A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Clint Eastwood Impersonator Becomes James Bond

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) poster movie one sheet

Think it was mainly the hair, with maybe a dash of the eyes that did it but his stance and face shaped were somewhat uncannily Clint Eastwood at times too. Never noticed it before, well it never crossed my mind when he starred along Frank Sinatra in The Manchurian Candidate but here in A Dandy in Aspic I just kept seeing Clint in Laurence Harvey’s performance. Probably just me though?

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey as Eberlin double agent spy looks like clint eastwood

Laurence Harvey plays a British counter-espionage agent called Eberlin. A spy with a James Bond esque demeanor. He’s cool, calculating and a real charmer with the ladies. However, where he differs from Bond, is our Eberlin is desperate, could he be concealing a secret?

Tagline – A Double Agent in Double Danger!

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) harry Andrews spies handlers agents britishA Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey as Eberlin double agent spy

Eberlin is assigned a mission to assassinate a KGB agent called Krasnevin who has managed to kill British spies. Looking over Eberlin’s shoulder is the eccentric and ruthless agent Gatiss (Tom Courtenay) who’s kind of like a spy hunter general. One step behind Eberlin, scrutinising his every move, waiting, eager for a mistake to be made. Eberlin will need all his espionage training and wits to stay ahead of this game of cat and mouse. But first things first, he needs to please a few ladies along the way.

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey as Eberlin Tom Courtenay Calvin Lockhart

First the love struck “Miss Moneypenny” and then the mysterious photographer Caroline (Mia Farrow) who happens to appear everywhere Eberlin seems to be. She’s friendly and fancy free, sexy but innocent, could there be more to her than meets the eye?

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey Mia Farrow as Caroline cold war spyA Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey Mia Farrow as Caroline berlin

The journey takes us from the back streets and high rise flats of London to maneuvers through East and West Berlin. Interesting characters are situated throughout the story from the likes of Charlie’s Angels Lionel Stander who plays Sobakevich, Peter Cook gives a lightheart performance as agent Prentiss and other classic faces from the likes of Norman Bird, Harry Andrews and Calvin Lockhart pop up along the way.

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Peter Cook Tom Courtenay british agents

To be honest this film ticks every box for me as I’m a sucker for Cold War spy dramas and tales of counter-espionage and double agents.  Panic ridden spies trying to get out of mess which is being created behind them, curious and secretive characters going about their cloak and dagger business. Danger lurking around every single dark corner, the fear of the chase being caught in the eyes of the agents. British and Soviet intelligence officers going about their everyday business of brinkmanship. This film has it all BUT unfortunately A Dandy in Aspic doesn’t quite pull it off, it’s just becomes a bit of a mess.

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Laurence Harvey hiding in the shadows

The film is directed by legendary Anthony Mann from an adaption of a novel by Derek Marlowe but very sadly Mann suffered a heart attack before the film was finished and directing was passed on to star Laurence Harvey. I wouldn’t know what was finished by whom but the last half hour or so to me is where it all falls apart. Up to then I was really enjoying the film, to me the Berlin scenes hit a bit of a stumbling block. Saying that, it’s still a good film, it has a dark brooding feel which is lighten somewhat by the sixties themes and colours and a few slightly comic performances. It’s very much worth tracking down if you have a love for Cold War dramas, however this could of been so much more. What are you thoughts if you have seen it? Do you have any info to add? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

A Dandy in Aspic (1968) puppet opening credit titles scene quincy jones soundtrack

Oh just to add, the opening title sequence featuring a very creative trippy dance between a puppet on a string and the master hand very much in control to the frenzied soundtrack by Quincy Jones is genius.

Sorry for the lack of posts this week, I’ve been in World Cup mode. Hope to be back to normal now with more movies I’ve enjoyed coming soon.  Many thanks for reading… Mikey Wolf.

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8 thoughts on “A Dandy in Aspic (1968) Clint Eastwood Impersonator Becomes James Bond

    1. Certain angles he has that look. Like I say I’d never noticed it before, though I’ve only seen him in The Alamo and The Manchurian Candidate. There’s a lot to like in A Dandy in Aspic but it just could of been so much more. Definitely worth giving it a go I’d say. I really enjoyed the first hour. Thanks Maddy

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  1. Been meaning to watch this one. Yes it’s here I the vault. Not even sure I knew it was a Mann film. For me Mann had lost his edge in the 60’s thanks to more big budget efforts and less low key tight plots. As for Harvey, impressions made on one as a kid having lasting impressions. Meaning…… never really liked him and that’s because of The Alamo. A Duke fave from my childhood. Thought Harvey was miscast and the fact that he played a pompous ass didn’t help either. Standing alongside Duke and Widmark left him little opportunity to shine in the eyes of a young boy.

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    1. Yeh poor Mann died whilst filming with Harvey taking over it seems. The only two other films I remember seeing him was Manchurian Candidate which he was excellent in and The Alamo but I was way too young and if i’m honest I can’t remember him. Hehe yeah when he squished in between to big hitters and he’s playing a pompous ass, he’s got a tall task to win your respects hehe. Where Dandy In Aspic might not be any masterpiece by a long shot, Harvey is most excellent and he would of made a good Bond if he’s been asked I feel.

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  2. Great post 🙂 I will say that is a very good film, but it will never be mistaken for a classic of it’s type and I am aware that director Anthony Mann was physically ill at the time so maybe that had something to do with who knows? I also agree that Lawrence Harvey might have made a good James Bond like that comment above says. Nevertheless, whether he would convince a majority that he could pull it off remains a mystery? Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    P.S. I read somewhere that Oliver Reed in the early sixties (though this might just be a rumor) was at one time a contender to play James Bond. If that sounds totally (or semi) far-fetched, one has to remember that this was before his alcoholism totally consumed him.

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