Alright. Our movie tonight started out life in 1964 as a slick Japanese James Bond knock-off “Key Of Keys” (Kagi No Kag), directed by Senkichi Taniguchi and starring no one you ever heard of. Woody Allen bought the rights and dubbed it into English without any regard to the original plot, making it into a very funny movie. Where before everyone was running around killing each other for... well I’m not quite sure as I don’t speak Japanese and only the first 3 or 4 minutes of the film are still in Japanese.
The new plot involves an egg-salad recipe to die for, starring spies named Phil Moscowitz, Terri Yaki and Suki Yaki. The new soundtrack comes from The Lovin’ Spoonful, who appear in a nightclub scene in a newly-filmed drop-in as the house band while some shirtless Japanese guy writhes around on the dance floor like a snake. By the way, one of the people providing the voices is Louise Lasser, the cult leader in several Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes. The 1966 host segments feature a no-name interviewer talking to Woody Allen in an office setting.
The drive-in totals. We have:
Multiple breasts (covered up by cartoon animation to get a G-rating)
6 dead bodies
Gratuitous Lovin’ Spoonful
Dubbed actors fu
Face pushed into a toilet
Women’s prison escape
Dented woody station wagon
Key-hole peep show
Secret radio in a lamp
Evil Mobil Gas Station attendants
Two Wongs (who don’t make it right)
Shadow hand puppets
Electricuted Oriental Peter Lorre
I give it 3 stars, but don’t tell Joe Bob.
In the opening scene a car drives by, shooting at our heroes, then comes back and sets the forest behind them on fire with a flame thrower. Next, a police car and the Army pull up to a gated building. Inside, a bad guy with a scarred hand (close-up of hand), has a woman headed for a buzz-saw when the two heroes burst in. Then we have a whole lotta kung-fu fighting before the opening credits, in which a cartoon Woody Allen pops out of an Asian woman’s breasts (paying attention, Mia?)
There was only one main host segment in 1966, and a brief one later in the movie, where the host asks Woody if he would explain the plot so far and he says no.
Woody: Well, let me see if I can explain this to you accurately. They wanted, in Hollywood, to make the definitive spy picture. And, they came to me to supervise the project, you know? Because, if you know me at all, you know that Death is my bread and Danger my butter … or Danger’s my bread and Death’s my butter … No, no, wait … Danger’s my bread … no Death … Death and Danger are my various breads and butters. So, we took a Japanese film, made in Japan by Japanese actors and actresses, we bought it. And it’s a great film. Beautiful color, and there’s raping and looting and killing in it. And I took out all the soundtrack, knocked out all their voices, and I wrote a comedy. And I got together with some actors and actresses, and we put our comedy in where they were formerly raping and looting. And the result is a movie where people are running around, killing one another and doing all those James Bondian things. But what’s coming out of their mouth is something wholly other.
Host: I see. That’s, to my recollection, I’ve never heard of that being done before, where the actors would be acting one story, and saying another.
Woody: It was, actually, it was done with “Gone With The Wind.” Not many people know that. That was, those are Japanese people actually, and we dubbed in American voices on that, Southern voices.
Woody: Um-hm, oh yes.
Woody: It was years ago, though, during the War, and there had been many Naval bases and things … so … you know, it was kept quiet.
Host: Well, be that as it may, do you think we could run this film now?
Woody: Sure. Watch this [starts film projector. Lovin’ Spoonful now sing during opening credits featuring nude Japanese woman]
Quotes & Trivia (Courtesy of the Internet Movie Database)
Phil Moscowitz: But you said you loved me!
Wing Fat: I love you in my own way.
Phil Moscowitz: Meet me in the bedroom in five minutes and bring a cattle prod.
Shepherd Wong: I'm dying. Call my rabbi.
High Macha Of Rashpur: They kill, they maim and they call information for numbers they could easily look up in the book.
Phil Moscowitz: Saracen pig! Spartan dog! Take this! And this! Roman cow! Russian snake! Spanish fly!
Majah: Good afternoon. I am the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur, a nonexistent but real-sounding country.
Phil Moscowitz: Uh-huh.
Majah: Yes. We're on a waiting list. As soon as there's an opening on the map, we're next.
Wing Fat: Don't tell me what I can do, or I'll have my mustache eat your beard.
Shepherd Wong: That's too bad. I was going to marry her. I already put a deposit on twin cemetery plots.
Phil Moscowitz: No bullets? Ah, but if all of you in the audience who believe in fairies will clap your hands, then my gun will be magically filled with bullets.
Phil Moscowitz: I'd call him a sadistic, hippophilic necrophile, but that would be beating a dead horse.
This movie is "Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi" (1964) with new dialogue by Allen, Woody dubbed in.
The two Japanese spy girls in the movie -- Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama -- also star together in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967).
By the way, if the title sounds familiar, Woody Allen’s very first film as both actor and screenwriter, was the previous year’s What’s New, Pussycat (1965) starring Peter Sellers, with title song by Tom Jones.
An American is knocked unconscious by a car crash in Australia. The ambulance takes him to a local hospital. When he finally wakes up he asks the nurse, “Was I brought in here to die?”
“No,” says the nurse, “you were brought in here yesterdye.”
The drive-in will never die!
An executive goes outside during a long strike and tells the strikers that they might as well be comfortable. So he gives them blankets and a case of whisky. When the whisky is half gone, he sends ten young women to entertain the strikers. Then he brings over the striker’s wives to see how comfortable they are. End of strike.
Remember, the dictionary is the only place that success comes before work.
And if you’re ever in Boston, keep in mind that there is a city law still on the books that limits the amount of manure that can be kept inside a building - two cords. More than that and you’ll need a special manure permit. If your horse plops it in the street, you can’t leave it there, either. Call it art and sell it to a Boston art gallery.
In the mood for some Chinese? Try John Carpenter’s Big Trouble In Little China.
Actual street signs in Japan as translated for tourists there in English:
"When a passenger of the foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, tootle him with vigor" (if that doesn't work, give him the finger)
"Beware the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you pass him by. Do not explode the exhaust-box...go smoothly by"
"Give big space to the festive dog that shall sport in the roadway" (I have no clue on this one)
"Go soothingly in the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon"
Today's lesson: You're so good!