23 June 2009 | morpheusatloppers
"Life Is A Masquerade, In Which A Hundred Different Parts Are Played. You Play The Hero Or A Fool, There Is No Golden Rule, It's Just A Masquerade..."
I love this film. It was sold as yet another Bond-spoof (like Bond NEEDED spoofing) but was so much more.
In addition to more location work than was usual at the time, it boasted a roster of stars that was incredible.
Cliff Robertson was young then and had STYLE, Marisa Mell was all leggy and gorgeous, Jack Hawkins was in his element, Michel Piccoli was bizarrely menacing, Bill Fraser was normally associated with British sitcoms, but excelled here in a dramatic role. Then you had British stalwarts Charles Gray, John Le Mesurier, Felix Aylmer and Ernest Clark, all topped off with Tutte Lemkow.
Philip Green's music was fantastic and Basil Dearden's direction quirky and atmospheric.
The film takes a whole reel to lift off, but when it does, it's a classic.
But since seeing it at the cinema and couple of times on the telly in the Seventies, this minor epic has VANISHED. And to add salt to the wound, there are other, LESSER films with the same title (which is annoying if your satellite listings magazine only lists films' TITLES).
So where the hell IS IT??? I can find no trace of a DVD - or even a VHS. There is scant mention of it anywhere and even THIS esteemed service has little additional info.
Is it a "lost film"? Anyone?