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 Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967)

AKA: The 1000 Eyes of Su-Muru, The Slaves of Sumuru, Sumuru
Director: Lindsay Shonteff
Starring: Frankie Avalon, George Nader, Shirley Eaton, Wilfred Hyde White, Klaus Kinski, Maria Rohm
Music: Johnny Scott

Director, Lindsay Shonteff is singularly responsible for some of the worst spy films ever made, No 1 Licensed To Love And Kill readily springs to mind. And I am afraid The Million Eyes Of Sumuru does nothing to redeem Shonteff in the ‘million eyes’ of spy movie fans all over the world.

Maybe Shonteff isn’t solely to blame for The Million Eyes Of Sumuru. Producer Harry Alan Towers may have to share some of the burden. He is the man who bought us the sixties, Christopher Lee, series of Fu Manchu films. Some footage from the second Sumuru film (Seven Secrets Of Sumuru – AKA Future Women), featuring Shirley Eaton, mysteriously found its way into The Blood Of Fu Manchu. Apparently Miss Eaton was not happy about it, and who could blame her.

The film opens with a Chinese funeral procession. A group of young men march along behind the coffin, while on the side of the road, a girl watches on. Then we hear a voice-over from Sumuru herself (Shirley Eaton):

’This is the funeral of the richest man in the world…
These are his seventeen sons…
Soon they will share his fate…
Along with all other men who oppose my will…
The eyes of this girl are watching them…
As maybe, some other girl’s eyes are watching you…
I have a million eyes…
For I am Sumuru!’

A bomb goes off as the procession crosses a bridge and the seventeen sons are killed, and the titles roll.

Then we meet Sumuru in the flesh. She lives on an island with her own private army of women. But there is a problem with one of her disciples. One girl, operating out of Rome, has done the unthinkable – she has fallen in love! Sumuru decides to travel to Italy and ‘take care’ of the traitor personally. A voice over provides another piece of Sumuru’s manifesto:

’In the war against mankind, to achieve our aim, a world of peace and beauty ruled by women, we have but one weakness, which must be rooted out and destroyed…Love!’

We see these words put into action, when three women in black bikinis, drown a woman in a white bikini. So much for love!

Still in Rome, next we meet C.I.A. agent Nick West (George Nader). He is greeted by Sir Anthony Baisbrook (Wilfred Hyde-White), who works for H.M.G. (Her Majesty’s Government). It appears that the girl who was killed, is the secretary for the Syronesian Chief Of Security, Colonel Medika (Jon Fong). Sir Anthony seconds West into finding out who the killer is. Along for the ride is Tommy Carter (Frankie Avalon). Carter is not a swinging sixties secret agent. He’s just a spoiled dilettante with too much spare time. You see, his father left him eighteen million dollars – that’d do it!

West meets with Medika and they thrash out the path the investigation will take. But soon after the meeting, Medika is kidnapped by Sumuru’s agents, and West is left to solve the remainder of the puzzle, along with a little help from Carter, of course.

Sometimes when I jot down a synopsis, as I read back, I think ‘that doesn’t sound bad’. And Sumuru, on paper at least, has all the elements to make a great spy film. Unfortunately it is lumbered with poor dialogue, poor cinematography, and generally poor direction. There is an air of cynicism and perversion that pervades the whole film. You would expect a film that features a scantily clad all girl army, to be slightly erotic. Or at least a good perv, but this film features weird camera angles that make beautiful girls look distorted and ugly, and a script that forces them into acts of cruel violence, that make them unappealing. Even taking a feminist view, that it is a film about empowering women is undone by the cruelty.

So begs the question, why watch The Million Eyes Of Sumuru? I would suggest that you don’t, but if you had to, it would be for Shirley Eaton. Eaton was the Golden Girl from Goldfinger and her image, covered in gold paint, is indelibly burnt into the minds of sixties spy fans. Other than that, avoid at all costs.

