Monday, December 17, 2012

Spy-Fi Rarities

There are a few James Bond knock-offs that I remember watching on TV in the 70s that I have never heard anyone else mention. One of these was Billion Dollar Threat, a 1979 TV movie that starred Dale Robinette as secret agent Robert Sands, who must foil the nefarious plan of mad scientist Horatio Black - played by none other than John Steed himself, Patrick Macnee - to destroy the ozone layer with a nuclear missile.

I actually taped this off of TV, so I watched it a number of times. It was a pretty fair - if cheap - little Bondian adventure, written by Jimmy Sangster (Deadlier Than The Male), who seemed to have a penchant for this type of stuff....

Sangster also wrote the 1980 ABC telefilm, Once Upon A Spy, which starred a pre-Cheers Ted Danson as a computer expert/reluctant spy who is drafted into a mission to stop another mad scientist - this time portrayed by The Man With The Golden Gun, Scaramanga, in the guise of Sir Christopher Lee - who has a laser cannon (another one?). I remember it as being a bit more deliberately campy in a Man From U.N.C.L.E. sort of way.

Sangster didn't write (I wonder how he missed out on this one), but legitimate 007 screenwriter Richard Maibaum did, the same year's S*H*E - Security Hazards Expert, which starred Cornelia Sharpe as Lavinia Keane, a sort of female Bond in a globetrotting adventure that I remember watching but am unable to recall a single detail of. Omar Sharif played her adversary, an International blackmailer.

None of these are available on DVD, although S*H*E did get a VHS release.I would really like to see all of these again one day....

5 comments:

Janus said...

I remember S*H*E aired on CBS, and at the time, I got the impression it was the pilot for a series. I think William Traylor was Lavinia's assistant, and they seemed to have a Modesty Blaise/Willie Garvin relationship.

I remember that at least part of the movie was set at a Club Med-like resort, and that was the base of operations for Omar Sharif's character.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can recall of S*H*E is a brief glimpse of Ms.Sharpe's bare bottom. Best, Zokko

Anonymous said...

oh, check out also "the golden lady" (with christina world), also touted as a femal james bond film

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember a spy-fi movie on TV from around 1979 with a Bond-type hero thwarting a villain (Patrick MacNee) who was about to launch an ICBM. So it must have been Billion Dollar Threat.

Ted Harrington said...

Once Upon A Spy! I remember watching this one with my Dad when it premiered in 1980 and my dad letting his feelings known on how the movie was nothing a James Bond fan would watch. A homemade DVD is available on iOffer now and then.
Billion Dollar Threat was fun to watch even though I had a hard time accepting Patrick Macnee as a bad guy in 1979. Too much of an Avengers fan! I have yet to find this one on-line or DVD.
S*H*E - Security Hazards Expert is a fun movie to watch and pops up on YouTube every now and then. Will say that in 1980 a certain 13 year-old thought this was the greatest female spy movie ever!