A foreign agent has stolen a brand new radioactive element, built it into a cine camera, and sent it to Cairo for collection by a Russian agent. But the camera is sold to a tourist by mistake and a British Special Agent is sent to recover it.
Above average 1960s Eurospy outing starring Roger Browne as this week’s ‘Bond on a Budget’ agent Martin Stevens. Predictably, the story is no great shakes, with most of the usual clichés of the genre making an early appearance. Browne finds the mysterious Rosalba Neri in his shower when he checks into his hotel room (lucky man!), there’s the usual tourist board footage (an agent is shot climbing the great pyramid!), and the plot takes our hero on a wild goose chase to other European cities, in this case Rome and Locarno in Switzerland.
Having said that, it’s all good, breezy fun, and a notch above most of the other identikit spy thrillers of the period. Browne (an American who spent almost his entire career in Italian films) displays more charisma and screen presence than the vast majority of secret agents that were running around Europe in the mid-1960s and, of course went onto star in the title role of kitsch superhero classic ‘The Fantastic Argoman’/’The Incredible Paris Incident’ (1967).
The rest of the cast also helps, with Neri as gorgeous and exotic as ever, Fabienne Dali’ providing our hero with a pretty alternative and ex-Nazi villain Massimo Serato suitably suave and cruel. Although the budget doesn’t allow for any big set pieces, the story moves quickly and retains audience interest.
Italian director Umberto Lenzi knocked out a few of these pictures in the 1960s before his career swung into the horror genre with films like ‘Nightmare City’ (1980) and ‘Cannibal Ferox (1981), both of which got the British censors hot under the collar during the hysterical ‘Video Nasty’ scandal of the early 1980s.
Browne returned as Stevens the following year in ‘The Spy Who Loved Flowers’ (1966).