Agente S 03: Operation Atlantis (1965)

Agente_003_Operación_Atlántida_(1965)‘I would say that the women of today are almost totally responsible for the illnesses of their men.’

Secret agent George Steele accepts a mission from the R.I.U., an international organisation interested in radium. Large deposits have been discovered in North Africa, but seem to have fallen into the hands of local criminals. Steele investigates but finds matters complicated by the fact that the radium seems to be located near the remains of Atlantis and the lost city is occupied by the descendants of the original population.

Idiotic, Euro-spy tedium fronted by german-born John Ericson in the role of this week’s wannabe James Bond. He isn’t much of a secret agent as it happens; mostly he just wanders around looking confused, although this is forgivable given the total incoherence of the film. What is much harder to excuse is the fact that he initiates little of the ‘action’, merely reacting to circumstances and doing what he’s told. He is a hit with the ladies, though, his smarmy charm and lame pick up lines proving so irresistible that many of the Euro-babes on show not only fall for him but promptly swap sides as well! This happens with such incredible regularity that you’re never sure who’s working for who from one minute to the next.

The whole Atlantis angle is a bit of a red herring as well, although understandable when you discover that director Paul Fleming (real name Domenico Paoella) helmed quite a few ‘Hercules’ pictures in his day and so was comfortable with actors in robes and togas. The lost city sets are also cheap and cheerful; just some underground caves filled with junk (sorry, sophisticated scientific machinery). SFX are limited to the forcefield that surrounds the place, but even this can easily be penetrated if you’re wearing a space suit.

Agente_003_Operación_Atlántida_(1965)

‘I don’t know which side I’m on, I only just got here and I’m about to die anyway.’

This Italian-Spanish co-production runs 90 minutes but it bears all the hallmarks of being cut down from a much longer source (possibly a TV Show?) New characters arrive and depart regularly with no regard to logic or the plot, many scenes are suddenly chopped short leaving wild gaps in logic and some principals change sides for seemingly no reason at all (not even a kiss or a wisecrack from the painfully smug Mr Steele).

There is also some lame comedy involving smuggling people in baggage trunks on airliners (did they ride in the hold then?!), some misogynist stuff that plants it firmly in the mid-1960s and a terribly weak climax. There were sequels of a kind (titles containing variations on the name ‘Agente S 03′) but none of them seem to have been directly related to this. Star Ericson wasn’t interested anyway; he’d already decamped to the U.S. where he was starring as Anne Francis’ sidekick on the ‘Honey West’ TV show. It was probably the pinnacle of his career, but many guest slots followed over the next quarter century on popular network shows such as ‘The Streets of San Francisco’, ‘Knight Rider’ and ‘The A Team’.

Not a whole lot of fun really; overall a wearing and rather pointless experience. Expectations aren’t high when viewing Euro-spy efforts inspired by Bond, but this is one of the worst examples that I’ve seen.

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