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Fathom
Feuerdrache (1967)
Movie
  • Director:
    Leslie H. Martinson
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Lorenzo Semple Jr.,Larry Forrester
  • Cast:
    Anthony Franciosa,Raquel Welch,Ronald Fraser
  • Time:
    1h 39min
  • Budget:
    $2,225,000
  • Year:
    1967
In Southern Spain with a U.S. team, skydiver Fathom Harvill is approached by a Scottish colonel working for a top-secret Western agency. He's after a vital lost atomic device, and wants her to parachute into a house occupied by some Red Chinese agents to help get the thing back. Apart from all this there is a predatory continental doctor on his yacht to take account of. Fathom soon realizes nothing is what it seems to be, but can she fathom the truth out?
Casts
Complete credited cast:
Anthony Franciosa Anthony Franciosa - Peter Merriwether (as Tony Franciosa)
Raquel Welch Raquel Welch - Fathom Harvill
Ronald Fraser Ronald Fraser - Colonel Campbell
Richard Briers Richard Briers - Timothy
Greta Chi Greta Chi - Jo-May
Tom Adams Tom Adams - Mike
Elizabeth Ercy Elizabeth Ercy - Ulla
Ann Lancaster Ann Lancaster - Mrs. Trivers
Tutte Lemkow Tutte Lemkow - Mehmed
Reg Lye Reg Lye - Mr. Trivers
Clive Revill Clive Revill - Serapkin

Feuerdrache (1967)

Fathom's name was an amalgam of the first names of the character's uncles who were called (in order of the letters in Fathom's name) Freddie, Arthur, Tom, Harry, Oscar and Milton.

Richard Briers has claimed in interviews that he finds the plot of this film hard to fathom.

Peter Merriwether's convertible sports car is a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS.

H.A.D.E.S stood for Headquarters Allied Defences, Espionage & Security.

This movie was based on Larry Forrester's second "Fathom' novel, which was never published and was only in draft form when this film was made. Forrester's first "Fathom" novel was called "A Girl Called Fathom", published in 1967.

Fathom correctly packs the parachute at the beginning of the movie.

One of the few films to receive Roger Ebert's "Zero Stars" rating (0/4).

The bullring around which Fathom is pursued is the oldest functioning bullring in the world, at Mijas in Andalusia. Mijas is also the location for Fathom's hotel. However, the rest of the (unnamed) town in these scenes, including the beach and the side-entrance to the bullring, can be found in other parts of Spain.

The name of this movie's MacGuffin was the Fire Dragon. At first, it is described as a failsafe device that can explode a hydrogen bomb via an electronic signal but turns out later to be a a priceless Oriental ceramic treasure from the Ming Dynasty.

Gavirus
Gavirus
Terrific spy spoof with tongue-in-cheek dialogue. Breezy in every sense of the word. Everyone's timing is wonderfully in-synch. Cleo Laine's husband, Johnny Dankworth provides just the right kind of smirky jazzy score. The entire supporting cast is well-cast and delivers wonderfully. Tony Franciosa makes a perfect leading man for her in his own breezy style.

But, Raquel, her array of fun-loving smiles, her bikinis, her attitude, her sparkling eyes, and poppet-like expressions are what makes this movie a guilty-pleasure classic for me. She wiggles, jiggles, plays dumb, acts smart, empathises, exercises, sky-dives, and always but always, smiles.

