some girls do, movies, 60s, spy films, gotta watch

Lena Dunham’s Girls premieres its third season Sunday, Jan. 12, and much discussion is dancing around whether it will maintain any shreds of its former ‘authenticity,’ whether attempting to do so will turn the characters into clichés of themselves, and ‘authentic’ Brooklynites defensively stating that they’re much more likeable and real than the show’s characters. Then there’s the bikinis.

Some Girls Do (1969) is a highly entertaining possible future-past for the HBO coven. When it was made, its transparent purpose in its parent country was furthering the updating of Britain’s popular James Bond-like Hugh ‘Bulldog Drummond’ literary (and movie) character (played by Richard Johnson, who had turned down the role of James Bond for 1962’s Dr. No) in order to cash in at the box office.

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Director Ralph Thomas (the Doctor and Percy comedy series) employs many of the same techniques as the Bond makers for dazzling theater audiences: exotic locales (Cap de Sal, Costa Brava), hi-tech gadgets (the SST1 — a Concorde-like supersonic airliner, ‘Pandora’s Box’), fast and stylish vehicles, a nefarious mastermind (James Villiers as ‘Carl Petersen’, Drummond’s traditional nemesis, and Dahlia Lavi as his companion Helga, fresh off her iconic role in 1967’s Casino Royale)…and of course, bikinis.

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Where Dunham is defending her Girls nudity and/or bikinis by turning the furor around on those who point it out,  the villain in Some Girls Do provides the primary explanation for all the female sexuality and bikinis since the women have been ‘robotized,’ allowing him to infiltrate and control ‘garden variety’ scenes with his harem equipped with artificially-programmed brains.

There are parallels between the Girls characters and the ones in Some Girls Do: Marnie and the svelte Helga; Shoshanna and Drummond’s male sidekick ‘Peregrine Carruthers’ (Ronnie Stevens); Jessa and a combination of Beba Loncar’s ‘Pandora’ and Robert Morley’s ‘Miss Mary’; and Hannah, although the most challenging of course, can be seen all at once in Drummond’s innocently-mercurial muse ‘Flicky’ (Sydne Rome), his ‘Daily’ (Adrienne Posta, who was even more Hannah-like in 1967’s To Sir With Love), and ‘Robot No.7,’ who rebels against her ‘programming’ out of attraction to the respectful charms and individualism of Drummond.

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Apart from also featuring the music direction of record producer Charles Blackwell, famous for the What’s New Pussycat? (1964) and Fireball XL-5 soundtracks, as well as numerous ‘60s Tom Jones and Franco-Pop hits, this film also features the screen debuts of Joanna Lumley of Absolutely Fabulous fame and a prominent cameo by Maria Aitken, who would go on to portray John Cleese’s wife in the Fish Called Wanda films.

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