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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Mrs. Pollifax Spy (1971)

Her children grown and gone, a middle aged widow (Rosalind Russell) volunteers to be a spy for the CIA because she feels she is "expendable". The CIA sends her on a simple courier job to Mexico to pick up a book in Mexico City. But that's easier said than done and she finds herself kidnapped and taken to communist Albania along with another CIA agent (Darren McGavin). Based on the novel THE UNEXPECTED MRS. POLLIFAX by Dorothy Gilman and adapted for the screen by Rosalind Russell under the pseudonym of C.A. McKnight and directed by Leslie H. Martinson (FATHOM). The MRS. POLLIFAX novels were a series of books (15 in all) but this was the only one made into a feature film (Angela Lansbury would later do it for TV). It starts off promisingly but once Mrs. Pollifax is kidnapped, it turns into a dreary anti-communist tract without much excitement. It's a family friendly spy movie so there's no sex or violence (on screen anyway). Watchable but forgettable. At least the film had the good sense to make the Russell and McGavin relationship platonic rather than romantic. The cinematography is by Joseph Biroc (AIRPLANE!) and the score is by Lalo Schifrin.With Nehemiah Persoff, John Beck, Dana Elcar and Harold Gould.

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