Agent 38-24-36 (1964)
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Its story is about a Soviet spy circle in London, trying to steal a file with valuable military information from a vault. A paper file, to be precise, as personal computers do not exist back in 1964. Anthony Perkins is the spy circle's main tool to obtain it, Brigitte Bardot acting as his more than willing helper .... sorry folks, don't get any ideas: there is no nudity involved in this movie.
All in all, 'Une ravissante idiote' gives us a well-built, consistent story, and fine acting from everbody involved. Both Perkins and Bardot do well in this light comedy.
Strangely paced with varying acting styles, this mid-60's spy romp rolls along with no real purpose.
A 5 out of 10. Best performance = Anthony Perkins. Even many of the words in the subtitles are spelled wrong. I haven't seen that too many times. Hard to REALLY recommend this, but if you're a BB fan or enjoy watching Perkins play a befuddled young man, you'll find something in this flick.
Brigitte Bardot does a good job as Penelope, as she perfectly captures her aloofness and naiveté. However, she has this terribly strange laugh. That aside it's plain to see why Harry Compton is simply head over heels for Penelope, she's gorgeous and sweet - despite her lack of intelligence. He thinks to himself "She is an idiot, but you love her. You always wanted an English family. She is not English..."
The humor in this film is odd, and just plain silly. But Anthony Perkins is absolutely delightful and charismatic, and the situations in this film are interesting. A nice film to see if you are fans of Bardot and Perkins who work well together (albeit not getting along off-screen), but otherwise I'm reluctant to recommend it to the latter.
The Ravishing Idiot isn't the total waste of time I've made it out to be. There are a few scenes that were quite funny. The bit where Bardot and Perkins lose the plans over and over at the party was actually quite good. Also, it's interesting to see Perkins doing a film in French. I'm no expert, but I thought he did a good job.
"Agent 38-24-36" is bad even by the standards of a lot of these fluff films. It makes little sense, has VERY broad acting and writing and makes the least of its talented stars. Although the film is clearly filmed in Paris, the film is supposed to be about British spies in the UK. So what British actors did they pick to play in this film? None. Instead, the main British leading man is...Anthony Perkins! He seems about as British as John Wayne or Nipsy Russell. And the rest of the 'Brits' are all French men and women!
This silly casting, however, is not the major problem with this dopey spy farce. The writing is pretty awful and some scenes make you cringe at their dopiness. Try watching Perkins in slapstick scenes like when he's chasing the dog in the restaurant or chasing a runaway vacuum (uggh--it's bad)! Dreadful is the word for this.
The plot, if you care, is about a British attempt to pass off fake secrets to the Russians. But, Perkins and his girlfriend (Bardot) are just too stupid to get that right. None of it is the least bit interesting or engaging and the director did nothing to make anything out of the material--using stupid gags like speeding up the film (ha, ha) and having the characters behave as if they'd recently been lobotomized. Dull and a complete waste of talents.
I can think of a simple way to make "The Ravishing Idiot" better: have the final twist (Bardot is actually a secret agent herself - and a capable one at that!) occur much earlier in the movie. Don't limit her to playing (quite well, it's true) the lovable ditz until the last 3 minutes, turn her smart sooner. As it is, we spend nearly the entire running time watching Perkins (whose character is not the brightest bulb either) and Bardot trying, and failing, to accomplish a mission that we know is pointless; the film is too long and there aren't enough laughs in it, although some of the visual gags do work. Also, given that "The Ravishing Idiot" was made in the liberated mid-1960s and that Bardot herself was at the prime of her sensuousness, it seems rather coy about showing "too much" of her - I'm not saying she had to be naked, but she didn't have to be covered up from head to toe for about 80% of the movie, either! ** out of 4.
And a warning about the Region 2 DVD: the subtitling seems to have been done by well-intentioned amateurs, so it has a number of spelling mistakes, and it sometimes disappears far too quickly from the screen.