HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Limbo
Supernova
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Sweetheart
No Man of God
Gaia
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Scenes with Beans
Sweat
Quiet Place Part II, A
Nobody
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
   
 
Newest Articles
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
   
 
  Code Name: Alpha Put away that train set, you're a grown man
Year: 1965
Director: Ernst Hofbauer
Stars: Stewart Granger, Rosanna Schiaffino, Horst Frank, Paul Klinger, Margit Saad, Sieghardt Rupp, Helga Sommerfeld, Franco Fantasia, Harald Juhnke, Chitra Ratana, Paul Dahlke, Suzanne Roquette
Genre: Thriller, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Quite how the F.B.I. could investigate a case outside their jurisdiction is a mystery unanswered here but that is what happens when two agents are found dead on a park bench in Hong Kong. Torn away from his electric train set (?) smooth-talking F.B.I. agent and silver fox Michael Scott (Stewart Granger) deduces a jewel-smuggling ring are responsible. Paired with comely female agent Carol (Rosanna Schiaffino), Scott arranges for her to infiltrate the gang, a task that pains him since she is so terribly attractive. Carol goes to work as a secretary for Pierre Milot (Sieghardt Rupp) who seemingly runs the operation but is in fact merely the lackey to a mysterious crime boss. Aided by local bureau man Norman (Paul Klinger), Scott tries to catch the crooks and keep Carol safe from harm.

A West German-Italian Eurospy thriller, Das Geheimnis der drei Dshunklen had its title changed to Red Dragon for its American theatrical release but eventually reached video under the alias Code Name: Alpha. Possibly to avoid being confused with the Thomas Harris novel that spawned two Hannibal Lecter movies. By the mid-Sixties ageing matinee idol Stewart Granger was struggling to find his place in a fast-changing Hollywood that no longer produced the swashbuckling fare with which he made his name. So Granger shifted his base of operations to West Germany were he remained a box office draw in Karl May westerns (Amongst Vultures (1964), The Oil Prince (1965), Old Surehand (1965)), Edgar Wallace krimis (The Trygon Factor (1966)) and of course the Eurospy craze (Target for Killing (1966), Requiem for a Secret Agent (1966)) launched in response to the global mania for James Bond.

Introduced sitting on the floor in a bath robe, puffing a cigarette holder and playing with an electric train set, Granger's Michael Scott comes across a more playful hero than Bond. Debonair certainly but often bemused, he treats this whole spy business as a bit of a lark. Granger appears to enjoy this rare chance to showcase his comic side. His first meeting with Rosanna Schiaffino as Carol takes place in a bar where he gallantly intervenes when she is accosted by a drunk only to get punched in the gut. Whereupon Carol casually judo-flips the guy. While the action is sluggish, the editing choppy and the plot too leisurely for its own good, the central relationship packs a fair amount of charm. The gentlemanly Scott is as keen to keep Carol safe as he is to crack the case but, while appreciative, she proves herself capable and resourceful. In its brighter moments their genteel banter recalls the playful relationship between Steed and Cathy Gale although the film is nowhere as progressive as The Avengers.

Though far from gritty the film is not especially campy either. Ernst Hofbauer, who went on to direct the vast majority of the Schoolgirl Report sexploitation comedies, confines the action to the third act and avoids car chases, gadgets or outlandish death traps. Whether by accident or design the film gives us something closer to actual espionage work presenting characters that observe, investigate or interpret intel. The plot breaks into two strands. One follows Carol undercover as she attempts to sneak information back to Scott while avoiding the suspicion of female conspirator Blanche (Margit Saad) and the lechery of Pierre and his brutal henchman Pereira (Horst Frank). The other, jokier half centres on Scott's misadventures through Hong Kong with wacky sidekick Smoky (Harald Juhnke). Comedian and singer Juhnke essentially fulfills the same function as Eddi Arent in the Edgar Wallace thrillers, suggesting German film fans could not get enough of this bumbling comic archetype. Smoky is supposed to serve as Scott's interpreter but in a running gag none of the Chinese characters understand what he is saying. Shot on location in Hong Kong, the film provides a neat snapshot of the then-British colony though the casual colonial racism rankles. Ultimately, this is less like your usual outlandish, action-filled Eurospy romp and more like a throwback to B-movies of the Forties. As such viewers will either find it something of a trial or else charmingly quaint.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2150 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: