Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Cheesecake Plus Murder Produce Checkmate

Cleveland Press April 21, 1967

A sillier, sexier coarser, more ridiculous and sadistic espionage movie than "Deadlier Than the Male" is not—hopefully—likelier to be made.

This piece of trashy nonsense is as insulting to standards of intelligence as it is to taste.

This is neither a spoof nor a straight adventure film but a little of each and a failure at both. Richard Johnson plays an insurance investigator named Hugh Drummond. This is the famous Bulldog Drummond of hallowed B-picture memory but the more familiar name is never used.

It is better this way. Let us leave his memory pure and unsullied.

EMPHASIS IS ON ELKE SOMMER and Sylva Koscina as a couple of shapely assassins for an organization that specializes in making business killings by killing businessmen. It's very involved and not terribly important.

The two ladies appear in bikinis, slinky gowns, negligees and other diverting semi-attire, thus disconcerting their male victims long enough to murder them.

The assassinations are pretty repulsive and coldblooded affairs -- harpoon guns, bullet-loaded cigars, tossing a drugged victim off of a high building and so on. They also specialize in torture.

Johnson is sufficiently athletic to meet the physical demands of a super-hero. The climax finds him in a death duel with Nigel Green on a huge chess board with larger-than-life chess figures electronically controlled. Even this clever gimmick is somehow mishandled.