Jun 13, 2011

More New Spy DVDs Out Last Week
On Sale Today Only!

In addition to the sets that I wrote about on Tuesday, there were some other very exciting new spy releases last week. The Warner Archive splurged on spy titles in a nearly all-spy week, including a couple of great Eurospy titles.  And some of them are on sale through tonight (Monday)!

The Double Man
This cool, dark Eurospy entry finds Yul Brynner playing a double role as a tough, cold-blooded CIA agent and his potential doppelganger.  Future Bond Girl Britt Ekland is also on board, though her loyalties are questionable.  The Cold War intrigue unfolds in one of my favorite spy locations: the Swiss Alps.  It's a bit darker than a lot of Eurospy fare, but still delivers just about everything you could hope for from the genre.  The Double Man is available to pre-order from Amazon, and available now directly through The Warner Archive. (At a substantial discount if you act fast!)

Assignment To Kill
Spies get assigned to kill all the time. After all, they've got licenses for that.  But how often do insurance investigators receive an Assignment To Kill?  Quite often, actually, if you've dabbled a bit in the Eurospy genre!  Longtime readers will be aware that I'm a big fan of this particularly curious sub-genre.  For some reason, insurance investigators were so glamorized in the Sixties that European filmmakers tended to use them as proxy spies.  The best Eurospy movie of all, Deadlier Than the Male (review here), isn't about a spy at all, but an insurance investigator.  Other movies in this mold include Ring Around the World (review here) and 1968's Assignment To Kill, though the latter has been rather elusive until now.  Patrick O'Neal plays ultra-cool insurance investigator Richard Cutter, and a globe-trotting probe into big-time fraud takes him into contact with such spy movie regulars as Herbert Lom, John Gielgud, Peter van Eyck, Eric Portman and Oscar Homolka. The action unfolds against the same great Swiss backdrop as The Double Man.  Assignment To Kill is available now from The Warner Archive, and available to pre-order on Amazon.

Avalanche Express
I've never seen Avalanche Express (1979), but I do love spy movies on trains, so I'm eager to give it a go!  Lee Marvin plays CIA agent Harry Wargrave, whose assignment is to escort a Soviet defector (played by Robert Shaw, a seasoned veteran of train-based espionage!) on Europe’s Milan-to-Rotterdam express, then cross the Atlantic and deliver his charge to Washington. But enemy agents are out to stop him–and won't think twice about causing a devastating avalanche to do so! Other passengers on the train (some of whom are bound to be foreign spies) include such nefarious types as Maximilian Schell, Mike Connors, Horst Buchholz and the ubiquitous Vladek Sheybal. Avalanche Express is available for pre-order from Amazon at $18.99 or available now directly.

24 Hours To Kill
24 Hours To Kill doesn't have former Tarzan and Eurospy dabbler Lex Barker playing an actual spy, but as an international thriller set primarily in that favorite Eurospy location, the "Paris of the Middle East," Beirut, it's essentially part of the genre. The plot concerns smuggling, and the cast includes Mickey Rooney and Walter Slezak. 24 Hours To Kill has been available before on a dubious grey market label, but the Warner Archive edition marks its widescreen debut.  This MOD edition is available to pre-order from Amazon and available now directly.

Two more titles in this wave aren't quite spy titles, but they're Sixties adventures with guns and beautiful women, and that puts them close enough in my book.  Dark of the Sun is a 1968 men-on-a-mission movie in which Rod Taylor (The Liquidator) and Jim Brown lead a group of elite commandos on a perilous train journey across the Congo out to rescue endangered civilians and recover a huge cache of diamonds.  And just look at that cover art!  Kona Coast was an unsold pilot for a Hawaiian action series based on a book by John D. Macdonald. The Kremlin Letter's Richard Boone plays a charter boat captain who turns vigilante to avenge the death of his daughter. Finally, Once Before I Die is a war movie and not a spy movie in any sense, but it does star Bond Girl Ursula Andress...

Whew!  Quite a week!  How on earth are we spy fans to keep up with so many releases at once, you might ask?  Well, fortunately The Warner Archive is having a very nice Father's Day sale lasting through the end of the day today (Monday, June 13), in which all of these titles (and many other action movies) are available at a five dollar discount.  To me, that $5 makes all the difference in the world.  The regular Warner Archive retail price of $19.95 always strikes me as prohibitive for a made-on-demand DVD, but $14.95 sounds entirely reasonable–especially with free shipping on orders of two or more!  That's the way to go if you're buying these today, but if you miss the sale or want to hold off, they're all also available to pre-order on Amazon (where they won't be available until July) for $18.99 apiece.  Other titles in the sale that might interest spy fans include Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (a bona fide Tarzan spy movie - review here), Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (co-starring Sean Connery - review here), Brass Bancroft of the Secret Service, The Sell-Out and many, many more.

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