The Fantastic Argoman/The Incredible Paris Incident (1967)

The Fantastic Argoman/The Incredible Paris Incident (1967) ‘I warn you, it will permeate and destroy your volition.’

Sir Reginald Hoover is an international trouble-shooter for the British Government. He also fights crime more directly as Argoman, a masked superhero with telekinetic powers. When the world is threatened by a super villain who steals the Crown Jewels as part of a plan to get a big diamond and create an automaton army(!), he swings into action to save the day.

Cheerful Bond/Superman Italian silliness with Roger Browne sporting a nifty yellow onesie, a black mask, cape and boots. In real life, he’s your typical millionaire playboy, using his telekinetic powers to kidnap a beautiful girl from a passing hovercraft and right into his waiting arms. With great power comes great responsibility, don’t you know? Anyway, this turns out to be a tactical error as the seemingly innocent girl is actually Jenebel, self-proclaimed ‘Queen of the World’, played by the lovely Dominique Boschero. He proposes an archery contest — a Rolls for her if she wins, a roll with him if she doesn’t – and the seduction technique (although questionable) works a treat as she bungles it. But the fact is he’s being played, as she knows (somehow) that he loses his superpowers for 6 hours after sex, and she wants to get her sweaty paws on that diamond.

This is good knockabout, goofy fun with plenty of colourful action and a powerhouse performance from Boschero, who has a great time in a series of extraordinary outfits. The police and authorities are ridiculously stupid (as usual), and, although there’s a lack of big set pieces, that kind of adds to the bargain basement charm. A good deal of the action is allegedly set in London, so we get all the usual visual and musical cues; the National Anthem on the soundtrack, shots of Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Tower Bridge, etc. When we move to Pairs, we get the obligatory scene shot at the Eiffel Tower.

The Fantastic Argoman (1967)

‘Nice weather we’re having this time of year, what?’

Director Sergio Grieco (as Terence Hathaway) had previous form in the genre with the rather dull and disappointing ‘Special Mission Lady Chaplain’ (1966), but delivers far more entertainment value here. Sadly, there were no direct sequels (an opportunity missed), but ‘SuperArgo Vs Diabolicus’ (1966)  and ‘SuperArgo Vs The Faceless Giants’ (1968) covered similar ground. Those films starred Giovanni Cianfriglia, who was billed under the somewhat less exotic name of Ken Wood.

Argoman gets some choice dialogue too, a particular highlight being when he gets all self-analytical in a conversation with his valet: ‘Sometimes l‘d prefer not to have my superpowers, if only to make my adventures a bit more difficult.’

Tongue wedged firmly in its cheek, this is one of the most enjoyable spy/superhero spoofs of the 1960s.

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