Friday, October 5, 2012

Mission: Impossible...to Enjoy: "Mission: Monte Carlo" (1974)

Yet again, unscrupulous producers take a couple of episodes of a television series no one has heard of and edit them together to make a feature length "film." The series in this case is something called "The Persuaders," and the victims in this case are the audience members.

We are given no information about the backgrounds of our heroes, but this is what I was able to glean: Lord Sinclair (Roger Moore) and billionaire playboy Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) are friendly rivals who happen to solve crimes together, usually under the watchful guidance of a Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith).

In the first episode, er, half of the film, the body of a young girl is discovered. Pekoo (Annette Andre) and Sinclair and Wilde trace the dead girl's final steps, stumbling across millionaire businessman Koestler (John Phillips), his wife Lisa (Melissa Stribling), and high strung executive assistant Crane (Terence Alexander). The episode is merely okay, a grainy crime drama like the ones I watched on overseas military-run television networks when I was a kid.

The second episode, er, half of the film, sucks. Susan George guest stars as an artist helping her fuddy-duddy uncle smuggle stolen gold, disguised as counterfeit coins, out of Europe. Before you throw the DVD across the room and pound out a nasty e-mail, the film makers unwisely pop this surprise plot twist cork early. The last half tries to coast on Moore and Curtis' utter lack of chemistry. Both men make huge blunders and Curtis inadvertently gets a character killed (!), while George spends most of her scenes in a hospital bed.

We know Moore would become James Bond shortly after this, and we watch him try on his 007 persona. Bond director John Glen co-edited this debacle, and John Barry pierces your ear drums with a pretty bad opening theme.

"Mission: Monte Carlo" is harmless pablum, but I cannot honestly think of a single reason why anyone should, much less would, want to see this. (* *) out of five stars.