Monocle, The / Le monocle rit jaune (1964)

3.5 out of 5

With a droll Paul Meurisse as the title character exemplifying an amusing French breed of dry humor, this spy comedy, The Monocle, proves more entertaining than its fairly drab black and white look might indicate. The fact that Barbara Steele stars in this might attract some attention, and, fortunately, she’s as enticing as ever, not feeling out-of-place in a spy film while also oddly reminiscent of her gothic roles when whimsically undercover as a mourner at a funeral.

The Hong Kong filming location is put to good use, and the hijinks involving cultural clashes, opium smoking, and a group of dancing, acrobatic thugs nicely supplement and spice up a somewhat dry story, and Meurisse is surprisingly cool for his age, so cool, in fact, that a widespread discovery of this film would no doubt bring monocles back in style.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics