So Darling, So Deadly (1967)

So Darling So Deadly (1966)‘Alright, let’s stop talking about bananas.’

A secret agent and a police captain travel to Singapore at the request of a brilliant scientist. Surprisingly, the boffin has invented a device that ‘could be deadly in the wrong hands’ and international bad guys are after it.

Agent Joe Walker (Tony Kendall) and Captain Tom Rowland (Brad Harris) return in the second ‘Kommissar X’ spy caper/light-hearted Bond rip-off. The formula is pretty much unchanged since ‘Kiss Kiss… Kill Kill’ (1966) as two attempts are made to kill our heroes between the time they get off the plane and register at their hotel. More attacks follow before they even find out what it’s all about! The scientist has the obligatory beautiful daughter and the screenplay trots out all the other usual clichés without apology.

So Darling So Deadly (1966) 2

‘If you’re ‘The Golden Dragon’ why have you got a red bag on your head?’

Our villain is the Golden Dragon, a man who hides his obvious secret identity by wearing a red bag on his head. One of his main associates in the usual ‘white man in an Asian role.’ Kendall is too smug in the lead as before but, then again, we’re not seriously invested in the characters. This is pure escapist nonsense and not supposed to be anything more.  The budget doesn’t stretch to any big set pieces as such, but there is plenty of gunplay and the pace is quick enough that you can forgive the predictable plotting and lack of any original flourishes.

In the funniest scene, Harris cuts a mean rug at a hotel party before someone is killed with a dart gun poking out through a pair of curtains. How do assassins take aim in those circumstances? I’ve always wondered. Harris also choreographs all the action, mostly fistfights, and these are a cut above similar work of the period. Also, the explosive climax is surprisingly well realised. On the debit side, the jazzy soundtrack is too intrusive and a potentially great scene with Kendall trapped in a cage and menaced by falling blades is poorly executed.

This is a typical entry in the EuroSpy cycle of the 1960s. Although it avoids the worst aspects of the genre, it fails to achieve anything more than that.

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