Foreign agents will stop at nothing to obtain a microfilm that contains secrets from a rocket laboratory. An American spy is sent to Rome to retrieve it after one of his colleagues is murdered, but he soon discovers that a super-villain is at work and there may be a traitor back at Headquarters…
Painfully boring Italian-German-Spanish Eurospy production with U.S. actor Wayde Preston taking his turn as week’s ‘Bond On A Budget’ on the trail of an all-important microfilm that ‘must not fall into the wrong hands.’ Unfortunately for the audience, his mission mostly involves wandering about the streets of Rome and Beirut, getting waylaid every now and then by one gang of faceless henchmen after another. The inevitable fisticuffs follow. Who are all these goons? Well, I kind of lost track if l’m honest. And it wasn’t really because of a labyrinthine plot rammed full of surprising twists and turns, either. It was more to do with the problem I was having staying awake.
At the start of the film, we join Preston already on the job in predictable super-spy fashion; lounging around in bed with a luscious brunette called Lolita. There’s a knock on the door. It’s the police. ‘How old are you?’ he asks the girl in a sudden panic. Oh dear. It’s not exactly the most auspicious introduction to our handsome hero, but it is awfully 1960s, ain’t it?! The early morning call actually turns out to be a summons from his boss (Reinhard Kolldehoff) to take the case. There’s been a botched robbery at the rocket lab down the road, and one of the enemy agents was found with a microfilm camera hidden in his false teeth. Enjoy this while you can, because it’s pretty much the only gadget the film has to offer!
Preston enjoys better luck on the female front, with his first contact in Rome being exotic dancer Yasmine (Pamela Tudor). Then he chats up sexy blonde Lyda (Lisa Halvorsen) on his flight to Beirut, although she does have a photograph of him in her handbag, which is a little suspicious considering they’ve only just met.
Back in Rome, there’s nosey hotel maid Fawzia (Kai Fischer) as well as the forgetful Solange (Helga Sommerﬁeld), who really needs a lesson in how to behave in one of these films. You’re not supposed to leave your handbag in the hero’s hotel room, you’re supposed to be waiting in the shower for him, having ‘accidentally’ walked into the wrong room! All of them (unsurprisingly) turn out to be heavily involved in the intrigue on one side or the other. There’s also a man with a moustache hiding behind a magazine in the hotel lobby; his mission seemingly to leave no cliché unturned.
One of the few discussion points to arise from this dreary sequence of events is to reflect on Preston’s performance as an agent. Ok, so he’s good in a fist fight but why doesn’t he ever interrogate any of his defeated opponents afterwards? Why does he just leave them where they fall, presumably to take up their evil mission again? Why do most of the women he meets end up getting shot or pushed out of a window? Why does his boss have to screen a film to show him that he’s been followed on the street? Shouldn’t he have noticed that himself? It wasn’t exactly subtle! And why does he fail to finish off the main villain when he incapacitates him at the climax? He has plenty of opportunity to do so, but just doesn’t bother, and gets a bullet in the shoulder because of it! ln short, he’s so incompetent that it’s almost as if the film was originally written as a spoof!
If there were comedic intentions here, they were lost along the way, although the film certainly doesn’t take itself all that seriously. Strangely enough, the plot (such as it is) often resembles more of a straight cold war thriller than a ‘Bond’ knock-off, with the protagonists playing games of bluff and double bluff solely for the reason of hiding their true objectives.
Preston was briefly a U.S. TV star in the late 1950s. taking the title role of Christopher Colt in three seasons of the Western show ‘Colt .45’, a spinoff from his guest appearances on the more successful ‘Tenderfoot’. Sommerfield turned up opposite Margaret Lee in the similar ‘Spy Pit’ (1967) and Fischer tackled the ‘Maneater of Hydra’ (1967) along with a hilariously OTT Cameron Mitchell.
These are lifeless spy cuffuffles that never burst into any semblance of life. Some small entertainment value comes from the convoluted dialogue of the English dub track, but that’s not really a sufficient reason to waste 90 minutes of your life.