Tuesday, 17 June 2014

That's Rogertainment!
Rogisode 5: Crossplot

There comes a time in a man's life when he looks back at some of his decisions and contemplates their wisdom. Did I choose the right career path? Did I marry the right person? Should I have chosen to watch and analyse Roger Moore's entire back catalogue? While I'm reasonably certain that the answers to the first two of these is a resounding Yes, I am seriously beginning to question the third.
Episode five in an apparently never-ending series of posts aimed at boggling at the filmography of The Greatest Living Englishman brings us to 1969's Crossplot, which has little in the way of Plot but plenty in the way of making me Cross. It's a cheap, slapdash attempt to shoehorn North By Northwest into an episode of The Saint, but without any of the fun that such a mash-up suggests. Everything about it screams unambition, from the staggeringly awful rear-projection to the tediously half-arsed set-pieces. This is a film in which even the characters can't be bothered: one assassination attempt involves the sabotage of the chain of a swing, which at worst would result not in the death of the intended victim but most likely in the bruising of one of their buttocks.

It begins well, with an eerie pre-title sequence, cheerfully cheesy Bondesque titles (odd how so many of Rodge's pre-Bond films do that), and a pleasing introduction to playboy ad man Gary Fenn (Moore): yes, he's with a lady, and his frilled dress shirt is unbuttoned to his waist. Realising he'll be late for work because of his nocturnal activities, he unceremoniously ditches the lady and races to work in his sports car, shaving while driving and stealing a pint of milk from a float he overtakes, all to the beat of a hip and swinging score. It's exactly how I like to believe Roger Moore kicked off every single day of the 1960s.
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and blonde, get a free garden fence and clown's car

From there on things get steadily worse, as Rodge is inexplicably lured into a half-baked plot to kill a buxom Hungarian beauty because she knows too much about a plan to bump off a visiting African statesman. Limp villains abound, fancy dress is worn because the costumes were presumably about to be binned and towels are amusingly dropped revealing the apparently unmagnificent Roger Todger: "so much fuss over nothing", remarks Hungary Bosoms, leading to an awkwardly unsexy shower seduction during which Rodge refers to his companion's breasts as "Latin plurals" for reasons not entirely clear.

There's some nice contemporary photography of 1969 London, and small parts for The Prisoner weirdo Alexis Kanner (disappointingly underused) and Bernard Lee as a behind-the-scenes baddie, in fun contrast to his concurrent role as M in the Bond films. Pleasingly, Rodge uses the sentence "Bernie Lee was a delight" in his autobiography, before going on to describe an afternoon's filming in which Lee was high on surgical spirit and ruined take after take by repeatedly and inexplicably saying "What a stupid fucking hat you're wearing, madam" to one of the actresses. If only he'd made that M's catchphrase, the world would be such a better place.
An actual cross-plot. Arguably more fun than the film.

Crossplot was the first in a planned series of three films United Artists agreed to make with Moore and The Saint producer Bob Baker, but it was so dreadful that the contract was cancelled and the other two films abandoned. Unsurprising, seeing as it's the kind of cabbage that seems to populate much of Roger Moore's non-Bond filmography and leaves me wondering what else I might have achieved in the 92 minutes I spent watching it and the six I spent writing about it. On reflection, probably very little. Still, only about 34 more films to go! *re-evaluates life, again*

Unbelievably, there's more of this. Click here if you must.


  1. I like to think of Rogers pre Bond output like this and The Saint, Persuaders etc is his Bond arsing about London etc before he was recruited by Mi6 and was given the James Bond code name replacing Connery Bond.

  2. Er, boggling? Is that what you're doing now?

  3. Sure, I love a good Rodgeboggle. Who doesn't?

  4. Well, now you come to mention it... #Rodgeboggle has a satisfying ring to it. Although you've left slim pickings for the rest of us looking to get in on the action: of the remaining Rodges, I'd probably boggle Deakins, otherwise you're looking at Allam, Rees, Bart or Mimi (Rogers).