I just took delivery... Someone has a lot of extra reading to do this Christmas
the sacrifices one must make for King and Country!
did you wrap them up and place them under the tree labeled "from ChrisNo1 to ChrisNo1"?
Of course not - Santa sent them. They came by magic 🎅
I hope both books give you hours of good informative and enjoyable reading . Do please let me know your thoughts when you have had a chance to read some.
When you acquire a copy, do please let me know what you think of it.
I have just completed an interview with Jason Whiton over on his blog SpyVibe covering the hows and why I wrote Guns, Girls and Gadgets: Sixties Spy Films Uncovered. Plus, I also go into detail about choosing the 50 spy movies that I look at in the book and the ones that got away, basically the films I considered for inclusion, but that I ultimately decided against covering.
Ordered a copy of this book just recently. Looking forward to it arriving and getting to read it! 🙂
Do let me know what you think of it.
I certainly will. Looking forward to going through it as this type of book is just up my street! 🙂
Glad to say that this book arrived today. I'd no idea that it was such a tome! Looking forward to reading it. It looks very comprehensive! 🙂
I'm dipping in and out, it is a mighty tome.
Silhouette Man and chrisno1
Thank you for the kind words, 334,000 words, over 700 pages, 50 chapters and over 1500 footnotes, I have tried to do the subject matter justice.
Mikey, that's a great read on Spy Vibe. I now know your Top Ten !
Attached is my full review for any AJB members:
GUNS, GIRLS AND GADGETS by Michael Richardson
Michael Richardson is a cult film and television fanatic. He presents here a comprehensive bible to fifty of the most well remembered movies from an era when spies and spy-craft boomed in the cinematic world thanks mostly to the influence of James Bond.
Richardson understands the debt the spy genre owes to Bond as he begins his list with Dr No, the Godfather of All Spy Movies (that’s my term) and ends it with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, for some the Godfather’s mistaken child. On the way we encounter his cousins, the abrasive Harry Palmer, the diffident Jason Love, the rough and ready Bulldog Drummond, the disillusioned Alec Leamas, as well as associates far and wide, from U.N.C.L.E., to Derek Flint, Matt Helm, Quiller and Modesty Blaise. Some of the films are familiar, some not so much, all deserve reappraisal.
The author isn’t over interested in demonstrating his understanding of film as a critical experience. He draws a few conclusions about the success, failure, artistic merits or otherwise of the films, but his overall contribution is the enormous mountain of detail he has uncovered regarding a movie’s background: origins, pre-production, casting, locations, music, gadgets, design, censorship, release dates. He’s careful not to draw conclusions. So we never learn if Richardson personally enjoys any of these films – he’s careful not to tell us – and that is laudable. I applaud his ability to detach himself from his subject when he’s clearly immersed himself for years in these two-score and odd films. Because of that, I might have appreciated a little more about the cultural impact of each film, or the genre as a whole, and although he notes that the trend comes, goes, hits peaks and dives into troughs, the lack of critical appraisal is a disappointment.
What that does do, however, is whet the appetite for viewing the included films and forming personal opinions. I’ve already tracked down two which I’d not seen before and found his interlaced resumés and thousands of facts beneficial in understanding the complexity of creating these slices of sixties popcorn cinema.
Your own favourite might be missing from the list. There were quite a few films I felt might have been a sure fire inclusion, but it isn’t my list, it's Michael's. Perhaps there’s room for a sequel...?
Guns, Girls and Gadgets is a superb and, dare I say it, essential book for anyone with an interest in sixties cinema spy mania.
Many thanks for the kind words regarding the book in your review. As you mentioned my Top Ten favourite spy movies of the sixties, here they are in no particular order.
Before seeing any Bond films I had read all the Ian Fleming novels and Dr No is a very faithful feature film adaptation and a great starting point for the 007 franchise. Good performances from Connery, Andress, Wiseman, Kitzmiller and Lord and great location filming in Jamaica that assist in establishing Bond. The international super villain and associates in a secret base element is also established, plus the on screen dragon tank from the novel did not disappoint.
From Russia with Love
Another faithful adaptation that gave depth and character to Bond’s enemies, plus I do approve of the spicing up of the storyline with the helicopter and speedboat chases, which indicate the direction the Bond movies were to take. Together with Dr No, From Russia with Love kick-started the sixties cycle of spy and secret agent films that were to prove so popular throughout the decade.
The Ipcress File
I rate The Ipcress File as an excellent spy film with Michael Caine cast as Harry Palmer, an ordinary guy who put himself in extreme danger for queen and country. However, as the film progresses we discover that Harry is not a volunteer, but rather has agreed to become involved in espionage as an alternative to a jail sentence after being caught with his fingers in the till while serving with the British Army. The exact opposite of the Bond movies and beautifully shot thanks to talents of Otto Heller and Sidney J Furie. The central character is nameless in the Len Deighton novels, but wanting a name for the films Caine came up with Harry and film producer Harry Saltzman remembered a boring man he once met called Palmer and the two were amalgamated.
Another favourite is The Liquidator that starred Rod Taylor as Boysie Oakes, who is recruited to British Intelligence and then enjoys all the trapping of an expense account, a large apartment and E-Type Jaguar. However, he was then unceremoniously informed that he is the department’s assassin, but unable to cold-bloodedly kill his targets he subs the work to an amusing private sector hitman played by comedy actor Eric Sykes. Then while in Monte Carlo, Oakes came to the attention of a cell of Russian operatives who want to know why he is there and their actions will mean that Boysie has to step up to the mark and become a real agent.
