What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)




USA | Japan


Tatsuya Mihashi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tadao Nakamaru, Susumu Kurobe, Sachio Sakai, Hideyo Amamoto, Tetsu Nakamura, Osman Yusuf, Kumi Mizuno, Woody Allen, Julie Bennett, Frank Buxton, Louise Lasser, Len Maxwell, Mickey Rose


In his directorial debut, Woody Allen took the Japanese action film "International Secret Police: Key of Keys" and re-dubbed it, changing the plot to make it revolve around a secret egg salad recipe.


A year after What's New Pussycat, Woody Allen made his directorial debut, sort of, reinventing a Japanese spy film, parody of the famous James Bond, dubbing it in English with a completely different dialogue so to change the plot as well. The result? Exhilarating.

Definitely not Allen's best film, What's Up, Tiger Lily? may be absurd, and silly, still is a great fun to watch.

What makes the film stand out, other than the fact that people usually don't re-dub entire films with comic dialogue completely detached from the plot, is that it takes and twists the humour already existing in the original. But, that's not all. In fact, Allen also added some scenes that don't have much to do with the "plot" - Allen explaining his experiment, the band playing, the projectionist pausing the film to play around with his woman - so to temporarily interrupt the film.

If Allen's experiment purpose is to show the audience how easily you can destroy or change a film by just changing a few things, he achieved his goal.

The soundtrack, from The Lovin' Spoonful, a band I've never heard of, is great. They are the band I previously mentioned that makes several appearances in the film, and even though they don't have a connection with the plot, their appearance is cool and funny.

The dialogue delivers some good humor, the cartoonish voices are really entertaining to listen to, and it's amazing to watch the actor's facial expressions and realizing they are not acting the story you are hearing.


Woody Allen: They wanted in Hollywood to make the definitive spy picture. And they came to me to supervise the project, you know, because I think that, if you know me at all, you know that death is my bread and danger my butter - oh, no, danger's my bread, and death is my butter. No, no, wait. Danger's my bread, death - no, death is - no, I'm sorry. Death is my - death and danger are my various breads and various butters.

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