Interpol 009 (1967)

Original Title: Te jing 009
Country: Hong Kong
Director: Yang Shu-hsi (Kô Nakahira)
Starring: Margaret Tu Chuan, Tang Ching, Shen Yi, Chang Pei-shan
Music: Eddie Wang

Generally my incursions into Shaw Brothers spy films have been enjoyable. Films like The Golden Buddha, Angel with the Iron Fists and Angel Strikes Back are flawed, but they are fast paced and filled with outrageous action and fights, beautiful girls, goofy gadgets, and eyepopping sets and fashion – what’s not to like. These films are very accessible to anyone who likes big scale Bondian action (providing you don’t mind subtitles). Then along comes Interpol 009, which is quite a bit different. I’ll be honest, it took me four sittings to get through this film, which on the surface may imply that it is a bad film – but I don’t think it is. It simply has a very different tone to the other Shaw Brothers spy films.

There are two reasons why this film is quite different. The first is that it is directed by Yang Shu-hsi (the other films I mentioned at the top were all directed by Lo Wei). Yang Shu-hsi is an adopted name for Japanese director Kô Nakahira who, before arriving in Hong Kong, did a stint at Japan’s hard-boiled Nikkatsu studios. So Nakahira’s directing style is quite different. He prefers location work to working on the Shaw Brothers studio lots. The second reason that Interpol 009 has a different feel to the other Shaw Brothers spy output/ Bond imitators – is that it is a remake of an earlier film made by Nakahira in Japan. Now I haven’t been able to find out which film this is a remake of, but three of the four films (including Interpol 009) that Nakahira directed in Hong Kong were remakes of his earlier work. So whereas The Golden Buddha, Angel with the Iron Fists, et al, where made deliberately to ride on the coat-tails of Bond, Interpol 009’s script is older and possibly predates Bondmania. The Bondian accoutrements have been added just to give the film a more contemporary feel. So at times, this film feels more like a detective story than a fully fledged spy film.

The film opens in Manilla and secret agent, Long Ping is meeting with an informant named Fang. As the two men exchange information they are set upon by a band of thugs. These thugs mean business and Ping and Fang end up floating face down in a lake with knives in their backs. When Interpol HQ in London hears about the demise of its agent, Chen Tianhong (agent 009) is called in to take over. Currently though, he is on a beach in France with two beautiful girls by his side. But duty calls and soon he is whisked away to Manilla. Here he meets with the Police chief who informs him that Long Ping was investigating the Fudu Trading Company. Fudu have been transporting restored cars from Hong Kong to Manilla, and everytime a shipment arrives, the city is swamped with counterfeit US bank notes.

Having gleaned all the information he can from Manilla, Agent 009 heads to the source, Hong Kong. Posing as a gambling, womanising cad, Agent 009 is soon on the trail of the bad guys. Well, to be honest it doesn’t take too much investigation. It just so happens that two of the chief suspects in the case, just happen to be on the same flight to Hong Kong. It’s just one of the many co-incidences that this film lays on. Then, as soon as 009 gets off the plane he is followed by the bad guys from the airport. They sure make it easy.

As I mentioned earlier, this film is not like a Bond film. It doesn’t have an evil mastermind or a spectacular underground lair for our villains to operate out of. If the Fudu Trading Company has a head guy, who is the uber villain, then we don’t even meet him over the course of the film — and equally if a head man exists, then he is not caught at the end of the film either. Essentially Agent 009 goes after the small fish, but the weird thing is that by the forty-five minute mark of this film, Chen Tianhong and the Hong Kong police have enough evidence to put the bad guys away — but instead chose to watch them a little longer, hoping to catch the main players, which they never really do.

What Interpol 009 has got going for it is Tang Ching as Chen Tianhong, Agent 009. Ching, who had served as second banana to Lily Ho in the Angel with the Iron Fists, gets to carry the show here, and he does a great job as the hard-drinking, womanising gambler. Ching would also turn up in the Angel strikes back, once again teaming with Lily Ho – and if to cement this pair’s cinematic relationship, Lily Ho has a nifty cameo at the end of this film.

