The best James Bond knock-off from the Sixties!
Matthew Bradford | 06/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like James Bond, get this movie. Yes, this is the best of all the Bond knock-offs produced in the mid-to-late Sixties, and there were a lot of them! Unlike spoofs like Modesty Blaise and Casino Royale, Deadlier Than the Male is actually a good movie in its own right. The production values are higher than most other sub-Bond spy films of the period (although nowhere near as high as those of Mr. Bond himself), the acting is good, the action is good, and the script is witty. Elke Sommer (at her absolute hottest!) steals the show as a voluptious assassin, but Richard Johnson makes a darn good hero, too. His character's relationship with his nephew is quite well-done, and a scene where the nephew brings a lady back to his uncle's apartment is a comedic hightlight (somewhat reminiscent of The Pink Panther). The murders are all very creative (think Avengers) and rather violent for the time period. The setpieces are great, especially the climax where hero Bulldog Drummond faces the villain (an amazing Nigel Green) on a giant chessboard filled with oversize pieces. If you like Sixties James Bond movies, or the Pink Panther movies, or TV shows like The Avengers, you'll like Deadlier Than the Male. (The Walker Brothers theme song is amazing, too, on par with many of the great Bond themes!) All in all, a great Bond-style action-comedy. Deadlier Than the Male is to Thunderball as XXX is to Die Another Day (only both those sixties movies are better to their 2002 counterparts). Bond in everything but name. (And budget.)I'm so glad this movie is finally on DVD! As far as I know, it had never been officially released even on VHS before, so all I'd seen previously was a poor-quality bootleg. The dvd offers no features, and the print is a bit scratchy at times, but the widescreen transfer looks nice and it's infinitely superior to the bootlegs! I'd like to see the sequel, Some Girls Do, released as well, though it's nowhere near as good as this one."
Entertaining But Not in the Same League as Bond
Stephen Kaczmarek | Columbus, Ohio United States | 08/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Deadlier Than the Male" certainly copies the James Bond movie formula--and star Richard Johnson, reputedly once considered for the role, looks like a cross between Sean Connery and Martin Landau. Ultimately, the film lacks enough stylish excitement to be a true Bond contender, though its jazzy score and myriad locations are on par with many 1960s adventures. It may even remind some viewers a bit visually of Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 film, "To Catch a Thief." Johnson plays Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, a well-tailored investigator who drives an expensive car, lives in a swinging but upscale London flat, and beds every woman he's interested in. If that sounds like Bond, the resemblance is understandable; Ian Fleming was likely inspired by the fictional Bulldog Drummond mysteries that preceded the Bond books. His quarry here is a two-woman assassination squad (luscious Elke Sommer and kooky Sylva Koscina) that is brutally knocking off contenders for a multi-million-dollar oil deal. Who is really behind the shady goings-on probably won't surprise you, but some of the kinky violence might, even if much here is tame by contemporary standards and already familiar to "The Avengers" fans. "Deadlier Than the Male" works best when it lets the assassins be cold-blooded and Johnson relax and be naturally smooth (as he was in "The Haunting" and numerous other films); it breaks down with its frequently desert-dry, sometimes racist humor and often lethargic, oddly-edited action sequences. Though a climax on a human-sized chessboard is visually impressive, trying to make complete sense of how and why the characters react to it might challenge you. Perhaps the biggest flaw, though, is that despite being suave and handsome, Johnson fails to bring sparks to the romantic scenes; as a female friend told me, "Now I see why he didn't get Bond.""
ONE OF THE BETTER 60s SUPER-SPY MOVIES
David M. Goode | Yonkers N.Y. | 02/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Deadlier Than The Male is one of the dozens of films to come out during the James Bond craze of the 1960s.It's good tongue in cheek fun,but it doesn't go over the top like the Derek Flint films or Matt Helm movies do.Though in some spots you get the feeling you've walked into an episode of the Avengers.Not that that's a bad thing.There are some purists who don't care for this movie because they say the character Richard Johnson portrays in it isn't really Bulldog Drummond.That's like someone saying that they don't like Kiss Me Deadly because Ralph Meeker isn't really Mike Hammer.You can still enjoy the movie.Johnson is a little bit more Pierce Bronson than Sean Connery,but he's an effective hero.And Nigel Green is all you could want from a villian in this type of film.Also good are the beautiful Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina as two bitchy and bickering assassins.Also along for the ride is Milton Reid,a British pro wrestler who made a second career of playing villians in gladiator movies and spy films.He was considered for the role of Oddjob in Goldfinger and has a judo match with Johnson in this film.Overall this is a good,entertaining movie.Not quite Goldfinger.But not bad."
Bond's Best Rival
B. Mccann | Balckpool, England | 12/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jumping on the Bond wagon, producer Sydney Box decided to take on one of 007's antecedents and update him to the swinging sixties. Thus Sapper's square jawed, colonial defender of the Empire, Bulldog Drummond, became international insurance investigator Hugh Drummond, played with suave charm by one time Bond candidate Richard Johnson. The other shrewd move by the producers was to avoid the over spoofing of Bond's world that the other rivals had laden themselves with and instead devise a film that balanced the right amount of tongue in cheek thrill with a neatly structured script, above average production values, a cool theme song by Scott Walker, and a cracking finale worthy of a Bond caper itself.
Elke Sommer breezes across like a force ten hurricane as the film's titular assassin, working for the world class villain Carl Peterson, portrayed with the right blend of light and dark by Nigel Greene. The film's climatic showdown between hero and nemesis, in which Drummond traps Peterson on his own giant chess set and crushes him with the robotic pieces, is a memorable piece of imagery that helped lift the film above the bigger budgeted hackwork of Matt Helm or Derek Flint.
A hit in its time, Johnson returned as Drummond three years later in an uninspired follow up that, with its use of "fembots" and a younger Peterson back from the dead without explanation, strayed too much into the territory of the other Bond spoofs and was deservedly buried.
Deadlier Than the Male, after decades of neglect, now appears to be re emerging as a cult film, thanks in part to Quentin Tarentino naming it as one of his favourite movies. This led to a newly restored printed being screened at Cannes and is now finally on DVD, complete with its sequel.