Operazione Goldman (1966)

Shot in Rome,usually known in the English speaking world as “Lightning Bolt”(so like “Thunderball”!),this movie is an especially tacky example of the Euro-Superspy genre of the 1960’s.Often these movies starred second string American actors to help US sales-and this has Anthony Eisley(best known as a lead in the TV detective series “Hawaiian Eye”),who spent a lot of his career in such Euro schlock.Handsome,tough looking and businesslike,Eisley was suitable for these kinds of roles,but here he is immersed in a distinctly third rate “Bond” caper.The story has elements from “Dr No”(villain who shoots down US moon rockets-cue the grainy stock footage of Cape Kennedy which fills the movie),but here the tale is clumsily developed and full of absurdities.The villain,vaguely resembles Goldfinger,and is-wait for it-a fiendish beer manufacturer,just like the villain in the Matt Helm movie “The Ambushers”(1967).Eisley’s hero “Harry Sennet” at times acts with incredible stupidity.He drives right on to a rocket launch site to try and stop it leaving-just as it blasts off!In another unprofessional moment,Sennet,captured and surrounded by thugs,goes into a rage and tries to attack the gloating villain,when it’s obvious he will fail and just gets more battering from the bad guys for his trouble-007 would be appalled!And here is a hero who more than once tries to “buy off” enemies by offering them cheques!(a wonderfully absurd scene has him doing a cheque for a gunman who’s ready to shoot him!). The English dubbing is clear but often incongruous(a renowned rocket scientist who speaks in a “Barry Fitzgerald” Irish burr?).To try to make the narrative more coherent,we have Sennet providing a frequently cornball “tough guy” voice-over at certain points.

I did quite like the villainess with an acid squirting gun,and the “underwater city” hideout has a certain threadbare pop art mid 60’s charm(with its ice-chamber where the villain stores his frozen victims).The final action and destruction scenes are far better done than the rest of the movie,the director seems more at home with fighting/mayhem than other aspects of film making.