Saturday, May 4, 2024



This convoluted spoof of the spy movies of the 1960s is a real obscurity. The story, should you choose to try and follow it, involves a search for stolen diamonds in Lisbon and the killing of a government agent. Enter William Beddoes (James Garner), an American banker, who is mistaken for the agent sent to replace the dead one. Beddoes is reluctantly pulled into the world of spy/counter spy along with the dead agent's lover (Melina Mercouri). Also dragged into the confusion are an American smuggler (Tony Franciosa) who gets romantically involved with an American girl (Sandra Dee). Much of the screen time features the four stars engaging in various car chases throughout the Portuguese countryside.

Apparently, there was more excitement behind the camera than in front. James Garner and Tony Franciosa didn't get along and their one screen fight turned into a near brawl. The original director, Cliff Owen, was replaced by Ronald Neame, which made the production go on longer than intended. Sandra Dee was near the end of her career as a star actress at Universal and begged the studio not to make her do the picture. Miss Dee: "So I spent a miserable four months in Lisbon, little fishing villages and Rome, making a picture that should have taken eight weeks. We had two changes of directors, and I ended up playing COME SEPTEMBER, all over again." James Garner called the film "disappointing".

The most memorable thing about the film is the lovely theme music by Bert Kaempfert, which won a Golden Globe for Best Song in a Motion Picture. The theme, originally called Beddy Bye, was later given lyrics and became the hit song Strangers in the Night when recorded by Frank Sinatra.

Tony Franciosa, Sandra Dee and James Garner


  1. This probably all but forgotten flick's theme music was turned into one of Sinatra's standards? Wow! Never heard of this flick. Sounds like NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) smuggled into the spy-spoofing '60s. It's interesting that you mentioned Tony Franciosa getting into an altercation with James Garner during the making of the film. I had heard that Franciosa clobbered a photographer back in 1957. Franciosa had a temper that his fourth wife was able to cope with, and he credited her with being a very positive influence on his attitude. I always found Franciosa to be an interesting actor to watch. He was great in one of Dario Argento's best films, the giallo TENEBRAE (1982).

  2. Yep, it's true. This forgotten flick has a major musical claim to fame. I'm not really surprised that Tony Franciosa had a hot temper, as he was a very intense actor. He was also once married to Shelley Winters, and I can imagine what THAT relationship must have been like! He's in one of my favorite show business dramas: CAREER (1959). I'll watch this film again one of these days. Who knows? Maybe that "second watch effect" will give me a more positive opinion. Thanks for commenting!