Hong Kong Confidential (1958)
Spy movie? Yes.
Kind of dumb? Yes.
It’s short enough to watch and not regret the loss of your life’s precious moments. Plus it’s the only movie I’ve seen so far that has a super melodramatic narrator in a spy movie. Gene Barry wasn’t striking enough or handsome enough or actually charming enough to really sell it for me. He seems like a nice guy and people liked him, maybe this just wasn’t his best movie.
It wasn’t really a spoof but it wasn’t really film noir, it wasn’t a serious thriller but it wasn’t a light-hearted comedy, it was just sort of banal and forgettable. Allison Hayes and Beverly Tyler were pretty mirror images and the plot wasn’t really horrible. Could have been the propaganda-esque nature of some of the lines. Could have been the cheesy B-movie special effects and stunts. Could have been how he dumped that whole fucking drawer on the floor when someone was inexplicably working at the warehouse. Could have been how it took itself more seriously than it should.
It was totally a spy movie though. The story was totally a spy movie. It involved just about every spy agency on earth. It had treaties, US vs. Russia, democracy vs. communism, showdowns in former fragments of the British empire, hyperbole, exaggeration, back alley meetings, blown covers and murders, kidnapped foreign dignitaries, dark haired vamps and pristine blondes, and overt racism!
The Emperor’s New Clothes had the same warning and for the same reason.