|Licensed to Kill|
original British film poster
|Directed by||Lindsay Shonteff|
|Produced by||James Ward |
|Written by|| Lindsay Shonteff |
|Starring|| Tom Adams |
|Music by||Herbert Chappell|
|Edited by||Ron Pope|
|Distributed by||Embassy Pictures|
|Box office||$1.2 million (est. US/ Canada rentals)|
Licensed to Kill is an Eastmancolor 1965 superspy imitation James Bond film starring Tom Adams as British secret agent Charles Vine. It was directed and co-written by Lindsay Shonteff. Producer Joseph E. Levine picked it up for American and worldwide distribution and reedited it under the title The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World.
The theme song for the American version, composed by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and performed by Sammy Davis, Jr., is used in the 2011 film drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy .
Facing numerous assassination attempts, a Swedish scientist who has invented an anti-gravity device and his daughter seek to provide the invention to the United Kingdom. With James Bond unavailable, H.M. Government provides Agent Charles Vine (Tom Adams), a former mathematician, as a bodyguard and exterminator.
Based on the success of the film, Columbia Pictures offered director Shonteff a five-picture contract, but they disagreed over conditions.
Welsh Trinity College Oxford graduate and former RAF Intelligence Howard Griffithsemigrated to Australia where he wrote extensively for Australian television series such as the spy series Hunter (1967), and police shows Division 4 , Homicide , and Blue Heelers .
Joseph E. Levine had great financial success after cheaply purchasing an Italian film called Hercules and releasing it in America with a massive publicity campaign, and decided to do the same with Licensed to Kill. However, the American release reedited the film by having the opening assassination performed by a mother pulling a Sten gun out of her pram of twins being changed to a pre-credit scene. Levine engaged songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen to write a title song performed by Sammy Davis Jr and arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman over the credits with the new title. The American release then eliminated scenes of Francis de Wolff talking to John Arnatt about seeking Bond for the assignment, and of Vine in bed with a girl and a crossword puzzle giving double entendre clues. The American release also eliminates much of the dialogue about the anti-gravity device, called "Regrav", which makes the denouement of the film less comprehensible.
The American publicity for the film echoed the "Number 2, but tries harder" advertising of the Avis Rent a Car System prevalent at the time. Levine launched a November 1965 nationwide 100 word essay contest to be titled "the most unforgettable second-best secret agent I have known".
What Eon Productions's reaction was to the blatant imitation is not known, but Shonteff was missing from the two Vine sequels starring Tom Adams:
Shonteff later made three spy films with the hero named "Charles Bind". In the first, his boss is also named Rockwell:
The spy film genre, also known sometimes as an espionage film, deals with the subject of fictional espionage, either in a realistic way or as a basis for fantasy. Many novels in the spy fiction genre have been adapted as films, including works by John Buchan, le Carré, Ian Fleming (Bond) and Len Deighton. It is a significant aspect of British cinema, with leading British directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed making notable contributions and many films set in the British Secret Service.
Sammy Cahn was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area. He and his collaborators had a series of hit recordings with Frank Sinatra during the singer's tenure at Capitol Records, but also enjoyed hits with Dean Martin, Doris Day and many others. He played the piano and violin. He won an Oscar four times for his songs, including the popular song "Three Coins in the Fountain".
James Van Heusen was an American composer. He wrote songs for films, television and theater, and won an Emmy and four Academy Awards for Best Original Song.
Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die is a James Bond spoof film released in 1966 as an Italian-American co-production between Dino De Laurentiis' Cinematografica and Columbia Pictures. Directed by Henry Levin, with stars Michael Connors, Dorothy Provine, and as the villain, Raf Vallone, it was originally filmed from January to March 1966 under the title Operation Paradise and distributed in some parts of the English-speaking world as If All the Women in the World.
O.K. Connery, released in America as Operation Kid Brother, is a 1967 Italian Eurospy comedy film shot in Technicolor and Techniscope and directed by Alberto De Martino. The Spy-Fi plot involves the brother of the British spy James Bond, played by Neil Connery who is obliged to take the lead in foiling a world-domination plot. The film's cast included several actors from the Eon-produced James Bond film series, Thunderball's Adolfo Celi, From Russia with Love's Daniela Bianchi, Dr. No's Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee (M), and Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), as well as the producer's wife Agata Flori, Gina Lollobrigida's cousin Guido Lollobrigida, and Yasuko Yama then in the publicity spotlight due to her relationship with James Mason. She appeared as a bath girl in You Only Live Twice under the name Yee-Wah Yang.
Anthony Frederick Charles "Tom" Adams was an English actor with roles in adventure, horror and mystery films and several TV shows. He was best known for his role as Daniel Fogarty in several series of The Onedin Line.
John Edwin Arnatt was a British actor.
Danger!! Death Ray is a 1967 Italian Eurospy secret agent spy film starring Gordon Scott.
Lindsay Craig Shonteff was a Canadian born film director, film producer and screenwriter who achieved fame for low-budget films produced in England.
Secret Agent Super Dragon Italian: New York chiama Superdrago) is a 1966 international co-production Eurospy film directed by Giorgio Ferroni and starring Ray Danton as the titular secret agent.
Eurospy film, or Spaghetti spy film, is a genre of spy films produced in Europe, especially in Italy, France, and Spain, that either sincerely imitated or else parodied the British James Bond spy series feature films. The first wave of Eurospy films were released in 1964, two years after the first James Bond film, Dr. No, and in the same year as the premiere of what many consider to be the apotheosis of the Bond series, Goldfinger. For the most part, the Eurospy craze lasted until around 1967 or 1968. In Italy, where most of these films were produced, this trend replaced the declining sword and sandal genre.
Le spie uccidono a Beirut is a 1965 Italian/French international co-production spy film pertaining to the Eurospy genre.
Where the Bullets Fly is a 1966 British comedy spy film directed by John Gilling and starring Tom Adams as Charles Vine and John Arnatt repeating their roles from Licensed to Kill. It also stars Dawn Addams, Tim Barrett and Michael Ripper.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 2011 Cold War spy thriller film directed by Tomas Alfredson. The screenplay was written by Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan, based on John le Carré's 1974 novel of the same name. The film, starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, along with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Ciarán Hinds, and featuring David Dencik, is set in London in the early 1970s and follows the hunt for a Soviet double agent at the top of the British secret service.
No. 1 of the Secret Service is a 1977 imitation James Bond film starring Nicky Henson as British secret agent Charles Bind. It was directed and written by Lindsay Shonteff and produced by his wife Elizabeth Gray. The film had the working title of 008 of the Secret Service. It was released on VHS under the title Her Majesty’s Top Gun.
Licensed to Love and Kill is a 1979 imitation James Bond film starring Gareth Hunt as British secret agent Charles Bind. It was directed and written by Lindsay Shonteff and produced by his wife Elizabeth Gray. The film had the working title An Orchid for No. 1; it was released on VHS under the title The Man from S.E.X..
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