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  Some Girls Do Watch Out For The Ladies
Year: 1969
Director: Ralph Thomas
Stars: Richard Johnson, Daliah Lavi, Beba Loncar, James Villiers, Vanessa Howard, Maurice Denham, Robert Morley, Sydne Rome, Adrienne Posta, Florence Desmond, Ronnie Stevens, Virginia North, Nicholas Phipps, George Belbin, Yutte Stensgaard, Richard Hurndall
Genre: Action, Thriller, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Something is wrong with the world's aerospace business: someone is trying to sabotage it. As one top engineer is sucked out of the jet plane he is in when the stewardess opens the door while in flight, a new design is destroyed in the wind tunnel when a female spy knocks out the man at the controls and wrecks them. Even worse, a whole aerospace base in the British countryside is blown up by an enemy agent - a woman! - so what are the authorities to do? How about calling in an expert, insurance investigator Bulldog Drummond (Richard Johnson)? But he's currently on holiday, so an urgent message is sent: get back to Britain at once!

This was the second of the two Bulldog Drummond movies directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Richard Johnson where they recast the classic adventurer of yesteryear as a James Bond figure; purists might be irked, but once you understood this was effectively a Bond movie that didn't have to go to the trouble of securing the rights of that more famous secret agent, then you could see where they were coming from. Some Girls Do adhered to the spy movie template of the sixties, with throwaway gags, plenty of attractive women and a dollop of action.

Just the thing, then, if you were a sixties spy movie fan and couldn't wait for the next Bond instalment to arrive. In fact, this film followed its predecessor with a "don't mess with the formula" faithfulness, including as it did a pair of female assassins just like Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina, only here it was an alternative pair of Euro-beauties, Daliah Lavi as Baroness Helga and Beba Loncar scene-stealing as her sidekick Pandora, very like Koscina had been (this type of thing was obviously an ideal role for you if you were a glamorous actress in European cinema hired for her looks - did Lavi appear in anything but Bond rip-offs in the late sixties?).

For cross-Atlantic appeal there was also American Sydne Rome in her first film as Flicky, an apparently naive hanger on to Drummond who might know more than she lets on. The overall atmosphere is a jokey one, actually more like an episode of The Avengers than a proper Bond movie, as our suave but two-fisted hero handles every peril flung at him with unruffled cool. In fact, Johnson leaves the same amused (or is it bemused?) expression on his face throughout, whether confronted with a parachute that has had its cords cut, or a lovely lady offering herself to him over a glass of champagne.

As fans of Drummond might have predicted, the man behind the aerospace sabotage is Carl Peterson (James Villiers), although he remains in disguise until the last half hour. He has a typical sixties ploy to get his bidding done - he doesn't want to take over the world, he's just in it for the money - yes, it's that old favourite the robot woman. A whole brigade of robot women in fact, played by such recognisable faces of the day as Yutte Stensgaard, Vanessa Howard and an uncredited Joanna Lumley. The Baroness and Pandora are the real thing, however, and it all culminates in the expected explosive finale. Along the way are such incidental pleasures as Robert Morley's cookery classes to add a pleasingly eccentric air, though you'll be constantly aware you're watching a facsimile rather than the real thing. Music by Charles Blackwell.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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