, John Sebastian Farrell (McGavin). They share a cell. Mrs. Pollifax goes to work plotting their escape as Farrell recovers from a bullet wound.
The Mrs. Pollifax books make for light, fun reading, and this pleasant story is along the same benign lines. Some of the elements of the books are disregarded - for instance, Mrs. Pollifax's children never were told she was a spy as they are here. Rosalind Russell does an excellent job, and she looks wonderful, particularly when one remembers how blown up the poor woman was from steroids due to her rheumatoid arthritis later on. She was such a striking woman with a strong presence in the films she made over her career. Darren McGavin isn't Gilman's Farrell, but his dry humor is effective just the same - another actor who, like Russell, is sorely missed.
This movie doesn't move very quickly; in fact, it's slow in parts, but there are some good scenes, particularly the Christmas party that Mrs. Pollifax talks her jailers into throwing. You can really admire her charm and cleverness.
"Mrs. Pollifax, Spy" is one of those comfortable movies where one sees a lot of familiar faces and an okay story. You'll see worse, you'll see better - but seeing Russell and McGavin more than makes up for the script's shortcomings.
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