What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

original dvd art

original dvd art

For his directorial debut, Woody Allen and co. took a series of Japanese spy film: Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kayaku no taru (国際秘密警察 火薬の樽: International Secret Police : A Barrel of Gunpowder) and Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi (国際秘密警察 鍵の鍵: International Secret Police: Key of Keys), and overdubbed the original soundtrack with original dialogue and changed the sequence of the two films to create “the definitive spy picture”. The result is a comedy about the misadventures of secret agent Phil Moskowitz: “a lovable rogue”, as he travels the globe in search the world’s best egg-salad recipe. As it may already be evident, this film relies on gags, puns, and asian stereotypes jokes  to succeed, and indeed it does. Perhaps the humor in this movie is tame, but it’s highly original and very enjoyable. What’s Up Tiger Lily? is a better film than the James Bond clone from which it is re-edited, and thus becomes a respectable movie in its own right. In addition, the film flaunts the folk rock formulations of The Lovin’ Spoonful.
The Interviewer: Woody, since the story is a bit difficult to follow, would you give the audience and myself a brief rundown on what’s gone on so far?
Woody Allen: [casually] No.

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