O.K. Connery is a 1967 Italian Eurospy comedy film shot in Technicolor and Techniscope directed by Alberto De Martino. The Spy-Fi plot involves the brother of the British spy James Bond, played by Neil Connery (the actual brother of the Sean Connery, star of the Eon Productions Bond films) who is obliged to take the lead in foiling a world-domination plot. The film's cast included several actors from the Eon-produced James Bond film series, Thunderball's Adolfo Celi, From Russia with Love's Daniela Bianchi, Dr. No's Anthony Dawson, M (Bernard Lee) and Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell), as well as the producer's wife Agata Flori, Gina Lollobrigida's cousin Guido Lollobrigida and Yasuko Yama (aka Yee-Wah Young and Yee-Wah Yang) then in the publicity spotlight due to her relationship with James Mason. She appeared as a bath girl in You Only Live Twice under the name Yee-Wah Yang.
Italian film poster
|Directed by||Alberto De Martino|
|Produced by||Dario Sabatello|
|Story by||Paolo Levi|
|Edited by||Otello Colangeli|
The film received generally negative reviews from the New York Times, Variety and the Monthly Film Bulletin with the latter two reviews noting that the film could leave audiences with unintentional laughter at its ineptitude. The film was featured on the film-mocking television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 in 1993.
When a legendary British Intelligence (SIS) agent is murdered, fellow agent Miss Maxwell (Lois Maxwell) is sent to find the late spy's girlfriend, Miss Yashuko (Yashuko Yama), who is unwittingly in possession of valuable information. Maxwell discovers that Yashuko is in the care of Dr. Neil Connery, a cosmetic surgeon who uses hypnotism in his practice. Yashuko is kidnapped from a medical conference in Monte Carlo by Maya Rafis (Daniela Bianchi), as part of a plot by Mr. Thayer (Adolfo Celi), code name Beta, of the terrorist organization THANATOS. The Secret Service's Commander Cunningham (Bernard Lee) assigns Connery to find Miss Yashuko.
Connery hypnotizes a beautiful girl named Mildred (Agata Flori) to acquire information and discovers that Miss Yashuko is located in a Spanish castle belonging to Lotte Krayendorf (Anne-Marie Noé). Connery rescues Miss Yashuko and obtains critical intelligence. This information leads to the discovery of THANATOS's plan to build a super magnet, powerful enough to turn off all mechanical products from New York to Moscow. The weapon is being assembled in a Moroccan rug factory, where all the employees are blind. Miss Yashuko is murdered by Mildred before revealing any further information. Mildred is then killed by Juan (Franco Giacobini), Connery's aide.
After arriving in Morocco, Connery is invited by Maya Rafis to a party held by Mr. Thayer. During the reception, Connery discovers that Mr. Thayer is planning to assassinate the head of THANATOS, known as Alpha (Anthony Dawson). Connery warns Maya about his discovery as she leads him to the rug factory. Upon entering the factory, Connery realizes that it is actually producing strands of uranium; the employees' blindness prevents them from discovering their dangerous role. Together, Connery and Maya track the uranium shipment to Switzerland, where Mr. Thayer, having failed to assassinate Alpha, has been driving the development of the powerful magnet. Together, with the help of a team of Scottish archers (as firearms are rendered inoperative by the magnet), Connery and Maya almost completely destroy THANATOS. After the completion of the mission, Commander Cunningham comments to Connery, "O.K. Connery! You were almost better than your brother."
