Hot Enough For June (1964) - But You Should Have Been Here Last September June 30, 2018 19:28

Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina in Hot Enough For June

The success of the first series of James Bond productions in the early 1960's launched an entirely new sub-genre in cult cinema as lower budget studios attempted to capitalize on the public's ever growing interest in spy films.  This gave birth to the Euro-spy genre, often lovingly referred to as the "James Bond knock-offs", usually being produced out of Italy and Spain.  But even lesser known British film companies tried to capitalize on the success of their own new national spy figure, usually in the form of comedies.  Much like their Euro-spy counterparts these films were not of the best quality, and in some cases, like Casino Royale, they were sometimes even worse!

Dirk Bogarde as Nicholas Whistler in Hot Enough For June

Hot Enough for June (or Agent 8 3/4, the title it was released under in the US), is one of the few spy comedies we've come across so far from this era that exceeds the rather poor quality of most Bond knock-offs.  The introduction to the film takes a swift kick at 007 himself by signifying his most untimely death.  And when the great 007, where does the country turn to find their next great spy?  Well the unemployment office of course.  Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde) a struggling writer is presented with a job opportunity at a local glass manufacturer, which is actually a cover for the British Secret Service.

Sylva Kosina & Dirk Bogarde in Hot Enough For June

Unaware he's actually been hired as a government spy, Whistler is sent behind the Iron Curtain to obtain secret pertinent information from another undercover agent also working under the guise of a glass manufacturer. To identify this contact he must casually repeat the phrase, "hot enough for June", and in turn receive the reply, "but you should have been here last September."   It's about half-way into the film before Whistler ever realizes he's a spy, and the girl he's fallen for, the lovely Sylva Koscina, is the daughter of Russia's secret police, who spend the second half of the film hunting him down.  It's at this point Whistler attempts to make it to the British Consulate before he's caught.   

Sylva Koscina in Hot Enough For June

In terms of British spy comedies, Hot Enough for June is one of the more enjoyable ones I've seen so far.  The story has a nice balance of cheesy comedy, good acting, and a level of suspense in the second half to offer up about everything you'd expect from a solid spy comedy.  Of course, no spy film is complete without the sexy love interest, and Sylva Koscina fills that role extremely well.  Much like Marisa Mell and Barbara Bouchet, Sylva Koscina is on my short list of favorite international actresses, and will likely pop up here more frequently in the future.  Her career stretched a little broader than most cult film actresses in terms of countries and genres, but she also played a large part in the golden age of Italian cult cinema.

Dirk Bogarde & Sylva Koscina in Hot Enough For June

Overall, Hot Enough for June is well worth a watch if you're interested in 1960's British spy spoofs, or if you're simply looking for a good place to start.  For those looking for a rabbit hole to dive into, the film was produced by the Rank Organization, a production company who is also responsible for one of our favorite British cult films, Hell Drivers, and they co-produced a number of Hammer horror films as well.  In looking through the history of Rank, most of their productions centered on the spy genre, so if that's your interest take a look at some of the other films they've produced.   

8/10


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