Thursday, 25 June 2015
Hot Enough for June - Bogarde is Real Cool
In 1964 they decide to make a light-hearted spoof spy film starring Dirk Bogarde, directed by Carry On films director Ralph Thomas, with support from Robert Morley, Leo McKern and John le Mesurier, and accompanied by the music of spaghetti western and sword-and-sandal composer Angelo Francesco Lavagnino.
That's a very attractive set of ingredients. But how did the 'cake' turn out? Hot Enough for June (Agent 8¾ in the US) [Amazon] is not bad at all, as it happens. Of course, you need to like the ingredients to begin with.
Bogarde's character, Nicholas Whistler, is an unemployed writer (with pretensions) who speaks Czech. He is offered work by Colonel Cunliffe (played by Robert Morley) to collect something from Prague, becoming an unwitting agent for British intelligence in the process. Whistler's contact password is Hot enough for June.
Whistler falls in love with a beautiful agent working for the other side. He then gets himself into a sticky situation — as you might predict — and needs to escape the Iron Curtain. Along the way, he finds out that he is actually rather good at the line of work he has stumbled into.
The film has a 60s British whimsy to it, with a silly, fun plot that has elements of cold war suspense and romantic comedy. Everyone is spying on everyone else it seems. And it looks attractive, with good colour and some nice period locations and outdoor shots. The film was shot in Padua, Italy, which doubled for Prague — the Iron Curtain very much drawn tight in 1964, lest we forget.
File this under 'afternoon tea and biscuits films'.