Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Otley (1968) Tom Courtenay/ Romy Schneider-- Music by Stanley Myers/Don Partridge

"Otley" is a "sleeper" film a lot of people might have never seen. As far as I can tell it is not available in either DVD or even VHS in the United States.

It's a shame. The film deserves a wider audience in my opinion.

Here's a bit of synopsis: Gerald Otley, a petty thief and garbage rummager, wakes up one morning, after a drunken night on the town, and finds that he is wanted by the police for murder. And that is only the beginning. While being pursued for a crime he did not commit, he is kidnapped by a group of criminals who suspect him of being involved with double agents. Otley manages to escape, but cannot avoid getting into one near-fatal crisis after another, as police and foreign agents chase after him. It is a wild week of misadventures which Otley will never forget! Written by alfiehitchie, IMDB site.

Both the talented Tom Courtenay (from "Billy Liar", "Doctor Zhivago" and the more recent BBC-TV production of Charles Dickens "Little Dorrit") and the beautiful French actress Romy Schneider (as a spy who more "femme" than "fatale") make a good mismatched couple in this man-on-run-tale.

It's a Swinging London version of Alfred Hitchcock's "The 39 Steps", complete with a documentary-style opening that is very much in keeping with the British New Wave style.

I got a chance to see it again after a long interval a couple months ago courtesy of the best movie channel on the cable universe, Turner Classic Movies. It's uneven in patches, granted, but just as charming as I remember. In addition to the tongue-in-cheek style it also features some scenes, such as an attempted murder-by-briefcase-bomb in a London Underground tube station that shows Director Dick Clement was at the top of his game.

Even if these kind of nostalgic spy capers of the 60's and 70's aren't your cup of tea, or Starbucks double latte, the opening tune of the film is quite a catchy little piece by Dan Partridge. Anyway, here's all the film I could find on the Internet.


  1. Looks like a fun watch! Just the clothes and the cars are a trip down memory lane!!

  2. Yes, I think it's fun to revisit an older film now and then and you find it still engaging.

    The clothes and the cars are certainly part of the appeal for me, Mary Ellen.