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OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies

4.1 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A box-office sensation in France, comic star Jean Dujardin stars as secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117 who in the tradition of Maxwell Smart and Inspector Clouseau somehow succeeds in spite of his ineptitude. After a fellow agent and close friend is murdered, Hubert is ordered to take his place at the head of a poultry firm in Cairo. This is to be his cover while he investigates Jack's death, monitors the Suez Canal, checks up on the Brits and Soviets, burnishes France's reputation, quells a fundamentalist rebellion and brokers peace in the Middle East. A blithe and witty send-up not only of spy films of that era and the suave secret agent figure but also neo-colonialism, ethnocentrism and the very idea of Western covert action in the Middle East.

Review

in the same conceptual ballpark as Austin Powers or 'The Naked Gun' series. --Variety

Arguably the funniest spy spoof ever made --Box Office Magazine

An absolute riot --Seattle Times

Special Features

- Making of
- Documentary short
- Deleted scenes
- Gag reel

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Dujardin, Bérénice Bejo, Aure Atika, Philippe Lefebvre, Constantin Alexandrov
  • Directors: Michel Hazanavicius
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001APM44O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,815 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "OSS 117: Cairo, Nest Of Spies" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
"I was woken by a guy screaming on a tower. I couldn't sleep. I had to shut him up."

(Shocked tone) "A muezzin? You `shut up' a muezzin?! He was calling for prayer!!"

(Bemusedly) "Yours is a strange religion. You'll grow tired of it...it won't last long."

No, that transcript is not excerpted from secret Oval Office tapes; it's an exchange between the cheerfully sexist, jingoistic, folkway-challenged and generally clueless French secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (alias OSS 117) and his Egyptian liaison, the lovely Larmina El Akmar Betouche. The scene is from OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, a gallingly amusing Gallic spy romp from director Michel Hazanavicius.

The director and his screenwriter Jean-Francois Halin adapted the script based on characters from the original "OSS 117" novels by Jean Bruce, which concerned the misadventures of an Ian Fleming-esque French government agent. The books inspired a series of films, produced in France between 1956 and 1970.

After a brief b&w prologue depicting agent OSS 117 (Jean Dujardin) handily dispatching a Nazi adversary from a plane (sans parachute) in a wartime escapade, the film flash-forwards to the year 1955. Hubert (as we will refer to him going forward) is sent to Cairo to investigate the mysterious death of a fellow agent. He is assisted by the aforementioned Larmina (Bernice Bejo) and just like an undercover 007, he is given a business front. In this case, our intrepid agent poses as a chicken exporter; and yes, all of the inherent comic possibilities involving this most ubiquitous species of barnyard fowl are gleefully explored (and the credits assure us that none were harmed during filming).
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Format: DVD
Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, a.k.a. OSS 117 (Jean Dujardin), is the most incompetent and culturally insensitive spy who has ever lived. However, none of his superiors in the French secret service seem to have noticed. After the mysterious disappearance of his former partner, Jack, OSS 117 is sent to Cairo to complete the assignment that Jack was working on. He must go underground as a poultry farmer and stop an arms smuggling operation involving Egyptian extremists and Nazis.

This is the eighth film to feature OSS 117, a James Bond-esque spy (the first OSS 117 movie actually pre-dated the movie of "Dr No"). Apparently the previous films in the series were relatively "serious" espionage films, made between 1956 and 1970, but this more recent update of the series is played purely for laughs and it succeeds immensely. "Cairo, Nest of Spies" is a very silly film that had me laughing harder than I have in a long time. What makes this film so great is the fact that the humour plays on so many different levels. Not only is there a lot of very funny visual humour (simply the expression on Dujardin's face was enough to make me laugh in a number of scenes), but the script is also very well written and contains a lot of great lines. Although made in 2006, the film is set in the 1950's and much of the humour comes from OSS 117's complete lack of cultural awareness and of his patronizing attitude towards all Egyptians.

Don't be put off by the subtitles, this is a great film that will appeal to any fan of spy comedies such as "Austin Powers" and "Get Smart", even if you don't speak French.
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Format: DVD
I saw this film in Paris back in April. It had no subtitles, and my grasp of French is not great, but since the comedy is mostly physical, it had me rolling in the aisles. WARNING: There were some actions I thought might offend Moslems, but they are perpetrated by someone who is meant to be a jerk, so the joke is not at Moslems' expense. I've been waiting for this film to come out on DVD - I can't wait to own it.
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Format: DVD
Taking French cinema's once much-loved 60s superspy and turning him into a politically incorrect figure of fun, a lot of the historical injokes do get lost in translation, but there's enough going on that's funny enough in its own Austin Powers fashion to make this well worth a look.

Although often regarded as just another Continental Bond ripoff, Jean Bruce published the first of his 91 OSS 117 novels in 1949 long before Ian Fleming reached for his Book of British Birds, and the first of seven `straight' adaptations was made in 1956, six years before Sean Connery was fitted for his tux. Later entries in the series got Frederick Stafford the lead in Hitchcock's Topaz and John Gavin the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever - well, at least until Connery decided to come back after all. But this isn't the Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, aka agent OSS 117 of Bruce's novels. In this 2006 comedy, the character has been turned into a walking criticism of outdated colonial attitudes: he's ridiculously overconfident, has questionable flashbacks of happier days with his dead sidekick on the beach, loves to fight, hates dust, can't understand why Arabs would make up their own language and religion, hands out photographs of the French president to locals as tips and ferments an uprising when he stops a Muezzin from making the call to prayer because it's interrupting his sleep. Smug, xenophobic and pig ignorant, he's the kind of man who'll take an insult for a compliment because he doesn't understand it. Like Inspector Clouseau he's completely unaware that he's an idiot, which is why the character works so well.
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