AKA: OK Connery, Operation Double 007, Secret Agent 00
Director: Alberto De Martino
Starring: Neil Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Adolpho Celi, Anthony Dawson, Bernard Lee, Lois Maxwell
Music: Ennio Morricone and Bruno Nicolai
Song ‘OK Connery’ performed by Khristy
“I’m a surgeon, not a secret agent!”
Of all the European spy films made in the sixties to cash in on Bondmania, Operation Kid Brother is probably the best known. Not because it was one of the better examples of the Eurospy genre, but because it featured Sean Connery’s younger brother Neil, in the title role. And there you have the joke, the movie hangs it’s plot on.
Secret Agent 007’s brother, Dr. Neil Connery (he uses his real name in the movie) is a plastic surgeon, lip reader, hypnotist and archer extraordinaire. It is these skills that help him once he gets drawn into a tangled web of intrigue, when one of his patients gets kidnapped by an evil organisation called Thanatos. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The film opens with a boat, crewed by a bevy of scantily clad ladies, pulling into Monte Carlo harbour. Below deck, Thayer (Adolpho Celi – who played Emilio Largo in the Bond movie Thunderball) is receiving a massage, while watching a movie on a naked back on one of his girls. More about Thayer later…
Meanwhile Miss Maxwell (Lois Maxwell – who played Moneypenny from 1962-85) is waiting at the Aero Club of Monte Carlo, for a plane to land. And not just any plane. Coming in for landing is an agent named Ward Jones, who is carrying a very important little box. But as the plane lands and begins taxiing down the runway, a remote control car, guided by Thayer (naturally), is sent into a collision course with the plane. Both car and plane explode in a fireball. As emergency crews attend to the wreck, during the commotion, Maya (Daniela Bianchi – who played Tatiana Romanova in From Russia With Love), clothed in an asbestos fire suit, retrieves the box from the flaming wreckage and disappears with it.
We then move to a lecture theatre where Doctor Neil Connery is holding a lecture on plastic surgery and facial reconstruction. His lecture is disrupted when a group of men burst in an attempt to steal Doctor Connery’s patient. You see, she was Ward Jones girlfriend, and everyone believes that he has left some vital intelligence information with her.
The kidnapping attempt is foiled by Miss Maxwell, who spirits the girl away. Unfortunately, Connery was distracted in the commotion, and has accidentally killed an man. The authorities have him in custody. It’s here that Doctor Connery is recruited, or rather blackmailed, into working for M.I.6. The head of M.I.6 is another familiar face. It is Bernard Lee, who played ‘M’ in the Bond series (from 1962 – 1979). Here he plays Commander Cunningham. Connery’s mission is to stop Thanatos.
As I briefly mentioned earlier, the villains of the piece, are an evil organization called Thanatos. The leader of Thanatos, Alpha, is played by Anthony Dawson, another Bond alumni, who played Professor Dent in Doctor No. Alpha’s number two man, is Thayer. But Thayer is not happy about being Number two, or if you prefer ‘Beta’, and has his own plan to take over Thanatos.
But what are Thanatos’ up to? They plan to blackmail the world with a device that freezes anything with moving metal parts. Naturally Thanatos need a secret underground lair, to carry out their dastardly plan, and theirs is hidden under a castle a few miles outside Munich. As you’d expect it is up to Doctor Connery, with a bit of help from some Scottish archery champions to stop Thanatos and save the world. Obviously a trait that runs in the family.
Operation Kid Brother has some over-the-top sequences. A favourite has the girls from Thanatos stealing an ‘atomic nucleus.’ They do this, by disguising themselves as stranded dancehall girls, with car troubles. Then they overpower the men in an army convoy. And if that wasn’t enough, to smuggle their ill-gotten gain back to their headquarters, they disguise the army transport as a moving advertisement for ‘The Wild Pussy Club’, featuring the girls dressed in cat costumes. Grrrrr!
Another over-the-top scene is at the climax, after Thayer begins his two minute countdown to firing the dreaded freezing weapon. Within the 120 seconds, Maya has time to escape from a castle, steal a helicopter, fly back to the nearest city and raise the alarm. Let’s just say Miss Bianchi is certainly a very sprightly agent.
Many articles have been written about Operation Kid Brother, most of them are negative. But the film is actually a great deal of fun. It was never intended as a taut thriller. It is a sly send-up, with outrageous stunts, garish costumes, and performances by a group of actors who are extremely familiar to avid fans of the Bond series. It is a pity that the movie is not more readily available.