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Film / OSS 117

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This page regroups the films adapted from (or inspired by) the OSS 117 Spy Fiction novels by French writer Jean Bruce, about the adventures of the eponymous secret agent, Hubert Bonnisseur de La Bath, code name OSS 117, created in 1949.

Older spy films

The older OSS 117 films haven't all been made by the same production house over the years. The most well-known ones are those of the series produced by Gaumont in The '60s, which were undoubtedly influenced by the success of that other spy film series.

  • OSS 117 is Not Dead (OSS 117 n'est pas mort, 1957), starring Ivan Desny
  • 1960s film series produced by Gaumont:
    • OSS 117 is unleashed (OSS 117 se déchaîne, 1963), starring Kerwin Mathews
    • OSS 117: Panic in Bangkok (Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117, 1964), starring Kerwin Mathews
    • OSS 117: Mission for a Killer (Furia à Bahia pour OSS 117, 1965), starring Kerwin Mathews
    • OSS 117: Mission to Tokyo (Atout cœur à Tokyo pour OSS 117, 1966), starring Frederick Stafford
    • OSS 117 - Double Agent (Pas de roses pour OSS 117, 1968), starring John Gavin
  • OSS 117 takes a Vacation (OSS 117 prend des vacances, 1970), starring Luc Merenda
  • OSS 117 kills the Horsefly (OSS 117 tue le taon, 1971 TV film), starring Alan Scott

Modern spy comedy films

The revival/reboot of the franchise since 2006 is defined by a radical tone (and even genre) shift, turning into a parody/satire that mercilessly lampoons the very genre, mentalities and political/historical eras the franchise originated in. They all star Jean Dujardin as 117, and two of them were directed by Michel Hazanavicius.

Tropes for the OSS 117 films in general:

  • Preppy Name: "Hubert Bonnisseur de La Bath".
  • Tone Shift:
    • The early films (from 1957 to 1971) generally stuck to the Spy Fiction genre without veering too much into comedic territory. The 2000s films starring Jean Dujardin are straight-up parodies of the spy genre meanwhile, being farcical from the first scene to the last.
    • Spy fiction-wise, the 1950s film was rather Stale Beer, then the 1960s films went full Martini flavored. The recent films since the 2000s are unabashedly Margaritas.

Tropes for the Jean Dujardin films:

  • Adaptational Nationality: Hubert is American (with French ancestry) in both the books and the older films, or at least his nationality was left ambiguous at best at times. He became purely and unambiguously French in the Jean Dujardin films.
  • Cringe Comedy: There's no shortage of moments in which OSS 117 embarrasses his female alter egos and people around him by being an all-around ignorant and awkward jackass.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    • The 1950s French political context is lampooned in the first film, with 117's colonialist and chauvinistic mentality and his over-the-top affection for (space-filling nonentity) then-French President René Coty.
    • A number of jokes concern Les Collaborateurs in the second film.
  • Idiot Hero: These films turned OSS 117 into a paternalistically racist, culturally insensitive, short-sighted, overconfident and nigh-clueless idiot. He has other qualities that allow him to triumph of numerous odds nonetheless, such as his luck, his determination, his fighting skills, and being occasionally cunning.
  • Logo Joke: All three films use period-appropriate Gaumont logos (respectively, The '50s, The '60s and The '80s). Seen here, here and here.
  • Parody: Of 1950s-1960s Eurospy fiction predominantly (including the original OSS 117 fictions), with some lampooning of the Sean Connery era James Bond films thrown in for good measure.
  • Those Wacky Nazis:
    • One of 117's numerous enemies in Cairo Nest of Spies is Colonel Gerhard Moeller, a former enemy of 117 during World War II, who set up shop in Egypt after the war. The "wacky" part comes from the homoerotic memories he has of his late comrade, which mirrors those of 117.
    • Heinrich Von Zimmel, the Big Bad of Lost in Rio, is a Nazi Grandpa who settled in Brazil. Wacky antics of his include failing to "establish the Fourth Reich", so he'll try to "establish a Fifth Reich", or invokedreplacing Jews by Nazis in Shylock's famous tirade from Act 3 Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice.