JAMES TONT OPERAZIONE D.U.E. (1966)
Article 5434 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Bruno Corbucci
Featuring Lando Buzzanca, France Anglade, Loris Gizzi
Country: Italy / France
What it is: Spyghetti, spoof style
James Tont is sent on a mission to prevent a plan to loot and destroy St. Peter’s Basilica.
Even though my copy is in Italian without English subtitles, it’s very apparent from the get-go that this is a spoof rather than a straight spy story. I’ve seen several other Italian spy spoofs already, but this one has one clear advantage over those; however, there is only so much benefit to be derived from the absence of Franco Franchi. The lack of English subtitles does cause a problem, but some of the gags are visual, and some of Tont’s gadgetry is amusing, such as the chewing gum that can make him airborne and the machine that can convert a man to a foldable two-dimensional image that can be returned to normal by adding water; the latter gives a significant boost the the fantastic content to the movie. My favorite scene has our hero disguised as a beatnik and meeting a girl in an apartment that has more breakaway easy-destructible furnishings than a Republic serial warehouse. He also sings a song in English at one point, and the lyrics are pretty silly; still, his accent is thick enough that I’m not sure what he’s singing part of the time. However, as a whole, I have to reserve judgment on this one unless I see a version with English dubbing or subtitles in the future. This is apparently the second in a series; I wonder when I’m going to get around to see the original.