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)].
The James Bond film craze of the 1960s was responsible for launching a secret agent/spy movie sub-genre that thrived for more than a decade. Some of the imitators like Our Man Flint (1966) and The Silencers (1966) even spawned mini-franchises but the majority of them were strictly B-movies with international casts and exotic locations. One of the more obscure and unusual entries is Operation Kid Brother (1967), which is an entertainingly bad knockoff and sports a genuine Sean Connery-007 connection. It stars younger sibling Neil Connery in his screen debut. Continue reading →