As played by Tom Adams, the smooth, cold Vine is perhaps the most obvious of all the Bond imitations (the Connery 007, that is). Vine made his film debut in 1965's Licensed to Kill, which was released in the U.S. as The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World. Many fans consider it an above-average Bond knock-off. I saw it on The ABC Sunday Night Movie circa 1969, although I remember little about it. However, I was able to recently view its 1967 sequel Where the Bullets Fly.
|A faded lobby card showing secret agent|
Charles Vine flanked by two baddies.
With its modest budget, there is no globetrotting in Where the Bullets Fly. All the action takes place in England--but there is plenty of action. Indeed, it features more shoot-outs than in two or three Bond films combined (and yes, I'm including the big action scenes like at the climax of You Only Live Twice).
Like any decent Bond film imitation, there are gadgets galore: a long-range hypnosis device; shooting umbrellas; exploding cigarettes; a floor wired for electric shocks; and a rapier hidden in a belt (which is sadly never used). There are other obvious nods to the secret agent genre, from Rockwell's cat (which is black in contrast to Blofeld's white cat) to a henchman sporting a John Steed bowler. There's also a decent title song, sung Shirley Bassey-style by British pop star Susan Maughan.
|Tom Adams as Charles Vine.|
|Another lobby card, this one with|
Addams and Adams.
Where the Bullets Fly did not perform as well at the boxoffice as its predecessor. Still, a third film was produced in Spain in 1969 with Adams reprising his role in O.K. Yevtushenko (aka Somebody's Stolen Our Russian). Production difficulties kept it on the shelf for several years and, by then, the spy movie craze had run its course. Interestingly, writer-director Lindsay Shonteff, who was largely responsible for the first Charles Vine film, was not involved in either sequel. He did, however, later make three spy movies featuring a very similar hero named Charles Bind.