007 is dead. The British Secret Service needs a replacement in the shape of Whistler, Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde), a young writer currently on the dole whose only qualification is that he can speak Czech.
Made in 1964, just a few years after Sean Connery’s debut as James Bond, Hot Enough for June is an early example of a film jumping on the spy Bondwagon.
Director Ralph Thomas (who had worked with Bogarde on the series of Doctor comedies) does well to replicate the look of the Connery films, the stuffy interiors of Colonel Cunliffe’s (Robert Morley) office a close match to M’s base of operations.
The film moves along at a steady enough pace, Yugoslav actress Sylvia Koscina providing the glamour and Leo McKern doing well as the bad guy.
Bogarde himself is as dependable as ever as Whistler, a man conned into helping his country and unsure about what’s happening to him. Unfortunately he’s not given much to work with, his character more of a cypher than a superspy.
With no plot to rival that of Commander Bond, no attempt to create an equal to SMERSH, Blofeld or any of Bond’s enemies and little effort to challenge the viewer, the film succeeds as a light drama but, while 007 fans will smile at the opening sequence, it sadly fails as a classic espionage film.
Hot Enough for June (PG) is out now on DVD (£9.99).