And, dare I say it? What a magnificent body!!!
Grokinos
Grokinos
Raquel Welch shines in arguably her finest '60s comedy, a cheeky spy-romp about a sky-diving dental assistant who gets involved in intrigue while touring Spain, tangling with thieves and detectives over the acquisition of a treasure from the Ming Dynasty: the elusive Fire Dragon! The opening sequence, with Fathom Harvill folding and packing her parachute, is such a welcoming montage, it sets a warm, frisky tone for the rest of the picture. A high-flying adventure with Rocky in and out of trouble--and bikinis (the lime-green one is the most tantalizing, as is Welch's entrance wearing it while coming down the steps). The running joke with different characters asking Fathom how she got her name is very amusing ("As a child you were very...deep?"), as is Clive Revill's fabulous comic performance as an eccentric collector who is allergic to cold weather. Beautiful locales, a wonderful score, terrific airplane-chase finale, and sunny, breezy Welch looking and acting great. Good show. ***1/2 from ****
Ubrise
Ubrise
Welch looks good in this, to be sure. But she also carries across the oddball charm this movie is attempting to convey. She looked good in Bedazzled and Myra Breckinridge as well, but wasn't given much to do. Here she gets some good dialogue to parry the men with, and she comes across as an exciting heroine that unlike Flynt or Matt Helm, should have been given more than one movie to do her thing. This film is very reminiscent of the more whacked-out Modesty Blaise. Just a little funnier. One could also find the roots of the current Charlie's Angels flix in this movie, albeit without the battering music.

Leslie H. Martinson is a director who should be studied more closely. He did so many TV shows, it would be easy to dismiss him as style-free. But from what I've seen (Hot Rod Girl, PT 109, Batman) he uses simplicity in his favor, and makes good little movies that stick with you.
Groll
Groll
Raquel Welch in her sex symbol prime makes this picture worth seeing. I kind of wish the script had made her character a little more intelligent, but the film is an entertaining, breezy diversion. Clive Revill also delivers a very funny performance.
Rexfire
Rexfire
Aside from her prehistoric antics ONE MILLION YEARS B.C., this is the quintessential Raquel Welch movie from her heyday as the ultimate 60's sexpot. The tone is light 'n bright in this bouncy adventure flick with Raquel doin' her swinging sixties thing in a colorful assortment of very suitable costumes. It's nice to see the lighter side of Ms. Welch after falling for her as an atonal cavegal with nothing to smile about. British jazz musician Johnny Dankworth provides a breezy pop score that caps things off quite nicely. A great mid-century, midnight flick.
Meztisho
Meztisho
Back in 1967, Raquel Welch's appearance (rather than performance) in "Fathom" helped jump-start the puberties of around 40 million baby-boomer boys. I never got the chance to see this picture back in '67, unfortunately, and had to have MY puberty jump-started the old-fashioned way: by watching James Bond in the movies and Honey West and Emma Peel on TV (not to mention Laurie R. in junior high!). But 40 years after the fact, I finally caught up with "Fathom" last night. And you know what? The picture really isn't half bad. It's got a good, twisty, intelligent script, tongue in cheek though it may be; beautiful Spanish location shooting; and some colorful characters. The picture also moves quickly and features some good action sequences (such as Racky dodging a maddened bull in a bullring and swimming away from a harpooner in a speedboat). Half the fun in the movie comes from trying to figure out who is lying and what the characters' various motivations are (nobody seems to be telling the truth about anything in this film, and poor Fathom is understandably confused throughout). I quite enjoyed the film, and must say that Raquel's acting is much better than she is given credit for, and that she does indeed look sensational in every scene. Now I can finally understand all those raised hormonal levels 40 years ago!
Hellstaff
Hellstaff
This is the quintessential Raquel Welch movie. In her most beautiful prime (27) and in a plot that allows for many opportunities to display that beauty, she shows why she was the ultimate sex symbol of the sixties, and, for many of us, of all time. Most of her films never fully captured her incredible appeal; this one does!
NiceOne
NiceOne
I'd never seen or even heard of this offering in the 60's comedy spy genre until Film 4 padded out their evening schedule with it. How dated it all looked, understandably. But it was a jolly romp, great locations and with pretty good enthusiastically staged stunts. Ms Welch was very decorative as usual and the Britsh character actors excellent in support. Good to see Tom Adams in a solid supporting role, Clive Revill was always good value in this sort of movie too. Amazingly the two aircraft flown in this movie, a Cessna 172 and a Piper Cherokee 180, are still active and licenced in the UK, wearing their original registrations, forty years after the film was made.
GAZANIK
GAZANIK
Raquel Welch, at the peak of sexiness, does the perfect Bond girl one better--she's Bond herself! The flimsy and kooky premise has Fathom caught up in a international hunt for a Red Chinese nuclear device hidden in a Ming Dynasty dragon statuette. She dodges bullets, jumps out of planes, and plays each side against one another, all along looking sensational. This is a stylish little movie directed by the same guy who later delivered such colorful TV fluff as "The Brady Bunch," "Wonder Woman," and "Fantasy Island." But the real draw is the understated almost smirky performance by Raquel. Raquel's Fathom is all woman: a gorgeous fashion-plate, yet strong, smart, and very much in control. Catch her if you can!
Light out of Fildon
Light out of Fildon
Fathom was released in 1967 during a period when the James Bond films spawned a slew of ripoffs and spoofs. Some, like James Coburn's Derek Flint series, managed to gain some success while being entertaining. Many, like the very poor Modesty Blaise and even worse Casino Royale, bombed and rightfully so.

