He Was A Cold War Spy… Or Was He?

An old British spy comedy was today’s viewing. From director Ralph Thomas (“Deadlier Than The Male”, “The 39 Steps”), the 1964 release is titled “Hot Enough For June”.

HOT_ENOUGH_FOR_JUNE

Lionel Davidson - Night Of Wenceslas
Lionel Davidson – Night Of Wenceslas

Loosely based on the 1960 spy novel “The Night Of Wenceslas” by British author Lionel Davidson, the movie was also known as “Agent 8¾” in the US.

The film opens with Roger Allsop (John Le Mesurier – “The Italian Job”, “Dad’s Army”) passing over the belongings of a deceased agent, which are put into a locker marked “007”. Allsop and his boss, Colonel Cunliffe (Robert Morley – “Theatre Of Blood”, “Murder At The Gallop”) then discuss the need to find someone to send behind the Iron Curtain to collect something.

Robert Morley & John Le Mesurier
Robert Morley & John Le Mesurier

Meanwhile an unemployed author, Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde – “Accident”, “A Bridge Too Far”), is sent by the employment exchange to an interview for what he believes to be a trainee executive role with a glass company with Cunliffe.

Dirk Bogarde
Dirk Bogarde

To his great surprise Whistler is given the job and sent off to Pargue in communist Czechoslovakia where he is to make contact with someone at the glass factory there and return to London with the information that he is given.

Sylva Koscina
Sylva Koscina

Upon arrival Whistler is provided with a driver, Vlasta Simoneva (Sylva Koscina – “Deadlier Than The Male”, “The Last Roman”), who also acts as his guide. Whistler is instantly attracted to Simoneva and does his best to seduce her, little realising that she is a secret police agent.

Sylva Koscina & Dirk Bogarde
Sylva Koscina & Dirk Bogarde

How long will it be before Whistler realises that he is working for the British intelligence services and will he be able to complete his mission even though everyone else seems to know more about what it is than he does?…

Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina
Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina

Although this isn’t a comedy film filled with laughs, it certainly has a light-hearted approach to the spy genre, aided by that introductory tip of the hat to the quintessential British spy James Bond. Bogarde plays his role superbly with a mixture of bemusement and, later on, determination whilst Koscina adds the obligatory glamour.

Not an essential film, but still an entertaining way to while away and hour and a half on a quiet afternoon…hot_enough_for_june

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