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Code 7, Victim 5 / Mozambique

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    Horace Cordier
    Senior Member

  • Code 7, Victim 5 / Mozambique



    Released by: Blue Underground
    Released on: March 29th, 2016.
    Director: Robert Lynn
    Cast: Lex Barker, Steve Cochran, Ann Smyrner, Hildegard Knef, Ronald Fraser
    Year: 1964
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movies:

    Calling the two 1964 movies on this Blue Underground double feature "trifles" would almost be overly generous. These lighter than air cream puffs don't lack in charm though. These two thrillers may be lacking in grit and conviction but they are lushly shot and make effective use of exotic locations. And both bear the invisible fingerprints of legendary producer Harry Alan Towers - a colorful hustler known for both his financial shenanigans and populist touch. Approached with the right expectation level, these can be pretty entertaining.

    CODE 7, VICTIM 5 - despite being saddled with a nonsensical title - is the more fun film of the two. Right off the bat however, this one exhibits the classic HAT (my favorite Towers' nickname) penchant for slapdash scripts. Private eye Steve Martin (Lex Barker), has been flown into the estate of wealthy South African mogul Wexler (Walter Rilla) to investigate the death of the man's trusted valet. Looks like this time the butler didn't do it but somebody DID the butler. Of course, the private dick is snatched up at the airport by a smoking hot Danish babe Helga (Ann Smyrner). Wexler's foxy assistant immediately starts exhibiting an interest in Sam Spade lite. On their way to see the mogul a crazed would-be assassin attempts to run them off the road and winds up dying in a fiery crash. Can our man crack the case?

    The formula here is simple but effective. Dump a bunch of good looking actors in an exotic location - this time South Africa. Then make sure your girls are all ridiculously sexy and cook up a ramshackle plot to surround all this eye candy. Throw in some fistfights and wild animals and decent comic relief (that would be the skirt chasing police inspector played by Ronald Fraser of THE WILD GEESE fame). This was clearly modeled on the early James Bond pictures but Barker is a bit too American and glib to pull off Connery's menacing undertones. But it does have some terrific sequences - like a tense one in an ostrich farm and another set in some exotic caves.

    Actually shot in the country of its name the same year - 1964 - second feature MOZAMBIQUE has the better structured plot and the more offbeat lead. Disgraced and currently unemployed independent pilot Brad Webster (Steve Cochran) is arrested for a bar brawl and blackmailed by unscrupulous policeman Commaro (Paul Hubschmid) into going undercover in Mozambique. His mission? To nail a crime boss named Da Silva (Martin Benson).

    MOZAMBIQUE has some seriously politically incorrect charms. Cochran - mostly known for playing thugs on classic TV series like The Twilight Zone - was approaching 50 at this point and looked like a retired boxer. Seeing him paired up romantically with adorably sexy 20-something actress Hildegard Kneff is quite amusing. From the moment they meet on a plane her character starts hitting on him. The oily Da Silva is played for all its sinister Latino stereotypes with gusto by Benson. There's also a white slavery ring with the creepy Da Silva selling hot white girls to a nasty Arab tycoon/sheik and my personal anti-PC lottery winner - a killer dwarf. The movie tries and fails miserably to ape Hitchcock but it does swing a gorgeously mapped out climax shot on Victoria Falls - which has our hero dangling from a bridge while assassins (and a hot Teutonic blonde, natch) try to pick him off.

    Blue Underground have chosen wisely cobbling these two together. Neither is quite good enough to warrant a standalone release, but together they form a value for money evening of groovy entertainment.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Both films boast 2.35:1 framed transfers that are MPEG-4 AVC encoded. Overall, these are quite similar transfers in terms of quality. Elements were kept in good condition, so both films have a strongly organic appearance with nice color saturation and loads of fine detail. CODE 7 was shot by the legendary Nicholas Roeg - and during some of the film's more spectacular scenes like the one in the caves, the transfer does a fine job. Neither film has been tampered with in terms of digital corrections that I could spot. I detected some light flickering during the club scenes of MOZAMBIQUE and that film's print seemed a tad more faded than CODE 7, so of the two features I'd it as the lesser of the pair. But overall these are solid presentations that represent significant upgrades over standard definition.

    Both films have English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks that are lively and exhibit good fidelity. As a bit of a soundtrack aficionado, I'm in love with the marvelous Johnny Douglas score that accompanies MOZAMBIQUE. Simultaneously groovy and evocative and period perfect, it oozes sex appeal and lifts the film above its station more than once. The more jazzy score for CODE 7 is well rendered on its track but that score just isn't as good as MOZAMBIQUE's. Hiss, distortion and dropouts are non-issues on either tracks.

    There are only trailers for each film as extras.

    The Final Word:

    Slightly ludicrous. Dated. Sexist. These two won't be winning an awards for either originality or plausibility. But if you dig groovy 60's escapism and get a kick out of the Harry Alan Towers fun-loving worldview there's a lot of enjoyment to be had here. Plus, you get two films for the same price as one and both are given solid presentations on the A/V front. Recommended.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!
























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