Somewhere in the middle is Fathom, a lightweight caper comedy starring Raquel Welch that, for some reason, has remained undeservedly obscure for more than 30 years.

Welch, who sadly never got a chance to be a true Bond girl (she lost out on the chance to co-star in Thunderball), demonstrates that 007 clearly got the worse end of the deal by letting her go. This could be the sexiest of her 1960s-era films and her performance, while hardly Oscar-worthy, is very appealing. More the pity that she wasn't cast as Modesty Blaise -- she might have made that other spoof worthwhile.

I won't try to detail the plot. It's impossible to do so without spoilers and there are so many twists and turns that you won't know who is doing what to whom until literally the last 5 minutes. The plot is perhaps a little TOO complex, and indeed there are a number of characters who are lost in the shuffle. But everyone - including, most importantly, Welch - seems to be having a good time, and there is a refreshing minimum of violence which is somewhat rare for the time.

Compared to the other muddled spoofs of the era, Fathom isn't that overly hard to ... fathom. If you get confused, just give your brain a rest and stare at Welch for a few minutes that you'll be right as rain in no time!
Foxanayn
Foxanayn
In 1965 a then little-known young actress named Raquel Welch auditioned for the part in "Thunderball" that eventually went to Claudine Auger. Raquel never achieved her ambition to become a Bond Girl, but two years later, and by then a rising starlet, she went one better. She became a female Bond.

"Fathom" is a typical example of the sort of spy comedy-thrillers that were popular in the sixties. It shares its continental European setting with the likes of "The Prize" and "Charade". Raquel plays Fathom Harvill, a member of the American national sky-diving team, who finds herself at the centre of an espionage drama while on a visit to Spain. (We are offered a number of contradictory, and increasingly surreal, explanations for the heroine's unusual Christian name, without it ever being established which one is correct).

The plot is a complex and confusing one; even Raquel's co-star Richard Briers punned that he could not fathom it. At the centre of the action is a mysterious object named the "Fire Dragon", which may be either a triggering device for atomic bombs or a stolen artwork. In search of the Fire Dragon are Colonel Campbell and his sidekick Timothy Webb who may be either members of the British secret services or international art thieves and Peter Merriwether and his attractive female assistant Jo-May, who may be either private detectives or agents for Red China. (Ignore the cast list which names Jo-May as a Major in the KGB, which was of course a Russian agency rather than a Chinese one). Somewhere in the middle is Sergei Serapkin, a villainous Russian tycoon who has designs both on the Fire Dragon and on the lovely Fathom.

