SPIONE And Its Influence On Spy Movies

Podcast Episode

SPIONE And Its Influence On Spy Movies

In this episode, SPIONE And Its Influence on Spy Movies, Dan and Tom look at how this 1928 silent movie shaped most spy movies to come.

SPIONE And Its Influence On Spy Movies 

SPIONE And Its Influence On Spy Movies is a look at this 1928 Fritz Lang spy movie. And, Dan and Tom fill you in on just how big an influence SPIONE is in the spy movie genre.   

Significantly, SPIONE is the first spy movie we’ve been able to find that isn’t based on a war. Not surprisingly, this movie laid out the blueprint for most non-war-based spy movies to come. 

SPIONE was a very influential movie 

Even if you don’t watch the movie, this episode will fill you in on how SPIONE blazed the trail and influenced spy movies to come, which all spy movie fans should know. You’ll certainly recognize some tropes you’ve seen in more modern spy movies.  Tropes such as: how did that guy not die when he was shot at close range? What was that pill that guy bit down on?  What is a spy movie villain supposed to look like?  A train in a spy movie? What things in this movie did we then see Alfred Hitchcock do? How was that guy dressed? And more! 

What are the positives and the negatives of SPIONE

We should warn you that SPIONE is a 2 ½ hour black and white silent movie. Watching a silent movie is a different experience from what we get when watching modern 
movies.  Although the movie was filmed in Germany, there are many versions with English subtitles available.  You can certainly find different releases of SPIONE on YouTube. The English title of the movie is SPIES

So, have you seen SPIONE?  Will you watch it after you listen to this episode? 

Tell us what you think 

Let us know your thoughts, ideas for future episodes, and what you thought of this episode. Just drop us a note at info@spymovienavigator.com.  The more we hear from you, the better the show will surely be!  We’ll give you a shout-out in a future episode!   

You can check out all of our CRACKING THE CODE OF SPY MOVIES podcast episodes on your favorite podcast app or our website. In addition, you can check out our YouTube channel as well.   

Webpage: https://bit.ly/3xjW0US

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SPY HUNT – 1950 Cold War Espionage Classic Decoded!

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SPY HUNT – 1950 Cold War Espionage Classic Decoded!

SPY HUNT (1950) is a Cold War espionage classic. Listen as Dan and Tom are not of one mind as they decode this movie.

Dan and Tom decode SPY HUNT, a 1950 espionage B movie.  And they don’t agree on this one.

SPY HUNT was based on the book “Panther’s Moon” by Victor Canning. It has espionage, a MacGuffin, a train, a dead drop, escaped black panthers, a budding romance, and quite a few interesting characters.

Dan and Tom call out some interesting plot points that may have been influenced by earlier movies such as THE LADY VANISHES, THE 39 STEPS, and others. 

In addition, you’ll find out what a black panther really is.  We’re sure you’ve lost sleep trying to figure that out.

Above all, they look at some places where SPY HUNT may have influenced spy movies that followed, including one very interesting piece of dialogue.  How much influence did this movie have on the James Bond franchise?

So, if you’ve seen SPY HUNT, do you agree with Dan or Tom on one? What did you think of this episode, SPY HUNT – 1950 Cold War Espionage Classic Decoded?

Overall, if you hadn’t seen SPY HUNT did this episode encourage you to watch it? If so, let us know your thoughts, ideas for future episodes, and what you thought of this episode. Just drop us a note at info@spymovienavigator.com.  The more we hear from you, the better the show will be!  We’ll give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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SPY x FAMILY CODE: White Review – No Spoilers!

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SPY x FAMILY CODE: White Review – No Spoilers!

Here's our SPY x FAMILY CODE: White review. We bring in a Japanese Culture student, Dave, to help us understand some of the Japanese nuances.

SPY x FAMILY CODE: White Review – No Spoilers!

Here’s our NO-SPOILER review of the new spy movie, SPY x FAMILY CODE: White.

This anime movie is the first movie in the SPY x FAMILY franchise.  If you are familiar with the Manga or anime series versions of SPY x FAMILY, you will feel right at home with the movie.

EPISODE GOALS

  1. Provide you with our no-spoiler opinion of the movie.
  2. Enhance your viewing experience of the movie
    • We look at your viewing options (subtitles or dubbing)
    • Why it has a PG-13 rating here in the US
    • We fill in some of the details from the anime series that aren’t included in the movie.  These are designed to give you more detail if you haven’t seen the Manga or anime series.  We still keep this a no-spoiler review
    • We talk with a Japanese Culture and Language college student who is part Japanese.  He helps fill in some of the nuances in the language and culture of this movie.
    • We discuss some of the movie tropes in this movie that we have seen in earlier movies.  We love pointing out the relationships of scenes in movies.

In a nutshell, we like SPY x FAMILY CODE: White.   We think you might too, so take a listen to hear why.