Interpol 009 is quite okay as a spy film, but it’s detective story origins do slow the story down. Rather than outrageous confrontations between good and evil, such as fights and car chases, which are the hallmark of a spy film, this film has a lot of characters just sneaking around. First the bad guys follow Chen. Then he follows them. Thankfully towards the end, the confrontation we have been waiting for, finally happens, and the last twenty or so minutes of this film are pretty good, and would appease most spy film aficionados.

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Interpol 009 (1967)

The Ravishing Idiot (1963)

More from my wish list. Below are some posters from the Brigitte Bardot Eurospy film, The Ravishing Idiot. All reports indicate it isn’t a very good film at all, but I’m afraid if there is a spy film with Brigitte Bardot in it, I am the type of guy who has to track it down. I tried to order it from Amazon France a few years ago, but they politely told me it was no longer available. I may have to search Ebay or even check out some of the Grey Market sellers. But until then – enjoy the posters.


The Ravishing Idiot (1963)

The Order of the Black Eagle (1987)

Country: United States
Director: Worth Keeter
Starring: Ian Hunter, C.K Bibby, William Hicks, Jill Donnellan, Stephan Krayk, Anna Rapagna, Flo Hyman
Music: Dee Barton

I know it’s a cliche, but some movies are so bad that they are good, and The Order of the Black Eagle is one of them. It’s like four people with too much money got together and said, ‘Hey, let’s make a film!’ Each of these four people contributed a style of film that they wanted made – one said ‘James Bond’, another said a ‘Spaghetti Western’, the third said ‘like Raiders of the Lost Ark‘, and the fourth person in the room said, ‘I liked those Clint Eastwood movies with the Oran Utan’. So armed with that information scriptwriter Phil Behrens came up with a story that appeased these would be movie moguls…and the result is one of the most stupid but riotously entertaining movies ever made.

The merriment begins with vintage newsreel footage of Adolph Hitler ranting and raving — all the things we expect from Hitler. The footage fades to black and the words ‘THEY SAID IT COULDN’T HAPPEN AGAIN’ flash on the screen. Hmmm. Ominous. Then the film jumps to Geneva in Switzerland..today (today being 1987 in this instance). An awards ceremony is taking place and the recipient of the ‘International Science Award’ for his work in the field of lasers is Dr. George Brinkman (Stephan Krayk). Before Brinkman can finish his acceptance speech, a band of black clad Neo-Nazis smash through the windows and spray the room with machine gun fire. Everyone ducks for cover, and Brinkman is kidnapped and spirited outside. Next he is tied to a cable and winched up to a chopper waiting overhead.

Meanwhile, the world’s coolest secret agent, Duncan Jax (Ian Hunter) — even if his hair is thinning — is retrieving some diamonds that have been stolen from the Smithsonian Museum. These diamonds are in a sealed vault that has invisible laser beams criss-crossing the room. Despite these hi-tech precautions, there is still a bloody big air vent in the room, and wearing a pair of infra-red glasses, Jax enters the room via the vent and makes his way to the diamonds. However, as Jax tucks away the diamonds and prepares to exit, he is a trifle clumsy and drops the glasses. This sets of the alarm and the guards come en masse. Jax now has to fight his way out, which he does with relative ease. And thankfully he also has an accomplice to help him on the roof. The accomplice is named ‘Boon’ and he happens to be a baboon. Boon is waiting in Jax’s Ultralight plane, and when Jax gives the signal, Boon starts the engine. Naturally Jax and Boon fly off to safety.

Now after that teaser, the real story begins. It seems that a Neo-Nazi organisation called the Order of the Black Eagle are behind the kidnapping of Dr. Brinkman. The Black Eagle are run by a millionaire called Baron Ernst Von Teppisch (William Hicks). Their top secret headquarters is located in an ancient temple ruins in the jungles of South America – and their aim is to rule the world with a supreme white race. We know all this because Jax is being briefed for his mission — which is to rescue Dr. Brinkman and destroy the Nazi base — by a man named Star (C.K. Bibby). Star is your ‘M’ type. The reason that Jax has been selected for this mission (apart from the fact that he’s the best) is that he is the dead ringer for an American member of the Order called Bladen. Bladen has been captured and Jax is to take his place during a meeting of all the Neo-Nazi leaders at the jungle headquarters.

