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  Incredible Paris Incident They call him mellow yellowBuy this film here.
Year: 1967
Director: Sergio Grieco
Stars: Roger Browne, Dominique Boschero, Eduardo Fajardo, Nadia Marlowa, Mimmo Palmara, Nino Dal Fabbro, Andrea Bosic, Tom Felleghy
Genre: Comedy, Trash, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: In China a firing squad awaits Argoman (Roger Browne), an international crime-fighting superhero wearing a not-at-all-silly looking black cowl with visor and canary yellow tights. Until he uses his handy hypnotic powers in a daring escape! Thereafter Argoman surprises his Russian employers who had hoped he was dead in order to get out of paying his costly fee. As payment for taking out the Chinese he makes off with a priceless bejeweled snuff box that once belonged to Peter the Great. Meanwhile in Swinging London, Scotland Yard are baffled (when are they not in movies?) when glamorous female criminal genius Jenebelle (Dominique Boschero) makes off with the Crown Jewels then abruptly returns them as a show of power. Inspector Lawrence (Nino Dal Fabbro), a confirmed Argoman-hater, inadvertently reaches out for help to our hero's handsome alter-ego: billionaire playboy Sir Reginald Hoover (also Roger Browne). Confronted with surveillance photos Sir Reginald is surprised to identify Jenebelle as the sexy lady with whom he only recently enjoyed a romantic liaison. It turns out Jenebelle has her sights set on stealing an enormous diamond from a vault in Paris to create a super-weapon sure to make her queen of the world ("Bwah-hah-ha!"). So Sir Reginald, aided by Shandra (Eduardo Fajardo) his faithful Indian manservant and adorable girlfriend Samantha (Nadia Marlowa) heads to Paris to pit his amazing telepathic and telekinetic powers against the would-be world conquering super-criminal.

Incredible Paris Incident (also known as The Fantastic Argoman) presents something of a strange looking glass scenario in that it is a spoof of a spoof of a spoof. This Italian-French co-production was mounted as a parody of Superargo versus Diabolikus (1966) and Superargo and the Faceless Giants (1968), a now long-forgotten if seemingly then-popular (?) duo of Spanish-Italian superhero films that were themselves parodying American super-spy fare that were also fashioned as parodies. Don't think about it too hard or your brain will melt. Yet disregard this absurdly convoluted origin and Incredible Paris Incident stands as an irresistible slice of vintage Euro-cheese: lively and inventive with a delightfully Sixties sense of fun. Granted you have to look past Argoman's ridiculous outfit. Which comes across like a botched attempt to blend Superman, Batman and Cyclops from the X-Men with a Mexican luchadore. Evidently the filmmakers were none too enthused with their own efforts given Jean Marais look-alike Roger Browne spends most of his screen-time business-casual. Browne was among the small handful of sword and sandal stars that successfully made the jump into Eurospy films. Indeed his outings rank among the most engaging in the genre: e.g. Superseven Calling Cairo (1965), The Spy Who Loved Flowers (1966) and Password: Kill Agent Gordon (1968). He also appears in Joe D'Amato's infamous mondo porno Emmanuelle in America (1977), presumably without the tights.

If Browne's insufferably smug super-spy is symptomatic of the era and genre (face it: James Bond is kind of a dick) the film at least operates on a near-meta level of self-awareness. It has a beguilingly dry sense of humour. Not quite on par with beloved British TV gem The Avengers but not far off the mark. Aside from that silly costume the pastel-coloured production oozes Italian style. Sergio Grieco, like Browne a Eurospy staple (he made the 077 films Mission Bloody Mary (1965) and Special Mission Lady Chaplin (1966) along with Tiffany Memorandum (1967) and The Fuller Report (1968), all starring Ken Clark, and prior to retirement co-wrote the original Inglorious Bastards (1977)), was not among the great visual stylists of Italian exploitation. Even so he does a capable job showcasing glamorous international locales and indulging a few gentle pokes at perceived British pomposity. Meanwhile the design team pull off an array of eye-catching space-age sets.

The plot meanders but pulls off some genuine surprises in its third act along with colourful comic book action and delightful pulp moments: e.g. a big clunky robot menacing the scantily-clad sexpot heroine, Samantha distracting Jenebelle's leather gimp-suited henchman by parading in lingerie or Reginald's pre-coital archery challenge which Jenebelle deliberately throws because she fancies a shag. Curiously the script makes a point of mentioning Superargo temporarily loses his powers each time he has sex but never factors it into the plot. On the plus side in Jenebelle the film crafts one of the most memorable femmes fatale in Sixties exploitation cinema. Sporting an array of fabulous mod outfits, Dominique Boschero vamps it up a treat, exuding devilish charm as she bends mere men to her will. While lesser Italian super-spy romps are mired in misogyny (we are looking at you: Kriminal (1966)), Incredible Paris Incident maintains a more benign air, crafting feisty female characters who, rather than reduced to mere meat, revel in its frivolous fantasy world.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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