So, had you seen SPY x FAMILY CODE: White before listening to this review? When you see the movie, please let us know your thoughts, ideas for future episodes, and what you thought of this episode by dropping us a note at info@spymovienavigator.com.  The more we hear from you, the better the show will be!  We’ll give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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ARGYLLE– No-Spoiler Review

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ARGYLLE– A No-Spoiler Review

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We don’t cover the plot because our goal is to not give it away. But, we will say that the plot is pretty complex. You need to pay close attention.

There are a lot of twists and turns in ARGYLLE. And it has a fantastic cast led by Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, and Henry Cavill.

So, take a listen to this ARGYLLE – A No-Spoiler Review. Is ARGYLLE worth your time and money?  Let us know your thoughts if you go and see it, ideas for future episodes, ideas for future episodes, and what you thought of this episode by dropping us a note at info@spymovienavigator.com.  The more we hear from you, the better the show will be!

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DEVIL: THE BRITISH SECRET AGENT – A No-Spoiler Review

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Is DEVIL: THE BRITISH SECRET AGENT worth seeing? In this no-spoiler discussion of the movie Tom helps you answer that question.

A spy, a mole, maybe 2 moles, lots of violence, a love story, and a bit of history twisted and thrown in for good measure. These are some of the things you’ll see in the just-released spy movie, DEVIL: THE BRITISH SECRET AGENT.

So, is this movie worth your time and money?

Tom gives you a no-spoiler look at what works and what doesn’t work.  And much of it does work. The movie is from India so there are some cultural differences for a non-Indian audience that Tom also discusses.

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OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review of this series that feels like a 1980s teen comedy

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OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review of this series that feels like a 1980s teen comedy

OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review discusses this hot Netflix spy comedy series. It isn't for everyone – is it for you?

OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review discusses this hot new Netflix spy comedy series.  We liken it to a 1980s teen comedy.  It is raunchy and touches on a few hot topics.  While it isn’t for everyone – is it for you?  It is a spy series at its core!

Is OBLITERATED worth your time?

We’ll give you enough information here to help you decide if you want to watch OBLITERATED.  Will it be worth YOUR time?

Given that this movie is raunchy and hits on a few hot topics, we’ll dig into the areas that some people might not like.  We are certain that a small portion of the population will not like this series.  Why?  That part of the discussion is a warning!  We’ll flag the issues, and if they are a problem for you, move on to the next movie or series.   If not, watch on!

Watch all eight 45-minute episodes.  The series is quite funny and entertaining – maybe!

There is some talent here in the main characters and the actors who play them, and the characters are well developed and work well as a team.

So, while OBLITERATED isn’t for everyone, we think many will like it.  “Be in the know” – OBLITERATED is a spy series so you must take a listen!

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What did you think?

What did you think of this episode, OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review?  Did you watch the OBLITERATED?  Please send us your thoughts to: Info@spymovienavigator.com

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SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON – FIRST REACTIONS – NO SPOILERS!

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SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON – FIRST REACTIONS – NO SPOILERS!

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SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON is the just released kids spy movie. You can find it on Netflix. We give you our non-spoiler look at this movie and let you know if we think this is worth watching. We also talk about why it has a PG rating and is family friendly.

SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON is the fifth installment in the Spy Kids franchise. It has an all-new cast and characters. As with the first Spy Kids movie, it is a story about a boy and a girl who don’t know that their parents are spies.

This time, there is a video game, lots of gadgets, a villain, a lair, tension with the parents over technology use, and a new character called Bronson.

Are there any spy movies that may have influenced SPY KIDS: ARMAGEDDON? We give you a few.

This movie released on Netflix on September 22, 2023.

So, have a listen and you’ll “Be in the Know” and get up to date on all things spy movies and series.  

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HEART OF STONE – First Reactions – No Spoilers!

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HEART OF STONE – First Reactions – No Spoilers!

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HEART OF STONE – First Reactions – No Spoilers: Another spy movie with Artificial Intelligence at its heart, it has explosions, double crosses, an excellent cast, and most spy movie tropes you can think of. We’ll look at these and other components of the just-released Netflix movie starring Gal Gadot, HEART OF STONE.   

Listen as we give you our no-spoiler review. We’ll keep the spoilers out but give you our opinion and some background to help you determine if HEART OF STONE is worth your time. 

Are there any spy movies that may have influenced HEART OF STONE? We give you a few.

This movie released on Netflix on August 11, 2023.

So, have a listen and you’ll “Be in the Know” and get up to date on all things spy movies and series.  

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KANDAHAR – No-Spoiler Review!

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Join us for our KANDAHAR – No-Spoiler Review. The spy movie KANDAHAR just released this weekend.

Is it worth your time and money to see?

We discuss the actors, cinematography, the portrayal of religion, the political statements, and how there is no place like home in the movie KANDAHAR.

Gerard Butler stars in this one. But, we think Navid Nehahban steals the movie with his role of Mo.

