What's Up Tiger Lily?


1h 19m 1966

Brief Synopsis

Woody Allen dubbed in comic dialogue for this outrageous spoof of secret-agent thrillers.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kagi no kagi
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Baltimore opening: 2 Nov 1966
Production Company
Benedict Pictures; Toho Co.
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

After a brief prolog in which Woody Allen explains that his film concoction is a sort of "bottled-in-Bond spy drama," the story relates the adventures of Phil Moscowitz, a young Japanese who is kidnaped by oriental beauties and whisked off to an unidentified Asian country to help foil an international plot to steal the best egg-salad recipe in the world. Despite numerous assassination attempts, the hero always manages to escape narrowly with his life. Brief intermissions show the Lovin' Spoonful singing "Pow" and other songs. Moscowitz discovers that the mastermind behind the theft is Shepherd Wong, a connoisseur of eggs and cigars. The blazing showdown has Moscowitz killing four villains with three bullets. As the day is saved for egg-salad, Woody Allen again appears, accompanied by China Lee. Explaining that he had promised to give her something to do in the picture, Allen munches on an apple while China Lee removes some of her clothing, and the film ends.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kagi no kagi
MPAA Rating
PG
Genre
Comedy
Release Date
Jan 1966
Premiere Information
Baltimore opening: 2 Nov 1966
Production Company
Benedict Pictures; Toho Co.
Distribution Company
American International Pictures
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Articles

What's Up, Tiger Lily?


By today's standards, it doesn't seem like such a novel movie concept -- take a low-budget film, re-dub the soundtrack adding new dialogue, music and sound effects, and create an entirely new experience. That's what Steve Oedekerk did recently in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002) -- he reworked a 1977 martial-arts movie entitled Savage Killers. And before him, the Mystery Science Theatre gang was dabbling in similar territory, inserting their presence into films like This Island Earth (1954) while providing a steady stream of wisecracks and insults to accompany the original soundtrack. The real master of the form, however, is Woody Allen, who first explored the concept in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), a crazy-quilt concoction that is alternately hilarious and absurd and includes random appearances by The Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian's folk-rock group. Sight and Sound magazine proclaimed it "a frantic counterpoint of sound and image as deliriously silly as a Tex Avery cartoon...this inspired screwball one-off remains as fresh as the day it was born."

On the strength of his success as the screenwriter of What's New, Pussycat? (1965), a surprise box-office hit, Allen was offered an unusual project -- to write comic dialogue for a Japanese spy thriller entitled Kagi No Kagi (Key of Keys). American International Pictures, the distributor, had already created an English-dubbed version of the film, but when it was previewed before audiences it provoked intermittent gales of laughter. Producer Henry G. Saperstein suddenly had a brainstorm -- why not take it to the other extreme and record comical dialogue for the entire film? Allen's genius for one-liners and stand-up comedy were well known and he soon focused all of his attention on the re-editing and re-dubbing of Kagi No Kagi.

Operating on a limited budget of $75,000, Allen and several actors, including Louise Lasser, Frank Buxton and Lenny Maxwell, holed up in a room at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City and screened the film several times, compiling jokes, one-liners and funny dialogue which were then worked into the script. The new plot centers around Phil Moscowitz, a Japanese imitation of James Bond, who is on a quest to find the world's greatest egg salad recipe, before it falls into the wrong hands. The outrageous incongruity of the whole enterprise is heightened even further by the ethnic New York accents (Allen, Lasser and screenwriter Mickey Rose provided the voices) emanating from the mouths of the Japanese cast. Typical of the film's humor is the scene where a scantily clad female spy, wearing a raincoat, creeps up on a male adversary and flashes him as she pops the question, "Quick, name three presidents."

After re-dubbing the dialogue, Allen still felt that the movie needed some padding so he added a few comic inserts featuring himself and a handful of sight gags, bringing the running time to barely over an hour. You'll notice that Allen makes four appearances in What's Up, Tiger Lily?: first as an animated character in the title sequence, then as an interview subject, later as a superimposed silhouette on the screen, and finally as an observer to a striptease performed by former Playboy centerfold China Lee (the real-life wife of comedian Mort Sahl).

