Ever notice how every secret agent in the movies seems to have a gimmick? Well, Perry Liston – code name: Matchless – has got a winner. When confronted with unavoidable capture or certain death from enemies, he can literally vanish into thin air. He’s not superhuman though. His ability to become invisible at will is completely dependent on a unique ring given to him by a fellow prisoner in a Chinese jail. And the ring’s powers are limited: it can only be used once every 10 hours and the wearer can expect his invisible state to last no more than twenty minutes. Those are the rules and Matchless (1966), a quirky genre offering from Italy, plays fast and loose with the gimmick [In some markets it was released under the title Mission TS (Top Secret)].
In an amoral world where everyone is a liar, cheat, assassin or ruthless opportunist, can there be any heroes? It all comes down to a matter of charisma and underdog appeal in West German director Klaus Lemke’s Negresco – Eine Todliche Affare (1968), which is also known by the far more suggestive title, My Bed is Not for Sleeping. The film is a flashy, colorful bauble of swinging sixties cinema that flirts with several genres without committing to any. Is it an espionage thriller? A sexy jet-set romance? A cynical expose of the La Dolce Vita crowd and their pretentious lives? Continue reading →