Plus, what is the similarity between KANDAHAR and THE COVENANT, which is still in theaters?

So, take a listen and tell us what you think of our KANDAHAR – No-Spoiler Review!

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THE TRAITORS – A British B Movie Makes the Grade

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THE TRAITORS – A British B Movie Makes the Grade

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the spy movie THE TRAITORS, a 1962 British B Movie. Does it make the Grade?

Join Dan and Tom as they discover THE TRAITORS, a 1962 British B Spy Movie. Does it make the Grade?

Low budget B movies were made, for the most part, to be the second billing on double features. Low-budget doesn’t necessarily mean a bad movie. In this episode we dive into THE TRAITORS without giving away the movie.

THE TRAITORS has a good cast starring Patrick Allen, James Maxwell, Jacqueline Ellis, and Zena Walker.

We look at the high-level plot, what makes this a B movie, how espionage is portrayed, the music and more. For the most part, this is espionage!

At Spy Movie Navigator, one of our goals is to identify Influences. Specifically, where a movie was influenced by or has influenced other spy movies and real life. THE TRAITORS has significantly influenced parts of THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, ALLIED, the the Harry Palmer Series, ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE, THUNDERBALL, LICENCE TO KILL and more. Take a listen to find out about these influences.

THE TRAITORS is a fairly common name for movie titles and television shows, including the currently airing games show. So, to be clear, we’re examining the 1962 movie here.

So, join Dan and Tom for their THE TRAITORS – A British B Movie Makes the Grade episode.

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NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH – Decoded!

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NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH – Decoded!

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Join Dan and Tom for their latest episode, NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH – Decoded! This 1940 spy thriller stars Margaret Lockwood, Rex Harrison, and Paul Henreid. And, it received an Oscar nomination for writing.

In this episode we look at some fun and interesting parts of the movie. Are these real cable cars in this spy movie? What are Charters and Caldicott doing in this movie? Did the major events depicted here really happen?  Was this another propaganda war movie?  What influences do we see for future spy movies?   And more.

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UNDERCOVER BROTHER – Decoded!

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UNDERCOVER BROTHER – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they bring you UNDERCOVER BROTHER - Decoded!, a 2002 spy movie that is is very wacky but very racially focused.

Join Dan and Tom as they bring you UNDERCOVER BROTHER – Decoded!  The 2002 movie UNDERCOVER BROTHER is a spy movie that they’ve been wanting to decode for a while. It is very wacky but very racially focused. Some might call it a blaxploitation spoof movie.

They look at this movie, in part, against the backdrop of the recent announcements that the Ian Fleming books are being rereleased and rewritten to remove ‘offensive’ text. UNDERCOVER BROTHER has many racial jokes against both black and white people. There are even some words that are considered offensive to some people. So, does this movie need to be censored as Flemings books are?

Take a listen and send us your thoughts on this episode, UNDERCOVER BROTHER – Decoded! at info@spymovienavigator.com.

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British Intelligence – Decoded

Podcast Episode

British Intelligence – Decoded

British Intelligence is a 1940 movie starring Boris Karlov and Margaret Lindsay. Join us as we decode the twists and turns of this spy movie.

BRITISH INTELLIGENCE is a movie starring Boris Karloff!   Not as Frankenstein, or in the Bride of Frankenstein, or The Mummy, no!   He scared all of us for so long in these movies – but here . . . today. . .  we are looking at Karloff as a spy in none other than the 1940 movie, BRITISH INTELLIGENCE!

In short, the basis of the story is that in World War I, the British are making plans to counter the German offense after the German invasion of Poland.  They are making plans but somehow the Germans are aware of their plans and are pounding the British troops as a result -as many casualties are resulting in the Germans somehow knowing the British plans. 

And no one knows HOW the Germans are discovering these plans.   So, James Yeats, played by Leonard Mudie, as head of British Intelligence – must get to the bottom of this!  Arthur Bennett, the cabinet minister, assembles the powers for regular meetings at his home, for planning, and for figuring out how the Germans are getting their plans. 

BRITISH INTELLIGENCE is full of intrigue, espionage, double-crosses, and real spy stuff. It is extremely well done. It stars Boris Karloff as Valdar, Margaret Lindsay as  Helene Von Lorbeer, Bruce Lester as Frank Bennett,  Leonard Mudie as James Yeats and Holmes Herbert as Arthur Bennet. Therefore, you know the acting is superb!

In this episode, we point out some interesting connections, and things to definitely look out for. We’ll enhance your viewing experience!  Let’s find out how much intelligence the British have.

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Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre – No-Spoiler Review

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Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre – No-Spoiler Review

Join us for our Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre no-spoiler review. We let you know if this is a movie you should see. Without spoilers!

OPERATION FORTUNE: RUSE DE GUERRE has finally released in the US. Join us for our no-spoiler review of this movie.