After Allen left the project, the producer felt that the running time was still too short and stepped in to add additional scenes and several musical interludes featuring the top-forty hitmakers The Lovin' Spoonful, who perform "Fishin' Blues," "Respoken," "Pow," and other tunes. Allen was so angered by Saperstein's meddling with the project that he sued him and tried to halt the picture's release. His attitude changed though once the reviews began to appear and several mainstream critics actually praised the movie's sense of lunacy and comic invention. If nothing else, What's Up, Tiger Lily? launched Allen's directorial career and is a virtual blueprint of his humor and comic obsessions, which would be further developed in his later films. It was also during the making of this film that Allen married his fellow collaborator, Louise Lasser, who would later score a hit as the title character in the TV soap opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976).

Producer: Woody Allen, Henry G. Saperstein
Director: Woody Allen
Screenplay: Woody Allen, Julie Bennett, Frank Buxton, Louise Lasser, Mickey Rose, Bryan Wilson
Cinematography: Kazuo Yamada
Editing: Richard Krown
Music: Jack Lewis, The Lovin' Spoonful
Principal Cast: Woody Allen (Narrator/Host/Voice), Tatsuya Mihashi (Phil Moskowitz), Mie Hama (Terri Yaki), Akiko Wakabayashi (Suki Yaki), Tadao Nakamaru (Shepherd Wong), Susumu Kurobe (Wing Fat).
C-80m. Letterboxed.

by Jeff Stafford
What's Up, Tiger Lily?

What's Up, Tiger Lily?

By today's standards, it doesn't seem like such a novel movie concept -- take a low-budget film, re-dub the soundtrack adding new dialogue, music and sound effects, and create an entirely new experience. That's what Steve Oedekerk did recently in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002) -- he reworked a 1977 martial-arts movie entitled Savage Killers. And before him, the Mystery Science Theatre gang was dabbling in similar territory, inserting their presence into films like This Island Earth (1954) while providing a steady stream of wisecracks and insults to accompany the original soundtrack. The real master of the form, however, is Woody Allen, who first explored the concept in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), a crazy-quilt concoction that is alternately hilarious and absurd and includes random appearances by The Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian's folk-rock group. Sight and Sound magazine proclaimed it "a frantic counterpoint of sound and image as deliriously silly as a Tex Avery cartoon...this inspired screwball one-off remains as fresh as the day it was born." On the strength of his success as the screenwriter of What's New, Pussycat? (1965), a surprise box-office hit, Allen was offered an unusual project -- to write comic dialogue for a Japanese spy thriller entitled Kagi No Kagi (Key of Keys). American International Pictures, the distributor, had already created an English-dubbed version of the film, but when it was previewed before audiences it provoked intermittent gales of laughter. Producer Henry G. Saperstein suddenly had a brainstorm -- why not take it to the other extreme and record comical dialogue for the entire film? Allen's genius for one-liners and stand-up comedy were well known and he soon focused all of his attention on the re-editing and re-dubbing of Kagi No Kagi. Operating on a limited budget of $75,000, Allen and several actors, including Louise Lasser, Frank Buxton and Lenny Maxwell, holed up in a room at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City and screened the film several times, compiling jokes, one-liners and funny dialogue which were then worked into the script. The new plot centers around Phil Moscowitz, a Japanese imitation of James Bond, who is on a quest to find the world's greatest egg salad recipe, before it falls into the wrong hands. The outrageous incongruity of the whole enterprise is heightened even further by the ethnic New York accents (Allen, Lasser and screenwriter Mickey Rose provided the voices) emanating from the mouths of the Japanese cast. Typical of the film's humor is the scene where a scantily clad female spy, wearing a raincoat, creeps up on a male adversary and flashes him as she pops the question, "Quick, name three presidents." After re-dubbing the dialogue, Allen still felt that the movie needed some padding so he added a few comic inserts featuring himself and a handful of sight gags, bringing the running time to barely over an hour. You'll notice that Allen makes four appearances in What's Up, Tiger Lily?: first as an animated character in the title sequence, then as an interview subject, later as a superimposed silhouette on the screen, and finally as an observer to a striptease performed by former Playboy centerfold China Lee (the real-life wife of comedian Mort Sahl). After Allen left the project, the producer felt that the running time was still too short and stepped in to add additional scenes and several musical interludes featuring the top-forty hitmakers The Lovin' Spoonful, who perform "Fishin' Blues," "Respoken," "Pow," and other tunes. Allen was so angered by Saperstein's meddling with the project that he sued him and tried to halt the picture's release. His attitude changed though once the reviews began to appear and several mainstream critics actually praised the movie's sense of lunacy and comic invention. If nothing else, What's Up, Tiger Lily? launched Allen's directorial career and is a virtual blueprint of his humor and comic obsessions, which would be further developed in his later films. It was also during the making of this film that Allen married his fellow collaborator, Louise Lasser, who would later score a hit as the title character in the TV soap opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). Producer: Woody Allen, Henry G. Saperstein Director: Woody Allen Screenplay: Woody Allen, Julie Bennett, Frank Buxton, Louise Lasser, Mickey Rose, Bryan Wilson Cinematography: Kazuo Yamada Editing: Richard Krown Music: Jack Lewis, The Lovin' Spoonful Principal Cast: Woody Allen (Narrator/Host/Voice), Tatsuya Mihashi (Phil Moskowitz), Mie Hama (Terri Yaki), Akiko Wakabayashi (Suki Yaki), Tadao Nakamaru (Shepherd Wong), Susumu Kurobe (Wing Fat). C-80m. Letterboxed. by Jeff Stafford

