“Superseven chiama Cairo” (1965)
If imitation were genuinely the sincerest form of flattery, then Ian Fleming’s most popular creation would have merited the author the Nobel Prize for Literature. As it stands, what is entertaining in an original incarnation tends to lose its vitality through the lack of necessity of bringing the fullest creative juices to bear when the task is merely slavish reproduction. As a paper tracing of Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe might have a shadowy resemblance to the original but without the finished artistry of the oil on canvas, so too does this imitation James Bond adventure aspire to anything more than a counterfeit reminder of the genuine article.
Umberto Lenzi’s “Superseven chiama Cairo”, which introduces his secret agent Martin Stevens, aka Superseven, finds its obvious inspiration in the commercial success of the 007 series, and to a point it is faithful in including those elements which are easily replicated without the necessary style or craftsmanship to which the Bond franchise, up to that point, had become recognized: the global location hopping to picturesque backdrops; the constant supply of beddable shapely women, at least one of whom is an agent working for the forces of wrongdoing; and an archvillian whose modus operandi is to openly blab his plans to the hero while failing to dispatch him, necessitating a prolonged series of chases, recaptures and incidents of increasingly absurd endangerment.
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