A Man Could Get Killed (aka Welcome Mr Beddoes)
This is a borderline espionage entry as it involves James Garner’s character William Beddoes arriving in Portugal and being mistaken for a spy, who is searching for some stolen diamonds. Garner’s easy-going portrayal against overwhelming odds would pave the way for his similar casual and dry-humoured role in The Rockford Files television series during the following decade. Various criminals trail Beddoes’ movements and everybody wants to know him, or rather they want to know if he has found the missing diamonds.
The Spy in the Green Hat
This feature film for non-US markets was assembled from the two-part The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television series episodes The Concrete Overcoat Affair, with additional adult material. Despite the NBC network wanting more humour in the screenplays for the third season of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Concrete Overcoat Affair parts 1 and 2 worked brilliantly. When done correctly this amalgamation of drama, action and camp humour worked so well, even if the contrasts were poles apart. Janet Leigh’s character Miss Diketon obviously got a sexual thrill from killing someone with her throwing knife, while after being attacked by the elderly Stiletto gang David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin asked the humorous question, ‘Whose grandfathers are all you people?’
Billion Dollar Brain
By the time Len Deighton wrote Billion Dollar Brain, he had obviously seen some Bond movies and purposely created a much bigger concept that showed that a third world war might not be started by the Soviet Bloc, but rather by extremists in the West. Michael Caine was now doing his third Harry Palmer movie and gave a perfect performance, against a location backdrop of a snow covered Finland. Both Karl Malden and Guy Doleman give excellent support, plus the special effects of the armed convoy vehicles going the ice are totally spectacular and were achieved without any CGI.
A Dandy in Aspic
Like Billion Dollar Brain, A Dandy in Aspic pushed the envelope for sixties secret agent movies with a novel concept. A Dandy in Aspic revolves around British Intelligence knowing that there is a Russian double agent in the department, so they arrange for top agent Alexander Eberlin to discover his identity, little knowing that he is actually the traitor they are looking for. Trying to throw suspicion from himself, Eberlin travelled to Berlin where he attempted to get into the Eastern Bloc, but finds that this is impossible. Great performances from Laurence Harvey and Tom Courtney, plus the open-ended conclusion left cinema audiences guessing at the outcome.
Otley takes things off in a completely different direction and it is incredibly funny mainly down to the great acting by Tom Courtney (totally different to his role in A Dandy in Aspic) as James Arthur Otley, who found himself in demand by different factions who believe that he has information they want. However, Otley knows nothing and has no connection whatsoever to the intelligence community, but people will not believe him. The car chase has the novel twist of taking place while Otley was taking his driving test, which then results in the car being driven more and more erratically. This caused the driving test examiner to initially fail Otley, but as then the car chase become even more erratic and the vehicles arrive on a large building site the examiner reversed his decision in the hope of getting out of the car in one piece.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The source material is my favourite Ian Fleming 007 novel and it provides an excellent storyline and powerful ending for the movie, starring James Bond mark two George Lazenby. Excellent snow-covered location filming and backup from Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas, together with some impressive stunts and set-pieces.
Agents Scott and Cam, along with guest operative Michael Richardson author of Guns, Girls and Gadgets: Sixties Spy Films Uncovered discuss the book and turn the spotlight on The Liquidator featuring the only feature film outing of John Gardner’s anti-hero Boysie Oakes played by Rod Taylor.
The Liquidator, number 79 and the latest in a long list of SpyHards Podcasts is now available as I talk with Scott and Cam regarding the writing of the book, The Liquidator and spy films in general.
welcome back @Mikey
I watched The Liquidator a couple months back and thought it was one of the best of the 60s spyspoofs, cynical and clever. Trevor Howard is especially good as the boss.
I'm looking forward to giving this podcast episode a listen. A big John Gardner fan here! I must give The Liquidator a rewatch on DVD. 🙂
Yes, The Liquidator is one my favourite sixties spy films. Rod Taylor is brilliant in this light thriller/anti hero role and I wonder why he did not do more of this kind of movie. If you've read the book you'll know that there were plans for a second Boysie Oakes film, but all the legal action taken after filming on The Liquidator concluded stopped MGM investing in a second movie. Unfortunately, the producer could not find any other film company willing to put up the money up for it either, but perhaps the legal action had scared companies off and/or the majors now had their own spy franchises, such as Columbia with Matt Helm and 20th Century Fox with Derek Flint.
When you've had a chance to listen to it please do let me know what you think, as its the first podcast I have been involved with.
Now available as a Kindle.
@Mikey a question came up in our Avengers thread, which maybe you can answer, since you wrote a book on the series.
John Steed is shown to be a Tintin fan, reading Tintin adventures onscreen in four different episodes. Did Patrick Macnee ever comment on his interest in Tintin?
your expertise in these important matters is much appreciated!
As you say John Steed is seen in four episode of The Avengers reading Herge's Tintin books.
Man with Two Shadows - Tintin in Tibet
The Golden Fleece - Tintin and the Land of Black Gold
The Outside-in Man - Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Look - (Stop Me if You're Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers... - Tintin: The Blue Lotus
I don't know where the ides came from to have Steed reading these books, but the first three are videotaped episodes that were produced by John Bryce and the last one is an episode on fil produced by Brian Clemens and Albert Fennell, suggesting that it was Patrick MacNee who came up with the idea of including the books, to give some background to his Steed character.
he's seen reading Tintin so often Macnee's gotta be fan in real life, giving a plug to the series. Being a lifelong Tintin fan myself I was hoping such a famous fan as Macnee might have said more.
I hope you all have had a chance to read the book now and found it interesting and informative, perhaps you could come back with some views and opinions.