Directed by Terrence Hathaway (Sergio Grieco)
Ken Clark, Fernando Sancho, Margaret Lee, Philippe Hersent, Franco Ressel, Vitorrio Sanipoli, Mikaela
Music by Piero Piccioni
Songs ‘Before It’s Too Late’ and ‘You Wonderful You’ sung by Lydia Macdonald
From The Orient With Fury (or any of the myriad of other names that this film goes by), is the second in the Ken Clark 077 series, and while being a slight step down form the first, Mission Bloody Mary, it is still a fairly slick Eurospy production. The film opens with a nice pop art rotoscope title sequence and Lydia Macdonald singing ‘Before It’s Too Late’.
In Istanbul, Professor Franz Kurtz (Ennio Balbo) arrives at a hotel, with a coterie of reporters at his heels. He has just invented a Beta Ray that disintegrates metal. Accompanying the Professor is C.I.A. agent McFlint, whose job is to protect the Professor. As they pass through the hotel lobby McFlint is called to the telephone. As he takes the call, the Professor makes his way up to his room. Waiting for him inside are a handful of burly gorillas dressed as the house band. The Goons kidnap the Professor, smuggling him out, hidden in a case for a double bass.
When McFlint finally makes it up to the Kurtz’s room, all he finds is a dead body slumped in an armchair. As McFlint investigates, the bomb goes off destroying the hotel room. Naturally, the authorities believe the dead man in the armchair was Professor Kurtz, and the newspapers of the world are filled with reports about his demise.
Meanwhile in Paris, the Head of the C.I.A., Heston (Philpe Hersent) is meeting with Kurtz’s daughter, Romy. He explains that he had the fingerprints checked and is positive that her father is alive. Now he intends to put his best man on the case to find the Professor. That man is Dick Malloy – Agent 077 (Ken Clark).
When we catch up with Dick Malloy, he is involved in a bar fight. For what reason, we never find out. As he is on holidays, maybe that is how he relaxes? Mid fight he is interrupted by a telephone call from Heston, and is sent to Paris for a briefing.
Malloy’s mission is to pick up the trail of the kidnappers and the Professor. His first task is to meet with one of the Professor’s colleagues, Preminger, at a night club called Martignon. Malloy is at the club at the allotted time. But unfortunately Preminger is followed by the hoods who kidnapped Professor Kurtz. Before he can talk to Malloy, he is silenced by a poison needle. With his dying breath Preminger says to Malloy, ‘Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony’.
With barely a lead to go on, Malloy proceeds to Preminger’s house in a black Chevolet. Naturally enough for this sort of film, the villains of the piece, follow Malloy and a car chase takes place. As it is a spy film, Malloy’s car comes equipped with rear machine guns, and he disables his pursuers vehicle. And since we are talking about cars, one thing puzzles me about the appearance of Malloy’s black Chevy. I realise the 077 films do not have the budget of a Bond or a Flint, and sometimes things have to be done on the cheap. What I find strange though, is that the film-makers were too lazy to clean the bird-shit off the car windows before shooting the scenes. It is quite strange to see an urbane, sophisticated secret agent driving with two giant ‘splats’ on his driver’s side window, next to his head – classy stuff!
A spy film like this, would be complete without a bevy of beautiful women, and this film has three. The first, I have already mentioned, is Romy Kurtz (Evi Marandi). She’s also a scientist like her father, but unlike him, she has been completing her work in Moscow, and she is not so keen for her father’s work to be handed over to the American’s if Malloy should succeed.
Next we have the evil villainess, Simone Coplan (Fabienne Dali). She gives as good as she gets, and for her trouble she gets slapped around a little bit. Not only does she have to put up with some violent treatment, she has to put up with Malloy saying clumsy dialogue like: ‘Out with it, baby!’ as he crudely tries to interrogate her.
After two thirds of the film have passed, a favourite for fans of Eurospy films, Margaret Lee makes an appearance. Her character is also a secret agent called, Evelyn Stone. When we first meet Stone, she is in Malloy’s hotel suite and taking a shower. She teams up with Malloy at the end to track the villains to their lair and find the Professor. But mostly, she gets to play her signature role, another ditzy blonde. But hey, that’s why we like her!
What makes this film the weakest of the three Ken Clark, Dick Malloy films is that the villains role and character are hardly defined. Goldwyn (Franco Ressel), the architect of this evil plot is barely seen throughout the picture till the very end, and then he is hardly menacing. In fact, Simone Coplan would have been better as ‘the chief’.
From The Orient With Fury is not a complete waste of time, and is a fairly slick Eurospy production, but it does seem to lack direction and a climax worthy of the preceding hundred minutes.
It is not my policy to endorse any particular company or product, but if you searching for a copy of this film, rather than scouring the grey market, Dorado Films Inc, in the United States have released a nice clean copy on DVD.
This review is based on the Dorado Films Inc. USA DVD.