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The robot assassin watches the diplomatic party though sunglasses.

Col. Blimp (Howard Vernon) caught in the lens of the killer robot….Ocular adventures in the Edgar Wallace mode. This is actually a pretty loose remake of Franco’s 1966 black and white programmer,  CARTES SUR TABLE /CARTES  BOCCA ARRIBA (ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS)*,  which featured Eddie Constantine as Al Pereira, replaced here with Howard Vernon as an agent Investigating a sect of assassins. With Christian Bork,  Helena Garrett and Jose Llamas.     The scenes involving the rituals of the sect are staged with a touch of minimalist delirium,  complete with smoke and mirrors. Stock footage, mixed with location shots, is used to represent Thailand.  A film of some visual interest despite the recycled plot.

Above-The Excelsior: Cult Fiction

This was  Franco’s final Edgar Wallace «adaptation», if there is indeed any Wallace element here at all. Franco spoke about wanting to film Wallace’s THE CASE OF THE FRIGHTENED LADY right up to the end of his career. Not as much fun as the 1983 SANGRE EN MIS ZAPATOS, not to mention THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA (1970), as more official Edgar Wallace film adaptations, Jess Franco style. One gets the sense that a gentle type of genre ridicule was intended, which doesn’t quite carry to non Spanish speakers. Howard Vernon appears to be having fun with his Eurospy antics. This Manacoa production was obviously a way to gain further income from an idea which Franco wanted to revisit for nearly 20 years. The color here is less expressive than the black and white noir-look of ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS. There are a lot of personal in-jokes, which only Jess Franco got, simply because he reinvented them, as he did the main plot. It’s always fun to try to imagine what Franco meant with certain scenes in certain projects. But the meaning of this is either deeply buried or nonexistent. As always the «meaning» is not in the dialogue, plot or acting. It’s in the style of the film itself. A hall of mirrors and other reflective surfaces which capture and expand the action, modestly resourced and staged as it is, into sometimes startling dimensions.


*CARTES SUR TABLE is not a sequel to Godard’s ALPHAVILLE (1965), lacking that film’s poetic touches and experimental style. But the Godard film is mentioned in an voice advert hears for the film by Al as he arrives in Alicane.

(C) Robert Monell (2018)

Written by Robert Monell

26 abril 2018 a 2:02 AM

2 respuestas

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  1. If this movie is a remake of «Cartes sur table», then the latter was based on some Wallace story.

    Johny Malone

    26 abril 2018 at 10:50 PM

  2. Yes, I think so.


    12 mayo 2018 at 6:42 PM

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