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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Comedy > Salt & Pepper/One More Time

Salt & Pepper/One More Time (MGM set)

 

Picture: C+     Sound: C+/C     Extras: C-     Films: B-/C+

 

 

Charles Salt (Sammy Davis, Jr.) & Christopher Pepper (Peter Lawford) are partners in a nightclub they have opened all the way in England, during the Swinging Sixties and with the Mod look in full swing.  They are also makeshift secret agents, sort of, in Salt & Pepper (1968) and One More Time (1970) finally issued on DVD.  The first film is directed by Richard Donner ten years before Superman – The Movie, which would being him back to England.

 

When an innocent girl is murdered in the Salt & Pepper club, the authorities want answers.  Wanting to hold the owners responsible, the title duo go out on their own to find out what really is going on.  Michael Bates as Inspector Crabbe, Jeremy Lloyd as Lord Ponsonby and in a spoof of the original Roger Moore Saint series (reviewed elsewhere on this site), Ivor Dean plays a generic police inspector and Ilona Rogers from my favorite episode of that show also shows up.

 

The film is fun and one of the more enduring send-ups of the Spy cycle as it was at the time.  Sean Connery had left the Bond role at this point, but the cycle had not played itself out yet still, especially with all the other competing films and TV shows in the genre still going on.  Reissues and constant bookings of the Connery films did not hurt, either.  With that said, the film is much more fun than it should be, as too many later such comedies have been silly without anything to back them up.  I particularly liked the car chase. 

 

Michael Pertwee wrote the screenplays for both films, and has a total idea of what audience expectations are and what he has in his stars.  One More Time still changes the course of things, thanks to Jerry Lewis being the new director.  Lewis is one of the great deconstructionist directors and decides to drop much of the Spy angle and go after everything British.  Davis Jr. plays Salt more as a surrogate for Lewis as the sequel is about identity crisis, with Lawford playing twin brothers.  It becomes its own film, but sadly ends what could have been a more long-running franchise.  Lewis takes interesting risks in the latter, but it ultimately does not work as well.

 

The first film is shown here in letterboxed 1.66 X 1, while the latter is in 1.85 X 1, with prints struck near the time the Austin Powers franchise was becoming popular.  They are good digital transfers, but not the most up to date component digital type.  With that said, they were both processed in DeLuxe color and those great colors overcome detail limits.  Ken Higgins, B.S.C., shot the first film, while legendary Avengers cinematographer Ernest W. Stewart, B.S.C., shot the sequel.  This is the first time either film has legitimately appeared on home video of any kind.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is monophonic on both films, with the first sounding a bit better than the second.  Les Reed does the score for the first film, while the legendary John Dankworth scored the sequel.  There are also songs in each, including title songs and Davis’ joyous vocals.  MGM has offered this as a set and they are both checking out.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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