What's Up, Tiger Lily?


By today's standards, it doesn't seem like such a novel movie concept -- take a low-budget film, re-dub the soundtrack adding new dialogue, music and sound effects, and create an entirely new experience. That's what Steve Oedekerk did recently in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002) -- he reworked a 1977 martial-arts movie entitled Savage Killers. And before him, the Mystery Science Theatre gang was dabbling in similar territory, inserting their presence into films like This Island Earth (1954) while providing a steady stream of wisecracks and insults to accompany the original soundtrack. The real master of the form, however, is Woody Allen, who first explored the concept in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), a crazy-quilt concoction - now availabe on DVD from Image Entertainment - that is alternately hilarious and absurd and includes random appearances by The Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian's folk-rock group. Sight and Sound magazine proclaimed it "a frantic counterpoint of sound and image as deliriously silly as a Tex Avery cartoon...this inspired screwball one-off remains as fresh as the day it was born."

On the strength of his success as the screenwriter of What's New, Pussycat? (1965), a surprise box-office hit, Allen was offered an unusual project -- to write comic dialogue for a Japanese spy thriller entitled Kagi No Kagi (Key of Keys). American International Pictures, the distributor, had already created an English-dubbed version of the film, but when it was previewed before audiences it provoked intermittent gales of laughter. Producer Henry G. Saperstein suddenly had a brainstorm -- why not take it to the other extreme and record comical dialogue for the entire film? Allen's genius for one-liners and stand-up comedy were well known and he soon focused all of his attention on the re-editing and re-dubbing of Kagi No Kagi.

Operating on a limited budget of $75,000, Allen and several actors, including Louise Lasser, Frank Buxton and Lenny Maxwell, holed up in a room at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City and screened the film several times, compiling jokes, one-liners and funny dialogue which were then worked into the script. The new plot centers around Phil Moscowitz, a Japanese imitation of James Bond, who is on a quest to find the world's greatest egg salad recipe, before it falls into the wrong hands. The outrageous incongruity of the whole enterprise is heightened even further by the ethnic New York accents (Allen, Lasser and screenwriter Mickey Rose provided the voices) emanating from the mouths of the Japanese cast. Typical of the film's humor is the scene where a scantily clad female spy, wearing a raincoat, creeps up on a male adversary and flashes him as she pops the question, "Quick, name three presidents."

After re-dubbing the dialogue, Allen still felt that the movie needed some padding so he added a few comic inserts featuring himself and a handful of sight gags, bringing the running time to barely over an hour. You'll notice that Allen makes four appearances in What's Up, Tiger Lily?: first as an animated character in the title sequence, then as an interview subject, later as a superimposed silhouette on the screen, and finally as an observer to a striptease performed by former Playboy centerfold China Lee (the real-life wife of comedian Mort Sahl).

