I Saw a Film!

Phyllis Diller and Jack Leonard, along with eyelash-fluttering Jane Mansfield pad out a string of sappy ballads and nearly folk-rock ditties about people with too much money and cloying love of course.

A gang of “kids” (they look like ROTC cadets, it’s still ’66 so no hippies) are headed to a little island off the coast of Florida to search for “treasure” which soon morphs into the actual Fountain of Youth, which we’re told was actually discovered by Ponce de Leon (instead of it just being a goofy fantasy driving European looting of new lands. It’s a bit of a wicked touch of history that our New World explorers managed to land on the two richest cultures first, Incas and Aztecs and then invested everything in trying to find the next group to loot. There weren’t any more wealthy ones). The Fountain of Youth soon becomes a pair of badly painted black roses . . . but never mind all that. Just look at Jane doing her best hyperbolic Marilyn routine, and cutely mugging the camera as if to say, “You like that don’t cha?”

I’m not going to bother giving you a run-down on the pure malarkey this film offers. It’s neither bold enough to be funny, nor subtle enough to be interesting. The film-makers just use old-timey narration cards like they did in the silent era, and played with speed and backwards motion as if that would serve as art. Considering this, as a small kid in elementary school, I remember the whole school was assembled to watch a film about football. This is hard to imagine as real now, but we sat through a forty minute 16mm film projected on a wall that was nothing but a football advertisement (this was about 1974). At the end of which, having nothing really better to do, the teachers then ran the film backwards for our amusement. I remember being completely entranced. I’d never seen anything like it! Now go back to 1966 and establish yourself as a wee tot getting to see a film. I believe this is where the aim was!

This runs free on prime and despite it aiming at the business of girls in bikinis and beach movie nonsense, only Jane manages to make this amusing with her beautiful silliness. I’ve never understood the use of Diller, and never enjoyed the old style comics. Why not? You might say. Leonard is famous for being the guy Don Rickles lifted from for his act! So if you have always enjoyed insult comedy . . . there’s still nothing going on in this film! And as for The Wild Ones providing a few tunes all I can say is they’re no Kingston Trio.

3 thoughts on “The Fat Spy (1966)

    1. Ha! I’m not sure I see the things you would, you’re a much more academic reviewer than I am. My outlook is more about whether or not there’s anything of interest in the formula, and what I gleaned from it. Having said all that, there is something about a perfectly silly film that requires zero mental acuity from its audience. But, I think that’s true of a wide variety of comic genius. For example Rowan Atkinson has probably the most famous wide appeal for his virtually silent Mr. Bean (almost Buster Keaton) — but THIS mess is NOT Mr. Bean. :p
      ON the other hand if you’re a Mansfield aficionado she is exceptionally cute here.

      Liked by 1 person

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