Review: ‘Spys’

Spys is a mess. The Irwin Winkler-Robert Chartoff production reteams Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland, this time as a pair of bungling CIA agents. The script is tasteless, Irvin Kershner's direction is futile, and the whole effort comes across as vulgar, offensive and tawdry.

Spys is a mess. The Irwin Winkler-Robert Chartoff production reteams Elliott Gould and Donald Sutherland, this time as a pair of bungling CIA agents. The script is tasteless, Irvin Kershner’s direction is futile, and the whole effort comes across as vulgar, offensive and tawdry.

Sutherland and Gould bungle the defection of Russian dancer Michael Petrovitch, so under a deal between CIA chief Martinson (Joss Ackland) and Russian counterpart (Vladek Sheybal), they are marked for extinction. In the course of evading lots of people, the two stars encounter revolutionaries (Zou Zou, Xavier Gelin, Pierre Oudry), urbane Lippet (Kenneth Griffith) and his dog, and a bird fancier (Jaques Marin).

The ‘fun’ of international espionage is depicted by a series of bomb explosions, lavatory homicide, police torture, kinky sex, a car chase, a search through canine fesces, and a disrupted church wedding ceremony.

[Version reviewed was 87-min. US one.]

Spys

UK - US

Production

Dymphana/Chartoff-Winkler/American Film Properties. Director Irvin Kershner; Producer Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff; Screenplay Malcolm Marmorstein, Lawrence J. Cohen, Fred Freeman; Camera Gerry Fisher; Editor Robert Lawrence, Keith Palmer; Music John Scott [US version: Jerry Goldsmith]; Art Director Michael Seymour

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 100 MIN.

With

Donald Sutherland Elliott Gould Zou Zou Joss Ackland Shane Rimmer Vladek Sheybal

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