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Intelligence Men, The (1965)

For their big-screen debut, star British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise chose this espionage spoof. The two were never really able to translate their television brilliance to the big screen, and the surprisingly confusing plot here fails to unite their few recognised skits.

Ernie, a clerical employee at MI5 and Spanish café owner Eric are plunged into the dangerous world of crime and espionage when MI5 get news that Major Cavendish, their agent in Paris, has died.

This comes as a major blow as Cavendish was the only man to work his way into the confidence of Schlect, the international crime gang out to cash in on the Cold War by sabotaging vital talks between Russia and Britain. And he was about to make contact with their agent.

Meanwhile, Schlect’s agent in London is sipping coffee at Eric’s Soho coffee bar when he hears Eric humming Swan Lake. Despite the tuneless rendition, he recognises it as Cavendish’s identification code and mistakes Eric as his contact, passing on a message: “Reception party. Cosmopolitan Hotel. Room 912. Schlect.”

When Ernie hears about the message, he tells his superior Colonel Grant (William Franklyn) and before he knows what’s happening, Eric has become a very important spy.

Later, in room 912 at the hotel, a beautiful girl, Gina (Gloria Paul) appears on the scene. She shortly presents Eric with his first big problem . . . a dead man.

intelligencemen_01“You are to meet me here again at eight o’clock,” she tells him. “In the meantime, get rid of the body”.

Eric and Ernie are ultimately tasked with the protection of ballerina Madame Petrovna (April Olrich), the idol of the Russian people.

Her life is in the hands of two of the world’s most incompetent spies during her performance of Swan Lake at Covent Garden in London.

Wanda Ventham and Bob Todd appear in small uncredited roles.

Eric Morecambe
Eric Morecambe
Ernie Sage
Ernie Wise
Colonel Grant
William Franklyn
Madame Petrovna
April Olrich
Gina Carlotti
Gloria Paul
Terence Alexander
Sir Edward Seabrook
Richard Vernon
Jacqueline Jones
Francis Matthews
Warren Mitchell
Peter Bull
Gerard Hely

Robert Asher