As Bladen has an assistant, so too must Jax (no, no — Boon has to stay home), and assigned to partner him on the mission is Miss Tiffany Youngblood (Jill Donnellan). Before you know it Jax and Youngblood are inside the Nazi compound and they find out what the Baron von Teppisch is up to. You’ll be pleased to know that he is developing a proton beam that can shoot down telecommunications satellites. By controlling space, he figures he can control the world. But this is only half of it — von Teppisch also has Adolph Hitler’s cyrogenically frozen body, and he intends to unfreeze the Fuhrer, to once again wreak his special kind of madness on the world.

I won’t outline too much more of the plot as it is rather nonsensical, but halfway through the story adds another layer of contrivance. Here Jax picks up a band of mercenaries to help him with the destruction of the Nazi compound. The first is Maxie Ryder (Anna Rapagna) — who is pretty hot. Ryder has given up life in the big city for a life in the jungle. Then there’s Hammer (Joe Coltrane), Juice (James Eric), Cowboy (Bill Gribbel), S.D. Terry Loughlin), Spike (Flo Hyman) and Bolt (Dean Whitworth). With a team with names like that you can expect a reasonable amount of mayhem, and they deliver. The film has motorcycle, boat and hovercraft chases and a generous amount of explosions — you know the kind, the big Hollywood orange fireball type ones. Many Nazis die – most seem to hit a hidden trampoline just after the explosion and fly through the air onto a pile of oil drums.

There is one strange bit (one, who am I kidding!) in the film where it seems like the characters got bored with just playing out spy film cliches and decided to turn the film into a western for a while, complete with a gang of unshaven banditos encircling the cantina where our heroes are holed up.

The Order of the Black Eagle is a film that has many lowlight highlights, but the one that will stick in my mind till the end of my days happens as the good guys storm the Nazi compound. As each of the mercenaries goes about their business killing Nazis, Boon enters the picture once again, which is good, because I was kind of missing the little fella. Well, you may be thinking ‘What can a baboon do?’ In this instance he can drive a tank.

And it’s not just any tank — it’s one that looks to be ripped off from the dragon in Dr. No.

So, what we have is a baboon driving around an army tank, firing missiles, with pin-point accuracy at the buildings in the Nazi compound. I am afraid my feeble words cannot do justice to the absurdity of the scene. Needless to say, to me this was so funny, it almost hurt to watch. Forget Clyde, or Lancelot Link — if you want a real simian hero, look no further than Boon!

I know The Order of the Black Eagle is crap (and the film-makers know it too and just have fun with it), but for the jaded spy film fan, this is just the tonic — a film so stupid that it is brilliant. It has all the spy cliches, girls, gadgets, an evil villain with a plan for world domination, a frozen Hitler, and heaps of explosions. It, in its way, is possibly the greatest film of its kind and succeeds where many parodies have failed. Enjoy!

The Order of the Black Eagle (1987)

The Order of the Black Eagle (1987)

Country: United States
Director: Worth Keeter
Starring: Ian Hunter, C.K Bibby, William Hicks, Jill Donnellan, Stephan Krayk, Anna Rapagna, Flo Hyman
Music: Dee Barton

I know it’s a cliche, but some movies are so bad that they are good, and The Order of the Black Eagle is one of them. It’s like four people with too much money got together and said, ‘Hey, let’s make a film!’ Each of these four people contributed a style of film that they wanted made – one said ‘James Bond’, another said a ‘Spaghetti Western’, the third said ‘like Raiders of the Lost Ark‘, and the fourth person in the room said, ‘I liked those Clint Eastwood movies with the Oran Utan’. So armed with that information scriptwriter Phil Behrens came up with a story that appeased these would be movie moguls…and the result is one of the most stupid but riotously entertaining movies ever made.

The merriment begins with vintage newsreel footage of Adolph Hitler ranting and raving — all the things we expect from Hitler. The footage fades to black and the words ‘THEY SAID IT COULDN’T HAPPEN AGAIN’ flash on the screen. Hmmm. Ominous. Then the film jumps to Geneva in Switzerland..today (today being 1987 in this instance). An awards ceremony is taking place and the recipient of the ‘International Science Award’ for his work in the field of lasers is Dr. George Brinkman (Stephan Krayk). Before Brinkman can finish his acceptance speech, a band of black clad Neo-Nazis smash through the windows and spray the room with machine gun fire. Everyone ducks for cover, and Brinkman is kidnapped and spirited outside. Next he is tied to a cable and winched up to a chopper waiting overhead.

