Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 4th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: UK, April, 1966
Alternate Title: Bang! Bang! You’re Dead!
Approximate running time: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen
Director: Don Sharp
Writers: Harry Alan Towers, Peter Yeldham
Cinematograper: Michael Reed
Composer: Malcolm Lockyer
Cast: Tony Randall, Senta Berger, Terry-Thomas, Herbert Lom, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Grégoire Aslan, John Le Mesurier, Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Burt Kwouk
Synopsis: Six tourists arrive in Marrakesh at the same time. One of them is a courier carrying two million dollars. Mr. Casimir a local crime boss has an appointment with the courier and he only has forty eight hours to find out which one of the six tourists has the two million dollars. A mix up of rooms and the discovery of a dead body forces Andrew Jessel an American tourist to join forces with Kyra Stanovy the rightful occupant of the room and a friend of the dead man in closet. Together they must avoid being caught by the police or killed by Mr. Casimir’s men before they uncover the truth.
In the 1960’s the spy film became hugely popular due to the success of the James Bond films series. Just like any genre that has one phenomenon there are many imitators that try to ride its coattails. Our Man in Marrakesh besides having elements found in many spy films it also bears some resemblances to Alfred Hitchcock films like North by Northwest and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). The location used in Our Man in Marrakesh and its opening scene look like there were heavily inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). The story as a whole offers nothing new that hasn’t been seen before in a spy/thriller film.
Don Sharp’s direction for Our Man in Marrakesh is rock solid. The most iconic moment in the film is a camera shot between Margaret Lee’s legs as Tony Randall’s character Andrew Jessel arrives at Mr. Casimir’s home. Our Man in Marrakesh has just the right amounts of surprises and there are evenly spread out. Some of the films visual style should be credited to its cinematographer Michael Reed who impressive list of previous credits include The Gorgon, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Rasputin: The Mad Monk and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Composer Malcolm Lockyer provides an adequate score that suits that film.
One of the film’s most unusual assets is the casting of Tony Randall in the lead role of Andrew Jessel. Tony Randall who is primarily known for his comedic roles like Felix Unger in the television series “The Odd Couple” is not exactly the first person who comes to mind when you think of a lead for a spy themed film. Oddly enough Tony Randall’s performance while not without its flaws is very enjoyable. Cast in the role of Andrew Jessel’s love interest and accomplice is Senta Berger (The Testament of Dr. Mabuse, Diabolically Yours). Senta Berger besides serving as some eye candy she perfectly complements Tony Randall’s performance.
The two man bad guys in the films are Herbert Lom as Mr. Casimir and Klaus Kinski in the role of Jonquil, Mr. Casimir’s right hand man. Even though this is far from Klaus Kinski’s best work he still plays sinister characters better than anyone else. Other notable performers in this film include Terry-Thomas, Wilfred Hyde-White and Margaret Lee who is under used in the role of Mr. Casimir’s mistress. Ultimately Our Man in Marrakesh is a tongue and cheek take on the spy genre that holds up better than most films of its ilk.
Note: The only DVD release currently available of Our Man in Marrakesh is a region 2 PAL DVD release from a company named Paradiso Home Entertainment.