We discuss:

  • The actors and their roles.
  • The wonderful classic Ford Mustang.
  • Is there a mole?
  • Who had the dirtiest jokes?
  • The Costumes
  • And More …

All without any spoilers. Our goal is to let you know if you should spend your time and money seeing this movie. And we will enhance your viewing experience of the movie by giving you hints for things to look out for.

Actors Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Max Beesley, Cary Elwes, Bugzy Malone and Aubrey Plaza add their skills to this spy movie, especially one of them Tom calls out – so spy movie fans might like this one.   Listen now!

We hope you’ll like our Operation Fortune: Ruse de guerre no-spoiler review. Send us an email if you watch the movie and let us know what you thought.

You can check out all of our podcasts on your favorite podcast app or on our website.

Website Episode Page: https://bit.ly/3ZJhoLF

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

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10 Reasons to Watch The Man Who Knew Too Little

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10 Reasons to Watch The Man Who Knew Too Little

Join us for 10 reasons to watch The Man Who Knew Too Little and look at influences with A Christmas Carol, Moonraker, and Octopussy!

Join us as we look at 10 reasons to watch THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE!

Dan and Tom look at the 1997 spy spoof and tell you why you should watch it. We think it is a fun movie.

The first reason to watch it is that THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE is a showcase for Bill Murray. If you like Murray, this movie will be in your wheelhouse. Listen to the episode to hear us explain this one in more detail and to catch the other nine reasons to watch.

We also look at the birthday present Wallace Ritchie gave himself. Discuss whether Lori is good or evil.  Wonder if we could get away with a car chase with the police as Wallace does. And Bill Murray is a Russian dancer, really?

And as usual, we look at potential influences between THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE and other movies. We specifically drill into influences with A CHRISTMAS CAROL, MOONRAKER, and OCTOPUSSY.

We enjoyed this movie and with these 10 reasons to watch THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE, we hope to encourage you to watch it too.

You can check out all of our podcasts on your favorite podcast app or on our website.

Ideas/Comments? Info@spymovienavigator.com

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DEVIL: THE BRITISH SECRET AGENT – A No-Spoiler Review

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Pathaan – A No-Spoiler Review!

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Pathaan – A No-Spoiler Review!

Join us for our No-Spoiler review of the Bollywood spy movie, Pathaan, starring Shah Rukh Kahn. This movie is on fire. Listen to find out why.

Join us for this episode PATHAAN – a No-Spoiler Review. The hottest movie in India right now is the spy movie PATHAAN. In fact, it broke the opening day record for a movie in India. PATHAAN has a worldwide distribution.

In this review we give you guidance as to whether or not we think you should see this movie. We do not, however have any spoilers in the review. We give you some guidance and tell you some things that will enhance your viewing of this movie but keep the spoilers out.

This is the fourth movie in the YRF Spy Universe so some of the characters will be familiar. PATHAAN has some of the biggest stars in Bollywood, Shah Rukh Kahn, John Abraham, and Salman Kahn.

It is released in Hindi, Tamil, & Telugu with subtitles avaiable. In the UK and US it has English subtitles. So, if you don’t speak Hindi, you can still watch PATHAAN. It also has been released in IMAX, Standard 2D and 4DX formats.

We hope you’ll like our PATHAAN – a No-Spoiler Review

You can check out all of our podcasts on your favorite podcast app or on our website.

Ideas/Comments? Info@spymovienavigator.com

Website Episode Page: https://bit.ly/3leYkpN

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The Fourth Protocol – Decoded!

Podcast Episode

The Fourth Protocol – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they decode the 1987 movie THE FOURTH PROTOCOL, We think its a good spy movie. Listen to find out why.

Join Dan and Tom decode the 1987 movie THE FOURTH PROTOCOL. It stars Michael Caine, Pierce Brosnan, Joanna Cassidy, Ned Beatty, Julian Glover, Michael Gough, and Sir Ian Richardson. We answer the following questions:

  • – Who’s voice is on the radio giving the secret code to set off a nuclear bomb.
  • – What is Batman’s butler is doing in this movie?
  • – Pierce Brosnan was how old when he made this movie?
  • – Is Michael Caine playing another Harry Palmer-type agent?
  • – Kim Philby, wasn’t he a double agent?
  • – What is the fourth protocol anyway? Hint, they never tell us in the movie.
  • – Where are the great locations they filmed this?
  • – The making of a new James Bond ?
  • – and more…

Oh yeah, and we talk about the plot of this spy thriller.

If you are a fan of SpyMovieNavigator.com and our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies podcast, you’ll know that we love movie locations. THE FOURTH PROTOCOL has some great locations and we’ll fill you in on them too.

You can check out all of our podcasts on your favorite podcast app or on our website.

Ideas/Comments? Info@spymovienavigator.com

Website Episode Page: https://bit.ly/3JaMhDU

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10 Reasons to watch Spies Like Us

Podcast Episode

10 Reasons to watch Spies Like Us

Join Dan and Tom as they give you 10 reasons to watch the movie SPIES LIKE US. Tom likes this movie and Dan does not. It's a fun conversation.