Even though a few people end up dead, the mood is light-hearted, and even one of the corpses manages to rise, Lazarus-like, from the dead. The film's main asset is the presence of Raquel Welch herself, the most beautiful Hollywood sex symbol of the late sixties and seventies. (As most of her early films, she spends much of the time in a bikini). I cannot, however, agree with the reviewer who said that she was at the peak of her sexiness- Raquel's sexiness took the form of a plateau rather than a peak, as she remained as attractive throughout her thirties and forties as she was in her twenties. Her acting skills are never seriously tested, but she succeeds in making Fathom a likable heroine as well as a sexy one. The film does not make a great deal of sense, but then it was never intended to. It succeeds in being what it was intended to be- slick, glossy, glamorous and entertaining nonsense. 6/10
Villo
Villo
The sixties saw a craze for spy movies – the Bond films, the Harry Palmer films, plus countless others. Some were serious (e.g. The Defector, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold), others were very tongue-in-cheek (e.g. Our Man Flint, Operation Kid Brother) – but for a while the genre literally overflowed with releases. The twist in "Fathom" is that the all-action leading character is a girl. This is essentially a female variant of the James Bond movies, with sexy actors, sunny locales, a deliberately implausible bubble-gum plot and, of course, characters with outrageous names!

American lady skydiver Fathom Harvill (Raquel Welch) is touring Southern Europe when she is approached for a difficult espionage mission. Scottish colonel Douglas Campbell (Ronald Fraser), who claims to work for the top secret agency H.A.D.E.S, informs Fathom that a device for triggering atomic weapons has fallen into the hands of someone working for Red China. The device has allegedly been hidden inside a Ming dynasty dragon statuette, which is housed in a guarded villa close to the Mediterranean coast. Fathom's job is to parachute into the villa unobserved and recover the device. However, she meets Peter Merriweather (Tony Franciosa) – an agent in the employ of the Red Chinese – and he tells her that she has been hoodwinked by Campbell. Merriweather's story is that Campbell is not a government colonel at all, but a con man who is trying to pull off a jewellery heist by involving her (unwittingly) as a burglar. Poor Fathom cannot know who to trust, nor even which side she is on, as she gets drawn deeper into the plot…..

"Fathom" is a light, breezy addition to the genre. The plot is absolute nonsense, of course, with characters that change sides more often than they might change underwear, and over-the-top action sequences between the plot twists. Welch isn't remotely challenged as an actress by her role as the titular character, but she is put through her paces as an international sex symbol. It's a test she passes with flying colours, looking ravishing throughout in her blinding array of dresses and bikinis! Franciosa as the love-interest-who-might-be-a-villain smiles toothily a lot, and that's about all, in his easy-going role. The locations are appropriately gorgeous, Johnny Dankworth provides a jazzy score, and the film skims along brightly. When you sit down to watch a movie like this, you know just what you're getting. There's no grand intention here – these people simply want to entertain, and that's just what they've done in their simple way. Give it a fortnight and you'll have forgotten you've ever seen "Fathom"…. but it's harmless fun whilst on.
Jairani
Jairani
The heightened tensions of the cold war in the 1960's led to a craze for spy films. Some went for gritty realism like The Spy who came in from the Cold, while most went down the high glamour route typified by the James Bond series. Fathom is one of those latter efforts, even if strictly speaking the title character is not a bona fide spy. It also fitted into an even more specific sub-genre – the spy spoof. It could probably best be compared to the previous year's Modesty Blaise, which had a similar light comical approach and also featured a female protagonist played by a luminous beauty, in that case Monica Vitti. For my money, Fathom is a superior film to that one and is, of course, pretty clearly a vehicle for the top sex symbol of the time, Raquel Welch. She had just come off the back of her iconic performance in One Million Years B.C. and it must've seemed like a pretty obvious idea to have her star as a sexy action girl in a spy flick. She is Fathom Harvill, a famous sky-diver who gets roped into the middle of a situation between intelligence agents and international thieves.

