Here’s some very interesting news! Marco Giusti, who wrote the excellent Dizionario del western all’italiana and is behind the Stracult TV series, has just released a book on Italian spy films! If this is anything like the western book, this is going to be essential.
Here’s the blurb:
An incredible photo book, featuring numerous archive images and original posters.
Italian James Bonds were actually every bit as cool as Sean Connery!
“I interviewed a number of directors, producers, screenwriters and actors from the 077 and 3S3 series for my TV show Stracult two years ago. I realized that the phenomenon was not at all marginal, unlike I had believed it to be and experienced it back then. [...] So I decided to tell about these people’s stories, their films, their characters, their dreams: all the care and passion that went into this long-neglected and underrated genre. Italo-007 was not as crazy and complex as spaghetti western, which affected several generations back in the 20th century. It did, however, have a revolutionary impact, and definitely a style of its own”.
A forgotten genre, studied by one of Italy’s leading film journalists.
Among the various genres of Italian popular film, “Italian-007” is possibly the least appreciated and investigated by movie enthusiasts. It includes hundreds of films inspired by the famous James Bond saga, which were released in Italy from 1964 to 1967 and then quickly succumbed to spaghetti westerns and grand American productions. Directors the likes of Sergio Sollima, Alberto De Martino, Umberto Lenzi, Sergio Greco created an endless list of secret agents, variously named 077, 008, 009, Z7 and so on: spies in all flavors, engaged in missions anywhere from New York to Paris, from Istanbul to Beirut, from Ibiza to Marbella. All of them were surrounded by beautiful, dangerous and skimpily dressed girls, whom they set out to seduce while trying to save their own lives. And, of course, they all had a few enemies to destroy, with their load of hidden nuclear weapons, superpowerful lasers, secret microfilms and kidnapped scientists.
Using wonderful images and original posters, Marco Giusti outlines the history of this fantastic pop imagery: “movies made in a matter of months, written in a few weeks”, with “minimal costs, small crews, sure bargains”. An important piece of Italian film history, full of madness, creativity and original ideas: a genre worth reviving and appreciating.
Here’s a link for picking it up from the Feltrinelli website.