Hot Enough For June (1964) - But You Should Have Been Here Last September June 30, 2018 19:28
The success of the first couple of James Bond films in the early 1960's launched an entirely new genre of cult films as low 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 Spain and Italy. But even lesser known British film companies tried to capitalize on the success of their own new national spy figure, and usually in the form of comedies. Much like their Euro-spy counterparts these films were not of the best quality, and in some cases as Casino Royale they were sometimes even worse!
Hot Enough for June (or Agent 8 3/4, as it was referred to in the US), is one of the few spy comedies I've come across so far from this era that exceeds the rather poor performance 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 dies where does the country turn to to find their next great spy... well the unemployment office, where else!?! Nicholas Whistler (Dirk Bogarde, awesome name) a struggling writer is presented with a job opportunity at a local glass manufacturer, which is actually a cover for the British Secret Service.
Unaware he's actually been hired as a government spy, Whistler is sent behind the Iron Curtain to obtain some information from a sister glass factory, he'll be able to locate the individual he's supposed to obtain the information from by saying the code phrase "hot enough for June" and receiving 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 that 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.
In terms of British spy comedies, Hot Enough for June is one of the more enjoyable ones I've seen so far. The film has the right amount of cheesy comedy, decent acting, and enough suspense in the second half of the film to offer up about everything you'd expect from a good spy comedy. Of course no spy film is complete without the hot love interest, and 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 Italian cult films.
It also appears I've found another old British film production company to keep an eye out on. Hot Enough for June was made by the Rank Organisation, which is also responsible for one of my favorite British Films, Hell Drivers, and they co-produced some Hammer horror films as well. In looking through the history of Rank it appears most of their productions centered around spy films, so maybe I've found a nice honey hole to explore. Overall, Hot Enough for June is well worth a view if you're into 1960's British comedies spy spoofs, or simply looking for a good place to start.