Moore Not Less - That Lucky Touch

that lucky touch roger moore
After finishing The Man with the Golden Gun, Roger was eager to stay busy and agreed to make a romantic comedy which was eventually titled That Lucky Touch for producer Dimitri de Grunwald. The original title of the film was Who Needs Friends? but someone obviously took a a dislike to this and changed it. The film was released in 1975. Roger's main reason for signing on was the chance to work with Sophia Loren - who was slated to play opposite him as the female lead.
Unfortunately for Roger, Dimitri de Grunwald couldn't get Loren and they only found out she wasn't going to do it with two weeks left until shooting commenced. Roger suggested his Gold co-star Susannah York instead and all agreed this was a good idea so York replaced the missing Sophia Loren. The original intention of the producer had been to pair together Peter Sellers and Loren but Roger got the Sellers part in the end. One could presume that Dimitri de Grunwald probably thought it would be more of a coup to hire the actor who was the current James Bond.
The director of That Lucky Touch was Christopher Miles. Here is some trivia that will never be of much use to you: the following year Miles directed Alternative 3 - a clever mock documentary broadcast on British television. It was written by David Ambrose. The documentary reports an ongoing case of 'brain drain' with scientists going missing in strange circumstances and eventually reveals a chilling secret.
It transpires that because of pollution the Earth will not be habitable for much longer and only three things can save the human race. We can either depopulate drastically, live underground in bunkers, or - alternative 3 - elites and scientists can go and live on Mars and start a new civilisation. It seems that alternative 3 is the preferred option as space travel is far more advanced than the authorities have let on. So that means the elites will skip off to Mars and us poor oiks are doomed. Left on Earth to perish.
Naturally, it was all a hoax (it was supposed to be broadcast on April the 1st) but viewers began to bombard Anglia television with calls, many of them apparently believing what they had just watched was a real documentary. Alternative 3 is a highly influential and clever piece of television that still causes ripples in the conspiracy theory world today.
Anyway, back to That Lucky Touch. The film was made in Belgium and Roger enjoyed his time there with co-stars like Shelley Winters. The film was not a success though and has been practically forgotten today. This is another of those Roger Moore films that I personally can't ever remember encountering on television. That Lucky Touch seems to have vanished into a black hole.
Producer Dimitri De Grunwald said of this of the film in its press publicity - "Our film has one object, and that is to entertain. We aim to make That Lucky Touch a comedy of style and sophistication, a fun picture for a world audience". Well, let's see if Dimitri succeeded in that lofty ambition shall we?
That Lucky Touch is a rather strange film that hasn't survived the passage of time terribly well. It's supposed to be a romantic comedy but doesn't have much in the way of romance or comedy that actually works. Roger plays Michael Scott in the film. Scott is a playboy arms dealer living in Brussels who is trying to interest NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in some of his wares. Yes, I know. It doesn't exactly sound like a great jumping off point for a romantic comedy.
The film begins with Roger shooting machine guns in the woods and throwing hand grenades. It's an eccentric start to this romantic caper. We intercut with Susannah York as Julia Richardson - an investigative rreporter and single parent who is covering the NATO wargames due to take place. We see Julia putting a piece of paper in a typewriter and that's basically it as far as any evidence of her journalism skills go in the film. It will come as no surprise that this mismatched pair meet and eventually fall in love.
The jaunty title music to That Lucky Touch sounds like a Bless This House spin-off film with Sid James and then - just to complete the very seventies comedy aura - you see that Donald Sinden is in the credits. Despite the rather bizarre set-up (NATO wargames, arms dealing etc) That Lucky Touch is a very disposable and lightweight comedy in the end.
This was one of the last films of Lee J. Cobb, here playing the grouchy Lieutenant General Steedman at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Shelley Winters is his wife Diana and they try to get some mileage out of jokes like her phoning him at work when he's got more important things to do or is expecting some high ranking politician to be on the line. Cobb and Winters are doing their best but the film's screenplay just isn't very funny.
lucky touch roger moore
That Lucky Touch looks a little drab and murky these days (maybe there simply isn't a very good print of this film?) although it's enjoyable all the same to see all the authentic location work in Brussels. If you like European set films made in the seventies you'll enjoy some of the scenery if nothing else.
Roger cited the pacing as a problem with the film in his autobiography and one can see what he meant. Scenes linger on for longer than they need to and situations that are supposed to be amusing are dragged out too much. That Lucky Touch is far too languid and unfocused to fully engage. It should have more zip and spark. This is also one of those films that can't seem to decide what it is even supposed to be. A romance? A satire of the military and government? A caper?
Roger coasts along in the film, never taking anything too seriously. He still has that youthful Live and Let Die look at times and it works for his rakish character. He and Susannah York are clearly at ease with one another but her character is somewhat ill-defined and you never really believe that she's a hardbitten journalist.
Michael Scott is supposed to be something of a sexist and louche but as Roger always looks vaguely aristocratic and has a likeable screen presence it's hard for him to mine this aspect of the character convincingly. With a funnier script and better editing That Lucky Touch might have been an enjoyable showcase for these actors but as it is it falls short of the mark.
The rest of the cast is fine if not especially memorable. Donald Sinden plays a British general at NATO and - with his timing and sense of comedy - works quite well with Cobb. You might recognise Julie Dawn Cole, the girl who plays the Steedman's daughter. She played Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory with Gene Wilder. 
This is a strange sort of film that doesn't really linger in the memory for very long and is a slight chore to get through at times. That Lucky Touch is just about worth a watch for Rog completists but you wouldn't be missing an awful lot if you never got around to it
- Jake

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