The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967)

The Body In Central Park (1967)

AKA: The Brooklyn Murder Club, Murderer’s Club Of Brooklyn
Directed by Werner Jacobs
George Nader, Heinz Weiss, Helmut Fornbacher, Karl Spenanek, Helmuth Rudolph, Helga Anders, Helmut Kircher, Rudi Schmitt, Dagmar Lassander, Ira Hagen
Music by Peter Thomas
Based on the novel by Gustav H. Lubb

The Body In Central Park is the fifth film in the West German Jerry Cotton series. It is also the first to be shot in colour – although this may have been an after-thought, because the pre-title sequence is in black and white. And even though a bit more money was thrown at this production, is still uses a large amount of rear-projection – some good, and some pretty bad!

Here’s how Jerry gets drawn into the action this time: FBI Agents, Jerry Cotton (George Nader) and Phil Decker (Heinz Weiss) are invited to a lavish party in New Brighton. Upon arrival, three business men, McCormick (Rudi Schmitt), Johnson (Helmuth Rudolph), and the host Dyers (Karl Stepanek), confess that they have received blackmail threats. Each of them of them have been asked to supply the blackmailers, one million dollars or some harm will befall their children.

Before Jerry and Phil have had a chance to sample the selection of fine food from the buffet a team of masked men with machine guns gatecrash the party. As the party guests are kept at bay, the ‘perps’ rush up stairs and kidnap Jean Dyers (Dagmar Lassander). They disappear into the night with their hostage. Naturally Jerry and Phil tried to give chase, but the tires to their cars had been slashed.

It’s only after the kidnappers are in the clear, do they realise they have made a mistake. They did not grab Jean Dyers, they have grabbed her best friend, Sally Chester (Ira Hagen). Sally is of no use to the kidnappers, so they kill her, and leave her body in Central Park.

Mr. Dyers receives a new blackmail letter. This one says, pay the money or Jean’s fate will be the same as Sally’s. They leave instructions to leave the money in a locker at Kennedy Airport. Dyers arranges for the money, and as you’d expect from the F.B.I.’s top men, Jerry and Phil are at the airport, watching and waiting.

There’s a few good set pieces in this movie, and without giving too much away, the first features a chase through the New York Subway. And Jerry once again, gets to prove his prowess at crawling around on moving vehicles – one scene takes place on a moving freight train, and another on a refrigerated tray truck.

Like most of the entries in the Jerry Cotton series, The Body In Central Park is more of a crime film than a spy film, but it is still worthy of inclusion here. In fact this installment plays a bit like a Raymond Chandler mystery, with a ‘whodunnit’ element to the plot – rather than an outright villain.

The score by Peter Thomas is pretty good too. It is not as jazzy as earlier efforts, and in places, even ventures into electronic sounds (maybe Thomas had been listening to Oskar Sala). But naturally enough, whenever Jerry performs one of his trademark, outrageous stunts, we are treated to the whistling Jerry Cotton theme.

I enjoyed this entry in the Jerry Cotton series very much. I recommend it highly to fans of the series, and if you have never seen a Jerry Cotton film, and wondering where to start, this is a bit glossier than the earlier entries and as such is a bit more accessible. Not a bad place to start.

The Body In Central Park (1967)

Tip Not Included (1966)

AKA: A Cold-Blooded Affair
Director: Helmuth Ashley
Starring: George Nader, Yvonne Monlaur, Heinz Weiss, Horst Tappert, Christian Doermer, Ullrich Haupt, Richard Münch
Music: Peter Thomas

Tip Not Included is the fourth film in the West German series of Jerry Cotton films. As with most entries in the series it plays more like a detective story than a spy film. Jerry deals more with your garden variety hoodlum and scum, than your megalomaniac with plans to take over the world. The series, while being action packed, suffered from minuscule budgets. The films are chock full of American stock footage and most of the big set pieces are done using rear projection with varying degrees of success. Before I begin the review, I would like to say Tip Not Included, has some of the sloppiest, laugh inducing rear projection I have ever seen.

