Tuesday, February 28, 2012

i SPY EUROSPY: The Viscount

The Viscount
Director: Maurice Cloche
Year 1967
The Viscount is a fun little Eurospy-esque flick that showcases just how charismatic its lead actor, Kerwin Mathews, can be. Super charging the wit and amping up the fun factor, the movie brings all the goods of the genre to the forefront. Girls, guns, baddies, and beautiful locales are all here to feast your eyes on, plus we’re also given a rather interesting twist on the usual spy staples which gives the film a unique but not unfamiliar feeling.
In this espionage-styled caper, we follow the exploits of Clint de la Roche AKA The Viscount, an insurance detective who has a bone to pick with corrupt and dangerous drug pushers, especially ones named Marco Demoygne and Ricco Barone. It seems that Marco has stolen $2 million from a prestigious bank and within that bank’s safe deposit box was a rather large haul of opium, stashed by Barone. Marco plans to hold the opium for ransom, but unfortunately for him, The Viscount has been assigned to the bank robbing case, giving Barone an opportunity to vie for Viscount’s aid. Having no love for either man, The Viscount agrees to play Barone’s game in order for him to set-up both thugs for a hard fall. Let the enjoyable insanity proceed.

For all intensive purposes, The Viscount is not really a Eurospy film. It’s actually more of a detective flick, with heavy doses of Eurospy flavor. For instance we have Clint de la Roche, played by the wonderful Kerwin Mathews, who is essentially an insurance detective, but you wouldn’t even know it if you hadn’t read that in the synopsis. His appearance and actions are straight-up super spy, including his pension for wooing the ladies. The man is a glorified 60’s secret agent if I’ve ever seen one and in my opinion this film just screams Eurospy.

Another glaring similarity of the spy genre is the inclusion of a plethora of beautiful and exotic women. When we’re first introduced to Mr. Viscount, he is vacationing in Spain and dating multiple women who are virtually throwing themselves at him. This smooth criminal gets around and never gives up the chance to have an interesting night of female delights, even when he is assigned to be flying out of the country in the early hours of the morning. The guy is a champ and he is even given a femme fatale to play around with in the form of Lili Dumont, a stripper with a heart of gold, played by the voluptuous Sylvia Sorrente. This girl is the epitome of Eurospy flavor and she is an absolute stunner. I really wish that she was given more opportunities to shine in the Eurospy world, but unfortunately this is one of the only roles in which she was able to dip her feet into the genre. Be that as it may, she still gets a good amount of things to do in this film, even getting caught up in the action when she is captured midway through the movie and used as leverage over super insurance agent Viscount.
There’s also the inclusion of some very spy-fitting locations for Kerwin to flex his secret agent muscles in, including a beautiful villa where the climactic battle of the film takes place. I especially loved the luxurious beach resort where Viscount is first introduced while living it up in Spain. There’s such a lovely retro look to the place and plenty of 60’s style to boot. With all of the picturesque locales and breathtaking venues in this movie, it’s hard to come to the conclusion that this is anything but a Eurospy film through and through.

Like some of the more fun filled Eurospy movies out there, like Death on a Rainy Day and the Kommissar X series, insurance agent Clint de la Roche is given a partner named Billette to watch his back. This number two if you will, is played by Jean Yanne, and he is constantly coming to the aid of The Viscount, but is never really given that many opportunities to share the spotlight with his fellow agent and friend. Their relationship mirrors Paul Riviera and Bruno Nussak’s from Death on a Rainy Day, as The Viscount mostly runs the show while Billette mainly picks up the scraps that he leaves behind. The combination works though, because in the end it really is Viscount’s show and he does a more then adequate job in making this particular mission exciting as all hell.
Kerwin Mathews is golden in this role and is as up to form as he was in his other Eurospy efforts like OSS 117: se Dechaine, Panic in Bangkok, and The Killer Likes Candy. The guy was born to play a secret agent and he fills the role of Viscount perfectly. Some of his lines had me laughing out loud over their perfect delivery and witty approach. I’ve enjoyed every role he has played in, even the ones outside of the Eurospy spectrum, and this film is no exception.
The action was also rather feisty in this movie, going for more madcap anarchy then a structured set of choreographed fight scenes. It always seemed like Viscount was adapting to the situation at hand, and though cocky and stalwart, he never appears to have total control when the fists begin to fly and the bullets are let loose. That’s not to say he isn’t effective, far from it. He has a lethal streak in him, always going for the most brutal attack to incapacitate his foes, even going as far as to throwing them out the window when all the valuable information has been spilled by them. I had a blast with Viscount’s style and it looked like the entire production had a great time when filming this unique Eurospy film.

The Viscount may not be an official Eurospy effort, but in my mind it’s got all of the elements of one. Hell, it outdoes most films in the genre with its perfectly cast agent role, exceptional globe trotting locations, and exquisite eye candy as far as the eye can see. The women are beautiful, the villains are diabolical, and the atmosphere of the film is pure Eurospy.

If you've never heard of The Viscount before and you love the genre, give this one a chance. It's a solid effort and one hell of a fun ride. From beginning to end, I found myself smiling from ear to ear over the wild adventures of a simple insurance detective who just so happened to be stuck in the skin of one of the most dynamic secret agents in the whole world. God bless you Viscount, you crazy bastard. I thought this film was a.....

Well hello there.

Real sneaky sis.

Aint that a sight for sore eyes.

Billette has this shit covered.

Scram pip-squeak, you're cramping my style.

Look mom, John Woo style!

Get that lamp shade off your head retard.

I'm gonna say it one last time. Tell your boys I'm not playing Red Rover!

Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Ready for round two. I'll give you the 70% off Viscount.

Try getting out of this one you slippery shit.

Guns make me sad.

See he's laughing he's having a good time.

Viscount loves to break balls.

Get a room you two.

This is battery acid you slime!

Now on to the SEX!

The End.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review - the movie just posted on you Tube. but you simply must correct the phrase '"for all intensive purposes" at the beginning of the third paragraph. See attached: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=For%20all%20intensive%20purposes