SPIES LIKE US is a comedy about 2 agents who need to help avert nuclear war. It stars Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. Tom breaks down his 10 reasons why you should watch this movie. Dan disagrees with Tom on this one. So listen to this discussion to see which side you fall on.

We address some very heady topics (remember the movie is a comedy):

  • Did the Star Wars or Strategic Defense Initiative work?
  • I forgot Ronald Reagan sang in a movie. What movie was it?
  • And what was on the television when the laser was fired?

Here are the first three reasons Tom thinks you should listen to this episode.

  • Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd work well together here.
  • The locations
  • The homage SPIES LIKE US pays to the past.

We cover the details around these and seven more reasons.

Once you’ve listened to this and watched the movie, let us know what you think. Is Tom right or is Dan right? Let us know by emailing us at info@spymovienavigator.com.

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No. 1 of the Secret Service – Decoded!

Podcast Episode

No. 1 of the Secret Service – Decoded!

Dan and Tom break down NO 1. OF THE SECRET SERVICE, a goofy 1977 spy movie that spoofs spy movies, especially the James Bond series.

No 1 of the Secret Service is a goofy 1977 spy movie that spoofs spy movies, especially the James Bond series.

In their discussion Dan and Tom seek to find the answers to such world-impacting questions as:

  • He used WHAT to shave?
  • Where did we see that actor before?
  • Instead of throwing his hat on the hatrack, No. 1 did what?
  • Where did they come up with the name Charles Bind?
  • Did this movie influence Moonraker?
  • And more…

All totalled, we point out over 17 call-backs to the James Bond movies in this spoof.

Dan and Tom disagree about No 1 of the Secret Service. So, take a listen to see if this is a movie you want to watch. Will it become one of your guilty pleasures?

Ideas/Comment? info@spymovienavigator.com

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THE SECRET INVASION (1964) Decoded!

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THE SECRET INVASION (1964) Decoded!

Dan and Tom decode the movie THE SECRET INVASION (1964) looking at the action, the cast, the locations, the movie's influences, and more.

Join Dan and Tom as they dive into the 1964 World War II-based spy movie, THE SECRET INVASION (1964). Roger Corman directed this movie.

British Intelligence assembles a group of prisoners and gives them a chance to be pardoned. All they have to do is free an Italian general detained by the Nazis and survive.

Oh yeah, success is not going to be easy.

We decode THE SECRET INVASION (1964) looking at the plot, the cast, the action, the locations, and more. There is some very good acting in this one. And, we call out some great scenes that have been influenced by real life and other movies.

Ideas/Comments? Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

You can watch the The Secret Invasion here on Amazon Prime and rent it on other streaming services.

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The Adventures of Tartu – Decoded!

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The Adventures of Tartu – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss eight great reasons why you should watch The Adventures of Tartu

A spy!  World War II! The Nazis making a deadly gas to use on England! Intrigue, deceit, brutality, executions, explosions, and a love story – all wrapped up into THE ADVENTURES OF TARTU!

Robert Donat and Valerie Hobson are the leads of this fun spy movie.

This movie follows a mission by a bomb disposal technician who is thrust into an espionage mission because of his language skills. Much like Donat’s role in The 39 Steps, the mission is mainly to find information (a chemical formula in this case), oh and to blow up a chemical plant.

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss eight great reasons why you should watch The Adventures of Tartu. The mission of this episode is to give you some background on the movie and to enhance your viewing of the movie. We’ll give you some things to look for while watching it.

The Adventures of Tartu was originally released in the UK under the title Sabotage Agent.

You can watch this movie here on YouTube.

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Rogue Agent – No-Spoiler Review

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Rogue Agent – No-Spoiler Review

Is ROGUE AGENT worth watching? Listen to our no-spoiler review to find out. We include some information to enhance your viewing experience.

This Rogue Agent review contains no spoilers.

Rogue Agent is a dramatization of the real-life story of Robert Freegard who is one of the most notorious con men in history. His story of manipulation, “kidnapping”, and theft is real and quite disturbing.

James Norton, Gemma Arterton, and Marisa Abela lead this fine cast with very good performances.

In our quick-fire review, we give you a no-spoiler look at this movie to help you determine if this movie is worth your time. Rogue Agent is likely to be one of those movies you will either love or hate. Our review will help guide you in your choice.

In addition, our Rogue Agent review is designed to enhance your viewing experience of the movie as we give you some background information the movie doesn’t.

Please email any comments or feedback to info@spymovienavigator.com.

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Carter – A No-Spoiler Review

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Carter – A No-Spoiler Review

Is the new Netflix movie CARTER worth your time? We'll help you decide and enhance your viewing experience by giving you things to look for.

Cropped poster for the movie Carter

This 13-minute Quick-Fire no-spoiler review of the newest Netflix spy movie, Carter will help you decide if Carter is worth your time.  This Korean movie is a high-action spy thriller that we think you will either love or hate.  We’ll help you figure it out!

