A 008 Operazione Stermino (1965)

A 008 Operazione Stermino (1965)‘It’s all in my book: ‘How to be a secret agent in 10 days’…’

An evil super villain kidnaps a top research scientist and tries to get his hands on the boffin’s secret invention; a device which will block radar signals. Of course, it’s imperative that the technology doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, so a special agent is dispatched to sort it all out.

Unremarkable mid-1960s Eurospy effort with this week’s ‘Bond On A Budget’ played by German actress Ingrid Schoeller. Yes, it’s a woman! Of course, she’s immediately saddled with a male partner from British Intelligence (Alberto Lupo) but, surprisingly, she still gets to call most of the shots. It’s the only way this effort differs from the hundreds of similar films being made at the time; plot and characters being completely predictable, and the story rarely straying from the obvious formula. Schoeller does do some fighting, shooting and snogging, but none of it is very edgy or convincing. However, the approach is still to be applauded when nearly all the women in the genre were simply femme fatales, or just window dressing.

Inevitably, there are several occasions when Lupo takes on the heavy lifting, particularly after their car has been sabotaged on the way to Switzerland. Actually, when that happens, I couldn’t help feeling a better outcome would have resulted if he’d stopped trying to grab the wheel and let Schoeller get on with it! Curiously enough, Lupo looks a lot like future a James Bond, George Lazenby, but is probably best remembered now for playing the title role of the silly, but entertaining, ‘Atom Age Vampire’ (1960).

A 008 Operazione Stermino (1965)

‘No, the name’s not Bond. Whatever gave you that idea?’

The action scenes are reasonably staged, if unimaginative, although there is some interesting design work on the anti-radar device. On the debit side, the gadgets are limited to hidden cameras and microphones, and the villains are fairly colourless, although one shoots metal blades from what appears to be an artificial hand.

This was the first film in the genre by the prolific Italian director Umberto Lenzi, who knocked out about half a dozen of these pictures in the mid-1960s. Most of them were unremarkable, but did include the slick ‘Super Seven: Calling Cairo’ (1965), which is one of the better examples of the type. Later on, he became infamous (in the UK at least) as the man behind a couple of the horror flicks banned as part of the ridiculous, right-wing media-created ‘Video Nasty’ scandal of the early 1980s.

A very middling example of the Eurospy genre.

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