Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten Statements About....WHERE THE BULLETS FLY (1966)

1) While this film is still painfully low budget--like The 2nd Greatest Secret Agent In The Whole Wide World, this Charles Vine adventure confines itself to London and its environs--it’s obvious more money was spent on this film.  There are more elaborate set pieces, including several multi-person gun battles, and a number of sets that seem more spy movie-like.

2) This film also learns from what its predecessor lacked by providing an actual villain in Michael Ripper’s Mr. Angel.  Now granted, Angel is a strange creation with an indeterminate accent and appearance, but at least he’s someone we can focus our animosity on.

3) It amazes me that the film was directed by veteran film and television director Lewis Gilling, because there’s a frequent sense of amateurness to the whole thing.  Particularly alarming is the way the camera is constantly shaking and readjusting itself as if we’re experiencing a very, very slow version of Shaky-cam.

4) I have to wonder if Tim Barrett’s Seraph was meant to be a parody of John Steed in the same way that Charles Vine is supposed to be a mockery of Bond.  It doesn’t quite work, but I will admit that his sudden exit from the film is one of its bigger shocks.

5) While Dawn Addams’ Felicity Moonlight is an upgrade from the previous film’s female lead by, you know, actually being a female lead as well as a spy-movie girl, it’s weird how the film doesn’t introduce her until the third act.  But then....

6) ....there are long stretches where Vine himself doesn’t appear, including a painful ten minute stretch where a ‘comedic’ minister and his secretary visits the air base where the film’s MacGuffin is stored.  It’s a peculiar choice in a peculiar franchise.

7) You know, I don’t think James Bond, even in the Roger Moore era, would stop in the middle of a running gun battle to watch the world’s most awkward stripper.

8) There are moments where Gilling is trying to be too artistic for what, at its core, is a bread and butter spy film.  The sequence where various actors in a room are reflected in a cat’s eyes is particularly jarring.

9)  Boy, you guys got the most out of the cooperation of the Royal Air Force, didn’t you?

10) While the jokes about Tom Adams’ resemblance to Sean Connery is gone, they’re replaced by some forced comedy.  Besides the minister scene, there’s an interminable one with Sidney James as a cranky mortician.

Overall...only a marginal improvement over the original, and still a curiosity that might be of interest to fans of 60's spy culture.

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