The film! We launch into some seriously swinging titles, with a montage of Jerry’s red E-type Jaguar, shots being fired from a pistol and neon lights, all accompanied by Peter Thomas jazzy score. It gets the film off on the right foot. Jerry (George Nader) emerges from the titles and swaggers into a nightclub, checks out some booty as it wiggles past, and then orders a double scotch.

Also sitting at the bar is Thomas Wheeler (Christian Doermer). Wheeler is a chemist who has been out of work for quite a while but has stumbled onto a scheme that might help him out of his predicament…but more on that later. At the moment Wheeler is at the club to see Phylis Vernon (Yvonne Monlaur) who is a singer at the club. As Phylis warbles out a pleasing torch song, two thugs enter the club and forcibly remove Wheeler from his barstool. Outside the hoodlums start to give Wheeler a good pounding, but of course, Jerry has tailed them outside and intervenes. Jerry overpowers the brutes and has them handcuffed for the police, but in the commotion Wheeler has disappeared. Not even a thank you! Jerry consoles Phylis and gives her his card.

Wheeler stumbles back to his apartment and finds a man, bathed in shadow waiting for him. Whatever Wheeler’s money-making scheme is it seems as if there is another interested party. Wheeler is offered a deal. ‘50-50 or you a dead man!’ Wheeler naturally accepts. And he accept a miniature radio, so he can communicate with his new silent partner.

What is Wheeler’s scheme I hear you ask? Wheeler is working for a gang headed by Charles Anderson (Horst Tappert), another of New York’s leading mobsters. Anderson’s gang, who’s secret base is a wrestling arena, are planning to hold up an armoured car that leaves from the Treasury Clearing House on Wall Street every day. It is Wheeler’s job to come up with the smokepots that will be used in the robbery.

On the next morning the Treasury Clearing House is preparing for it’s usual delivery. The Head Of The Treasury, Mr Clark, is waiting for his Chief Controller, George Davis (Ullrich Haupt) to arrive, before sending his shipment off. But Davis had been mugged the night before and was now in the Riverside Hospital. The money shipment is postponed.

It’s time for the F.B.I.’s best man, Jerry Cotton to go to work. Mr High, Jerry’s boss contacts him on his car phone. High suspects the mugging is related to the money transfer but cannot be sure. Jerry goes to the hospital to interview Davis. Davis is of little help to Jerry. In fact his responses border on antagonistic. Next Jerry interviews, Mr Clark, the Head of the Treasury. Jerry suggests that the days money shipment should go ahead, but with an unladen van. That way if a robbery attempt was made, the cash wouldn’t be at risk. Clark agrees and the armoured van is sent off.

Through a set of binoculars, perched high on the penthouse floor of a high rise building, Anderson watches as the armoured vans unload their precious cargo. Anderson realises that the van being sent out is just a rouse. Even though his men are is position, he postpones the robbery.

Using the radio given to him, by his silent partner, Wheeler tries to make contact, but is discovered by one of Anderson’s men. Wheeler flees and a highway chases ensues. Wheeler ends up driving his car into a ditch and it explodes in a ball of flame. But Anderson doesn’t know who Wheeler was working for. He formulates a plan to capture Phylis and pry the information from her.

Meanwhile at the Treasury Department, Jerry advises Mr. Clark not to ship any money until all the loose ends regarding Davis’ mugging are tied up. Clark ignores Jerry and loads armoured van with a total of thirteen million dollars worth of bank notes and diamonds. From his hi-rise position Anderson watches as the van is loaded and alerts his gang that the heist is going ahead.

The van follows its regular route out of the city. Anderson’s men are ready and as the van drives under an overpass a magnetic bomb drops down, first to the road, and then attaches itself to the underside of the van as it passes over it. The bomb is detonated by remote control by Anderson and the van crumples like an aluminium beer can under foot.