It's hard not to describe this movie without using the word 'breezy'. It's such a light hearted and playful romp. It's comic for much of the time, although there are also definite suspense moments too, including a memorable scene in a bull ring. But mainly it's a film that relies on sun-kissed locations and the undoubted sex appeal of its main star who cavorts about in bikinis and skimpy attire. The film pulls off the difficult stunt of being a little bit sensual while being completely family friendly. It maybe doesn't necessarily add up to a huge amount at the end of the day but I always find this film kind of fun and charming. The cast also includes several other interesting actors such as Anthony Franciosa, Clive Revill and, perhaps most unsurprisingly, 'The Good Life's' Richard Briers but at the end of the day this is Raquel Welch's film and she's a lot of fun to watch.
Quphagie
Quphagie
Fathom open in Finland on December 1, 1967 and open 12 days later in New York City on December 13th 1967. Fathom is a 1967 British spy comedy film directed by Leslie H. Martinson, starring Anthony Franciosa and Raquel Welch. Fathom Harvill (Raquel Welch) is a dental assistant and an American skydiver touring Europe with a U.S. parachute team. A Scottish agent to recover an atomic triggering mechanism approaches her. The film was based on Larry Forrester's second Fathom novel Fathom Heavensent then in the draft stage but never published. His first Fathom novel was 1967's A Girl Called Fathom. The film was one of three 1967 20th Century Fox films about female spies; the others being Doris Day's Caprice and Andrea Dromm's Come Spy with Me.

Summary: The movie opens with a body shot of Fathom pounding in a post. Then Fathom starts to unroll her parachute. She then repacks the parachute. Fathom then heads for the sky to parachute in competition. After winning the skydiving championship in Spain, Fathom Harvill is abducted by a man named Timothy and taken to Douglas Campbell, a Scotsman who claims to be working for NATO intelligence. He enlists her aid in outwitting two teams of foreign agents who are after the "Fire Dragon," a nuclear trigger device that was lost in the Mediterranean following the crash of a bomber plane. Representing Communist China is Serapkin, an eccentric Armenian millionaire. Peter Merriweather is acting for the United States, aided by a glamorous Asian, Jo-May Soon. Fathom parachutes into Merriweather's villa and learns that the "Fire Dragon" is a priceless jeweled figurine stolen from a Peking museum by a Korean War deserter who is being pursued by a private detective. Although she now realizes that Merriweather and Campbell are the deserter and the private eye, she cannot determine which is which.

Questions. Who was behind the bull being in an empty arena? Who was behind the harpoon attack on the hotel owner? Who was behind the two knife attacks? What did Fathom find in her makeup case? Why did two men try to grab Fathom? Why was Fathom forced in an airplane?

My thoughts: Fantastic movie right from the start. Anthony Franciosa was good in his role as Peter Merriweather. Now for the star of the movie Raquel Welch who was just Fantastic. Her role as Fathom Harvill was great. The outfits she wore in this movie were out of this world. It started with the tight parachute outfit. From there the green bikini never fit a body better than it did Raquel Welch. I'm use to seeing Raquel in stupid comedy that wastes her talents. However, in this one her talents were used to perfection including that gorgeous body. Because of Raquel Welch and her talent, I give this movie 10 weasel stars. You can buy this movie at Amazon.com
Talrajas
Talrajas
Let's face it, unless you are a BIG fan of "B"-grade 60's spy flicks, and can't get your hands on a "Matt Helm" copy, the ONLY reason you would watch this film is for the incredible Raquel Welch. For the most fun, turn the sound down and make up your own dialogue as you go along.
Naktilar
Naktilar
MASTER PLAN: get the Fire Dragon. The spy / secret agent craze was in full swing by this time, with several James Bond movies already dominating the decade and a few imitators (Flint; Matt Helm) getting started. They also put out a "Modesty Blaise" film the year before this. So, why not place the newest sex symbol / bombshell into a similar vehicle? Why not? The main difference with this plot is that the title character is not really a secret agent; she works in a dentist's office and her key skill is being an able parachutist, an activity she partakes in while on vacation in Spain. She's also...Raquel Welch, the poster child for feminine perfection since her role in "One Million Years B.C." the year before. Frankly, I was surprised when I found out she wasn't really a spy or secret agent - she seems such a natural for that adventurous occupation on film - she's recruited or drafted by a couple of supposed government agents for a mission. The mission involves acquiring a mysterious Chinese object known as the Fire Dragon; or, it's the 'MacGuffin,' the term Hitchcock used to describe the object that drives the plot in a story. Welch is presented as the ideal female - not silly & stupid as we might expect, since she does regard her supposed allies with suspicion (though, the reveal that they represent an organization called HADES, another word for Hell, might have clued her in somewhat... but, oh well, she's pretty athletic to complement her 'easy on the eye' great figure). This doesn't have as much of a campy tone as many other spy movies of the sixties, so you're not sure how seriously you should take it in some scenes.

