Berlino Appuntamento Per Le Spie

Berlin, Appointment For A Spy was produced by Italian International Film and Publi Italia di Lucio Marcuzzo in widescreen Pathecolor with a running time of 85 minutes. It was released in the U.S. by American-International Pictures under the title Spy In Your Eye. It was directed by Vittorio Sala with a screenplay written by Adriano Bolzini, Roman Ferrara, Adriano Baracco, and the film’s producer Lucio Marcuzzo. The musical score was by Riz Ortolani.

Made during the height of the secret agent fad in the middle 1960’s, Berlin, Appointment For a Spy is an entertaining but silly, poor step cousin of the ‘007 James Bond’ series! What is remarkable is that three Hollywood stars who had seen better days, Pier Angeli, Dana Andrews and Brett Halsey co-star in this low-budget, foreign quickie and still do fine dramatic work. In fact they deserve medals for keeping a straight face throughout filming!

In the ‘Cold War’ era an East German Nobel Prize-winning scientist and his lovely daughter Paula Krauss (Pier Angeli) make a dash for freedom at the border, ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ into West Berlin. The Russian border guards foil the escape, kill the scientist and capture Paula. Unfortunately the trigger-happy Russians realize that the prized formula for a secret invention also went to the grave with Paula’s father. The girl is brutally interrogated by the Russian KGB but insists she knows nothing of her father’s formula. Red Chinese agents also try to assassinate her hoping the Russian get blamed for bungling everything!

The American CIA Chief, a battle-scarred, one-eyed, patch-wearing Col. Lancaster (Dana Andrews) sends his best agent, the suave Bert Morris (Brett Halsey) to East Berlin to rescue Paula and bring her safely to the West with the secret formula! Col. Lancaster undergoes surgery for the first successful eye-transplant but doesn’t realize that the Russians had slipped a tiny camera inside the eyeball which is the spy in your eye! Before too many secrets fall into Russian hands, Lancaster with Morris’ help identifies the espionage leak and the TV camera is removed.

The U.S. Air Force does a parachute drop over the Russian zone for the intrepid Morris who meets his contact, a hunchback in a three-piece suit! After one amazing and unbelievable adventure after another, Bert Morris rescues Paula from a train bound for Moscow and a Siberian prison camp. Sure they get captured again but Morris, like his British counterpart Bond, whips out another gadget (that has yet to be invented) and escapes to West Germany with Paula. Naturally the good-looking couple fall head over heels in love as the bullets fly and Paula shows Morris the coveted secret formula that was cleverly tattooed into her scalp under the hairline!

Berlin, Appointment For A Spy is enjoyable if one doesn’t take the ridicules plot too seriously and goes along for the fun. It follows the James Bond formula of “guns, gals, and gadgets” with location filming in Paris, Beirut, Venice and Berlin. The hunchback’s large hump is actually a radio transmitter with a retractable blade that he uses to kill unsuspecting Russian soldiers on the train to Moscow! No he doesn’t have a telephone in his shoe like secret agent 86 Maxwell Smart, but he has one in his umbrella! Bert Morris uses dehydration pills which induce severe thirst that force enemy agents to talk! The producer also made sure to add a gorgeous femme/fatale enemy agent Madeleine (Tania Beryl) to tempt Morris and included a risqué bathtub scene with Pier Angeli who is stunning to look at in this cheapjack production. Both the direction by Vittorio Sala, who made a career out of cheap, Italian action films and Westerns, and the musical score by Riz Ortolanio, who went onto better things, are routine at best. The screenplay by the producer and his three assistants is right out of a bad comic book!

Brett Halsey plays Bert Morris completely straight with effortless charm and wit. Halsey was a rising star in Hollywood before spending over 10 years in Europe cranking out dozens of action films and Westerns, few of which enjoyed American release. Like his character Bert Morris, Brett Halsey had an impeccable eye for drop-dead beauties and married four of the including film stars Luciana Paluzzi and Heidi Bruhl! Halsey continues acting and is also a successful novelist (including a book based on his years in European film-making entitled The Magnificent Strangers). Movie great Dana Andrews is also excellent as CIA Chief Col. Lancaster in Spy In Your Eye. Once a top film star for both Twentieth Century Fox and the Samuel Goldwyn studios during the golden era of Hollywood, Andrews made four Italian action films in a row for which he was highly paid. However he always refused to include them in his resume and movie credits! Unfortunately he shares no scenes with Pier Angeli.

Pier Angeli is perfect as the beautiful Paula trapped behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ who wins her freedom and romantic love in the arms of a handsome, fearless American agent and she steals every scene she is in with her luminous, photogenic eyes! At the end, Paula finally flashes her million-dollar smile at the man who saved her and we can almost forgive the film’s nonsense. As Spy In Your Eye, this Italian film was picked-up for American release by a studio American-International Pictures,that specialized in movies for ‘Drive-In Theaters’ with Vincent Price horror films, Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon ‘Beach Party’ epics, and motorcycle flicks! After Spy In Your Eye, Pier Angeli returned to Hollywood to co-star in her last major American film, for Warner Bros., The Battle Of the Bulge with Henry Fonda, Robert Ryan, Robert Shaw and Dana Andrews. Then sadly she returned to foreign film productions.