Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

David Niven Rescues Spy Film

Cleveland Press January 15, 1966

There isn't an espionage movie out these days that doesn't show the influences of the James Bond films. "Where the Spies Are" has a few indications of this influence, but they are superficial.

Basically this movie is of the now classic formula -- the amateur who finds himself involved with international spies and who blunders through to success.

The film is exciting and colorful, is a mixture of suspense and light humor. The advertising would have you believe that the cast is loaded with gorgeous girls. There's only one -- Francois Dorleac and quite pretty she is.

The movie's chief asset is David Niven as a doctor who ran a few errands for British Intelligence during the war and is now called on again to take a trip to Lebanon to check on a missing agent.

It is part of the fun of the film that Niven is chosen because the British spy network is suffering from problems of a small budget and obsolescence and there just isn't anyone else available.

With an incredulous look Niven accepts all of the trappings of what he calls his do-it-yourself spy kit -- poison pen, wristwatch radio, exploding ring, codes and passwords.

"You mean people are still doing this sort of thing?" he says as he struggles to memorize his lines.

When he meets a fellow agent who is not a fellow -- the lovely Miss Dorleac -- he suggests that they ought to do what men and women always seem to be doing in spy stories.

"It's considered very unprofessional," she explains as she refuses.

Later on in the movie they become unprofessional. For an amateur Niven fights and shoots his way rather successfully through the picture. Location filming in Lebanon helps a great deal in making the movie attractive.