Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967)

I recently watched Clive Donner’s teenage sex farce Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967) for the first time. Soon afterward I learned that the director had died at age 84 so in tribute to Donner I decided to write about the film for TCM this week. I really enjoyed Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush and had so much fun taking screen … Continue reading Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1967)

Monsieur Hulot vs. The Modern World

Images from Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle (1958) I recently caught up with Jacques Tati’s delightful French comedy Mon Oncle (aka My Uncle; 1958). I had previously only seen one Tati film, Les Vacances de M. Hulot (aka Mr. Hulot’s Holiday; 1953) and frankly it didn’t engage me as much as I wished it had so I put off watching other Tati films, but that was … Continue reading Monsieur Hulot vs. The Modern World

Talking With Trina

Trina Parks in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) I recently had the opportunity to interview the actress Trina Parks who appeared in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and the fascinating blaxploitation movie Darktown Strutters (1975). Trina was really fun to talk to and I learned a lot about her during our exchange. You can read my interview with Trina Parks over at TCM’s … Continue reading Talking With Trina

Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

Bob Hope & Lana Turner in Bachelor in Paradise (1961) Recently I’ve been re-watching some older films that feature great mid-century design to inspire my home renovation efforts. In my latest post for the Movie Morlocks I talk about the Bob Hope comedy Bachelor in Paradise (1961) that features lots of wonderful exterior shots of a cute California suburb called Paradise Village that happens to … Continue reading Bachelor in Paradise (1961)

Modern Mondays: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (2006)

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If you’ve been reading Cinebeats for awhile you’re probably well aware of my fascination and fondness for spies. From the smart and exceptional Prisoner to the ridiculously silly Last of the Secret Agents?, I never seem to get tired of watching spy movies or television shows as long as they have a good soundtrack accompanying them. So it should come as no surprise that I think the recent French spy spoof OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies aka OSS 117: Le Caire, Nid d’Espions (2006) is one of the funniest films of the last decade.

The movie was directed and co-written by Michel Hazanavicius who based it on the original OSS 117 spy novels by the prolific French author Jean Bruce. The original books featured an American born spy with French roots named Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath who worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). OSS 117 predated Ian Fleming’s more well-known spy James Bond, alias 007, by 4 years, but both characters seem to share a lot of similarities. I haven’t read any of the original Jean Bruce novels myself or seen the early French films based on the books but according to director Michel Hazanavicius OSS 117 isn’t as ironic or clever as James Bond.

Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, alias OSS 117, is played brilliantly by the handsome and very funny French actor Jean Dujardin. Dujardin has clearly based his character on Sean Connery’s Bond from the early ’60s as well as other self-assured male spies from the same period and he does a terrific job of mimicking their best and worst qualities. In the film agent OSS 117 is sent to Cairo to investigate the disappearance of his close friend and fellow OSS operative Jack Jefferson (Philippe Lefebvre). Finding his friend won’t be easy and over the course of the film OSS 117 becomes entangled in a web of international espionage involving Nazis, a fundamentalist uprising and two beautiful but dangerous women played by the lovely Bérénice Bejo and Aure Atika.

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies takes place in 1955 and the film beautifully replicates the decade it’s boldly taking a jab at. Director Michel Hazanavicius clearly loves the movies he’s emulating and OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies comes across as a thoughtful homage as well as a clever parody. From the detailed set designs, to the stylized fashions and incredible soundtrack, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is a film that knows exactly what it’s doing while delivering a lot of laughs. The humor in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is slightly more sophisticated than the Austin Power films but the movie should appeal to Pink Panther fans and anyone who enjoys television shows like Get Smart.

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Freddie Francis’ Girly (1969)

Howard Trevor, Ursula Howells, Vanessa Howard & Pat Heywood in Freddie Francis’ Girly (1969) Creepy families with murderous intentions have become a staple of horror cinema. Most recently directors like Rob Zombie have attempted to cash in on this long standing tradition with films like House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil’s Rejects (2005), but long before Rob ever stood behind a camera other … Continue reading Freddie Francis’ Girly (1969)

Modern Mondays: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Hilarious, smart and extremely relevant. Shaun of the Dead (2004) is one of my favorite comedies of the last decade. Before I saw the film I thought zombie comedy had been played out, but Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg proved me wrong. The film has been written about a lot and I don’t think I have much to add to what’s already been said, but … Continue reading Modern Mondays: Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Party Tips from Phyllis Diller

Over the Christmas holidays I made an attempt to do some baking. When my mother was alive we’d spend a week in the kitchen cooking before Christmas, but I was just her assistant and unfortunately I never really learned how to function on my own in a kitchen. I burnt the first batch of cookies I made this year and the second batch I made … Continue reading Party Tips from Phyllis Diller

Irvin Kershner’s S*P*Y*S (1974)

In 1970 Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould made movie history with their portrayals of Hawkeye and Trapper John, two young wisecracking surgeons working at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The success of M*A*S*H (1970) catapulted Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould into superstardom and audiences wanted to see them appear in more films together. In 1974 the actors got an opportunity to … Continue reading Irvin Kershner’s S*P*Y*S (1974)