The 1960’s would see quite a few spy thrillers produced, both American and those made abroad with many falling under the Eurospy sub-genre and as a result, often being far more entertaining than those from the Hollywood machine. Many would take their cue from James Bond, the most famous of spies and Ian Fleming’s signature creation, or even from comic books of the time like Danger: Diabolik. Some would take themselves quite seriously, others not at all, a few would parody their brethren while others would feature a mix of intrigue, action and a few laughs – much like the aforementioned Bond, of which Top Secret also happens to be.
There is only one downside to the film, if it can even be called that, and that is how formulaic it turned out to be. Starring Gordon Scott as John Sutton and Magda Konopka as Sandra Dubois, the two would spend the bulk of the picture sparring over some stolen information. Soon, whether they would have admitted it or not, they begin to fall for each other. It is not love, but at the very least, there is an attraction and whether that is because of the danger and the thrill of the job or the fact that they happen to be two very attractive people, it matters little as the banter and the foreplay between them makes for great viewing. Nearly everything that makes this movie any good can be boiled down to the two leads of the picture, each one not only capturing the eye of the viewer, but having a good chemistry between them that makes it all seem natural. Sometimes actors phone it in and the onscreen relationship suffers because of it and making for a less than enjoyable time, but here Konopka and Scott draw the audience into their world of spies and suspense and make it compelling while doing so.
So with quite a bit of back and forth consisting of feints and tricks and outmanoeuvring, the addition of some villains, another beautiful woman to add a little tension and even the obligatory car chase sequence towards the end of the film, it never really breaks the mold, but does what it does well without losing its audience along the way. As it is, original this film is not and yet by taking a tried and true formula and injecting some strong talent and a good director in Fernando Cerchio, Top Secret turned out to be a lot of fun and a great example of the genre.
3.5 out of 5