Our Quick-Fire reviews have no spoilers and are designed to enhance your viewing pleasure if you decide to see the movie. You will get more out of the movie by listening first!

You can listen to more of our podcasts either in your favorite podcast app or on our website’s podcast page.

What did you think of this episode, “Carter – A No-Spoiler Review”?  Did it help you decide? If you watched the movie, did our Review enhance your viewing experience?

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The Gray Man – Review – No Spoilers

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This movie is based on the the first bookof  author Mark Greaney’s Gray Man book series., Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at this movie.

The Gray Man is available in theaters now and will be available to stream on Netflix July 22, 2022.

We saw it in a theater, Should you?

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Code Name Banshee – Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

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Code Name Banshee – Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

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We saw it in a theater, Should you?

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT – Quick-Fire Review

Here’s our Operation Mincemeat review as the movie has finally released on Netflix. There are no spoilers in this review as the movie has just come out.

Deception: As spy movie fans, we know that deception is a key ingredient in espionage.

In World War II, the British tried many different forms of deception.  One of the most impactful deceptions from that war has inspired plot points in James Bond movies and was a key driver to the creation of the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest.

Deception also is the basis of the just-released movie Operation Mincemeat.

Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review!

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review of the just released movie Operation Mincemeat. It's all about deception.

Deception: As spy movie fans, we know that deception is a key ingredient in espionage.

In World War II, the British tried many different forms of deception.  One of the most impactful deceptions from that war has inspired plot points in James Bond movies and was a key driver to the creation of the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest.

Deception also is the basis of the just-released movie Operation Mincemeat.

Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review!

Comments: info@spymovienavigator.com

In our review of Operation Mincemeat, we discuss:

  • The plot (without spoilers)
  • The cast
  • The last shot and end credits
  • Why we liked Operation Mincemeat
  • What we wish was different
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BLACKLIGHT – Our no spoiler, quick-fire review

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on

“I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining” that was a quote we heard from an audience member at the end of the just-released movie, Blacklight. Was it a valid comment? Keep reading for our thoughts.

As usual with our quick-fire reviews, we won’t be giving any spoilers in this review. Our goal is to give you our high-level thoughts on the movie, let you know if we think it is worth your time, and talk about any influences on this movie from real-life or other movies.

In our January 2022 Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Blacklight was coming out this February and was the only spy movie to be scheduled for this February.  Well, it has just been released.

The Plot

The official website for the Blacklight says: “In BLACKLIGHT, LIAM NEESON is Travis Block, an operative whose discovery of a dark secret pits him against the FBI director he once swore to protect.” So, he’s an operative for a government agency and will have a conflict with his boss.  Yeah, we’ve seen that before.

Travis Block, played by Neeson is a “fixer” for FBI director Gabriel Robinson.  When a deep-cover agent has a problem Robinson sends Travis to get them out.  He works “off the books.” Block has known and trusted Robinson for a very long time. Robinson also kept Travis out of a heap of trouble in an incident when they served together in the Vietnam War. That gives us an important plot point.

There is a subplot involving Travis’ relationship with his daughter, Amanda, and his granddaughter Natalie.  Travis wasn’t a great father figure because he was gone all the time and is suspicious of everything.  He tries to make amends with his granddaughter in this movie.

We all know that in a Liam Neeson action movie you don’t mess with his family.  We could be wrong with this, but we think this family thing was added after Neeson was hired. There wasn’t much reason for them to be there for the story.  Neeson fans want him to go after whoever messes with his family so, from a marketing perspective, this makes sense.

The next plot point we’ll mention could be considered a spoiler, but since it is in the trailer, we feel fine talking about it.  The US government is killing innocent civilians under the guise of protecting democracy.  This becomes central to the plot of the movie and is likely where the movie gets its name.  We didn’t hear “blacklight” mentioned as a word in the movie.   We might have missed it but we were listening for it.  There is mention of infrared light, but they didn’t call it blacklight.  We suppose the title was given as light was being shone on this government behavior.

A reporter called Mira Jones starts to suspect this is happening and is given reason to believe it is true.  She ends up meeting with Travis to try to figure things out.  And that sets up the story.

The Cast

The movie stars Liam Neeson as Travis Block, Aidan Quinn as FBI director Gabriel Robinson, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Mira Jones, Taylor John Smith as Dusty Crane, and Claire van der Boom as Travis’ daughter Amanda.

The Influences

At Spy Movie Navigator we talk about how scenes in spy movies are influenced by other movies or by real-life events.  So, let’s look at some of those influences.

We’ll start this part of the discussion by saying this movie is pretty cliché.  There are the obligatory vehicle chases, fistfights, a big plot twist, a subordinate having a problem with a boss, and since this is a Liam Neeson movie, an issue with his family.

Those things are in most spy movies, so it is hard to pick scene by scene on those.

