Thursday, March 15, 2012


Director: Luciano Salce
Year 1965
Slalom is a hilarious spy spoof that takes the fish out of water story and just rolls with it. Following in the same vein as Hot Enough for June AKA Agent 8 ¾ and Bang! Bang! You’re Dead! AKA Our Man in Marrakesh, the film shows what happens when an ordinary man is caught up in the exciting world of espionage. Played strictly for laughs, Slalom gets right down to the antics and never lets up until the closing moments.
The film follows Lucio Ridolfi as he embarks on a ski trip with his friend Riccardo and their two lovely, yet nagging, wives. Feeling the need to live a little and taste a bit of the single life while vacationing, Lucio whips up a scheme that sends his wife and her friend home, leaving both Lucio and Riccardo to play the roll of single bachelors at the exceptionally swinging ski resort. When Lucio falls for a mysterious blonde, his afternoon rendezvous turns into a fight for his life when bodies start appearing and strange men begin shooting at him. After being attacked by Santa and his group of sexy elves, Lucio wakes up to find that he is on a plane to Cairo and seated next to a beautiful woman who swears she is his wife. If matters couldn’t get any worse, he’s still being hunted by an unknown group of spies that want nothing more then to see him take his last vacation. On the run and lost in unfamiliar territory, Lucio must become the spy everyone mistakes him for or pay the ultimate price, death.

The role of Lucio Ridolfi, helpless vacationer turned super spy, is played by Vittorio Gassman. He’s got a great style of overacting in this film, performing in that frantic and innocent everyman manner while being thrust into a situation he can’t possibly wrap his head around. From when he first starts his vacation, trying nervously to chat up every female in sight, to when he eventually lands in Cairo, zipping from one crazy situation to the next, he’s a man on fire showing so much energy that the Energizer bunny would be shocked and appalled. His acting is livid, often portraying the actions of a crazy person and that in itself is what makes his character so entertaining. You can’t help but be swept up in the insanity that he stumbles into and the fact that they make him such a likable schmuck in the beginning of the film helps carry him over to the jittery un-super like spy that he changes into later on in the film.

Another notable character in the film is Lucio’s friend Riccardo, played by the wonderful Adolfo Celi. Adolfo is mostly remembered for playing a more villainous role in the various Eurospy films that he has acted in and of course his portrayal of the evil Largo in Thunderball, but in this picture he is the lovable bosom buddy who encourages Lucio to live life to the fullest and take life by the horns. The portions of the film where Lucio and Riccardo spend most of their antic filled time together is mostly in the beginning of the movie, but their on screen chemistry together is so enjoyable that the fun atmosphere that they create in those early moments carry on into Lucio’s solo journey in Cairo. I especially appreciated this different side of Adolfo and his role here mirrors the character that he portrayed in That Man from Rio, fun, lovable, and full of piss and vinegar.

Of course with Slalom being a Eurospy film, it has to have a dynamic cast of lovely ladies to help fill out the formula of the genre, and this one doesn’t disappoint. From the lurid blonde bombshell Beba Loncar, who plays Helen the mysterious stranger that sets this whole film in motion, to the exotic Nagwa Fouad, who plays a small part as a sensual belly dancer, the film deals out the goods. The most important female role though, goes to the exquisite Daniela Bianchi. She plays the part of Nadia, the fake wife of Lucio, whose mysterious actions and unknown intentions lie heavy in the final act of this film. All three women play their roles perfectly, with Daniela especially crafting a character worthy of Eurospy remembrance. She’s a wonderful asset to the genre and in this film she delivers another wonderful performance.
With a solid cast aside, the film has some exceptional moments of action and suspense, blended with the comedic timing that only Vittorio can bring to the table. Even though the character of Lucio is a bit of a coward and uncoordinated to boot, Vittorio stages out some rather impressive fight scenes and action set pieces, albeit clumsily performed. The awkwardness of his actions are purposefully done, emphasizing the shocking experience that it is for Lucio to be finding himself in, in such an espionage filled nightmare. Vittorio genuinely delivers a hysterical performance and I often found myself laughing out loud at his crazy and overblown reactions to everything that is happening around him. It must have been a challenge to stay so amped as he was throughout the entire production of Slalom, but the efforts that he put into portraying this frantic character have paid off in full.

Slalom is a literally wild ride, filled with so many memorable moments and silly results that you really can’t deny the fun of it all. The spy spoof sub-genre of Eurospy films are a varied breed, but this one has enough intriguing instances to merit it a place beside the better portion of films. Vittorio does an expert job as the hapless Lucio Ridolfi and the rest of the cast fill in their parts commendably. When it comes to femme fatales, you really can’t go wrong with Daniela Bianchi. She’s played the role time and time again, but there is a reason for this blatant type casting. She embodies the role to perfection and does an excellent job with the ambiguous character of Nadia.
With its rollercoaster ride of mistaken identity and survival of the fittest tone, Slalom is an energetic wonder of a film and you’d have to be dead not to find a good time here. As a spy spoof, it is entertainment at its finest and as an engaging cinematic experience; it’s a joy to behold. If you’re looking for a more lighthearted example of the genre, then look no further than Slalom. It’s a downhill adventure that forgets the brakes, always pushing the envelope until the film threatens to ride off the rail. Check it out, it’s a…..

My god! She's so hot, I can't take it!

Welcome to a swinger's paradise.

Check out these two handsome studs.

We look like jack asses.

You scream like a girl!

Not the best way to get a girl's attention.

Merry Christmas you son of a bitch!

What do you mean you don't have any airline peanuts?!?! I want my nuts!

I'm really serious about the peanuts! What's the deal?

I'm going to make it my soul purpose in life to get those nuts from you.

They're just airline peanuts! Get over it!
It's not about the nuts. It's the principle of the fact.

Anyone know where the bathroom is at? I got a mean turtle-head poking out.

It's ok baby. I'll get those damn nuts if it kills me.

Forget about the airline peanuts Mr. Ridolfi.

Do you think I went a little over board about the nuts?

When a man gets onboard a plane, he expects nuts. What's so wrong about that?

Looks like it's time to get me some nuts.

Anyone in the audience have some peanuts? I'm staving over here!


Hope everyone enjoyed the movie. Oh and by the way, I got my nuts!


  1. Thanks for that. Your screen grabs suggest a nice clean 'scope copy of this film exists --where did you obtain it from?

  2. You're welcome! The guys over at The WildEye Eurospy Forum have tons of fandubs that will knock your socks off. You should definitely take some time and pay them a visit if you're looking for some solid looking gems like Slalom and the like. They are a Eurospy lovers dream! Thanks for checking out the review!