Saturday 22 August 2020

Movie Review: Our Man In Marrakesh (1966)

A low budget exotic adventure, Our Man In Marrakesh (also known as Bang! Bang! You're Dead!) features plenty of aimless running around, some humour, and a threadbare plot.

Foreigner Philippe is stabbed and killed in Casablanca. Soon afterwards, six tourists including the alluring Kyra Stanovy (Senta Berger) and businessman Andrew Jessel (Tony Randall) arrive in town and board the bus to Marrakesh. One of the six is a courier carrying a $2 million payment intended for sinister businessman Casimir (Herbert Lom), who is fixing a United Nations vote on behalf of mysterious clients.

Jessel is shocked to find the dead Philippe stuffed in his hotelroom closet, and further discombobulated when Kyra gatecrashes his life. They drop off Philippe at the local cemetery then attempt to get close to Casimir while evading his henchman Jonquil (Klaus Kinski). Tourists Fairbrother (Wilfrid Hyde-White) and Lillywhite (John Le Mesurier) are among the candidates to be unveiled as the courier, while tribal leader El Caid (Terry-Thomas) also gets himself involved.

A cheap British spy comedy of sorts, Our Man In Marrakesh does benefit from scenic Moroccan locations, a decent cast, a controlled Tony Randall performance and Senta Berger at her scintillating best. But otherwise this is a scroungy Harry Alan Towers production wallowing near the bottom of the pile labeled glamorous international intrigue.

The opening murder is reasonably promising and carries good echoes of Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, but director Don Sharp allows momentum to quickly seep away in the Moroccan sun. Most of the rest of the film consists of desultory hopping between locations, all the characters trying but failing to hide abject incompetence behind haphazard humour, unconvincing frolicing and dripping smarm. 

The rudimentary plot threads quickly unravel into irrelevance. Kyra knows a lot more than she reveals, but the bumbling Jessel descends into lovestruck lapdog territory as he faithfully follows her in and out of trouble. For a man capable of fixing United Nations votes Casimir proves inept at connecting with a courier and careless in protecting his secret briefcase. Klaus Kinski leaves an impression as a mostly silent ruthless chief goon, but even his steely-eyed demeanour cannot rescue Our Man In Marrakesh out of the dusty bargain bin.

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