What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

International Secret Police: Key of Keys is the fourth of five James Bond parody movies in Japan known as Kokusai Hhimitsu Keisatsu. Yet once Woody Allen got hold of it — it’s his directorial debut — the story turned into a battle for the world’s best egg salad recipe.

Originally intended to be just an hour-long made for TV movie, Henry G. Saperstein and American International Pictures took more footage from International Secret Police: A Barrel of Gunpowder, an actor imitating Allen’s voice and music numbers from The Lovin’ Spoonful to pad the running time of the film and get it into theaters. Allen had no control over that, a mistake that he wouldn’t make in any of his future projects.

The voices in the film include Allen’s writing partner Mickey Rose (he’d go on to write and direct Student Bodies), Julie Bennett (Madame Piranha’s voice in King Kong Escapes), Frank Buxton (a story editor on Love, American Style), Len Maxwell (the voice of Punchy, the Hawaiian Punch mascot) and Allen’s wife at the time, Louise Lasser.

After some nonsensical action about the mob and the secret agents vying for the egg salad recipe — intercut with Allen himself speaking about his work on the film — the credits include China Lee, Playboy Playmate of the month for August 1964 (and the then-wife of Allen’s comic idol Mort Sahl) stripping while Allen explains that he promised her a role in the film. She’d go on to appear in an episode of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and as one of the robot girls in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine, while we’re on the subject of spy films.

Speaking of spy women, two of the secret agents in this movie — Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama — would also show up in You Only Live Twice.

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