Meanwhile, the world’s coolest secret agent, Duncan Jax (Ian Hunter) — even if his hair is thinning — is retrieving some diamonds that have been stolen from the Smithsonian Museum. These diamonds are in a sealed vault that has invisible laser beams criss-crossing the room. Despite these hi-tech precautions, there is still a bloody big air vent in the room, and wearing a pair of infra-red glasses, Jax enters the room via the vent and makes his way to the diamonds. However, as Jax tucks away the diamonds and prepares to exit, he is a trifle clumsy and drops the glasses. This sets of the alarm and the guards come en masse. Jax now has to fight his way out, which he does with relative ease. And thankfully he also has an accomplice to help him on the roof. The accomplice is named ‘Boon’ and he happens to be a baboon. Boon is waiting in Jax’s Ultralight plane, and when Jax gives the signal, Boon starts the engine. Naturally Jax and Boon fly off to safety.

Now after that teaser, the real story begins. It seems that a Neo-Nazi organisation called the Order of the Black Eagle are behind the kidnapping of Dr. Brinkman. The Black Eagle are run by a millionaire called Baron Ernst Von Teppisch (William Hicks). Their top secret headquarters is located in an ancient temple ruins in the jungles of South America – and their aim is to rule the world with a supreme white race. We know all this because Jax is being briefed for his mission — which is to rescue Dr. Brinkman and destroy the Nazi base — by a man named Star (C.K. Bibby). Star is your ‘M’ type. The reason that Jax has been selected for this mission (apart from the fact that he’s the best) is that he is the dead ringer for an American member of the Order called Bladen. Bladen has been captured and Jax is to take his place during a meeting of all the Neo-Nazi leaders at the jungle headquarters.

As Bladen has an assistant, so too must Jax (no, no — Boon has to stay home), and assigned to partner him on the mission is Miss Tiffany Youngblood (Jill Donnellan). Before you know it Jax and Youngblood are inside the Nazi compound and they find out what the Baron von Teppisch is up to. You’ll be pleased to know that he is developing a proton beam that can shoot down telecommunications satellites. By controlling space, he figures he can control the world. But this is only half of it — von Teppisch also has Adolph Hitler’s cyrogenically frozen body, and he intends to unfreeze the Fuhrer, to once again wreak his special kind of madness on the world.

I won’t outline too much more of the plot as it is rather nonsensical, but halfway through the story adds another layer of contrivance. Here Jax picks up a band of mercenaries to help him with the destruction of the Nazi compound. The first is Maxie Ryder (Anna Rapagna) — who is pretty hot. Ryder has given up life in the big city for a life in the jungle. Then there’s Hammer (Joe Coltrane), Juice (James Eric), Cowboy (Bill Gribbel), S.D. Terry Loughlin), Spike (Flo Hyman) and Bolt (Dean Whitworth). With a team with names like that you can expect a reasonable amount of mayhem, and they deliver. The film has motorcycle, boat and hovercraft chases and a generous amount of explosions — you know the kind, the big Hollywood orange fireball type ones. Many Nazis die – most seem to hit a hidden trampoline just after the explosion and fly through the air onto a pile of oil drums.

There is one strange bit (one, who am I kidding!) in the film where it seems like the characters got bored with just playing out spy film cliches and decided to turn the film into a western for a while, complete with a gang of unshaven banditos encircling the cantina where our heroes are holed up.

The Order of the Black Eagle is a film that has many lowlight highlights, but the one that will stick in my mind till the end of my days happens as the good guys storm the Nazi compound. As each of the mercenaries goes about their business killing Nazis, Boon enters the picture once again, which is good, because I was kind of missing the little fella. Well, you may be thinking ‘What can a baboon do?’ In this instance he can drive a tank.

And it’s not just any tank — it’s one that looks to be ripped off from the dragon in Dr. No.

So, what we have is a baboon driving around an army tank, firing missiles, with pin-point accuracy at the buildings in the Nazi compound. I am afraid my feeble words cannot do justice to the absurdity of the scene. Needless to say, to me this was so funny, it almost hurt to watch. Forget Clyde, or Lancelot Link — if you want a real simian hero, look no further than Boon!

