The Liquidator is an amusing film that borders on satire, a contrast to later (and more financially successful) spoofs like Our Man Flint (1966) and the Matt Helm movies. British intelligence head Wilfrid Hyde-White creates Boysie's job because red tape is preventing his department from catching enemy spies legally. Wouldn't it just be easier to have them killed? His second-in-charge, Mostyn (Trevor Howard), has understandable reservations:
Mostyn: Chief, this is tantamount to murder.
Chief: Then go find a murderer.
|Trevor Howard as Mostyn.|
|Rod Taylor and Jill St. John.|
Of course, there were eight Boysie Oakes novels written by John Gardner between 1964 and 1975. Gardner portrayed Oakes as a cowardly anti-Bond who succeeded as a spy in spite of himself. That may have worked on the printed page (and Gardner is a good writer), but I doubt if movie audiences of the 1960s would have embraced the literary Boysie in a film series.
|Jill St. John as Iris.|
The Liquidator lacks the style and wit of my favorite spy spoof--Our Man Flint--but it's a colorful diversion with a good cast and a decidedly different hero. If you're a fan of 1960s cinema (as I am), then you will likely enjoy it. Plus, you can't dislike a movie in which Trevor Howard wisely notes: "Life is not all sex and sun lamps."