The story does keep you guessing as it moves along at a fairly good pace, or tries to. Poor Fathom (Welch) doesn't know who to trust, her recruiters or their enemy, an adventurer (Franciosa) who lives in a villa with some other compatriots - this is Fathom's initial destination as a secret agent, where she quickly finds a dead body. Her new acquaintance, Merriwether, claims to be a detective, but he could be a master criminal (he also refers to her as 'Poppet' in every other sentence, which drove me nuts after the first hour). Then there's Serapkin (Revill, hamming it up, as usual), some kind of Russian oddball villain and probable master criminal on a yacht whom Fathom is placed in the position of seducing. On top of that, there's a local café proprietor (Tom Adams, formerly "The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World") who is not all he seems to be. Most of the story thrust has Fathom starting to trust a couple of these characters at some point and then getting a rude reality check. She escapes becoming a dead body herself once or twice only by luck; that, or her stunning good looks prevent the villains from taking that final step. The most memorable scene, and the one which stuck with me when I saw this as a kid and didn't understand what else was going on, is Fathom being chased by a bull. It's emblematic of the strenuous action she is put through during most of the movie. Most of it is fairly trivial and forgettable, and Welch could not win any acting awards, but yet, it's kind of entertaining, if just a bit on the dull side due to mostly bland characterizations. Heroine:6 Villains:6 Male Fatales:7 Henchmen:6 Fights:5 Stunts/Chases:6 Gadgets:4 Auto:5 Locations:7 Pace:7 overall:6
Sadaron above the Gods
Sadaron above the Gods
Lightweight spy yarn about the search for an atomic device or something. But nobody cares about that. You aren't going to watch this for the plot. If you're going to watch it, you'll be watching for sexy Raquel Welch in bikinis, jumpsuits, and dresses that show lots of cleavage. There's some nice support from Clive Revill and Richard Briers. Tony Franciosa I could do without. A particular plot twist with his character I predicted in his first scene, solely on the basis of his being the best looking man in the movie. It's a fun movie, for the most part, with lots of opportunities for Raquel to show off her sparkling personality and, of course, curvaceous body.
Vit
Vit
It's like "Barbarella" . Nobody watches it for the plot. Raquel in her prime--Wow! Wearing as little as possible, she changes outfits constantly and wears very little under her clothing! The plot is confusing and at times makes no sense whatsoever. First she is searching for an "atomic trigger devise" and that turns into a rare Asian "Dragon" artifact stolen from a museum. She plays a skydiver, on vacation, of course. Along the way, she parachutes thru several blue screens, (it looks fake). Gets framed for two murders (one fake). Flirts with Tony Fransiosa and does some amateurish bullfighting. A spy movie "spoof" and it does work because it doesn't take itself too seriously. Turns out that everybody is a "bad guy", chasing after the "Golden Dragon" for their own selfish financial gain. Good location photography, in Spain and at Pinewood Studios in England. Lot's of fun and yes, Raquel is incredibly young, thin, and totally delicious.
Rasmus
Rasmus
This movie starts with it's strongest part, Raqual Welch in her prime at every possible camera angle packing her parachute. They even use what was still rare in 1967, a classic shot of her back side. I doubt that anyone complained about that.

