Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Heatwave movies: Maroc 7

I first reviewed this in 2010, but it deserves another look, as a great summer movie!

MAROC 7 is a riot of colour, girls, guns - a delicious crime caper from 1966 that plays like a UK version of those Dean Martin Matt Helm films such as THE SILENCERS. Here it is Gene Barry as the suave agent infiltrating a fashion shoot in Morocco - that endlessly fascinating mysterious exotic location (also well used in the caper DUFFY in '68, also reviewed here).

MAROC 7 was made about the same time as Antonioni's BLOW-UP and also features a photographer and lots of model girls - here though Leslie Philips (who also produces) is the snapper with crime on his mind, but its the girls who are the main interest. Cyd Charisse (for it is she) is the fashion editor using her magazine shoots to cover her criminal activities, top model girl is the stunning Elsa Martinelli (as nice here as for instance as her Dallas in Hawks' HATARI!) and that very intriguing Canadian actress Alexandra Stewart who had a career in European films (LE FEU FOLLET, DAY FOR NIGHT, ONLY WHEN I LARF with Hemmings, and Penn's MICKEY ONE with Beatty) and is still working now. She plays police inspector Denholm Elliot's assistant. Cyd and Leslie are ruthless in their ambitions, disposing of one of the girls who knows too much and the professor who won't reveal the whereabouts of a priceless medallion. The plot involves secret maps, robbing tombs and multiple double crosses, after a nice start with Evans breaking into Charisse’s house and stealing jewels while she returns and takes a shower. Then there is one of those ‘60s parties …… and then its off to Morocco with all those girls and those '60s outfits!
Above: girls on location.

It is all deliriously put together by director Gerry O'Hara, that '60s movie-maker of low budget independent glamour films (his THE PLEASURE GIRLS (1965 label) is an interesting minor film about girls in Swinging London) and he also helmed episodes of THE AVENGERS and, er, THE BITCH! This one kind of looks cheap but that suits it perfectly. It is great to see the mature Charisse, she is ideally cast here, her looks and voice are still sensational. I simply cannot wait to see it again's a cult movie to match DANGER DIABOLIK!

Above: Elsa Martinelli, below: Alexandra Stewart and with David Hemmings in ONLY WHEN I LARF.

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