Moore Not Less - That Lucky Touch
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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