Like Father, Like Son – Doppelgangers

One of my most interesting recent discoveries is a short film made by director Julien Landais. It’s titled DER DOPPELGANGER (2014) and stars Alain Delon’s youngest son, Alain-Fabien Delon Jr. who was just 20-years-old at the time. What fascinates me about Landais’s film is that it seems to borrow some visual motifs from my favorite horror anthology, SPIRITS OF THE DEAD (1968), which featured Alain Delon … Continue reading Like Father, Like Son – Doppelgangers

June & July at the Movie Morlocks

I haven’t been online much the last few months for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I’ve been having some medical problems with my left eye and spending lots of time on my computer reading, watching vids and writing can often be problematic. My eyes get easily irritated and I’m prone to headaches, etc. The other reason is simple net fatigue, particularly on social … Continue reading June & July at the Movie Morlocks

Pierre Cardin: A Career in Movies

Today Pierre Cardin is celebrating his 89th birthday. The French designer has had a surprisingly rich and varied career that’s included creating costumes for many films and television programs such as Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast (1946), Anthony Asquith‘s The V.I.P.s (1963) and The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1964), Louis Malle’s Viva Maria! (1965), Roger Vadim‘s The Game Is Over (1966), Orson Welles’ The Immortal Story … Continue reading Pierre Cardin: A Career in Movies

Comic Book of the Week: Angelique (1978)

Toshie Kihara’s Angelique series was originally published in 1978 by Princess Comics. Angelique is a Japanese manga (comic book) based on the historical novels by Anne and Serge Golon published between 1957 and 1976. These historic novels focus on the romantic adventures of Angelique de Sancé de Monteloup as she braves misfortune and tragedy in 17th century France. The novels were also turned into a … Continue reading Comic Book of the Week: Angelique (1978)

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

BELMONDO LEAVES ME BREATHLESS

Like many people, I fell in love with Jean-Paul Belmondo while watching BREATHLESS (1960) and I can still remember when he first won my affection. It happened during a lengthy scene between Belmondo and his beautiful costar Jean Seberg that takes place in a hotel room. After turning a poster into a makeshift telescope Seberg looks through it to see Belmondo starring back at her. … Continue reading BELMONDO LEAVES ME BREATHLESS

A Belmondo Birthday Salute

Tomorrow Jean-Paul Belmondo will be celebrating his 77th birthday. He’s one of my favorite actors but I haven’t had the opportunity to write about him very much so I decided to rectify that over at the Movie Morlocks Blog. I watched Breathless (À bout de souffle; 1960) for the sixth or seventh time yesterday and I seem to appreciate it more every time I see … Continue reading A Belmondo Birthday Salute

Blood and Roses: The Soundtrack

I recently learned that portions of Jean Prodromidès’ sweeping score for Roger Vadim’s Blood & Roses (Et Mourir de Plaisir; 1960) will be released on CD from Disques Cinémusique on March 20th. I’ve written about my appreciation for this fantastic vampire film at length before in a piece simply called Roger Vadim’s Blood and Roses (1960) but at the time I neglected to mention Jean … Continue reading Blood and Roses: The Soundtrack

Art Film As Fashion Trend

In 1962 Alain Resnais’ film Last Year at Marienbad aka L’année dernière à Marienbad (1961) debuted in America and made quite a splash with film critics as well as fashionistas. As the following fashion article from ’62 makes clear, women were obviously inspired by the lovely Delphine Seyrig and attempted to mimic her look including fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt and American actress Elizabeth Ashley. Today actresses in popular films seem to dictate many fashion trends but I found this fashion piece about Last Year at Marienbad really surprising and a fun read so I thought I’d share it here. Delphine Seyrig’s one of my favorite actresses and I love the idea of her as a smart trendsetting ’60s style icon in the same league as Jean Seberg and Audrey Hepburn. Make way ladies! Here comes Delphine Seyrig…
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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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