Zeta One (1969)

Director: Michael Cort
Starring: Robin Hawdon, James Robertson Justice, Yutte Stensgaad, Charles Hawtrey, Dawn Addams, Valerie Leon, Anna Gael
AKA: The Love Factor

Barely more than soft core porn, Zeta One is an example of swinging sixties British Cinema at it’s worst. To fans of the perverse it may even fall into the ‘so bad it is good’ category. Thankfully it is fast paced and the costumes, sets, and the girls in the film are easy on the eye.

The film opens with Section S Agent, James Word (Robin Hawdon) returning home after a mission. Waiting in his apartment is Anna Olsen (Yutte Stensgaad), the ‘company’ secretary. She wants to knows the details of Word’s mission in Scotland. After a game of strip poker (naturally), Word,via flashback, begins to tell the story of ‘Zeta’, a woman who rules a colony of women in a place called ‘Angvia’.

The scantily clad Angvian women have special powers and could take over the world, but so far have restricted their activities to kidnapping and brainwashing a few girls to join their colony. For those who have not worked it out yet, Angvia is an anagram of ‘vagina’.

Meanwhile, head of Department 5, Major Borden (James Robertson Justice), a well dressed, well connected English gentleman, has plans to take over Angvia for his own purposes. Despite Borden’s respectable veneer, he is actually a brutal sadist, with his own torture chamber, which within he ‘questions’ young girls in a bid to find the location of Angvia. To achieve his ends, Borden sends his assistant, Swyne (Charles Hawtrey) out to track some Angvian girls. This isn’t too hard to do as they all wear orange minis around.

Swyne follows two Angvians to a strip club where they intend to kidnap one of the ‘artistes’ to join their colony. Swyne reports back to Borden, who then convinces the stripper, Edwina Strain, to conceal a transmitting device upon a person, so he can track her to Angvia.

All goes to plan. Edwina is kidnapped and taken to Angvia. With the disappearance of Edwina, Word is called into headquarters and has a meeting with his section chief, ‘W’. Word’s mission is to follow Borden, and he is sent to Scotland where Borden has an estate.

The film’s plot really isn’t important, and really doesn’t make much sense. There are a few weird scenes including a Michael Caine look-a-like who follows around Borden, and a superstitious talking elevator with a chip on it’s shoulder. The scenes in Angvia are trippy with a lot of coloured lights and filters, and one scene which looks like it was filmed through a lava lamp.

As a secret agent, Word doesn’t really do much. He gets to bed multiple attractive sixties dolly birds, and drive a fast car. That’s it really. Not surprisingly, Hawdon spends most of the film with a continuous smirk on his face.

Curious note: Lionel Murton plays Word’s boss known as ‘W’ , but on the wall on his office is ‘UU’ (ie double U). Maybe the set designer had a better sense of humour and was more creative than the rest of the team that put this movie together?

Zeta One is a dirty little sixties spy film. If that’s your bag, man, then by all means, seek it out and enjoy. It is fast paced and at approximately 82 minutes it wont take too much out of your day. But for others who are looking for a real spy film, I am afraid you will have to look elsewhere.

This review is based on the Salvation Films UK video cassette

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