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Image Entertainment presents
What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

Majah: Good afternoon. I am the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur, a nonexistent but real-sounding country.
Phil Moscowitz: Uh-huh.
Majah: Yes. We're on a waiting list. As soon as there's an opening on the map, we're next.

- Unknown, Tatsuya Mihashi

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 06, 2003

Stars: Tatsuya Mihashi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tadao Nakamaru
Other Stars: Lovin' Spoonful, Woody Allen
Director: Woody Allen, Senkichi Taniguchi

MPAA Rating: PG for (contains adult humor)
Run Time: 01h:19m:48s
Release Date: July 15, 2003
UPC: 014381192322
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+BC D+

DVD Review

Woody Allen's star was only beginning to rise upon the release of the peculiar What's Up Tiger Lily in 1966. Joining with six other writers, he redubbed the entire soundtrack of the 1964 Japanese film, Kagi no Kag, and created a new picture. The new dialogue is very silly and often incorporates the lowest, most basic humor to generate laughs. The characters retain the dull racial stereotypes of the initial movie and utilize odd Peter Lorre-type accents. Allen's ingenious sense of comic timing does appear here intermittently, but the amount of filler material is higher than usual.

The plot is a ridiculous spy tale involving the search for an important egg salad recipe. Tatsuya Mihashi now stars as Phil Moscowitz, a womanizing and lucky guy who manages to avoid considerable peril to capture the prize. Many attractive women appear throughout the film, including Akiko Wakabayashi as his stunning accomplice, Suki. She escapes from jail and mistakenly believes that his car is her escape route, which brings them into a partnership. Further details about the plot are not really needed, as the story relies on odd punch lines to succeed.

The film's jokes are generally silly and extremely dumb, but I found myself chuckling at many of the lines. While looking at a map, one of the spies points at the building depicted and says the guy lives there. His colleague then asks if he lives "on that small piece of paper?" In another instance, a stunning girl enters the room wearing only a bathrobe and asks Phil to name three presidents. Several fist fights contain ridiculous sound effects and have characters yelling "take this and that!" as they battle. The projection even stops at one time during a dire moment with a snake.

Following several moments of unexplained action scenes, Woody Allen introduces the film and describes its purpose in a short discussion with an interviewer. They appear briefly during the story's middle act, but provide little more than face time for the director. Devoted Allen fans expecting a movie on the level of Annie Hall, Manhattan, and his other classic pictures will be extremely disappointed by What's Up, Tiger Lily?. Its scope is extremely limited and the laughs relate specifically to the jokes being told at the time. This silly experiment is worth seeing, but it only works if cinema lovers remember to leave their expectations at the door.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: What's Up, Tiger Lily? uses a surprisingly effective 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that lacks any major defects. Considering the significant age of the source material, the picture holds up very well to deterioration. There is a decent amount of grain and the clarity can only reach a certain level, but these issues never distract too much from the viewing experience.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish (theatrical and television versions)no


Audio Transfer Review: This disc offers a very lightweight mono transfer that does not appear to improve greatly over the television version. The dialogue is a bit clearer and the sound may have slightly more weight, but it still remains a mediocre track. The audio obviously stays very centralized and lacks the punch of even an adequate stereo version. Considering the mostly bare-bones nature of this disc, it is not a major surprise. Audio is provided in two versions—theatrical and television—which vary slightly for not always understandable reasons.

Audio Transfer Grade: C

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 19 cues
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: unmarked keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Audio comparisons
Extras Review: What's Up, Tiger Lily? contains a very small collection of extra features that are only partially useful. The inclusion of television/theatrical audio comparisons are helpful, but it would be better to understand why the changes were made. A few seem to relate to the material being risque, but others are different for no appearent reason. This feature allows you to play brief scenes using each audio version, which eliminates the need for searching through the feature. This release also contains the original theatrical trailer.

Extras Grade: D+

 

Final Comments

What's Up, Tiger Lily? is a silly picture that should make you laugh during the viewing, but will not remain with you long afterward. The cleverness of replacing the audio of odd Japanese films wears off relatively quickly and leads to an easy-to-watch, yet mindless experience. It's worth renting on a slow night for some laughs but never moves beyond that level.

 


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