AKA: Operation Lady Chaplin
Country: Spain / Italy / France
Directed by Alberto De Martino
Ken Clark, Daniella Bianchi, Jacques Bergerac, Phillipe Hersent, Evelyn Stewart, Mabel Karr, Helga Liné
Music by Bruno Nicolai
Song, ‘Lady Chaplin’, sung by Bobby Solo
The surviving monk makes his way to the US Embassy in Madrid and bargains for immunity with a dog tag from a US Naval Officer. As you may have guessed, this man is not really a monk, and you’re probably wondering why would a dog tag be important. It just so happens that it belonged to an officer on the US Thresher, which was a submarine that sank twelve months previously. It went down in water so deep that it could not be salvaged. The Thresher also happened to be carrying sixteen Polaris missiles. Now if the sub was too deep to be salvaged, then how did the officers dog tag reach the surface? And that’s just exactly the question that Heston (Phillipe Hersent), the Head of the CIA wants answered. To get answers he turns to his top man, Dick Malloy, Agent 077.
Malloy is immediately shunted off to make contact with the surviving monk and retrieve the dog tag. As soon as he makes contact, a man in a black turtle neck pops up with a gun and tries to kill the monk. Malloy intervenes and the first of many chases takes place.
The nun who performed the hit at the monastery happens to be Arabel Chaplin (Daniella Bianchi), who is a master of disguise. She works for a slimy fellow called Kobra Zoltan (Jacques Bergerac). Zoltan just happens to run the world’s largest salvage company and is the only person who could have possibly reached the Thresher. He immediately becomes a prime suspect in Malloy’s investigations.
The third and in some ways finest of the 077 series is buoyed by the addition of Daniela Bianchi to the cast as the mysterious Lady Chaplin. Is she a good girl or a bad girl? Well it doesn’t really matter – during her scenes she is fine clothes horse, outfitted by some lurid creations by Casa d’Alta Moda. While this film clearly has a larger budget than the first two films in the series, the money appears to have gone solely to the very splashy wardrobes of the female stars. But sadly for poor old Ken Clark, the star of the series, he gets lumped with a set of trousers that are clearly too short for his lanky frame.
As with most Eurospy films, Special Mission Lady Chaplin benefits greatly from the location shooting for the outdoor action sequences. Rest assured that the interiors were filmed in Italy, but this story visits locations as diverse as New York, the Costa Del Sol, Madrid, London, Paris and finally Morocco. All in all, Special Mission Lady Chaplin is a pretty tight little thriller. As you’d expect from a film of this vintage, some of the ideas are a bit outlandish, but this film certainly isn’t as silly as many of it’s contemporaries.