A circular necklace of smokepots are set off around the wreck and Anderson’s goons, wearing smokemasks steal the contents of the armoured van and load it into the back of an ambulance. As the police arrive on the scene, the gang simply drive off in the ambulance under the nose of the constabulary.

As head of the Treasury, Clark doesn’t take news of the heist well. He blames himself for not listening to Jerry Cotton’s advice. Like a circling pack of vultures, the Press are outside his office and want his head on a platter. Despondently, he pulls a gun from his desk drawer and is about to blow his brains out, when Jerry bursts into the room and stops him. To relieve the pressure from Clark, Jerry announces to the Press that it was his idea that the armoured shipment proceed. But Jerry’s act of kindness backfires, as Clark has a heart attack and dies. And now, the true facts are buried, and the public is baying for Jerry’s blood.

In the aftermath, F.B.I. chief, Mr High, has no option but to suspend Jerry from active duty. Jerry’s occasional partner, Phil Decker takes over Jerry’s case load. As a piece of parting advice, Jerry’s suggests to check the morgue. After a robbery of this size, there usually is strife between the perpetrators, often resulting in murder. He tells Phil to check for hints of the smoke used in the robbery.

After the robbery, Anderson’s gang still has unfinished business with Phylis Vernon. She is kidnapped and locked in an office at a rail yard. Luckily for her, the phone is still connected and she calls Jerry Cotton (with the details on the card that he gave her at the start of the film). She gives Jerry directions to where she is being held. But it is all a trap. Anderson has tapped the phone.

When Jerry arrives, he drives into a veritable shower of bullets. Taking deliberate aim, Jerry shoots at a rail petrol tanker. The tanker explodes in a giant mushroom of flame. Anderson and his hoods flee the scene. Jerry rescues Phylis, but is promptly arrested for blowing up the tanker, after all, he isn’t an F.B.I. agent any more.

Phil Decker is called to the rescue and bails Jerry and Phylis out of trouble. Afterwards, Jerry takes Phylis back to her home. Inside, he stumbles on a program from a wrestling match. Upon enquiry, Phylis says it was Wheelers. He went there occasionally. Jerry believes it is a clue, and that evening Phylis and Jerry attend the wrestling. Observing from his office above the bleachers, Anderson plans a trap for Jerry and Phylis. After a regulation bit of biffo, Anderson’s men capture Jerry and the girl and lock them a supply room.

Anderson decides it’s time to bug out and retrieves the stolen money from his hiding place at the arena. As the suitcases are brought out, Anderson is jumped by the mysterious other party who was after the cash. Yes, we finally meet the man who was Wheeler’s silent partner. It is George Davis, the Treasury controller. It appears he knew that Anderson was planning something. And he even faked his own mugging, so a double shipment would be transported and the take would increase. Davis and Anderson agree to split the loot.

While this is all happening, Jerry isn’t sitting on his hands. First he cuts the ropes around his wrists by rubbing them against an oil heater. Then he crawls into a ventilation duct and snakes his way out of the building, towards the roof. The roof just happens to be a hive of activity, as Davis and Anderson are about to board a helicopter with the money.

Naturally enough though, Davis becomes greedy and as Anderson is about to board the helicopter he receives a bullet in the belly. The helicopter lifts off and begins to move away from the building. But you cannot escape from Jerry Cotton that easily. Jerry takes a running jump, flying through the air he grabs the helicopter’s landing strut. The rear projection is these scenes, where Jerry is seen dangling from a helicopter while the New york skyline whizzes past is extremely poor. Actually poor, is probably a kind description. I think ‘laughable’ is a more apt description.

As with most of the reviews found on this blogsite, I try not to give the ending away. So I’ll leave you, dear reader, and Jerry hanging…but Jerry Cotton will return.