One scene had what we think was a great call-back to both the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Harry Palmer movie, The Ipcress File. Travis Block shows up at his boss’ Gabriel Robinson’s house while Robinson is working in his garden.   In The Ipcress File, Harry goes to Ross’ house as Ross is tending to his garden. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond goes to M’s house while M is tending to his butterfly collection.  So, all three of these movies have the spy going to his boss’s house while the boss was working on a hobby. We liked that touch. It gives a little more background into the characters.  Plus, most spy movies don’t show the lead spy at their boss’s house.

As for the vehicle chases, there are two major chases in this movie.  One involves a Porsche vs some sort of Chevrolet SUV.  We couldn’t tell the model.  This was very cliché and somehow the Porsche couldn’t easily outrun the SUV.

The second chase had Travis’ Dodge Challenger chasing a garbage truck.  It was almost humorous the way the Challenger tried to battle the garbage truck.  That said, we did like this chase.  It was a nice twist on the chase trope.

Speaking of Travis’ car: this Dodge Challenger was loud, like really loud.   Yet, he would drive it to places where he needed to go unnoticed.  It seemed like an odd car choice for him.

Now, the most obvious call-back to scenes being influenced by other movies has to be with Travis’ family.   From an action movie perspective, Liam Neeson is best known for the Taken trilogy.  That’s probably also his best work in this genre.  In those movies, he needs to find or protect a member of his family.

The audience will expect something similar in this movie because, although Neeson’s character has a different name, it is still Liam Neeson’s character using his very particular set of skills.  The trailer leads one to believe this is a huge part of the plot.  In fact, before we saw the movie, we expected this Quick-Fire review to spend all of its time talking about how this was just another Liam Neeson-as-Bryan Mills movie.  Well, fortunately, we were wrong about that part.  There is still a family issue in this movie, but it doesn’t manifest itself until about 2/3 of the way through the movie.  So, while important, it isn’t the main plot of the movie. That’s good in our opinion.

Our Thoughts

So, what are our overall thoughts on Blacklight?  Was that quote at the beginning of this review accurate?

It wasn’t a terrible movie, but it was cliché and a bit boring for an action movie.

What We Liked

Now, that said, let’s talk about some of the things we liked about Blacklight.

The first highlight for us is Emmy Raver-Lampman who plays reporter Mira Jones.  Although her part wasn’t well written (most of this movie has this problem), we liked Emmy in this role.  You may know her as Allison in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy”.  She was also on Broadway in “Hamilton” among other shows. We weren’t familiar with her and thought she did a very good job here. She stood out for us.

Aidan Quinn was another high point.  He’s an actor who always delivers good work. Again, his part wasn’t well written, but Quinn stole almost every scene he was in.

Another actor who we want to call out is Georgia Flood who plays Pearl.  This is a small role, but she lit up the screen every time she was on it.

As for Liam Neeson, if you liked him as Bryan Mills in Taken, you’ll like him here. Yes, he is 69 years old and doesn’t run as well as he did in Taken, but he knows how to play that character.  In our review of The Last Mercenary, we talked about how an older Jean Claude Van Dame could still deliver on his character-type, albeit a bit slower.  The same thing holds here.  The actor knows how to deliver this type of character, so age just means there isn’t quite as much oomph.

We already mentioned that we liked the chase between the Challenger and the garbage truck.

Another thing we liked was where they didn’t take us.  And they almost did. The movie opens with a politician, Sofia Flores giving a speech.  It was a typical left-leaning speech that we would expect from a Democratic candidate here in the US.  She was quite obviously there to make the US audience think about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC as she’s usually called).   It made us think “oh, oh”, this movie is going to be all about left-leaning politics, which in the US would irritate half the audience.

They then balance that with the next scene where a, what we’ll call “a right-leaning mob”, has a deep-cover agent trapped in her motor home.

This scene also had the biggest and best explosion in the movie.

They could have taken these two scenes and created a preachy woke movie – and they didn’t.  The conservative vs. the liberal rhetoric ended very quickly.  Given the polarity of these types of topics in the US, it was good they moved off of it.

We also liked the overall score.  Mark Isham’s soundtrack works for this movie.

Um, that’s about it in terms of the positives.

What Went Wrong?

So, what was the movie’s problem? What didn’t we like? Mainly, in our opinion the script was weak.  There wasn’t much to it.  This could have easily been an hour or 90-minute made-for-tv movie instead of trying to be a Hollywood blockbuster.  It was a ho-hum, “check off the list” of what a Neesom action movie has become.

The screenplay was credited to Nick May, his first screenplay and it felt like it.

Here are a few examples of some of the lines from the movie to back up our thoughts:

  • “Everything I did was for you”
  • “You aren’t really going to shoot me” the response: “Yes I will”
  • “I suspect I made a poor career choice”
  • “If I find out you had anything to do with my granddaughter disappearing, you’re going to need more men”
  • “You are my weapon. You work for me.”