I know The Order of the Black Eagle is crap (and the film-makers know it too and just have fun with it), but for the jaded spy film fan, this is just the tonic — a film so stupid that it is brilliant. It has all the spy cliches, girls, gadgets, an evil villain with a plan for world domination, a frozen Hitler, and heaps of explosions. It, in its way, is possibly the greatest film of its kind and succeeds where many parodies have failed. Enjoy!

The Order of the Black Eagle (1987)

Blofeld sings…

Well not really. It’s Telly Savalas singing – (although they are more spoken word vocals). If you’re interested in what an evil mastermind sounds like in the recording studio, then here’s your chance to find out, thanks to MP3 MIX by JENSONBRASIL.

To download the album, click here.

Although I don’t know if you’re going to thank me for this link…his version of ‘You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling’ makes me cry for all the wrong reasons.

Who loves ya, baby!

Blofeld sings…

The 100 Dollar Gang (1965)

AKA: Night Of Murder In Manhattan
Director: Harald Philipp
Starring: George Nader, Heinz Weiss, Richard Munch, Monika Grimm, Sidney Solar
Music: Peter Thomas

One of the confusing things about Eurospy films is that they go by many different titles. This particular film appears to be more popularly known to English speaking audiences as Night Of Murder In Manhattan (or Manhattan Night of Murder), but I am calling it The 100 Dollar Gang because that is the name that popped up in the titles on my screen as I was watching the film. The reason I do this is quite simply — so you know what version I am reviewing. With the various different titles, Eurospy films can have different audio dubs and editing too. On several occasions I have looked at my trusty copy of The Eurospy Guide and have been confused at Matt or David’s take on a particular film. However they are not wrong — they are simply looking at a very different copy of the film to me. Equally, when you read one of my reviews for a Eurospy flick you may think I am off beam.

Having said all that, I do not think that there is too much difference between the versions for this, the second of the Jerry Cotton movies starring George Nader. I just wanted to clarify why I am calling this film a different name to other reviewers.

Now I haven’t seen all of the Jerry Cotton films — I have seen six of the eight — and I’d have to say I have enjoyed them all, and The 100 Dollar Gang is no exception, but it is possibly the weakest film in the series I have seen so far. At times it almost seems like a documentary about the FBI. There is endless footage, on several occasions through this film of FBI headquarters and nameless characters going through there mundane (although incredibly important) work. There are rows of computer banks and reams of continuous fed computer paper and there are specialists looking through microscopes. It’s all meant to look hi-tech — and I guess it was in 1965 — but with today’s advances it all looks hokey. But even back in 1965, filler footage was filler footage. This is padding and it slows the story down, just when you want it to get cracking.

The villains in this film are a gang of protection racketeers called ‘The 100 Dollar Gang’, because they shake down the local shop owners for $100 a month. As the film opens an old man is closing up his shop. With him is his grandson Billy (Uwe Reichmeister). As the old man goes to lock up, a racketeer comes in and demands money. The old man tries to hold out and gets slapped around for his trouble. Finally he pays up and the racketeer leaves — but he has a shadow, in the form of Billy who follows the gang member.

Next stop for the racketeer is a petrol station. He shakes down the owner, Sally (Monika Grimm) for $100. Next the racketeer moves onto a restaurant called Guiseppe’s. The owner, Guiseppe (naturally), refuses to pay. In fact he forcibly throws the racketeer out. But, as you may guess, the racketeer returns with a gang of thugs. Billy who has been following and watching is standing outside the window. He sees the goons trash the restaurant and then as Guiseppe tries to call the police, somebody pull a gun and shots him. The only witness is Billy, and soon he is the target of The 100 Dollar Gang.

The FBI are called in to investigate, and their two best men are assigned to the case — Jerry Cotton (George Nader) and Phil Dekker (Heinz Weiss). One thing I love about the Cotton films is that Jerry usually has to perform some ridiculous stunt to get out of trouble — accompanied to Peter Thomas’ rousing theme. In The 100 Dollar Gang, the stunts aren’t too vigorous. But none-the-less the film has a few pleasing action scenes. The first is a foot chase through an industrial site, which culminates in a dangling rescue attempt, performed by Jerry, for a perp who has fallen into a coal pit. Later, Jerry crawls around on the outside ledge of a delapidated factory, while inside a bomb awaits behind a door. Next there’s a brutal rampage in a supermarket storeroom. And finally there’s a car chase where, Jerry in his red Jaguar chases the villains in a white Stingray.

