Is seeing always believing? For example, can you take at face value whatever you see on the television, the movies, or even in real life? Hmmm? Maybe not. Unless you have cataracts of course. Still, you get the basic idea about what I am trying to say, right? If not, watch this movie Directed by Woody Allen / Senkichi Taniguchi; and Staring: Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, and The Lovin' Spoonful. It was made in 1966, and lasts for 80 minutes.
What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Comedic clown, Woody Allen, has come up with a very new and innovative idea. What if he took a Japanese James-Bond-like movie, removed the dialogue from it, and then replace whatever the actors were saying with his own words. Intriguing concept, right? And it plays out in the film that follows...
THE MOVIE: By mistake, secret agent, Phil Moskowitz, inadvertently helps undercover saboteur, Suki, escape from prison. And then, for no apparent reason whatsoever, this leads them both into a somewhat obtuse encounter, where they’re both hired by regal allies, the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur and Teri Yaki, to track down a secret recipe for egg salad.
However, there is also someone else hot on the trail of the egg salad recipe too. Underworld con-artist, Wing-Fat.
Please note, Wing is a very strange character indeed. You see, although he was able to track down this recipe on-board of a gambling ship owned by the crime boss, Shepherd Wong. He still cannot seem to nab this recipe from this ugly looking twat's grasp.
So what does he do to rectify this situation? Correct - He get's his henchmen to kidnap Phil and Teri, he tortures them in his hideout, and then he forces them to aide him in his venture.
Ha! What a coincidence!
Moreover, another coincidence that comes into play, is that the Grand Exalted High Majah aide, Teri Yaki, somehow manages to infiltrate Shepherd Wong's ship. Plus in addition to this, she figures out that he is hiding the recipe within a safe in his lower decks.
Fortunate, right? No. Not for Teri Yaki. Because one of Shepherd Wong's goons discovers her infiltration, and punishes her accordingly.
Meanwhile, whilst this is going on, Phil, Suki, and Wing, initiate a ploy of their own to infiltrate Shepherds Wong’s ship, under the guise of rodent killers who wish to fumigate the lower decks.
And do you know what? This ploy works!
Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right badly dubbed affair all in all. As recipes go for a song - Wing and Wong do wrong - girls end up in a thong - and Woody ends up smoking a bong.
At the start of 'What's Up Tiger Lily', you are presented with a well crafted Japanese bond-like scene, with people fighting and firing guns at each other. And then suddenly the film stops, and you are quickly presented by the main man himself - Woody Allen - who explains in a interview-like setting, the pretext for the film you are about to watch. Funny way to start a film, I am sure you would agree. But then again this is a very funny film.
OK, so now that the trivia has been put to bed, how good is this 'remastered' and 're-spoofed' film? Well, personally speaking, I thought 'What's Up Tiger Lily?' is just a masterful piece of work. Stereotypes are satirized. Puns are pronounced. Innuendos are idolized. And Gaffs are generated, all with the intent of marking on celluloid one of the most unique comedies I have ever seen.
Still, whilst saying that, at times I did find the overall through line of this story kind of hard to swallow. But then again, once placated in the universe that Woody has made for this movie, it’s plausible in an 'Austin Powers' kind of the way (click here for review).
Oh! And as for the end credits, HA! You have to see it to believe it. A unique film made in the hands of a unique man. An under-appreciated classic.
THE RATING: A-