Donald Liebenson
July 18, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What's Up, Tiger Lily?

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Woody Allen, Tatsuya Mihashi, Mie Hama, Louise Lasser
director
Woody Allen, Senkichi Taniquchi
author
Woody Allen
genre
Comedy

We gave it a B

Poised for rediscovery — and ripe to reclaim its cult status — is Woody Allen’s ”first” film, What’s Up, Tiger Lily?; actually a 1964 James Bondian Japanese espionage adventure, ”Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi” (International Secret Police: Key of Keys), that Allen, Louise Lasser, and other collaborators redubbed. The incongruity between the action on screen and the dialogue (”Do you think I’ll win an award for my acting in this picture?” asks hero Phil Moskowitz, who is after the recipe for the world’s greatest egg salad) is better sustained than the similar ”Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist.” References to vibrators and cattle prods mark the emergence of a hipper style of comedy, and, for the kids, there are gratuitous numbers by the Lovin’ Spoonful. The disc contains the original theatrical version and a curious, much less funny alternate version that offers recording-session outtakes, while a joke-comparison feature carries a ”Whose Line Is It Anyway?” kick.

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