Tip Not Included, is a small step down from the last installment in the Jerry Cotton series (3-2-1 Countdown For Manhattan) but still reasonable entertainment, if you can get over the technical deficiencies. One strong point in it’s favour is George Nader. He grounds the films and gives them a sense of continuity. The fact he appears in all the films in the series creates an almost familial ambiance. After all, most Eurospy films feature different actors in each installment (OSS 117, Coplan etc.).

This review is based on the JSV / Giantox Entertainment Holland DVD

Tip Not Included (1966)

3-2-1 Countdown For Manhattan (1966)

AKA: The Trap Snaps Shut At Midnight
Director: Harald Philipp
Starring: George Nader, Horst Frank, Heinz Weiss, Dominique Wilms, Monika Grimm, Richard Münch
Music: Peter Thomas

3-2-1 Countdown for Manhattan is the third film in the series of Jerry Cotton films starring George Nader. The series was made in West Germany, but set in the U.S.A., so there is plenty of stock footage and rear projection. But this entry in the series is good fun, but plays more like a detective story than a spy film.

The movie opens with scenes very reminiscent of Clouzot’s The Wages Of Fear, where an explosive dump at the Hartland Dam site has gone up in flames. Lumbering towards the inferno is a regular delivery of 20 drums of nitro-glycerine. Unlike The Wages Of Fear, they don’t need the nitro to extinguish the blaze and the truck is turned away. The drivers make their return trip with a fully laden truck. As is their routine, they stop at a diner for something to eat and to harass the attractive waitress who is working there.

Whilst carousing with the waitress the explosive truck is stolen by two men, Lou Hutton (Gert Günther Hoffman) and Krotsky (Friedrich G. Beckhaus), but the hi-jackers don’t realise the truck is full of nitro. They simply needed a truck. Once they realise their mistake, Krotsky scarpers, and Hutton soldiers on alone.

When we next see the explosives truck being driven by Hutton, it is on a crowded New York street, and Hutton ploughs the front end through the window of Cartier and then flees. During the commotion, a svelte blonde named Maureen (Dominique Wilms) helps herself to a selection of diamonds from the store. Arriving late on the scene, the police are worried that the truck will explode any minute. But they are unjustified in their panic as Hutton had unloaded the nitro. But that raises another problem – there are 20 drums of nitro-glycerine hidden in the city somewhere and the refrigerated containers they are in will only keep them stable for another 48 hours. And to make matters worse, New York is in the grip of a heatwave. That’s where the F.B.I. come in.

The clock is ticking. Enter Jerry Cotton and his partner Phil Decker (Heinz Weiss). While Jerry and Phil receive their briefing from their boss, Mr High (what a great name for the head of F.B.I. – played by Richard Münch), Maureen places the stolen diamonds in a locker at the train station and mails the key to Ruth Warren (Monika Grimm), who happens to be Hutton’s girlfriend.

Like any city where organised crime is rife, the Mob are not pleased when a caper is pulled and they don’t get their cut. Larry Link (Horst Frank), New York’s number one mobster, wants to know who pulled the Cartier job, and obviously wants his share. He sends his goons out to find the culprits.

Meanwhile, Jerry starts his investigation at the diner where the truck had been stolen from. By tracing the dialled phone numbers from the pay phone at the diner, Jerry is lead to Hutton’s girlfriend, Ruth Warren. Simultaneously Link’s men capture Krotsky, the second man in the truck hi-jacking. After some friendly torture, Krotsky reveals that he didn’t take part in the robbery; that he had fled the scene once he realised the truck was full of nitro-glycerine. No longer interested in the diamonds, Link’s thoughts turn to getting his hands on the drums of nitro. With that much explosive he could hold the city to ransom. Link sends his goons out to track Hutton, starting at Ruth Warren’s apartment.

