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HISTORY

The film was originally released in Japan by Toho Co. in 1964 as Kagi no kagi ( Key of Keys, ) with a running time of 94 minutes. It was acquired for the U.S. market by Henry G. Saperstein and Ben Shapiro. Following the release of an English-language version in 1965, Saperstein and Shapiro gave the film to comedian Woody Allen, who erased the soundtrack, added new dialogue, commentary, and music, then re-edited the film, including several new sequences.
       On 16 Feb 1966, Var listed the film among 123 U.S. productions currently awaiting release. Three months later, the 21 May 1966 LAT carried an announcement from producer Henry G. Saperstein, crediting Woody Allen as both “an actor and adapter for the screen,” and claiming the film was shot in the Cinemascope process, although the Japanese footage was shot in “Tohoscope.”
       The picture opened regionally in autumn 1966, including a successful run in Toronto, Canada, mentioned in the 12 Oct 1966 Var . Reviews were mixed. While the 18 Nov 1966 LAT called it “a spoof to end all spoofs,” the same day’s NYT found the steady barrage of humor and the nonsensical plot tedious. The 11 Jan 1967 Var reported that the picture was considered among the ten best of 1966 by McClean’s magazine, and among the ten worst by critic Clyde Gilmour. According to box-office reports in 1967 issues of Var, the film continued to play in North America through the summer of that year.
       The 4 Dec 1966 LAT ... More Less

The film was originally released in Japan by Toho Co. in 1964 as Kagi no kagi ( Key of Keys, ) with a running time of 94 minutes. It was acquired for the U.S. market by Henry G. Saperstein and Ben Shapiro. Following the release of an English-language version in 1965, Saperstein and Shapiro gave the film to comedian Woody Allen, who erased the soundtrack, added new dialogue, commentary, and music, then re-edited the film, including several new sequences.
       On 16 Feb 1966, Var listed the film among 123 U.S. productions currently awaiting release. Three months later, the 21 May 1966 LAT carried an announcement from producer Henry G. Saperstein, crediting Woody Allen as both “an actor and adapter for the screen,” and claiming the film was shot in the Cinemascope process, although the Japanese footage was shot in “Tohoscope.”
       The picture opened regionally in autumn 1966, including a successful run in Toronto, Canada, mentioned in the 12 Oct 1966 Var . Reviews were mixed. While the 18 Nov 1966 LAT called it “a spoof to end all spoofs,” the same day’s NYT found the steady barrage of humor and the nonsensical plot tedious. The 11 Jan 1967 Var reported that the picture was considered among the ten best of 1966 by McClean’s magazine, and among the ten worst by critic Clyde Gilmour. According to box-office reports in 1967 issues of Var, the film continued to play in North America through the summer of that year.
       The 4 Dec 1966 LAT noted that the score by folk-rock band The Lovin’ Spoonful was written and recorded over a short period, explaining “the lack of variety among the tracks.” In his 2014 book, Do You Believe in Magic? Lovin’ Spoonful biographer Simon N. Wordsworth stated that Saperstein added footage of the band after Allen completed his edit. The comedian threatened to sue, but later relented following the film’s success. However, on 26 Jul 1967, Var reported that Allen filed suit against Kama Sutra Records, an affiliate of MGM, which released the soundtrack album, claiming his image appeared on the cover without his permission. Allen demanded “$50,000 property and $150,000 exemplary damages.” An unidentified MGM executive implied that there were no legal grounds for Allen’s complaint. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Los Angeles Times
21 May 1966
p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
14 Nov 1966
Section D, p. 23.
Los Angeles Times
18 Nov 1966
Section D, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
4 Dec 1966
Section B, p. 50, 64.
New York Times
13 Nov 1966
p. 147.
New York Times
18 Nov 1966
p. 33.
Variety
16 Feb 1966
p. 23.
Variety
7 Sep 1966
p. 42.
Variety
5 Oct 1966
p. 6.
Variety
12 Oct 1966
p. 4.
Variety
9 Nov 1966
p. 10.
Variety
30 Nov 1966
p. 7.
Variety
11 Jan 1967
p. 24.
Variety
7 Jun 1967.
---
Variety
26 Jul 1967
p. 75.
Variety
30 Aug 1967.
---
Variety
6 Sep 1967.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Henry G. Saperstein-Reuben Bercovitch Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Dir of Japanese vers
PRODUCERS
Exec prod of American vers
Exec prod of Japanese vers
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Scr for English vers
Scr for Japanese vers
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog for Japanese version
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
MUSIC
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Prod conception
Title seq
Title seq
Title seq
SOURCES
SONGS
"Pow" and "Pow Revisited," music and lyrics by John Sebastian, Joe Butler, Steve Boone, Zalman Yanovsky and Skip Boone
"Fishin' Blues," traditional, arranged and adapted by John Sebastian
"Gray Prison Blues," "Unconscious Minuet," "A Cool Million," "Lookin' To Spy" and "Phil's Love Theme," music and lyrics by John Sebastian, Joe Butler, Steve Boone and Zalman Yanovsky
+
SONGS
"Pow" and "Pow Revisited," music and lyrics by John Sebastian, Joe Butler, Steve Boone, Zalman Yanovsky and Skip Boone
"Fishin' Blues," traditional, arranged and adapted by John Sebastian
"Gray Prison Blues," "Unconscious Minuet," "A Cool Million," "Lookin' To Spy" and "Phil's Love Theme," music and lyrics by John Sebastian, Joe Butler, Steve Boone and Zalman Yanovsky
"Respoken" and "Speakin' of Spoken," music and lyrics by John Sebastian.
+
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Kagi no kagi
What's Up, Tiger Lily?
Key of Keys
Release Date:
1966
Premiere Information:
Baltimore opening: 2 November 1966
Los Angeles and New York openings: 18 November 1966
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Eastmancolor
Widescreen/ratio
Tohoscope, see note
Duration(in mins):
80
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
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 kidnapped by Asian 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 ... +


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 kidnapped by Asian 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. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.