OK, what’s the excuse for watching this film? On a rare sick day it was good to watch the least demanding thing possible… and, as what passes for British summertime being what it is, additionally pleasing to watch a film based largely in that stretch of the Costa del Sol so beloved of the British tourist from the start of the jet age: Nerja, through Malaga to good old Torremolinos. Sunshine and nostalgia never seem more connected, especially with the British summer being what it is…etc.
Then there was also a fine cast led by smiley Anthony Franciosa, stalwart Ronald Fraser, comically-creepy Clive Revill, young and bumbling Richard Briers and, erm, the pre-eminent sexual super power of the time, Raquel Welch…
|Great views all round|
All round, the view is pretty spectacular and the camera spends much time on the natural beauties of Andalucía.
Fathom came after the initial post-Bond period when spy films had evolved into female spy films and also into comedy female spy films. As such it’s everything you’d expect, from an exponentially twisting narrative to snappy dialogue and the glamorous location… The Brits didn’t colonise Torrey for another full decade… and even now the country inland just a few miles is sensational.
|The pre-eminient what?|
Miss Welch plays Fathom Harvill a dental hygienist who is also a part-time sky-diver. She’s in Spain to take part in a competition, one she has a very good chance of winning.
|Fathom is briefed by the men from HADES|
Timothy takes Fathom on a fly past to show her the location and the “enemy”, American mercenary Peter Merriwether (Franciosa) who is working with the Chinese secret service agent Maj. Jo-May Soon (Greta Chi) and the strange English family of Mr and Mrs Travers…
|Fathom meets the baddies?|
She books a room in Casa Miguel, a charming local hostelry run by ex-pat scuba-diver, photographer and hotelier Mike (Tom Adams).
|Tim presents Fathom with the secret weapon...|
Fathom cools Sergi’s passion and uses an explosive earring supplied by the Brits to make her escape. Serapkin pursues her but is intercepted by a speedboat recklessly driven by Timothy.
The plot gets really complicated as Fathom is unsure which guys are the bad guys and if, indeed there are any good guys. By this stage, as in all such things, it hardly matters as the twists and turns are “cheaply” made and, literally anyone could be either and anyone could be alive or playing dead.
|Spot the baddie...|
|The Joey Tribbiani school of acting...|
Leslie H. Martinson provides snappy direction and oversees some glorious shots of La Costa whilst British jazz legend, Johnny Dankworth provides a knowing and of the moment score.
Dusty verdict: undemanding and good-looking comfort food for rainy days and sick days.
It’s available on DVD from the usual suspects…