Link’s men turn up first at Warren’s apartment, which is at the top of multi-storey apartment complex, and decide to wait till Hutton arrives. Because of the heat, whilst waiting, the mobsters order a case of beer to keep them cool. Jerry and Phil arrive as the case is being taken up in the elevator by a delivery boy. Thinking it strange that a woman would need so much beer, Jerry deduces that she isn’t alone and instead of going direct to her apartment, goes to the roof and commandeers a window washing rig. He lowers himself down outside Warren’s apartment and then crawls out on a ledge. Link’s men notice Jerry and suggest he moves on, but Jerry forces open a window (which is more like a door – but there is no balcony?) and leaps into the apartment. But a quick thinking mobster slams the window back closed on Jerry. The window shatters, and Jerry falls back outside, surely to his death!

One of the hallmarks of the Jerry Cotton series, is the way Jerry miraculously escapes from ‘certain death’ situations. This film is no exception and at the last second, Jerry grabs a rope that it is dangling from the window washing rig. Hanging precariously, he starts to crawl back up. Now, your probably wondering what Phil, Jerry’s partner, has been doing all this time? Well, he was waiting outside the door to Warren’s apartment. Hearing the glass shatter and Jerry fall, Phil burst through the door and holds the mobsters at gunpoint. But Phil isn’t too observant and one of Link’s men sneaks up behind him and clocks him over the head with a piece of broken glass. Phil goes down.

But Phil’s actions have given Jerry time to climb back up and he bounds through the window and a fist fight erupts. Once the fists start flying, the mobsters flee. The good news is Ruth Warren is okay, and apart from having their egos dented Jerry and Phil are too. Warren tells Jerry where Hutton is waiting for her, and she gives him the key to the locker where the diamonds are hidden.

Jerry meets Hutton at Warren’s designated meeting spot. Hutton doesn’t put up a fight and agrees to take Jerry to the nitro which is hidden in an old subway depot. Unfortunately Larry Link has worked out where the nitro is being kept too, so his goons are waiting when Jerry and Hutton arrive. Poor old Jerry gets beaten up once again and Hutton is killed. And Link now has possession of the nitroglycerine.

Why was Jerry left alive? He was tied up and left to convey a message to the F.B.I., that Link now possesses the explosive and wants one million dollars for it’s return. Naturally, Jerry escape from his bonds by burning through the rope with a discarded cigarette butt.

Next, Link calls a major newspaper and tells them that there are 20 drums of nitro hidden in the city and the F.B.I. refuses to pay the ransom. To prove that he is serious, Link intends to explode one of the drums in a very public place in New York. Now that the press have hold of the story, panic breaks out. All the highways are blocked as the citizens attempt to flee.

By tracing the detonating device required to set off a canister of nitro, Jerry and the team track the drum to the Manhattan Bridge where it dangles precariously from the girders underneath. In front of some dubious rear-projection, Jerry struggles with one of Link’s henchmen balanced on the metal beams. The henchman falls to his death and Jerry stops the canister from exploding with seconds to spare. A close call.

But Link still has the upper hand. He still has 19 drums, so reluctantly, the F.B.I. agrees to pay Link. But as with all payoffs of this kind, it is a trap and a transmitting device is placed in the case with the money. The transmitter leads Jerry to a refrigerated rail car stalled on the tracks with the Southern Pacific Express bearing down. The rear projection footage in these scenes reach new highs for sloppiness. As the trains whizz past in the background, it looks like Jerry is standing in a ditch because the wheels are so high in the shot. And size? If the train was in proportion to the wheels displayed it would be 15 metres tall. BIG train.

Does Jerry save the day? Of course he does as there are another five films to follow in the series, but you don’t really want me to give the ending away. As I mentioned at the outset, this film is great fun and moves so quickly, the technical deficiencies barely have time to register. The Jerry Cotton films may not be the best Eurospy series to come out of the sixties, but it certainly have to be one of the most enjoyable.

This review is based on the JSV / Giantox Entertainment Holland DVD

3-2-1 Countdown For Manhattan (1966)