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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hot Enough For June (aka Agent 8 3/4) (1964)

An unemployed would be writer (Dirk Bogarde) is hired as a trainee for a British glass company and sent to Prague in Czechoslovakia (with England and Italy subbing for Prague) under the guise of getting information. What he doesn't know is that the glass company is a front for British Intelligence and he's unknowingly acting as a courier. Based on the novel NIGHT OF WENCESLAS by Lionel Davidson and smoothly directed by Ralph Thomas (DEADLIER THAN THE MALE), this is an amiable spy thriller that works as both a gentle spoof of the genre and the real thing. While the pre credit sequence tweaks the 007 franchise a bit, the film's satire doesn't cross over into the ridiculous. Bogarde seems more relaxed than usual and seems to be enjoying playing the befuddled fish out of water. Robert Morley as Bogarde's superior and Leo McKern as his communist equivalent hit just the right notes of ironic parity. The lovely Sylva Koscina (JULIET OF THE SPIRITS) makes for a fetching spy. The forgettable underscore is by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino. With Frank Finlay, Noel Harrison, Eric Pohlmann and John Standing.

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