What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) – reviewed by George

This seems like an idea someone should have thought up long before 1966: take a Japanese B-movie about spies (or is it crooks?), which is already somewhat crazy, and throw out the soundtrack, substituting one with American actors lip-syncing in English, but with punch lines.
Well, in 1966 Woody Allen did it, changing the McGuffin to a recipe for egg salad (“A salad so delicious you could plotz!”). Woody was aided by a group of friends who contributed lines as well as voices for the new soundtrack, including Frank Buxton, Len Maxwell, Louise Lasser, Mickey Rose, Julie Bennett, and Bryna Wilson. He also has some great padding provided by The Lovin’ Spoonful, who sing a few songs on camera.
The production conception is credited to Ben Shapiro. I comment not, because I’m not sure what that means.
There are some really funny lines here, like the guy who tries to one-up a confederate, “I was almost shot and killed before the opening credits!”, and the guy checking off the ship’s passenger list as a group of men leave, “Dopey, Sneezy, Doc, Snow White…”, and the guy beside him says, “Snow White?” The reply is “Yeah, he’s too much. Someday his prince will come.”
Yes, some of the comedy is dated, like this line, “They kill, they maim, they call Information for numbers thy could easily look up in the book.”
But hey, you don’t have to go back as far as 1966 for dated comedy: think of “Seinfeld”. A fair number of the episodes could not be written today, because the cell phone has made them obsolete. “Only the people in the other car know where the bubble boy lives, and we lost them. Now what do we do?” Or Elaine and Jerry are embarrassed to be the last guests to leave a party out in the country, and they are waiting fro Kramer to pick them up, while he drives around lost – “I don’t know the address. Now what do I do?”
“Tiger Lily” is only slightly anachronistic and is still plenty funny today. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Just to enjoy the execution of the concept.

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