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What’s Up Tiger Lily? (1966)

One of Toho Studios’ International Secret Police series, the already tongue-in-cheek Bond-spoof Kagi No Kag (“Key of Keys”), becomes an even more demented parody of Sixties spy film conventions in the hands of comedian/dubbing director Woody Allen, in this side-splittingly, funny melding of Eastern and Western pop cultures.

Allen took the Japanese spy film and dubbed the original characters’ voices with American actors, to tell a different story completely – one that loosely revolves around the stealing of the world’s best egg salad recipe – with music by The Lovin’ Spoonful, and starring Tatsuya Mihashi, with Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama – the Bond girls in You Only Live Twice. (1967)

A girl escapes from prison and ends up in a car driven by Phil Moscowitz. Phil is captured and taken to meet the head of a country that is so new that it isn’t on the map. The ruler wants Phil to find the secret recipe for the world’s best egg salad. He’ll have a couple of female assistants.

Phil has competition in the form of Wing Fat. Wing is on the gambling boat of Shepherd Wong. Wong stole the recipe and Wing gets it and takes Wong’s picture. He says when developed Wong will be naked and Wing says he’s going to show it everywhere. He escapes to a waiting boat.

Before the movie goes much further Woody shows up. He’s asked to explain the movie so far because it’s complicated. He refuses. Back to the movie.

Woody had just enjoyed success with What’s New, Pussycat? (1965) which was his first screenwriting credit.

Although he was reportedly unhappy with how What’s Up Tiger Lily? turned out, it was popular with audiences.

At the end of the film is a very memorable cameo striptease by Playboy playmate China Lee, one of the most popular centrefolds of the decade.

Woody Allen
Phil Moscowitz
Tatsuya Mihashi
Terri Yaki
Mie Hama
Suki Yaki
Akiko Wakabayashi
Shepherd Wong
Tadao Nakamaru
Wing Fat
Susumu Kurobe
China Lee
Frank Buxton
Len Maxwell
Louise Lasser
Mickey Rose
Julie Bennett
Bryna Wilson
The Lovin’ Spoonful
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Senkichi Taniguchi

Compiled by
Woody Allen