6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2012
"Agent 8-3/4" or (AKA: "Hot Enough for June") was a bit of a diversion for its director Ralph Thomas who also brought us the Eurospy films that brought a definite threat to James Bond in the line of a Bulldog Drummond series starring Richard Johnson as the insurance investigator in "Deadlier Than the Male" (also starring Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina) and its lesser sequel "Some Girls Do" (with Daliah Lavi) and also rather stodgy affair, "Nobody Runs Forever" with Christopher Plummer and Rod Taylor. In "Agent 8-3/4" he was wise to cast Dirk Bogarde opposite Sylva Koscina as Bogarde is quite at home in droll British comedy and what it develops into, romantic suspense in Communist Czechoslovakia. It is quite handsomely done in a rather low-key fashion. Robert Morley and Leo McKern are also in the cast, with Morley trying to steal every scene he is in. Noel Harrison has a bit speaking part. VCI Entertainment has brought it to us in a beautiful Blu-ray and also in DVD format from the Rank Organization. The original novel is by Lionel Davidson and the screenplay by Lukas Heller. In beautiful Eastmancolor.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2012
When James Bond came along in 1962's DOCTOR NO, he changed the way audiences enjoyed spy movies and the way that filmmakers made them. The success of the franchise also inspired a slew of imitators and spoofs, and one of the earliest - and best - has just come to Blu-ray disc courtesy of VCI Entertainment: 1964's AGENT 8 3/4 (a/k/a HOT ENOUGH FOR JUNE), starring Dirk Bogarde and Sylva Koscina.
Nicholas Whistler (Bogarde, MODESTY BLAISE) is an unemployed, Czech-fluent writer living in England, when he is - completely unbeknownst to him - recruited by British Intelligence for a mission to Prague. He thinks he's on a goodwill visit from a London glass manufacturer, but the Czechoslovakian Secret Police - and everyone else - knows he's a spy. A female Czech operative, the comely Comrade Simonova (Koscina, DEADLIER THAN THE MALE) is assigned to be his driver and keep an eye on him, but before long, she falls for the handsome, hapless writer. By the time that Whistler finally realizes that he is, indeed a spy, he's trapped in Prague, hunted and pursued by the Secret Police, and only the lovely, conflicted Comrade Simonova can possibly help him.
Deftly directed by Ralph Thomas, AGENT 8 3/4 is a breezy, Cold War-era satire that evokes not only 007, but Hitchcock's espionage thrillers, as well. It's suspenseful and even thrilling at times, but also witty and occasionally farcical - which is why a lot of modern viewers might not be able to get a handle on it. The script is clever and sharp, and the cast, which also includes Leo McKern and Robert Morley, is exceptional across the board. Bogarde is amusing and convincing as the somewhat clueless unintentional agent who must rise to the occasion when his support system falls apart, and Koscina is just stunningly gorgeous. The cinematography is beautiful, even when portraying the drab, behind-the-Iron Curtain world of Communist Czechoslovakia. Overall, it's a slick, early-Sixties spy-fi spoof and highly entertaining, if you're in the right mindset.
VCI's new Blu-ray disc appears to be the same high-def transfer used by the UK company, Network, presented in 1.78:1 widescreen 1080p HD. Picture quality is astoundingly good - with the exception of one or two brief shots, detail and colors appear to be perfect. VCI offers two audio options: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and an enhanced 5.1 remix. The only extras are a theatrical trailer (under the original British title of HOT ENOUGH FOR JUNE) and a still photo gallery. The title is also available in standard-def DVD.
AGENT 8 3/4 (I have to say, I like the British title much better) is a great slice of sly Cold War pop culture, and a must-see for fans of 60s spy flicks.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2012
I had never heard of this film despite being quite a Bogarde fan in my youth and still living in the UK when it came out. However, after reading the reviews on Amazon I ordered it and we watched it recently. For a film that is coming up to fifty years old it holds up amazingly well. The humour is quite remarkably current, particularly the sublety of Robert Morley's performance hinting at all sorts of things that never really come out. I particularly enjoyed seeing a lot of my favourite British actors of the latter part of the last century, often in very small roles. I really was not able to recognise several of the actors listed at the beginning of the film and one irritation is that there is no list of who played whom at the end. I did recognise John Standing, though, the acting baronet!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VCI Entertainment and The Rank Collection presents "AGENT 8 3/4" (aka: Hot Enough For June) (1964) (97 min/Color) -- Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Sylva Koscina, Robert Morley, Leo McKern, Roger Delgado, John LeMesurier, Derek Fowlds, Amanda Grinling, Noel Harrison, Philo Hauser, John Junkin, Gertan Klauber
Directed by: Ralph Thomas
VCI has restored and brought from their vaults another great film from the British Invasion.
A nice combination of suspense adventure and romantic comedy. A light comedic film that turned into a good suspense thriller by the end, there are many amusing moments to be had along the way.
Unemployed Czech-speaking writer Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde) thinks he's got a job visiting Prague for a bit of industrial espionage. In fact he is now in the employ of British Intelligence. His pretty chauffeurs on arrival behind the Iron Curtain, Comrade Vlasta Simonova (Sylva Koscina), is herself a Czech agent, the film is a combination between James Bond and 'North by Northwest'.
Well directed by Ralph Thomas, the film is carried by the superb and delicately delivered performances of those three old pros, Robert Morley, Leo McKern, and Dirk Bogarde.
And there is a wonderful 'in-joke'. At one point Bogarde is looking at a newspaper, and a secondary story which most people would not notice is headed: '"I'm not a spy!' says Ralph Thomas', Ralph Thomas of course being the film's director.
For product description and editorial review check this out on the Amazon site above my review
SPECIAL BONUS FEATURES:
1. Photo Gallery
2. Original Trailer
1. Ralph Thomas (Director)
Date of Birth: 10 August 1915 - Hull, Yorkshire, England, UK
Date of Death: 17 March 2001 - London, England, UK
2. Dirk Bogarde [aka: Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde]
Date of Birth: 28 March 1921 - Hampstead, London, England, UK
Date of Death: 8 May 1999 - Chelsea, London, England, UK
3. Sylva Koscina
Date of Birth: 22 August 1933 - Zagreb, Croatia, Yugoslavia (now Zagreb, Croatia)
Date of Death: 26 December 1994 - Rome, Italy
4. Robert Morley
Date of Birth: 26 May 1908 - Semley, Wiltshire, England, UK
Date of Death: 3 June 1992 - Wargrave, Berkshire, England, UK
5. Leo McKern [aka: Reginald McKern]
Date of Birth: 16 March 1920 - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Date of Death: 23 July 2002 - Bath, England, UK
Mr. Jim's Ratings:
Quality of Picture & Sound: 5 Stars
Performance: 5 Stars
Story & Screenplay: 4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars [Original Music, Cinematography & Film Editing]
Total Time: 97 min on DVD ~ VCI Entertainment #9015 ~ (August 16, 2011)
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2011
A very slight but enjoyable British romp from the 60's that cashes in on the then current James Bond mania. It stars the always excellent Dirk Bogarde and Robert Morley and is a pleasent way to while away an 1 hour and 30 mins even though I can barely remember any of the so-called plot. A pleasent time waster - nice to look at, with good locations and a good quality print too. No extras on the DVD -but they are really not needed!