Ultimately I enjoy the Jerry Cotton films, but this appears to be one of the weaker ones and while it is pleasant enough, it doesn’t quite have the weight of some of the other films. Even though it only runs 90 minutes, it could have done with some trimming to tighten up the story.

The 100 Dollar Gang (1965)

The 100 Dollar Gang (1965)

AKA: Night Of Murder In Manhattan
Director: Harald Philipp
Starring: George Nader, Heinz Weiss, Richard Munch, Monika Grimm, Sidney Solar
Music: Peter Thomas

One of the confusing things about Eurospy films is that they go by many different titles. This particular film appears to be more popularly known to English speaking audiences as Night Of Murder In Manhattan (or Manhattan Night of Murder), but I am calling it The 100 Dollar Gang because that is the name that popped up in the titles on my screen as I was watching the film. The reason I do this is quite simply — so you know what version I am reviewing. With the various different titles, Eurospy films can have different audio dubs and editing too. On several occasions I have looked at my trusty copy of The Eurospy Guide and have been confused at Matt or David’s take on a particular film. However they are not wrong — they are simply looking at a very different copy of the film to me. Equally, when you read one of my reviews for a Eurospy flick you may think I am off beam.

Having said all that, I do not think that there is too much difference between the versions for this, the second of the Jerry Cotton movies starring George Nader. I just wanted to clarify why I am calling this film a different name to other reviewers.

Now I haven’t seen all of the Jerry Cotton films — I have seen six of the eight — and I’d have to say I have enjoyed them all, and The 100 Dollar Gang is no exception, but it is possibly the weakest film in the series I have seen so far. At times it almost seems like a documentary about the FBI. There is endless footage, on several occasions through this film of FBI headquarters and nameless characters going through there mundane (although incredibly important) work. There are rows of computer banks and reams of continuous fed computer paper and there are specialists looking through microscopes. It’s all meant to look hi-tech — and I guess it was in 1965 — but with today’s advances it all looks hokey. But even back in 1965, filler footage was filler footage. This is padding and it slows the story down, just when you want it to get cracking.

The villains in this film are a gang of protection racketeers called ‘The 100 Dollar Gang’, because they shake down the local shop owners for $100 a month. As the film opens an old man is closing up his shop. With him is his grandson Billy (Uwe Reichmeister). As the old man goes to lock up, a racketeer comes in and demands money. The old man tries to hold out and gets slapped around for his trouble. Finally he pays up and the racketeer leaves — but he has a shadow, in the form of Billy who follows the gang member.

Next stop for the racketeer is a petrol station. He shakes down the owner, Sally (Monika Grimm) for $100. Next the racketeer moves onto a restaurant called Guiseppe’s. The owner, Guiseppe (naturally), refuses to pay. In fact he forcibly throws the racketeer out. But, as you may guess, the racketeer returns with a gang of thugs. Billy who has been following and watching is standing outside the window. He sees the goons trash the restaurant and then as Guiseppe tries to call the police, somebody pull a gun and shots him. The only witness is Billy, and soon he is the target of The 100 Dollar Gang.

The FBI are called in to investigate, and their two best men are assigned to the case — Jerry Cotton (George Nader) and Phil Dekker (Heinz Weiss). One thing I love about the Cotton films is that Jerry usually has to perform some ridiculous stunt to get out of trouble — accompanied to Peter Thomas’ rousing theme. In The 100 Dollar Gang, the stunts aren’t too vigorous. But none-the-less the film has a few pleasing action scenes. The first is a foot chase through an industrial site, which culminates in a dangling rescue attempt, performed by Jerry, for a perp who has fallen into a coal pit. Later, Jerry crawls around on the outside ledge of a delapidated factory, while inside a bomb awaits behind a door. Next there’s a brutal rampage in a supermarket storeroom. And finally there’s a car chase where, Jerry in his red Jaguar chases the villains in a white Stingray.

Ultimately I enjoy the Jerry Cotton films, but this appears to be one of the weaker ones and while it is pleasant enough, it doesn’t quite have the weight of some of the other films. Even though it only runs 90 minutes, it could have done with some trimming to tighten up the story.

The 100 Dollar Gang (1965)