Deadlier Than The Male (1966)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/1/07
Cast: Richard Johnson, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Nigel Green

Wow. This delirious spoof of the spy genre features sex kittens Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina as a couple of secret agents who manipulate business deals by killing off the competition. Unfortunately for them, insurance adjuster Hugh Drummond (Richard Johnson) starts investigating their dirty little racket, and ultimately manages to outsmart them. The fact that he knows judo also helps.

If you can get past the embarrassingly oppressive amount of male horniness in the film, it's actually quite enjoyable. Hugh's nephew is completely inexcusable in his behavior, which really weighs the film down and makes it hard to watch. Richard Johnson has his moments of overbearing sexual creepiness as well, but for the most part is a charming and engaging character. However, what really sells the film are the provocative escapades of Irma and Penelope (Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina). They are smart, strong, aggressive, and unbelievably sexy. Their sexual charms just drip off the screen like honey, and are just as sweet. While that alone would be enough to keep my attention, it's their personalities and interactions with each other that seal the deal and completely steal the show. Truth be told, they're pretty much the only reason to watch the movie. Well done, ladies.

The plot is often confusing and impenetrable, but it hardly matters. The film is full of sexual innuendo and tongue-in-cheek humor, and is openly aware of its own campiness and absurdity. As such, the prevailing attitude in the film is "fun," with "sexy" coming in a close second. I suspect that the film might have been a little too racy when it came out, as I've seen several publicity photos depicting scenes that were clearly cut out of the film (or at least never made it into the American release). It would be very interesting to see those now. A moderately successful film, it spawned a sequel in 1969 called "Some Girls Do," but without Ms. Sommer and Ms. Koscina, I see little reason to check it out.