Monday, November 30, 2009

Spy Vixen Week - Day #1: Daliah Lavi

Due to a variety of factors, I haven't had time lately to really put together any interesting posts for this blog, or at least, not write anything of any weight or significance. But, I also didn't want the site to continue to go neglected, so I tried to think of a "theme" that I'd be able to keep up with for a week or so.

Fellow COBRAS Paul Bishop has been devoting a fair amount of space to "Spy Girls" in his blog over the last couple of weeks, and that gave me an idea. For the next seven days, I'll be showcasing a different lovely actress from the heyday of the 60s spy film, actresses that I primarily associate with the genre. But whereas Paul threw his spotlight on the catsuit-clad heroines, I'm going to instead feature some of the most devious and delicious femme fatales of espionage cinema.

To begin, I've chosen Daliah Lavi, the raven-haired Israeli beauty who shared the screen with Dean Martin's Matt Helm in The Silencers (1966), Woody Allen's Jimmy Bond alias Doctor Noah in Casino Royale (1967) and Richard Johnson's Hugh Drummond in Some Girls Do (1968), among other memorable roles.

Beautiful and exotic, with a flair for comic menace, Miss Lavi is one of my favorite fatimas of the Sixties. Unfortunately for fans of cinematic sirens, she retired from acting early and went on to a successful singing career in Europe.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Obit: Edward Woodward, R.I.P.

Edward Woodward, the distinguished and intense star of the Spy-Fi television series Callan and The Equalizer, passed away yesterday at age 79.

I'm a huge fan of The Equalizer and Woodward's portrayal of Robert McCall, an ex-spy who used his espionage skills to help those in trouble against terrible odds. It was refreshing to have a television hero who had maturity, class, and intelligence, but also knew when to blow away the bad guys with his PPK. Woodward brought both great dignity and a convincing toughness to the role, and received numerous awards for his performance on the show.

Woodward was a very fine actor, and I enjoyed watching him in almost anything he appeared in, from the original Wicker Man and Breaker Morant to Hot Fuzz. He'll be missed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weekly Debriefing 015

Begin Transmission:

• The Channel has been issuing little but static of late, and I apologize. I've been very busy recently with several writing projects and various pressing personal issues (not to mention kicking off yet another pop-culture genre blog). Also, aside from my weekly 007 films with my wife (this is week #19 and A View to A Kill), there has been very little Spy-Fi action going on around here.

I do have a couple of reviews partially written (OSS 117: Murder For Sale and T.R. Sloane/Death Ray 2000), and I just got software for my computer that allows me to take screen captures off of DVDs, so there will be some new material shortly. I also plan on adding photos to some of my older reviews as I get time.

• One of the projects I've been working on is tenuously Spy-Fi related - an all-new prose anthology featuring adventures of the classic radio/comics/serial/television character Captain Midnight. Long in the works, I've now delivered the final components to the publisher, and it should be out in the late Spring of '10. I'm the editor of the anthology and wrote the "Bible" for this version of the character, which is set in an alternate history where WWII never happened.

Captain Midnight is the commander of an independent, world wide intelligence and peace-keeping force known as The Secret Squadron, and some of his adventures are genuine espionage thrillers. In fact, his primary nemesis is a would-be world conqueror named Ivan Shark, a megalomaniac in the Bond-villain mold. Contributors to the anthology include New York Times best-selling author/aviation expert John J. Nance (Medusa's Child, Pandora's Clock), Stephen Mertz (The Korean Intercept), Chuck Dixon, Robert Greenberger, Trina Robbins, Mark Justice, Tim Lasiuta, Win Scott Eckert, Howard Hopkins, Robert Jeschonek, and yours truly. The cover art is by my pal Richard Clark.

Rich and I will also be teaming up on a series of Captain Midnight comic book stories as well.

• While I may have been neglecting my spy blogging duties, the rest of the COBRAS have not been idle. In fact, a new agent has joined us in our goal of global blog domination. Specifically, Peter Lorenz of The Illustrated 007 - The Art of James Bond.

I've been a fan of Peter's blog for a while now. He's doing an incredible job scouring the world for virtually every piece of illustration related to our favorite MI6 agent. Book covers, film posters, comic books, magazine illustrations... you name it, he's got it. His site is a must for both Bond fans and art lovers.

• In my last Debriefing I mentioned rumors about the 80s spy series Scarecrow & Mrs. King coming to DVD in 2010. Well, the first season has been confirmed for March. TV Shows on DVD has the cover art and additional details.

• Well, that's about it for now. Hopefully, things will settle down for me this winter and I'll be back to posting more regularly.

End Transmission.