Once this opening sequence is over, the film settles into a light plot involving a stolen Chinese Artifact which everyone is after though the good people versus the bads ones are very hard to sort out.

Tony Franciosa is the other name actor in the cast but this movie is mostly Raquel. The rest of the supporting cast makes out alright but the action is slight and the style of photography is much in evidence in this film. Welch gets a 10 for effort but the script is a little lame so over all the movie is not that good. Still, there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Raquel & Tony face down a bull in one sequence. There are times when everyone around her seem to be part of a load of bull. Raquel is Fathom, the lead character who gets involved with a lot of people but manages somehow to come out whole.
FailCrew
FailCrew
Any movie containing a 27 year old Raquel Welch dressed in a bikini is something worth watching. True the story, plot & other characters are boring, but Raquel Welch circa 1967, is a 10, and any film she was in during this time is a 10! BEAUTIFUL WOMAN!
Beabandis
Beabandis
Easy-to-take spy spoof knows how to have fun.
Wafi
Wafi
Probably the only place most of you have seen this film is in the discount DVD rack at Target, where it sells, depending on your timing, for anywhere from $9.44 to $14.99. Whether or not it's worth even those paltry sums is another story.

Fathom was spawned during the spy craze in the mid-60s, when making films and TV shows with inappropriate casting for spies was okay (Bill Cosby as a spy? Barbara Bain, who won the Emmy over Diana Rigg???). So Fathom was likely born of twin desires; first, to cash in on the spy genre wave, and secondly, to build a showcase for Raquel Welch. I'm not arguing that either was a particularly bad idea, though it sort of turned out that way. The problem with building a showcase around a pretty woman (or devastatingly beautiful, in Welch's case) is that few people ever put any thought into the framework. They get caught up in staring at the girl, and everything else pretty much goes to hell.

Fathom doesn't try to take itself seriously, which is good, because it couldn't if it wanted to. Welch gives it a decent try to play a hapless adventurer who gets pushed in over her head, but it's obvious she's there to model the outfits as opposed to really act. Tony Franciosa plays Merriwether, her chief rival/love interest, and frankly, he's awful. Most of the rest of the cast is forgettable too, with the exception of a very eccentric performance by Clive Revill as the oddball Russian ex-pat Serapkin.

But mostly as expected the movie centers on Welch – which again isn't a bad idea, and it's certainly giving viewers what they want. In a scene where she parades down a street in France in a green bikini, the film almost literally stops while everyone catches their breath. Raquel, as they would say in modern parlance, really had it goin' on (though I was more than a little disturbed by a vague resemblance here to Carmen Electra, and hoping like hell no one in Hollywood thought that, because this is NOT a movie that needs to be updated. Even with Ben Stiller playing the Franciosa part).

