Prior to the two recent film parodies of OSS117 (Cairo, Nest of Spies, and Rio Doesn’t Answer) starring Jean Dujardin, I’d not heard of the original character, secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, who pre-dates Ian Fleming’s James Bond by four years. Appearing first in 1948, OSS 117 was a creation of French author Jean Bruce, who wrote 91 novels in the series, followed by another 143 written by his wife after he passed away, and then continued by their son and daughter, who added another 24 books. That’s a few more books than the 12 Bond books written by Fleming. Although there were a number of OSS 117 spy films made during the late fifties and sixties, they stayed off my radar, which, attuned to such narratives (albeit after the fact), did manage to pick up James Bond, Simon Templar, Napolean Solo, Jim Phelps and crew, Harry Palmer, and even Maxwell Smart, Matt Helm, Derek Flint, and Modesty Blaise.
At any rate, I was impressed with Jean Dujardin’s tongue-in-cheek, yet low-key send-up in the 2006 film, OSS117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. Dujardin’s physical comedy is less overt that Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau, and the humour is more heavily based in subtle digs at the original spy movies and characters of the sixties. Watching Dujardin’s portrayal of Hubert de la Bath reminds you of Connery’s Bond, but in a way that helps you appreciate how ludicrous the character is.
For example, Bond’s hair. Rarely does Bond EVER have a hair out of place. This point is simply emphasized by a single, short scene in Cairo, Nest of Spies. Like Bond, de la Bath’s hair is always immaculate. We are taken aback one morning when he appears with severe bedhead. However (and this takes only seconds in the film), his hair is simply restored to its natural perfect appearance with a single swipe of the hand. And then the movie moves on to the next scene. That’s the extent of the bit. Downplayed, yet so telling.
Here’s a GIF of the short bit.
Lest you think I’ve abandoned GIFestivus2012 (perhaps soon to be extended as GIFestivus2013), I’ve been working on a series of GIFs from a movie over the past week for the Multi-Frame Animated GIF assignment. Or maybe it should be for the Summarize a Movie with Animated GIFs assignment (just ran across that one!) ??? In addition to watching the movie, I pulled around 30 clips as possibles for GIFfing, and have been working away at some of them since then. I also have plans of trying the Animated Movie Poster assignment, as I think the material would be really good for that. But that project will stay under wraps a bit longer.
I will return to this OSS 117 Cairo, Nest of Spies down the road, but I had this one done and thought I would post it as a one-off. Not sure if it fits into any of the existing assignments. Likely has too many frames for Say It Like the Peanut Butter assignment.