With Woody Allen, China Lee, The Lovin' Spoonful
And the voices of Woody Allen, Louise Lasser, Len Maxwell, Mickey Rose, Frank Buxton
Original Japanese of Key of Keys includes Tatsuya Mihashi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tadao Nakamura, Susumu Kurobe

Reviewed by JB

"You probably can't tell I have no pants on!"    Woody Allen's "directorial" debut is actually a Japanese spy thriller KEY OF KEYS, edited and dubbed into a comedy.  The film's new plot is typical Allen nonsense - spies and bad guys battle over the possession of the recipe for the world's greatest egg salad.  While there are many good "new" lines, the film is rarely as funny as Allen and his friends think it is, and you have to live with a little xenophobia (the Japanese cast, featuring many stars popular in that country at the time, is dismissed as "A No Star Cast" in the opening credits) and racism (every black characters sounds like a jive-talker or Rochester).

    Some of it is irresistible, such as when the film's main spy introduces himself as "Phil Moscowitz, Lovable Rogue" or when the head of a non-existing country explains that he is just waiting for an opening on the map, and is hoping for a spot between Spain and Greece.  However, the movie never really hits the pace a great comedy needs, and there are too many dead spots and cheap gags.  The inclusion of The Lovin' Spoonful, foisted upon Allen by the studio, doesn't help at all, as their soundtrack music is uninspired and their original songs are unmemorable.  2½ - JB


(In a Japanese film, the Japanese spy driving a car discovers his mysterious passenger is a beautiful Japanese woman)

"(whistles) An Oriental!"

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