Yeah, not scintillating stuff. And that’s the problem with the movie. It didn’t grab us.

The “big twist” you see in these types of movies, comes out early in Blacklight and Travis Block takes a long time to figure it out. It is very obvious which might be why they give it away early. We hate when the twist comes out early.  Please keep us in suspense further into the movie.

We think that May should probably stick to his role as an Assistant Director at the Federal Trade Commission, here in the US.

The trailer was also a problem.  Marketing teams never seem to learn.  They blow it for this movie.  In Blacklight, they give away the big twist in the trailer.  It’s like in The Kingsmen: The Golden Circle where the trailer shows Harry was back in the movie after everyone thought he was dead in the first Kingsmen movie. Marketing showed Harry in the trailer which ruined the surprise.  Trailers are supposed to get us excited to see the movie, not give away major twists.

The trailer also shows Travis walking into an empty house. He says, “Where’s my family?” This leads you to believe this is another version of the Taken series.  It isn’t.

Here’s another annoying thing:  Travis Block had OCD which mainly manifested itself by showing him needing to do things three times in a row.  That said, there is no backstory on it.  He just does some things three times in a row.  Someone makes a comment on it, but the behavior isn’t explained.

Also, this movie could have been called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, but that comedy was made in 1971. We don’t know how many bullets get fired in this movie but probably 99% of them didn’t hit their target.  What is it with spy movies?  Can’t anyone shoot?  We often complain about this in our podcast episodes.  A lot of bullets fly but people either never get shot or it takes 100 bullets to do it.

Another thing that drove us nuts was the cinematography or the editing, we’re not sure which it was.  Shelly Johnson was the Cinematographer.  He has an excellent resume as does the Editor, Michael Shawver.  Fairly often there were visual glitches where it looked like the shot would back up a half a second and then go forward.  It almost felt like the film was given a strong shake at this point. This was definitely a choice made either in filming or editing as it was consistent and other reviewers have commented on it, usually negatively.

When we edit our videos, we use an editing package that has glitch effects built in.  We hate glitch effects. It felt like that’s what we saw here, and it was distracting.  Often, they are used for transitions but that wasn’t the case here. It didn’t seem to serve a purpose and was just annoying.

Then there was another pet peeve of ours.  In one scene a guy walks across a wet floor in an indoor parking garage.  He gets in his Porsche and drives out onto bone-dry streets.  We know they like to shoot on wet pavement as some people think it looks better than dry pavement on the screen with the reflection.  However, when he starts walking in the garage, we were thinking, why is the floor wet?  He’s indoors.  It wasn’t raining in the garage and when he got outside the roads were dry, so it wasn’t raining out there either.  It was just odd.  If it was wet outside, this would have made sense.

A Few More Thoughts

There are a few additional things we’d like to quickly point out.  The first has to do with the filming of this movie.  Although the story’s location was Washington D.C., the movie was filmed in Australia. Given that, most of the supporting roles were played by Australian actors.  We liked that.   This was filmed during the COVID pandemic so that makes sense.  Plus, we like to see local actors used in movies.

Next, in the credits there was a team assigned to COVID issues. That was a sign of our times.  We wonder what we’ll think of that if we rewatch this movie in a few years.

And finally, the age of the audience was interesting to us.  This is an action movie.  And it stars 69-year-old Liam Neeson.   Ok, this is a very, very small dataset to work with as there were only 5 other people in the theater when we went.  We went to the 5:00 pm showing on the advanced viewing day.  That said, I’m 59 and was at least 10 years younger than any of the other 5 people in the audience.  Is Liam drawing an older audience than what we usually see for action movies, or was this an anomaly?  We don’t know but it is an interesting data point to us.  This Blacklight audience seemed a lot older than what was in the audience when we saw No Time To Die.  We know the James Bond series is fighting their demographics and working to draw in younger viewers.   Neeson may be struggling with that.

So, let’s get back to the quote from that audience member about Blacklight that opened this article: “I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are the creators of the website SpyMovieNavigator.com.  We create podcasts, YouTube videos, and more focusing on spy movies.  Our podcast and our YouTube channel share the name “Cracking the Code of Spy Movies”! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator), and Instagram too! And we welcome you to join our private Facebook group, The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!

BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

Podcast Episode

BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie BLACKLIGHT starring Liam Neeson.  We'll guide you as to whether it is worth your time. 

Another Liam Neeson action movie called Blacklight has just been released.  Is it another sequel to the Taken series?

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie Blacklight.  We’ll answer that question and guide you as to whether it is worth your time.

Given that this is one of our Quick-Fire Reviews, there will be NO SPOILERS!

Ideas: Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

We give you a no spoiler look at the following from Blacklight:

  • The basic Plot
  • How similar is it to Liam Neeson’s Taken trilogy?
  • Who is the cast?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
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Join us for our NO SPOILER review of The 355, starring Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Penélope Cruz, and Bingbing Fan.

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