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Mrs. Pollifax-Spy (1971)

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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Leslie H. Martinson (as Leslie Martinson)

Writers:

Rosalind Russell (screenplay) (as C.A. McKnight), Dorothy Gilman (book)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Rosalind Russell ... Mrs. Pollifax
Darren McGavin ... Farrell
Nehemiah Persoff ... Berisha
Harold Gould ... Nexdhet
Albert Paulsen ... Perdido
John Beck ... Lulash
Dana Elcar ... Carstairs
James Wellman James Wellman ... Mason
Dennis Cross Dennis Cross ... Bishop
Nick Katurich Nick Katurich ... Stefan
Don Diamond ... DeGamez
Robert Donner ... Larrabee
Tom Hallick ... Roger
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Storyline

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 Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Before she joined the CIA, Mrs. Pollifax thought Red China was a set of dishes. See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Meteor Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Rosalind Russell. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: 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 »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 28 minutes from this film for its 1975 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Version of The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rosalind Russell takes on Emily Pollifax
11 September 2007 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

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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