This spy yarn features Boysie Oakes, a creation of John Gardner. Peter Yeldham’s screenplay and Jack Cardiff’s direction combine plenty of action and some crisp wisecracking.
Where Boysie Oakes (Rod Taylor) is different from his [1960s] counterparts is that he is neither a pro undercover agent nor an enthusiastic amateur with a flair. In fact, he is a vulnerable sort of guy who hates killing. An ex-sergeant who accidentally saves Trevor Howard’s life, he is conned into joining the service by Howard (Security’s No 2).
He compromises by hiring a professional killer to do the dirty work for him, an angle which has promise as a film plot. But this fairly quickly gets sidetracked when Oakes takes ‘No 2’s’ lush secretary for a dirty week- end on the Riviera.
There are plenty of holes in the plot, but no matter. The vulnerable Oakes is played with plenty of charm and guts by Taylor, though he hardly suggests a character with such fundamental failings and frailties as Boysie.