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OSS 117 n'est pas Mort

OSS 117 is not Dead

France 1957
produced by
Albert Bauer, for Globe-Omnium-Films
directed by Jean Sacha
starring Ivan Desny, Magali Noel, Anne Carrère, Yves Vincent, Danik Pattison, André Valmy, Georges Lannes, Marie Déa, Béatrice Arnac, Charles Millot, Maurice Sarfati, Jacqueline Pierreux, Joelle Bernard, Lorraine Bruce, Colette Castel, Joé Davray, Louis Massis, Anne-Marie Mersen, Gamil Ratib
screenplay by Jacques Berland, Jean Lévitte, based on the novel by Jean Bruce, music by Jean Marion

OSS 117

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Someone is smuggling some secret documents out of the country, and super agent OSS 117 (Ivan Desny) learns from it from a stripper, who somehow managed to snatch a fake hearing aid from one of her customers and had to pay with her life for it.

It doesn't take OSS 117 long to figure out the document came from the safe of fellow secret agent and rich socialite Anthony Lead (Georges Lannes) - which makes him a suspect but not the culprit yet. OSS 117 and his accomplice Muriel (Magali Noel) are quick to make the acquaintance of Lead, his new wife Marion (Marie Léa) and his grown up daughter Anita (Danik Pattison) by posing as a couple of rich cousins enjoying nothing more than another pointless party. Soon enough, OSS 117 and Muriel have figured out the baddies (as in: enemy agents) of the piece as well, a couple with such telling names as Boris Obarian (Yves Vincent) and Nahedad Sin (Béatrice Arnac) - and while wastes no time and becomes romantically involved with Boris, all for the sake of her country of course, OSS 117 turns the heads of not only Nahedad, but also everyone in Lead's household. And then somebody sabotages his car brakes. OSS 117 makes it out of the car unscathed but chooses to play a man on the deathbed for a while, just to lure the baddies out into the open - which eventually gets his closest accomplice (André Valmy) killed and Muriel kidnapped. But OSS 117 has the element of surprise on his side (everybody thinks he's seriously injured, remember?), and thus he does manage to get somewhere with his investigations. But then, Lead confesses to him that he has sold the documents to Boris and then kills himself ... and something doesn't quite click. Ultimately, OSS 117 manages to follow the actual trail back to daughter Anita, who confesses she's been in it for the money and out of inexperience, and now it's up to OSS 117 to arrest her - but when he's attacked by Boris and she saves him by shooting Boris dead, he decides to let her off the hook ... after all, with her secret agent dad dead she's not likely to handle state secrets ever again, right?

Anyways, in the end, OSS 117 gets the girl - Muriel that is, who has since manage to free herself from her captors ... hey, after all she's a secret agent as well, right?

 

The very first of the movie adaptations of the pulp espionage OSS 117 novels by Jean Bruce, this movie, a rather early example of the Eurospy subgenre, just doesn't totally cut it: Somehow, the plot has problems explaining what it's actually about, its characters lack any actual depth, and the thing is not really well-paced and too obviously underbudgeted. And despite attempts to the contrary, the film as such lacks irony due to not so much the screenplay but a lazy execution.

Truth to be told, the film still holds some interest as what it is, an early example of the Eurospy subgenre. but taken on its own merits, it's rather instantly forgettable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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