THE DOUBLE MAN was another debit in Yul Brynner’s run as a box-office lead, and it fizzled the same year as his tanked actioner The Long Duel. Is he even more uninterested in the work here? You’d have to sit through both to decide—we don’t suggest the exercise.*
One of the drably serious espionage catch-ups trying to ride Bond’s tuxedo tails (best I could do, and all it deserves), this 1967 bore is surprising for its lameness in that it was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, who had proven himself on The Best Man and The War Lord. Apart from some nice color (Denys Coop on camera duty) there is little to keep you sticking around for 105 minutes as the Soviet secret service attempts to swap a lookalike for a CIA agent.
Boring (Yul looks like he wants to be anywhere else), poorly staged. With Britt Ekland, Clive Revill, Anton Diffring, Moira Lister, Lloyd Nolan and George Mikell.
- * A glance at his credits shows that Brynner’s last hit was Solomon And Sheba, eight years and thirteen features back (The Magnificent Seven underperformed on release and only achieved classic status years later). He was good as Taras Bulba, and was hurt when that epic failed, and he did a fine job opposite Brando in Morituri, another also-ran. The rest? Once More With Feeling, Surprise Package, Escape From Zahrain, Kings Of The Sun, Flight From Ashiya, Invitation To A Gunfighter, Cast A Giant Shadow, The Poppy Is Also A Flower, Return Of The Seven, Triple Cross. Director Schaffner snapped back the following year with Planet Of The Apes and a succession of big jobs. The seductive Ekland stayed busy, on screen and in private life. Brynner headlined a number of movies after this, but none secured anything like the old glory until he played a robot in the 1973 hit Westworld.