Friday, 1 April 2016

That's Rogertainment! Rogisode 9:

It may have been over a year since Rogisode 8 of this ill-fated venture, but that's because I needed time to build up to this entry. Bullseye! is not a film that should be approached lightly or without training, for it is unforgiving and takes no prisoners. It's the Mount Everest of Rogertainment if Mount Everest were made almost entirely of poo, and many have fallen negotiating its shitty slopes. Those brave, hardy fools who have reached the summit, though, know that there is more to it than painfully inept comedy and incoherent action; not much more, I grant you, but now that I have accomplished my mission I am prepared to share my findings with you so that your hiking boots may remain faeces-free.
"Ow now Rog, we've been bladdy rambled!"
"A woman?"
"Wrong film Rog"

Bullseye! sees Greatest Living Englishman Roger Moore teaming up with his chum Michael Caine, who just four years earlier won an Oscar for his role in Woody Allen's Hannah And Her Sisters. Caine, sadly, would not win an Oscar for Bullseye!, despite at one point flawlessly conveying the innermost emotions of a man in a kilt who has stepped over a tug-o'-war rope, only for sixteen burly Scotsmen to suddenly propel that rope swiftly and decisively upwards and into the Caine scrotum. If proof of the Academy Awards' insanity were further required, you will find it in that baffling injustice.

Rog 'n' Mike play dual roles in Bullseye!: Moore simultaneously essays the parts of untrustworthy conman Gerald Bradley-Smith and nuclear physicist (lol) Sir John Bavistock, while Caine tackles both of those characters' partners, crook Sidney Lipton and scientist Daniel Hicklar. It is, of course, a staggering coincidence that two friends and colleagues should have exact doubles who are also friends and colleagues, but you should probably get used to that kind of plot improbability early on because there's quite a lot of it. In fact without it, Bullseye! wouldn't exist, and what kind of a world would that be? Just you think about that.

Gerald and Sidney, along with fellow con artist Willie (Sally Kirkland, who replaced a mysteriously unavailable Shirley Maclaine), use their convenient likeness to the science boffins to steal a pile of diamonds from them in a first act heist which is actually quite fun, despite being scripted and acted as if it were a school play produced by hormone-addled teenagers. Rog gets to dress up as a blind Austrian piano tuner for some reason, while both men execute a sophisticated plan to remove a key from a vicious dog's collar by forcing it into a canine orgy with a harem of six unsuspecting lady dogs, thereby tiring it out so they can steal the key safely. In a tender moment, this allows the two lead actors (both of whom would later become Commanders of the Order of the British Empire) to reflect on the tragedy of their own waning masculinity and sexual prowess while watching a Staffordhire Bull Terrier vigorously fucking a Poodle.
"Nothing in the world is single; All things by a law divine
in one spirit meet and mingle. Why not I with thine?"
- Shelley, 1820

From this romantic interlude on, sadly, Bullseye! becomes less refined. In the grubby hands of restaurant critic (and, according to the credits, director) Michael Winner, the dual-identity thread of the narrative is allowed to tie itself into such chaotic knots that it's frequently impossible to tell which of the Caines and Moores we're watching. The plot, such as it is, makes almost no sense; comedic scenes that have no bearing on anything are wedged in with the unfulfilled promise that a punchline may one day arrive to justify their presence; important information seems to have been left on the cutting room floor - or, more likely, never shot or even written - and in its undignified dying moments there's a cameo from John Cleese which is absolutely baffling in its execution, as if it were only shot because he happened to be in Barbados at the time of filming. Which, of course, is exactly the case.

But Rogertainment is a celebration of His Rogerness, rather than a chance to berate some of the worst films ever made; it just happens that the two are often easily dealt with simultaneously. And while Bullseye! is undoubtedly an unedifying piece of cinematic wreckage, it allows Sir Rog to have what is obviously the time of his life dicking about with his chums, and that results in an unexpectedly and improbably enjoyable experience for the Rogerwatchers among us. His attempt at a cockney accent is laughably terrible (although not as bad as Caine's American accent), he plays twice as many borderline sex pests as usual, and he is - let's not mince words here - an atrocious actor in this film. But none of that matters: for once he hasn't been miscast, because the film is as juvenile as he is, and neither make any attempts to be otherwise.
It is under 24 hours since I watched this scene, 
yet I cannot recall how or why it comes about

So while this may not be the film for which Roger Moore should be remembered in years to come (even the press release for the DVD reissue quotes the 2014 Radio Times Guide to Films' review: "this appallingly unfunny comedy is a career low for all concerned"), it does at least capture a genuine national treasure (two, arguably) making an absolute berk of himself and point blank refusing to give a shit. And for that I salute Bullseye!, but only very quietly and at the end of this unjustifiably long blog post that nobody will read.

If you've only joined us in the past twelve months you may be wondering why I am wanging on with comical infrequency about Roger Moore films. You won't find the answer here, but it's as good a place to start as any.

Bullseye! is re-released on DVD by Fabulous Films on April 4th 2016. Use this information as you see fit.


  1. Sounds terrible. Thanks for the Rog review.

  2. Bullsyes coming out and a kick in the balls(Roger style 'Ooohf!;)

    That's Rogertainment.. that's rogertainment-aahhh

  3. btw SPECTRE dosnt appear on The BlogalongaBond Project index on the left. this annoys me.

  4. Sounds awful (pre-orders on Amazon)!

  5. Oh, I absolutely adore this tremendously silly film; it's the pinnacle of Rogerness! He's consistently hilarious, whether making a fool of Caine or dressing up as that piano tuner. There's also that falling home, the acrobatic rabbi, the falling castle balcony, that weird guy eating bread, Caine repeating the news broadcast like a moron... No one can say they didn't have fun making this movie. A solid offering of stupid comedy with old Rog and My Cocaine at the helm!

    I hope you get around to reviewing The Man Who Wouldn't Die... pretty good mystery film.

  6. correct me if im wrong but im sure I watched part of this film late night on bbc years ago and there was a scene of Roger and Michael on a train and rodge was tucking in to the quality grub but Michael wasn't.. then it turns out the carriage food was poisoned and the carriage is farting and belching and vomiting (I remember the comedy fart noises) and poor roger looks in a bad way as hes eaten some and Michael has to get him out the gaseous carriage going 'Christ almighty! fackin hell' etc

  7. You are both 100% correct and appropriately eloquent in your remembrance of this classic scene.

  8. oh thats pleasing to know I remembered it correctly. This article got me thinking back to the early 90s – a film I ever so briefly recalled seeing in the pages of Flicks (freebie movie magazine in cinemas back in the 80s/90s) but not being able to see as was either 15 or 18, and then several years later discovering it in the tv listing late one Friday night and the anticipation and excitement of expecting to see something akin to Roger playing a Bondian spy teaming up with Caine as a Harry Palmer-esque type (almost as exciting as Batman v Superman) only to find Sir Michael leading a food poisoned Rodge (complete with obligatory roger style 'ooohs') out of a farting train carriage after clearly having cacked his trousers

  9. just had a look at it on utube at various points and christ its fackin terrible! what a wasted opportunity getting them together on screen. surely itd have been better to have done a semi serious spy film (not quite as serious as Moores Bond films but not flat out ridiculous slapstick like this POS) with them as rival spies (Bond and Palmer in everything but name - or maybe played against type and had Caine as the posh debonair Bond type spy with Moore as the more WC Palmer type) who initially are at odds/fight over women etc but then team up at the end to defeat the bad guy (some other name - maybe even Cleese). could've been something akin to the AVTAK Moore/macnee stuff but the whole movie