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.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Forgotten '60s movies: Otley

OTLEY, 1968. Another spy spoof giving Tom Courtenay one of his best roles as the drifter Otley, getting involved with spies. Alan Badel and James Villiers are suitably droll villains, Romy Schneider pops in and out as a lady of mystery, and its shot around Notting Hill and Portobello Market, so it has that '60s vibe in spades. It starts amusingly as Otley is thrown out of his room by his landlady (after she gets one last romp from him), there is a good Antonioni joke at a smart ‘60s party, and familiar faces include Leonard Rossiter, Freddie Jones, Fiona Lewis, James Bolam and James Cossins.
While being pursued for a crime he did not commit, Otley is kidnapped by a group of criminals who suspect him of being involved with double agents. He manages to escape, but cannot avoid getting into one near-fatal crisis after another, as police and foreign agents chase after him. Scripted by then popular television writers Dick Clement (who also directs) and Ian La Frenais (of THE LIKELY LADS fame), it climaxes with a shoot-out in Notting Hill underground station. For those like me familiar with the locations it’s a treat now seeing the London of then. A neglected ‘60s treat. 
OTLEY remains one of those fun Swinging Sixties films like DUFFY, SEBASTIAN, SMASHING TIME, BEDAZZLED, KALEIDOSCOPE, HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH, I'LL NEVER FORGET WHATS'ISNAME, UP THE JUNCTION et al, a lot of them covered here, London label, as distinct from the more 'arty' ones like MORGAN, POOR COW or BLOW-UP. Its a pity though that Romy Schneider, decorative as she is here, got roped into this rather that playing that catalyst , the Austrian princess, in Losey's ACCIDENT, where she would have been ideal. 

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