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Film / Fathom (1967)

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Fathom is a 1967 British spy comedy film directed by Leslie H. Martinson, starring Raquel Welch and Anthony Franciosa.

Fathom Harvill (Welch) is an American skydiver touring Europe with a parachute team. She is approached by a man named Timothy and taken to see Douglas Campbell, who claims to be an Scottish agent and wants Fathom to recover an atomic triggering mechanism for a nuclear weapon that has gone missing in the Mediterranean, hidden inside a figurine known as the Fire Dragon. Along the way, she meets Peter Merriwether (Franciosa), who's also searching for the figurine, and begins to suspect that Campbell is not all what he seems to be.


This film features examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Fathom almost name-drops the trope when at one point describes her problems as: "Treason, arson, murder and a parking ticket."
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Fathom, in particular when it comes to asking her about her name.
      Fathom: The name's Fathom Harvill.
      Mike, Owner of Casa Miguel: Fathom? How'd you get a name like Fathom?
      Fathom: It's short for Elizabeth.
    • Merriwether.
      Fathom: [after Merriwether reads out a serial number] Hey, that's my passport number!
      Merriwether: [looking at Fathom's passport] You know, your picture doesn't do you justice.
  • Extreme Sports Plot: Fathom being a skydiver is what attracts Campbell's attention in wanting her to use her abilities to search for the atomic triggering mechanism.
  • MacGuffin: The Fire Dragon, the Asian figurine in which the triggering mechanism Fathom is searching is hidden.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ms. Fanservice: Boy, they sure do find excuses to have Raquel Welch in underwear or in swimsuits that showcase her physique.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Fathom presents herself as "Harvill. Fathom Harvill." when she meets Serapkin.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Fathom makes it clear that yes, she has been told that "Fathom" is an odd name and has been asked about how she got that name a million times before.
    Serapkin: Please sit down, Miss...?
    Fathom: Harvill. Fathom Harvill. Please don't ask me how I got the name Fathom.
  • Wacky Americans Have Wacky Names: The protagonist of this film set in Europe is an American skydiver called Fathom Harvill.
  • Walking Swimsuit Scene: Fathom tends to constantly walk around in a swimsuit, or wearing open shirts that let the audience see the swimsuit underneath.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Rather understandably, lots of people ask Fathom how she got a name like that. She explains at separate points that it's because both her father wanted a tall son (fathom being a nautical length unit; as she states, "Papa was disappointed.") and because it's the initials of her rich uncles — Freddy, Arthur, Tom, Harry, Oscar, and Milton. When Serapkin tries to guess the reason for her name and muses that "your father wanted a very tall son," "you were named after wealthy relatives," or "as a child, you were very deep," Fathom responds, "Two out of three, that's not bad."
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Fathom states that her name was in part influenced by her father wanting a tall son, and that he was disappointed that was not the case.
    Reporter: Señorita, how did you ever get a name like Fathom?
    Fathom: A fathom is six feet. Papa was hoping for a tall son. Papa was disappointed.