Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, aka OSS 117, is the French spy considered by his superiors to be the best in the business. The year is 1967 - he's been sent on a mission to Rio de Janeiro, to ... See full summary »
An homage to classic spy films. It's 1955 and after a fellow agent and close friend disappears, secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117, is ordered to take his place at the head of a poultry firm in Cairo. This is to be his cover while he is busy investigating, foiling Nazi holdouts, quelling a fundamentalist rebellion, and bedding local beauties. Written by
The title "Nest of Spies" has previously been used as a title in spy movies. It was the British title of the sixties Eurospy spy spoof movie Danger!! Death Ray (1967) known also as "Danger!! Death Ray" or "Death Ray". This movie has Secret Agent Bart Fargo chase the kidnappers of the inventor of a death ray. The title was also used as a TV Title for the French film Alerte au deuxième bureau (1956). "Casablanca, Nest of Spies" was also the International English title for the European co-production, Casablanca, Nest of Spies (1963). See more »
Shortly after arriving in Egypt, while driving in a convertible, OSS 117's driver is smoking a cigarette whose smoke rises perfectly smoothly; this would be impossible in an actual open-top car driving at speed. See more »
Jean Dujardin gets Connery's mannerisms down pat: the adjusting the cuff links when entering a club as all the women turn to admire him, the nonchalant straightening and smoothing down of the tie, the swaggering, steely gait. It's uncanny, and you come to realise just how much of Bond in the Sixties was Connery's creation and not really Ian Fleming's character.
The cinematography is a nod to those early films, the movie takes off From Russia With Love and Thunderball mainly. The main joke is how chauvinistic the hero is, not just in terms of sexism but nationalism and colonialism, and how he puts noses out of joint when he is sent to Egypt.
It's not perfect - about 20 mins in it seems a one-joke movie and bits of it remind one of spoofs of the day, of which there were plenty. Morcecambe and Wise's The Intelligence Men had suspect-looking men in fez's following their heroes around too, and that's going back a bit. Unlike Sellers' Clouseau or Baron Cohen's Borat, Dujardin doesn't give his character that layer of realness or genuine pathos - he is too busy perfecting his Connery mannerisms. It doesn't do enough with the credits or a big song, and there's no funny or serious villain, like Mike Myers' Dr Evil or Ricardo Montalban's Naked Gun nemesis, for the hero to go up against.
But the scene where OSS117 wakes up in Cairo one morning had me laughing out loud in the three-quarters empty cinema, and the whole thing looks wonderful, plus you'll never get a chance to see Operation Kid Brother on the screen, and the women are ace crumpet, really hot. It's a Bond spoof without falling into the mad scientist/Ken Adam sets or funny gadgets routine. Throughly recommended.
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