Fathom is a stupid but harmless movie. Welch always seemed to me to be her generation's Sharon Stone; someone more famous for being famous than for any discernible talent (other than the patently obvious). But Welch did make at least a few good films (the Musketeer movies, in which she was very good) and a few ‘interesting' ones (the ill-fated Myra Breckenridge). She's not particularly good here, but then, she's not asked to be. Fathom never tries to pass itself off as anything more than a cheeky B film, and it's certainly more watchable than comparable drek like Our Man Flynt (which I turned off after about seven minutes). Fathom's obvious falseness – shots of Welch skydiving are ludricrously naïve – is partially a product of its time, but I suspect it would actually appeal to people who enjoy that sort of camp (you know, Batman fans and the like). And, frankly, it's worth sitting through to have the rather obvious talents of Welch displayed, even though her hair is picture-perfect a second after removing her skydiving helmet (and she wears makeup in bed, too. Always prepared, that girl). I can't really recommend this film for anyone other than Welch fans, or extremely obsessive fans of 60s spy films, but I would bet that to a generation of men only a few years older than I am, this is a film they remember extremely fondly. And I guess there's nothing wrong with that.
Auridora
Auridora
Spunky and enticing dental hygienist turned expert skydiver Fathom Harvill (the one and only Raquel Welch at her most gorgeous, radiant, and appealing) is assigned by a top secret government agency to parachute into Spain in order to find elusive war defector Peter Mertiwether (a smooth and engaging portrayal by Anthony Franciosa) and a missing H-bomb detonator he might have in his possession. Director Leslie H. Martinson, working from a witty script by Lorenzo Semple Jr., relates the fun premise at a snappy pace and maintains a likable easy'n'breezy lightweight tone throughout. Of course, this picture makes for a great showcase of the delectable Mrs. Welch's charming personality and jaw-dropping spectacular figure (the latter in particular looks absolutely smashing in a lime-green bikini!). Moreover, the cute and funny dialogue contains a nice running gag about Fathom's unusual first name. Clive Revill contributes a sharp comic performance as Sergi Serapkin, an eccentric villainous millionaire with an extreme aversion to the cold. Douglas Slocombe's vibrant cinematography provides an attractive bright look. John Dankworth's bouncy score hits the jaunty'n'jazzy spot. Hugely enjoyable.
Whitescar
Whitescar
Entertaining spy send-up. Franciosa virtually carries the film single-handed with a forceful and ingratiating performance. Miss Welch tries to do a little more than look decorative but fails dismally. (I don't think anyone will mind). Mr. Revill is disappointingly clumsy. The action sequences are good, but tend to run on too long, however director Martinson does a much better job here than on "Batman". Of course the script is better too, and there is some fine 2nd unit direction and photography.

When I saw this film in 1967 I was but a callow youth and I must admit I quite enjoyed it. Fifteen years later, it isn't nearly so entertaining. The story is so absurdly ridiculous it would strain the credulity of a new-born gnat and the characters are so forced to dance to the plot that they have more shadow than substance — with the exception of Clive Revill who comes on so over=strong as a figure-of-fun Russian as to provoke nausea rather than amusement.

At least Tony Franciosa turns on the charm come what may, whether he is telling a background story that is intentionally full of holes or whether he is giving Fathom the true version (which is unintentionally full of holes). As for wide-eyed Fathom, when she is not yielding place to her stunt double on the sky-diving plane or in a speeding car or whatever, she is prancing around showing off a bit of well-turned skin here and there, trying vainly to act and displaying about as much personality as a well-rounded goldfish.

Director Martinson is no help — pedestrian, heavy-handed with overuse of close-ups and about as much sense of pace and style as my Aunt Minnie. The action sequences are a slight improvement but remember these are the work of Peter Medak (2nd unit) and Kenneth Vos (sky-diving).

Photographed in Spain but none too colorfully, not that much use is made of the scenery. Credits are merely passable (the film editing in particular displays little skill and the art director has little imagination) and production values moderate.
Dondallon
Dondallon
Silly '60s spy caper Fathom stars Raquel Welch as curvaceous skydiving dental assistant Fathom Harvill, who becomes involved in all manner of espionage shenanigans after she is approached by Colonel Campbell (Ronald Fraser), chief of H.A.D.E.S. (Headquarters Allied Defences, Espionage & Security), and his assistant Timothy (Richard Briers), who need her help in locating the Fire Dragon, a missing H-Bomb component that is also being sought by Red Chinese agent Peter Merriwether (Anthony Franciosa). All is not as it seems, however, and Fathom soon realises that she cannot take anyone at face value.

From the opening sequence, in which the camera lingers lovingly on Welch's body as she carefully packs her parachute, it is abundantly clear that director Leslie H. Martinson's main priority is to exploit his sex symbol star's impressive physique; it certainly isn't telling a coherent tale, the twisting plot for Fathom requiring far too much concentration for a frivolous spy romp with the constant distraction of such a gorgeous lead. Still, with Welch slipping into a variety of sexy outfits for her undercover activities, including a dress that is like a red rag to a bull, and a green bikini guaranteed to impress, the film is never a chore, I suppose.