Fathom (1967)

From Batman to ManimalBuck Rogers in the 25th CenturyThe Misadventures of Sheriff LoboLove American StyleMission: Impossible and movies like The Rescue of Gilligan’s Island and Batman: The Movie, if something needed  to be directed for TV, Leslie H. Martinson was your guy.

Fathom is based on a series of books by Larry Forrester. It was made thanks to the success of Modesty Blaise. It was written by Lorenzo Semple Jr., who had teamed with Martinson on Batman on the quick and cheap.

The main selling point? Racquel Welch.

In this movie, she plays skydiver Fathom Harvill, a beautiful skydiver who is abducted by H.A.D.E.S. (Headquarters Allied Defences, Espionage, and Security) agents and asked to be part of a team that is looking for a lost nuclear weapon. That same weapon — hidden inside a Fire Dragon figurine — is being hunted down by the Communist agent Serapkin.

In his December 13, 1967 review of this film, Roger Ebert said, “So anyway, if she had been Italian, her voice would have been dubbed for the American market. So we would have seen this beautiful broad with a great figure and really first-class cheekbones. And when she talked, we would have heard another voice, a voice belonging to some girl in a studio somewhere with a low, sexy tone and a certain amount of acting ability. And we would have flipped, I guess, because anyone looking like that and able to read her dialog would have been — well, nice. But the trouble is, Raquel Welch is not Italian, She’s American, which would still be OK, except that she uses her own voice in her movies, and she talks wrong for the way she looks. This is the big problem with her.”

This should be an exciting spy film but it isn’t. And that’s kind of sad, because it has great posters and plenty of potential. That said, it does have Anthony Franciosa (Tenebre) in it, so it has that going for it.

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