- Neil Connery as Dr. Neil Connery
- Daniela Bianchi as Maya Rafis
- Adolfo Celi as Mr. Thayer (Beta)
- Agata Flori as Mildred
- Bernard Lee as Commander Cunningham
- Anthony Dawson as Alpha
- Lois Maxwell as Miss Maxwell
- Yachuo Yama as Yachuko
- Franco Giacobini as Juan
- Ana María Noé as Lotte Krayendorf
- Guido Lollobrigida as Kurt
Neil Connery was working as a plasterer in Scotland until he was sacked for losing his tools. Based on Neil's relation to his brother Sean, the matter received international media attention. When Terence Young heard Neil interviewed with his trade union about the matter on the radio he mentioned to Italian producer Dario Sabatello that Neil sounded like his brother Sean. Sabatello met Neil at the Caledonian Hotel in Edinburgh to recruit him to play the lead role in a Eurospy film. Neil recalled when he did his screentest the crew kept saying "OK, Connery, OK" that became the title for the film.
Experienced director Alberto De Martino who had previously filmed Upperseven, the Man to Kill and Special Mission Lady Chaplin (both 1966) recalled his father Romolo de Martino doing Neil's extensive makeup and problems with Neil's inexperience as an actor. He also recalled Sabatello approaching Sean Connery do to an appearance in the film that Connery emphatically refused.
Neil Connery's voice is dubbed by an actor with an American accent. In an interview in Cinema Retro, Neil said that he was undergoing medical treatment when voice dubbing of the film was in progress, leading another person to voice his lines in the English version.
- The Man for Me / Se chiami amore
OK Connery was released in Italy in 1967. The film was distributed in the United States by United Artists, the year Sean Connery left the James Bond series. under the title Operation Kid Brother. It was one of six Italian films released worldwide by United Artists in 1967.
O.K. Connery was featured on the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000 on September 11, 1993 as "Operation Double 007".
In contemporary reviews, Bosley Crowther writing for The New York Times referred to the film as "a wobbly carbon copy of the James Bond thrillers" Variety described the film as so "unbelievably inept", that "many viewers may find it hilarious fun." The Monthly Film Bulletin stated that O.K. Connery was a "grotesque parody of a parody" noting endless allusions to Neil Connery's brother Sean Connery. The review concluded that "the film as a whole is bad enough to be hysterically funny." The Cleveland Press referred to the film as a "dreary and dismal espionage movie" stating that the film lacked the "flair and skill with which the Bond films are made. The script is labored, the direction slow and the acting is barely adequate."
In Phil Hardy's book Science Fiction (1984), a review noted that "though it's stylishly mounted, the result is a routine Italian spy romp."
In an interview in 1996, Lois Maxwell said that Sean Connery, when he learned that she would join the cast, got very angry and started screaming: "You have betrayed me!" and he forgave her when she saved Neil from a fool at the press conference.
As a "James Bond rip-off", reaction to the film is mixed. Ben Child from The Guardian called it one of the worst movies made for the genre. In contrast, Andy Roberts from The Daily Telegraph and Tom Cole for Radio Times considered it to be one of the best.
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- "O.K. Connery (1967)". Archivio del Cinema Italiano On-Line.
- Mavis 2011, p. 234.
- p. 13 Anderson Daily Bulletin from Anderson, Indiana January 11, 1967
- p. 31 Sweeney, Kevin James Mason: A Bio-Bibliography Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999
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- Field, Matthew & Chowdhury, Ajay Some Kind of Hero: The Remarkable Story of the James Bond Films The History Press, 12 Oct 2015
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- Willis 1985, p. 224: "Review is of 104 minute version reviewed on October 11, 1967"
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- Hardy 1984, p. 266.
- Insert magazine of the Italian VHS James Bond 007 Collection edition of Dr. No, published by Fabbri Editori, directed by Giulio Lattanzi.
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- Roberts, Andy (October 13, 2015). "Pussy Galore, meet Lotta Muff: the weird world of the Bond rip-off". The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Cole, Tom (October 26, 2012). "Shaky, yet stirring: the best James Bond knock-offs of all time". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
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- Mavis, Paul (2011). The Espionage Filmography: United States Releases, 1898 through 1999. McFarland. ISBN 0786449152.
- Willis, Donald, ed. (1985). Variety's Complete Science Fiction Reviews. Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 0-8240-6263-9.