Our Man In Jamaica (1965)

Director: Richard Jackson
Starring: Larry Pennell, Brad Harris, Roberto Camardiel, Barbara Valentin, Linda Sini, Margitta Scherr
Music: Marcello Gionbini

“The mission is tough…but we have a lot of faith in you!”

Our Man In Jamaica is a middling Eurospy production. Generally, it’s not too bad and there is a lot to enjoy, but the film-making (editing and direction) and pretty loose in some parts. Many Eurospy films are only available on the grey market and the picture quality can often be ‘scary’. Many are fourth or fifth generation dupes from old VHS cassettes, and only the most diehard fan will have the stamina to sit through them. Thankfully an excellent print is available for Our Man In Jamaica, and that greatly enhances the viewing experience. I realise that a film shouldn’t be reviewed on the strength of it’s presentation or on the quality of print available, but I’m afraid, these days, they are a big part of the viewing experience. It is much easier to sit through a good print of a mediocre film, than to sit through a diabolical print of a good film. I think that sums up Our Man In Jamaica. It is not a great Eurospy film, but it looks great and it sounds great, and that in itself makes it one of the more appealing Eurospy productions available.

Here’s a quick look at the story: Agent 001, Ken Stewart (Larry Pennell) receives a briefing from his chief. It appears that Agent 009, Larry Peacock has gone missing. He was investigating an illegal arms trafficking ring, which seemed to be centred in Jamaica. Stewart’s mission is to find Larry Peacock and replace him on the mission. His chief sends him off with these words of encouragement, “The mission is tough…but we have a lot of faith in you!”

Pennell is quite okay as the lead in this film. He may not be the most talented actor but he has the tools and the haircut to convey the super cool, male chauvinist secret agent.

Unlike other jet-setting spies of the sixties, Stewart is not provided with his own private jet, or even a ticket on a Pam-Am or BOAC commercial flight to Jamaica. The poor bloke has to fly his own Piper Cherokee. As Stewart approaches Jamaica, he contacts the tower for landing instructions. He is told the ‘strip’ is not clear and to circle out to sea whilst awaiting instructions. I thought that this might be a scheme arranged by the unknown villains of the piece, so he could be blown out of the sky. But Our Man In Jamaica doesn’t have that kind of budget. This is simply an opportunity for some nice overhead locations shots. They look great in a travelogue kind of way, but don’t really progress the story.

On the ground and in his hotel suite, Stewart is contacted by a ‘mystery man’, who says to meet him at the Alligator bar. In a rental car, Stewart weaves his way through some more glossy location footage. Kingston at night is a kaleidoscope of splashy neon signs and flickering lights. Stewart then arrives at the Alligator Bar. After the gloss and polish on the external footage, it’s a bit of a come down to land on the cheap set for the Alligator Bar. It looks like it has been left over from a Spaghetti Western with lots of raw wood and railings. But in some ways it is appropriate, because within a minute of arriving Stewart starts a bar-room brawl.

Fans of Eurospy films will recognise one of the patrons in the bar. He’s Brad Harris, brawny star of the Kommissar X films. He doesn’t say or do much in this scene, but rest assured that he’ll make his presence felt, later in the film. Harris leaves the bar, and Stewart is beaten up by the locals.

The owner of the bar, has Stewart’s unconscious body dragged to his office. Once alone, it is revealed that it was just a fake set-up. The bar-owner is in fact, Stewart’s contact in Jamaica. He steers Stewart in the direction of Signora Cervantes (Linda Sini). She is a wealthy antique dealer who Larry Peacock was seeing regularly.

Naturally enough, Stewart makes his way to the Cervantes mansion. At the door he meets Signora Cervantes secretary, Gloria (Barbara Valentin). She is not too receptive to Agent Stewart’s charms and tries to impede his investigation. This only makes him more suspicious. Signora Cervantes is not much help either. But he does learn that she has a warehouse at Flamingo Bay, where her antiques are shipped into and out of.

Stewart decides to pay a visit to Flamingo Bay. It doesn’t go well. He ends up in a gun battle with the men working at the site. His resolution is simple. He fires a few shots at some drums of flammable liquid. They explode and so does the warehouse. Agent Stewart is certainly making his presence felt.

As a warning to Stewart, Larry Peacock turns up dead, on the doorstep of Signora Cervantes home. Peacock’s body has burn marks on his feet and temples. The doctor surmises he was electrocuted.

Earlier I mentioned Brad Harris. In this film he plays Captain Mike Jefferson, England’s man in Jamaica. He starts to make his presence felt in the second half of the film, when he joins forces with Stewart. Other cast members of note are, Roberto Camardiel as the villainous and reclusive Elmer Hayes, and Margitta Scherr as Jane Peacock, Larry’s younger sister who joins the investigation.

Our Man In Jamaica is a decent light weight imitation Bond product. You get all the things you’d expect. There are girls, guns and gadgets. There is some fine location footage, and there is enough mayhem to satisfy most fans of spy cinema.

This review is based on the Avantz Japan DVD

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