After Allen left the project, the producer felt that the running time was still too short and stepped in to add additional scenes and several musical interludes featuring the top-forty hitmakers The Lovin' Spoonful, who perform "Fishin' Blues," "Respoken," "Pow," and other tunes. Allen was so angered by Saperstein's meddling with the project that he sued him and tried to halt the picture's release. His attitude changed though once the reviews began to appear and several mainstream critics actually praised the movie's sense of lunacy and comic invention. If nothing else, What's Up, Tiger Lily? launched Allen's directorial career and is a virtual blueprint of his humor and comic obsessions, which would be further developed in his later films. It was also during the making of this film that Allen married his fellow collaborator, Louise Lasser, who would later score a hit as the title character in the TV soap opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976).

The Image DVD of What's Up, Tiger Lily? is presented in its original 2.25:1 theatrical aspect ratio (enhanced for 16:9 TVs) and features one of the best color transfers we've seen in some time - a kaleidoscope of electric blues, reds, pinks and purples that make this shaggy dog of a movie a pure pleasure to watch. Although skimpy on extra features, the disk does include both the original theatrical audio track and the alternate audio version for the television release. The difference between the two makes for an entertaining comparison; the TV version offers a considerably more benign sense of humor, avoiding off-color jokes and sexual innuendo. For example, there's that famous scene where a prison escapee lands on Phil's car and hijacks it, leaving Phil's female companion chasing after it. In the original version, the woman calls out as the car speeds away, "Hey, you've got my vibrator!" But in the TV version, she fumes, "Hey, that's a rented car!" Otherwise, the only other extras are a Woody Allen filmography and a "hidden egg" which includes the recipe for Green Chili Egg Salad. It would have been fun to see the original version of Kagi No Kagi added as an extra feature but for Allen fans, this disc is the ideal showcase for his first solo effort.

For more information about What's Up, Tiger Lily?, visit Image Entertainment. To order What's Up, Tiger Lily?, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jeff Stafford

What's Up, Tiger Lily?

