Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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As James Bond conquered the globe in the 1960s and '70s, he inspired a wave of challengers, imitators, knock-offs and straight-up spoofs. From the serious to the silly, Beyond Bond offers a continent-spanning survey of 007's cinematic spawn.

Films in Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents

    • The Looking Glass War
    • Frank Pierson
    • Anthony Hopkins stars in this excellent, often overlooked espionage tale based on the John le Carré novel, about a Polish defector who heads back behind the Iron Curtain to find evidence about Soviet missiles being placed near the German border.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • The Silencers
    • Phil Karlson
    • Dean Martin made his crooning, droopy-eyed debut as superspy Matt Helm in this first of four tongue-in-cheek spy capers packed with slapstick antics and swingin' sixties style.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Three Days of the Condor
    • Sydney Pollack
    • Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Cliff Robertson star in this political paranoia thriller about a low-level CIA operative who is plunged into a deadly cat-and-mouse game with his double-dealing employers.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • OSS 117: Lost in Rio
    • OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus
    • Michel Hazanavicius
    • The Academy Award®-winning director and star of the The Artist first teamed for this cheeky spoof of vintage 1960s Euro-spy thrillers, which meticulously recreates the archaic genre's cinematography, art direction and outdated attitudes.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • The Ipcress File
    • Sidney J. Furie
    • Michael Caine stars as Len Deighton's Harry Palmer, the poor man's 007, in this exciting thriller that has the cocky Cockney spy uncovering a bizarre brainwashing scheme being run by a highly placed mole within the British Secret Service.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Puppet on a Chain
    • Geoffrey Reeve
    • A tough-as-nails American agent tracks a drug-smuggling cartel through the seedy underworld of Amsterdam in this gritty spy thriller, which is notable for featuring one of the most elaborate and spectacular boat chases ever filmed.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Modesty Blaise
    • Joseph Losey
    • Über-serious director Joseph Losey shifted into super-high-camp mode for this delirious Pop Art romp about a beautiful former cat burglar (Antonioni muse Monica Vitti) recruited by British Intelligence to foil a major diamond theft by a blond-wigged supervillain (a barely closeted Dirk Bogarde).

    • No events playing at this time.
    • From Beijing With Love
    • Gwok chaan Ling Ling Chat
    • Stephen Chow, Lik-Chi Lee
    • Hong Kong comedy king Stephen Chow wrote, directed, produced and stars in this jaw-droppingly goofy action comedy that has the world's most incompetent secret agent employing zany gadgets and plenty of dumb luck in his hunt for a stolen dinosaur skull.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Deadlier Than the Male
    • Ralph Thomas
    • Vintage British crime-fighter Bulldog Drummond received a Bondian makeover for this mid-sixties reboot that has the suave insurance investigator (Richard Johnson) trailing a pair of sexy assassins (Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina).

    • No events playing at this time.

Spies and secret agents have been familiar screen subjects since early in the silent era, but it was Fritz Lang's 1928 caper Spione (Spies) — with its dashing hero "Agent 326" and Machiavellian criminal mastermind at the centre of an all-powerful espionage network — that truly founded the modern cinematic spy genre. Lang's young British disciple Alfred Hitchcock would develop the genre further with his popular and influential spy thrillers in both the UK and the US through the thirties and forties (Secret Agent, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Saboteur, Notorious), and as World War II gave way to the Red Scare the movie spy continued to crop up in a variety of forms. And then those three little numbers changed everything.

When that "007" flashed on the screen in the opening of Dr. No, it announced the arrival of a new kind of secret agent: an indestructible playboy who shrugged off peril with flippant asides and could summon nubile women with a snap of his fingers. The James Bond series transformed the spy film into an over-the-top spectacle of male wish-fulfillment and fantasy, and as 007 conquered the globe he inspired a wave of challengers, knock-offs and spoofs. From the serious (Michael Caine's Harry Palmer, the John le Carré adaptation The Looking Glass War) to the silly (the swinging escapades of Dean Martin's Matt Helm); from the Pop Art antics of mod maven Modesty Blaise to more recent homages/send-ups from Hong Kong comedy giant Stephen Chow and The Artist's Michel Hazanavicius, Beyond Bond: The Other Secret Agents offers a continent-spanning survey of 007's cinematic spawn. With pistol in pocket and cocktail in hand, these daring and dashing superspies take nothing too seriously, fearlessly facing down evil geniuses and the prospect of global destruction with tongue in cheek and a quip at the ready.

— Colin Geddes