Upcoming Spy DVDs: The Destructors and Cloudburst
MGM's latest wave of MOD titles in their "Limited Edition Collection" will include two not-quite spy movies that will nonetheless be of interest to readers here. Currently available to pre-order from Screen Archives Entertainment, The Destructors is not the 1968 Richard Egan Bond knock-off (which I'll get around to reviewing here one of these days), but the 1974 Michael Caine movie also known as The Marseille Contract. Though Anthony Quinn plays some sort of American agent, it's really more of a crime movie than a spy movie. Quinn hires a professional hitman played by Caine to take out an untouchable drug lord played by James Mason. The action all unfolds in the south of France, and as I recall, the locations (shot beautifully by my favorite DP, Douglas Slocombe)are really the film's highlights. I haven't seen this movie in about ten years, and honestly I remember very little of it. My recollection is that it's not very good, but does offer up one great car chase, alone worth the price of admission. The chase, coordinated by frequent Bond car chase guru Rémy Julienne, prefigures his 1995 Aston Martin/Ferrari rally in GoldenEye, playing out over the same twisty Côte d'Azur roads. All in all, I'm looking forward to seeing this one again.
Additionally, this MOD wave also includes the rare 1951 title Cloudburst, one of famed British horror studio Hammer's rare flirtations with espionage (along with Passport to China, Shatter and their Dick Barton series). Robert Preston plays an American WWII vet working as a codebreaker for a secret division of the British government... but that's as far as the movie goes into spy territory. Despite his job, the movie is considered a more standard noir mystery about the hunt for a killer. Still, rare Hammer movies always catch my eye, and I'm excited to finally have a chance to watch this.