Agent 8 3/4
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Dirk Bogarde, Sylva Koscina and Robert Morley star in this satirical comedy-thriller at the height of the 007 popularity and set amidst the world of international espionage. Unemployed Nicolas Whistler accepts a job and a tidy salary with what he believes to be a glass manufacturing company in London. He soon discovers that his business behind the Iron Curtain is in fact illegal. Everyone apparently believes him to be a spy but it takes much time and adventure for him to realize it. The realization numbs him with horror, and with his contacts gone, he is on his own. He must escape arrest and flee to England but the secret police are close behind him. Robert Morley, as his boss is a scene stealer!
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Just as a postscript to this review, I recieved the DVD yesterday and watched it this evening. Let me tell you, this WIDESCREEN TRANSFER IS FLAWLESS ! Both in visual and audio, this print looks like it's BRAND NEW!!! The colors are GORGEOUS, the sound is CRYSTAL CLEAR and LOUD, so you don't have to crank up your audio. Frankly, I was floored - just amazed as the quality restoration they did on this film. And mind you, this is the regular DVD, so I imagine the BLU-RAY is astounding as well!
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.
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Dirk Bogarde in a good role,before he became a serious actor.Read more