Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Number One of the Secret Service

It's our first random movie trailer of the year, so I thought I'd plumb the depths of British low budget film-making in the form of a trailer for a Lindsay Shonteff film.   Actually, it is undoubtedly unfair to imply that Shonteff's films are low budget crud.  The late Lindsay Shonteff was a professional film maker who had worked for various producers on films with reasonable budgets and large scale releases before he decided to go his own way and produce his own pictures, free of interference from producers and studios.  Which meant financing the films himself which, in turn, meant making films on extremely low-budgets. 

Despite the lack of budgets, Shonteff's films, unlike many other poverty row exploitation movies, generally look professionally made, featuring recognisable actors, proper editing and cinematography and even some special effects.  Amongst the hard boiled crime thrillers like Clegg and The Fast Kill, sexploitation pieces like Permissive and  sub-Avengers capers like Big Zapper and Zapper's Blade of Vengeance, Shonteff developed a predilection for James Bond spoofs.  Starting with Licensed to Kill in 1965, these proved to be his most popular productions.  Interestingly, No 1 of the Secret Service, from 1977, was made because Shonteff needed to recoup his losses from his surprisingly faithful adaptation of Len Deighton's Spy Story the previous year.  Featuring Nicky Henson as Charles Bind, it proved a considerable success, particularly in international markets.  Successful enough, in fact, to spawn a couple of sequels with different actors as Bind.   Now largely forgotten, No 1 of the Secret Service is sadly just about impossible to see nowadays, unless you can obtain a bootleg DVD.  That said, I've heard that many of Shonteff's films are set for a Blu Ray release later this year.  In the meantime, just enjoy the cheesiness of the trailer. 



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