What's Up, Tiger Lily?

"Very Good"

What's Up, Tiger Lily? Review


It's too much to expect that people stay funny throughout their entire careers, but given the dearth of real humor in any of Woody Allen's recent offerings, it's almost depressing to watch a little gem like 1966's What's Up, Tiger Lily? and remember just how effortlessly goofy the guy could be. In this, his first (sort of) directorial outing, Allen had a great idea: Take a bad Japanese James Bond knock-off, remove the soundtrack, and add in his own dialogue without changing the actual film at all.

Viewers may be alarmed at first, as the film starts off with several minutes of the film playing with its non-subtitled Japanese dialogue intact. It's a fast-paced series of quick action scenes involving bad kung fu and a flamethrower and gives you the impression that even if one knew Japanese, it wouldn't be making much more sense. Then Allen himself shows up and describes what he has done to the film, playing it completely straight.

The James Bond stand-in, Phil Moscowitz (Tatsuya Mihashi), has an extremely smarmy smile but a way with pretty much every woman that crosses his path. After a romantic rendezvous gets cut short by a sniper with extremely bad aim, Phil gets pulled into a ridiculous plot that involves getting the recipe for the world's greatest egg salad from gangster Shepherd Wong (Tadao Nakamaru). To do so he must team up with Wing Fat (Susumu Kurobe) and a pair of babes (Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama). Along the way there's guns, vaguely Turkish-looking evil dudes, poisonous snakes, and a bartender who does a mean Peter Lorre impression. It doesn't make a lick of sense, as is highlighted in a brief interlude where an interviewer comes on and asks Allen is he cares to explain the plot to the audience, to which Allen says, "No," and we're back to the action.

Oddly enough, Allen doesn't overplay the humor here (with the exception of naming one of the girls Teri Yaki). Instead of going for zany antics and trying to cram in a joke whenever a word is spoken (having one man say to another, "You know, I've always loved you," etc.), the writing tends more towards the good non sequitur, such as "Don't tell me what to do, or I'll have my mustache eat your beard," or a running gag where everytime Phil beats on someone he shouts, "Saracen pig!" or "Spartan dog!" with each punch. It's hard to imagine where the guys at Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be without this movie.

There is the unfortunate addition of a soundtrack by that timeless gaggle of hippies, The Lovin' Spoonful (footage of whom is actually spliced into the original film), but even that can't ruin this utterly silly, throwaway movie. It reminds you of a time when Allen didn't seem to have to try so hard, and is ultimately probably funnier than Curse of the Jade Scorpion, Small Time Crooks, Sweet and Lowdown, and Celebrity all put together.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd November 1966

Production compaines: Benedict Pictures Corp.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Senkichi Taniguchi

Producer:

Starring: as Phil Moscowitz, as Suki Yaki, as Teri Yaki, John Sebastian as Himself, as Shepherd Wong, as Wing Fat, Sachio Sakai as Hoodlum, Hideyo Amamoto as Cobra Man, Tetsu Nakamura as Foreign Minister, Osman Yusuf as Gambler, as Himself / Dub Voice / Projectionist

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.