Mission Bloody Mary is one of the best entries in the Eurospy genre. Ken Clark is Dick Malloy, Agent 077, on the trail of The Black Lotus, an evil organisation who have stolen a nuclear warhead. Sure, the film borrows heavily from Thunderball and even From Russia With Love but is done fairly slickly and paced so rapidly, you don’t have time to notice the holes in the plot.
Let’s look at the holey plot. It’s an absolutely miserable night. As the rain teems down a military jeep makes it’s way toward the Strategic Air Command base in Coatbridge (near Glasgow) A loan airforce officer is driving. As he approaches the base, a young lady, Kuan (Mitsouko), all dressed in red and soaked to the skin, flags him down. Her car has broken down. He offers assistance (who wouldn’t?) For his trouble he ends up with a knife in his belly. Two other men emerge from the shadows. One on them dons an airforce uniform and takes the officers place behind the wheel. He proceeds to the base and past the sentries.
The movie cuts to a montage of newspapers from around the world. Each proclaims that a U.S. aircraft carrying nuclear warheads has crashed in France. In Washington intelligence chiefs have gathered and are discussing the incident. The plane was carrying a new nuclear weapon, the B-32, also known as ‘The Bloody Mary’. When the crash site was examined, the weapon was gone. It is agreed the weapon has be recovered discreetly. The head of the C.I.A., Mr. Heston (Philippe Hersent)assigns his best agent, Dick Malloy. Agent 077 (Ken Clark). Clark is a big hairy mountain of a man, which is a bit of a plus. When he gets into a fist-fight (which happens quite a bit), you can actually believe if he hit you, it would hurt. On the negative side (and this might just be the dubbing), he doesn’t seem too bright. He walks into a lot of traps set by the enemy.
When we first meet Malloy, he is entertaining a young lady. Barely dressed, they are rolling around on the bed, drinking champagne, and listening Nat King Cole records (well that’s the record sleeve beside the player – although it sounds remarkably like an instrumental of the title tune). His nocturnal activities are disrupted when he is called into the office. In the best sense of sixties style and fashion, Malloy slips on a snazzy red turtleneck (and trousers) and heads into the office.
His briefing takes place on the target range, where he is being fitted with a new range of weapons. Heston explains that The Black Lily, an evil organisation, is behind the theft of The Bloody Mary. Their headquarters are in France at the Betz Clinique. Malloy’s contact there will be Dr. Freeman. And in the best tradition of spy movies, there is a code phrase that Malloy will use to identify himself: ‘I am an old friend from San Francisco’.
Sooner rather than later, Malloy turns up at the Betz Clinique and makes his pre-arranged rendezvous with Dr. Freeman. Malloy is delighted to find out that Dr. Freeman is in a fact Elsa Freeman (Helga Liné), a woman.
Mission Bloody Mary has some good scenes. There’s a roof top gun battle, a sequence on a train (what good spy film doesn’t have a train scene?), a barroom brawl, and a stoush in the cargo hold of a ship. And there’s the usual double crossing, and false identities that you’d expect in a spy film. The movie also features a good musical score by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. It’s a brassy trumpet sound, which at times seems like it would be better suited to a Spaghetti Western than a spy film. But all in all, this is a pretty good Eurospy package.
It is not my policy to endorse any particular company or product, but if you are 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.
For other Dick Malloy, Agent 077 films, see also:
From The Orient With Fury
Special Mission Lady Chaplin