By today's standards, it doesn't seem like such a novel movie concept -- take a low-budget film, re-dub the soundtrack adding new dialogue, music and sound effects, and create an entirely new experience. That's what Steve Oedekerk did recently in Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002) -- he reworked a 1977 martial-arts movie entitled Savage Killers. And before him, the Mystery Science Theatre gang was dabbling in similar territory, inserting their presence into films like This Island Earth (1954) while providing a steady stream of wisecracks and insults to accompany the original soundtrack. The real master of the form, however, is Woody Allen, who first explored the concept in What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966), a crazy-quilt concoction - now availabe on DVD from Image Entertainment - that is alternately hilarious and absurd and includes random appearances by The Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian's folk-rock group. Sight and Sound magazine proclaimed it "a frantic counterpoint of sound and image as deliriously silly as a Tex Avery cartoon...this inspired screwball one-off remains as fresh as the day it was born." On the strength of his success as the screenwriter of What's New, Pussycat? (1965), a surprise box-office hit, Allen was offered an unusual project -- to write comic dialogue for a Japanese spy thriller entitled Kagi No Kagi (Key of Keys). American International Pictures, the distributor, had already created an English-dubbed version of the film, but when it was previewed before audiences it provoked intermittent gales of laughter. Producer Henry G. Saperstein suddenly had a brainstorm -- why not take it to the other extreme and record comical dialogue for the entire film? Allen's genius for one-liners and stand-up comedy were well known and he soon focused all of his attention on the re-editing and re-dubbing of Kagi No Kagi. Operating on a limited budget of $75,000, Allen and several actors, including Louise Lasser, Frank Buxton and Lenny Maxwell, holed up in a room at the Stanhope Hotel in New York City and screened the film several times, compiling jokes, one-liners and funny dialogue which were then worked into the script. The new plot centers around Phil Moscowitz, a Japanese imitation of James Bond, who is on a quest to find the world's greatest egg salad recipe, before it falls into the wrong hands. The outrageous incongruity of the whole enterprise is heightened even further by the ethnic New York accents (Allen, Lasser and screenwriter Mickey Rose provided the voices) emanating from the mouths of the Japanese cast. Typical of the film's humor is the scene where a scantily clad female spy, wearing a raincoat, creeps up on a male adversary and flashes him as she pops the question, "Quick, name three presidents." After re-dubbing the dialogue, Allen still felt that the movie needed some padding so he added a few comic inserts featuring himself and a handful of sight gags, bringing the running time to barely over an hour. You'll notice that Allen makes four appearances in What's Up, Tiger Lily?: first as an animated character in the title sequence, then as an interview subject, later as a superimposed silhouette on the screen, and finally as an observer to a striptease performed by former Playboy centerfold China Lee (the real-life wife of comedian Mort Sahl). After Allen left the project, the producer felt that the running time was still too short and stepped in to add additional scenes and several musical interludes featuring the top-forty hitmakers The Lovin' Spoonful, who perform "Fishin' Blues," "Respoken," "Pow," and other tunes. Allen was so angered by Saperstein's meddling with the project that he sued him and tried to halt the picture's release. His attitude changed though once the reviews began to appear and several mainstream critics actually praised the movie's sense of lunacy and comic invention. If nothing else, What's Up, Tiger Lily? launched Allen's directorial career and is a virtual blueprint of his humor and comic obsessions, which would be further developed in his later films. It was also during the making of this film that Allen married his fellow collaborator, Louise Lasser, who would later score a hit as the title character in the TV soap opera parody, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (1976). The Image DVD of What's Up, Tiger Lily? is presented in its original 2.25:1 theatrical aspect ratio (enhanced for 16:9 TVs) and features one of the best color transfers we've seen in some time - a kaleidoscope of electric blues, reds, pinks and purples that make this shaggy dog of a movie a pure pleasure to watch. Although skimpy on extra features, the disk does include both the original theatrical audio track and the alternate audio version for the television release. The difference between the two makes for an entertaining comparison; the TV version offers a considerably more benign sense of humor, avoiding off-color jokes and sexual innuendo. For example, there's that famous scene where a prison escapee lands on Phil's car and hijacks it, leaving Phil's female companion chasing after it. In the original version, the woman calls out as the car speeds away, "Hey, you've got my vibrator!" But in the TV version, she fumes, "Hey, that's a rented car!" Otherwise, the only other extras are a Woody Allen filmography and a "hidden egg" which includes the recipe for Green Chili Egg Salad. It would have been fun to see the original version of Kagi No Kagi added as an extra feature but for Allen fans, this disc is the ideal showcase for his first solo effort. For more information about What's Up, Tiger Lily?, visit Image Entertainment. To order What's Up, Tiger Lily?, go to TCM Shopping. by Jeff Stafford

Quotes

They wanted in Hollywood to make the definitive spy picture. And they came to me to supervise the project, you know, because I think that, if you know me at all, you know that death is my bread and danger my butter - oh, no, danger's my bread, and death is my butter. No, no, wait. Danger's my bread, death - no, death is - no, I'm sorry. Death is my - death and danger are my various breads and various butters.
- Woody Allen
But you said you loved me!
- Phil Moscowitz
I love you in my own way.
- Wing Fat
Meet me in the bedroom in five minutes and bring a cattle prod.
- Phil Moscowitz
I'm dying. Call my rabbi.
- Shepherd Wong
They kill, they maim and they call information for numbers they could easily look up in the book.
- High Macha Of Rashpur

Trivia

This movie is _Kokusai himitsu keisatsu: Kagi no kagi (1964)_ with new dialogue by Woody Allen dubbed in.

The two Japanese spy girls in the movie -- Akiko Wakabayashi and Mie Hama -- also star together in the James Bond film You Only Live Twice (1967).

Notes

Originally released in Japan by Toho Co. in 1964 as Kagi no kagi; running time: 94 min. Sold to Henry G. Saperstein and Ben Shapiro, who gave the film to Woody Allen. Allen erased the soundtrack, reedited the film, added several sequences, and dubbed in a new English dialogue, commentary, and music (original Japanese score was by Sadao Bekku). Only Japanese sequences were shot in Tohoscope. Title also rendered as What's Up, Tiger Lily?

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 2, 1966

Released in United States October 1966

Released in United States on Video March 15, 1989

Re-released in United States 1978

Re-released in Paris July 24, 1991.

Scope

Re-released in United States 1978

Released in United States on Video March 15, 1989

Released in United States October 1966

Released in United States Fall November 2, 1966