Superseven Calling Cairo (1965)

Superseven Calling Cairo Poster 2014Superseven is the guy who gets the assignments that James Bond would reject as not flashy enough. Thwarting supervillains bent on world domination and equipped with monstrous secret bases is one thing, but recovering the zoom lens from a primitive video camera is something best left to a junior varsity squadder like Superseven. Or the guys from the old TV show Riptide.

And if Superseven seems destined to handle Bond’s sloppy seconds, the same holds true for all the other trappings of the genre.

Remember all the cool gear that Bond would routinely be outfitted with for a given mission? And then wreck? Superseven gets a gun disguised as an ink pen, some sort of transmitter disguised as a shaver, and a shoe that has a little bomb stashed in the heel.

Luckily for Superseven the microbomb wasn’t top of the line since he implored his female companion not to drop it because it would explode, but then she clearly fumbles it onto the ground before retrieving it. It doesn’t go off, but we probably were supposed to be too distracted by the fact that the detachable heel from his shoe could somehow be used to saw through a bunch of ropes in about ten seconds to really worry about a super sensitive bomb that only exploded when convenient.

In addition to all the substandard, clearance, recalled, and discontinued spy hardware that Superseven gets saddled with using, he also picks up a fairly lame secret identity. He’s to travel undercover to Cairo as the assistant museum nerd in charge of getting Napoleonic relics. Somehow this will enable him to sniff around for the missing zoom lens.

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Though the bad guys were literally waiting for him at the airport, his compromised-from-the-very-beginning deep cover did come in handy when he used a bunch of mannequins dressed up in Napoleonic costumes to trick the Egyptian police into not noticing that one of the mannequins was actually the corpse of a woman!

There was an especially suspenseful moment where Superseven had to deftly retrieve some money that was shoved into the cleavage of this dead chick before the cops noticed. In fact, I’m still in suspense because I have no idea why this dead woman had money shoved down into her jugs!

Credit must be given to Superseven for the way he handles the investigation despite it being entirely uninteresting. The zoom lens is important because it is made of a new element that is a billion times more elemental than even Uranium!

If it fell into the wrong hands something heinous would no doubt happen which is why Superseven pulls out all the stops, breaks all the rules, and goes totally no holds barred all over Egypt, Italy and even some Swiss border guards in an effort to recover it! And the first step is to lay the sexy intruder he finds in his hotel room! And then hit the local strip club to do more recon!

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Now before you go and criticize Superseven for doing that, I’ll have you know that the bad guy and his girlfriend are also there! And the girlfriend is a sketch artist! And Superseven is with a sexy French chick who is an eyewitness to the guy who was last seen with the camera! And the sketch artist and Superseven have a past together! And the French chick Superseven is with is entirely different than the Egyptian chick he dropped a load into back at the hotel room!

Us guys watching can pretty much forgive Superseven when his big plan to find the zoom lens consists of sitting on a camel with the French chick at the Pyramids and periodically pointing to a tourist and asking her “is that him? How about that guy?” After all, at least half of any secret agent mission is proving your country’s superiority in the bedroom!

Director Umberto Lenzi, who is probably best remembered for his various cannibal movies (Eaten Alive, Cannibal Ferox, Deep River Savages), actually had a lengthy career that pretty much tracked the vagaries of the Italian exploitation film industry. With Super Seven Calling Cairo though he manages to deliver a mostly dull picture punctuated by outbursts of almost laughable moments.

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There’s a scene where a guy climbs up one of the Pyramids and gets shot. Instead of showing the guy falling, Umberto cuts to a hilarious reaction shot of Superseven and his lady friend where they silently look up at the pyramid and then down as the guy falls to his death.

Then there’s the moment where Superseven demonstrates to the Swiss authorities that the weapon he used to threaten the border guards was actually just a cigarette lighter shaped like a gun and they let him go!

And how did anyone involved keep a straight face when Superseven went into the bathroom to retrieve the lens for the bad guys, turned on his transmitter and then proceeded to talk to the bad guys about their exact location so his bosses would know where to rescue him? Superseven starts babbling about how likes it at the motel there by the sea near Fregene just a few miles from Rome on the main highway while the bad guys stand around probably wondering just what the hell is wrong with him!

You may also laugh for all the wrong reasons when Superseven finds himself at a big go-cart race and chases one of the villains smack dab into a junkyard. The shootout that follows is typical of the movie as the bad guy gets distracted by a stray dog allowing Superseven to kill him.

There’s barely any action to speak of and star Roger Browne manages to combine an off-putting smugness with the acting presence of one of his museum mannequins that make him perfect for such a shoddy spy story which Lenzi also had a hand in writing! But not to worry because Superseven and Lenzi would return in The Spy Who Loved Flowers! Please let Superseven be undercover as an assistant florist!

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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