Deadlier than the Male (1967) UK International 1 Sheet Poster
Updating Bulldog Drummond to ride on the James Bond wave was a smart move. Deadlier than the Male is a glamorous escapist adventure film, which, by taking itself more seriously that the wink-wink Matt Helm films, retains an almost realistic sharpness to the mayhem. Elke Sommer and Sylvia Koscina, a pair of evil assassins just as keen to torture as kill, are given an incredibly iconic moment, emerging from the sea, bikini-clad, harpoon guns at the ready.
Richard Johnson as Drummond plays the part with suave conviction, and not as a superspy. (He was Dr No director Terence Young’s preference to play Bond). Nigel Green, the villain who benefits every time oil executives have ‘accidents’ is also firing on all cylinders. The script from Hammer’s Jimmy Sangster’s story is stylishly directed by Ralph Thomas, a safe pair of hands kind of director, who upped his game for this. Some Avengers-like set pieces (the giant motorised chessboard), and a particularly brutal car park fight had the same mad vitality as the Bond films themselves.
Condition: VERY FINE / NEAR MINT (Rolled)
Cast: Richard Johnson, Suzanna Leigh, Virginia North, Leonard Rossiter, Laurence Naismith, Zia Mohyeddin, Milton Reid, George Sewell, Marianne Stone (which British film of the 50s – 70s didn’t she appear in?)