One of the brightest of the spy spoofs that appeared in the wake of the Bond craze that took off with the success of Goldfinger, this film was based on the first novel in the James Leasor’s Dr. Jason Love series. Leasor was a British thriller writer who also wrote historical fiction and popular history (Nemesis, The Sea Wolves, etc).
In the film version, David Niven (who is a bit older than the character in the books, but otherwise perfect) is Dr. Love, a country GP who once did a bit of intelligence work. He’s approached for a simple mission that should be a holiday and enticed into it because he collects vintage Cords. That’s part of his cover as well. What could go wrong? Just about everything.
First some one blows his plane up, then his contact is killed. Love stumbles on a Soviet-backed assassination plot designed to set the Middle East on fire. He’s betrayed by the beautiful Dorléac, damn near killed, and ends up being kidnapped on a Soviet ‘peace mission’ flight and has to arrange a last minute Arctic escape.
A terrific cast and the personable Niven make this one a pleasure. The script is smart, and for once funny. Add into the mix good location filming and a superior cast, and you have a film that works both as a spy film, a comedy, and a spoof. And it doesn’t hurt that Niven was not only a friend of Ian Fleming, but one of the real life models for James Bond (a role he only played in the disappointing spoof Casino Royale). —Mysteryfile.com
Val Guest (11 December 1911 – 10 May 2006) was a British film director, best known for his science-fiction films for Hammer Film Productions in the 1950s, but who also enjoyed a long, varied and active career in the film industry from the early 1930s up until the early 1980s.
He was born Valmond Maurice Grossmann in London, England, and educated at Seaford College. Guest’s initial career was as an actor, appearing in various productions in London theatres. He also appeared in a few early sound film roles, before he gave up an acting career and moved into writing. For a time in the early 1930s he was the London correspondent for the Hollywood Reporter trade paper, before he began working on film screenplays for Gainsborough Pictures, his first being No Monkey Business in 1935.
He wrote screenplays for the rest of the decade, including working on scripts for Will Hay, as well as some film scores, before in the early 1940s becoming a director, with his debut feature in this… read more