Movie Review: Countdown To Doomsday aka Inferno a Caracas (1966)
Maybe it was just because I hadn’t watched a Eurospy movie in a while when I put on Countdown to Doomsday, but the movie struck a chord with me. It’s really in no way remarkable, but it’s just a very solid entry in the genre, smack in the middle of the road. I don’t mean “middle of the road” in a bad way, either; I mean if you want to show someone who’s never seen a Eurospy movie before an example that checks all the boxes in a thoroughly competent manner, then Countdown to Doomsday would fit the bill. (It’s not the movie to start someone on the genre, though, if you want them to get hooked; merely if you want a demonstration that makes clear exactly what the genre is.) When watching these low budget European Bond knock-offs, sometimes familiar is exactly what I want. A tried and true genre entry that doesn’t stray from the lighted path is like comfort food for me. Sometimes I don’t want originality; I just want well-done cliche. Countdown to Doomsday certainly delivers on that account.
insurance investigator; it all amounts to the same thing. When a beautiful blonde is kidnapped on the beach in Caracas, her billionaire daddy hires Merlin to go down there and find her. Merlin’s investigation naturally begins at a strip club, where pretty much all Eurospy investigations begin. Remember that computer game, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? You would go from city to city around the world and then have a choice of three places to go: airport, train station, shipyards, etc. If “strip club” were an option there, a Eurospy hero would always opt for it first. And nine times out of ten, he’d be right. (The term “strip club” itself may be a misnomer, though; it seems that in the Sixties–in Eurospyland, anyway–all nightclubs had striptease acts. So these are classy places!) Anyway the strip club reconnaissance usually pays off, and this is no exception.