(a.k.a. SPY SMASHER)
A sombre narration at the start of the show tells us that the Turkish government can no longer deal with problem of spies. Only one person, we're told, is dedicated towards smashing the various spy rings - the enigmatic (and appropriately named) Spy Smasher. And that is all you really need to know. However …
In opening scenes montage, we get to see the spies in action. Adorned in '30's style mobster get-up - Trilby hats, black suits and Tommy guns - we see them blow buildings and bridges up, shoot people at close range execution-style and steal copious amounts of other people's loot.
However, it's not long before four of the spies are stopped in their trails by Spy Smasher (Irfan Atasoy) and his girlfriend sidekick Sevda (Sevda Ferdag). A fist-fight ensues (curiously, as the spies are all armed) and the superheroes win, taking off on their motorcycle with the bad guys' loot.
Later that day, the same four spies steal a tape recorder holding sensitive political material, and plan to take it back to their lair for use by their boss, the mysterious Mask. However, Spy Smasher and his woman turn up in the nick of time and batter the spies senseless. Again.
Spy Smasher wakes one of the trounced spies and tells him to let Mask know that now has the tape recorder - and off he runs, with Sevda and the prized recording. Telling the spies that he has the one thing they want the most, can't be wise move … can it?!
Spy Smasher doesn't have the tape for long though. He breaks into high-ranking detective Mr Cavit's home one night and leaves the tape for him to discover. Quite why he thinks Cavit is the right person to leave such vital information with is unclear - Cavit, after all, can't be that good at his job, otherwise he'd have guessed that his daughter Sevda is Spy Smasher's masked accomplice!
Still, Cavit does the right thing and takes the tape to his captain, Mr Haydar. Haydar questions Cavit about Spy Smasher's identity, but Cavit doesn't know - nor does he know why Spy Smasher keeps liasing with him, or dropping clues on his doorstep. Haydar's having none of it though, and insists his colleague must know the vigilante's identity.
Meanwhile, back at the bad guys' lair, several spies are flogged with ropes for allowing the hallowed tape recorder to be stolen from them. It's here that a plan is hatched: kidnap an eminent British professor and arrange to meet the police at Black Mountain to stage a ransom/ hostage switchover. This, the spies believe, will lure in Spy Smasher … and revenge will be theirs.
Spy Smasher does indeed turn up at Black Mountain, but things don't go the way the spies had hoped. So, moving on to plan B, they set their targets on Cavit. After all, Mask's moll has been working undercover as Haydar's assistant, and has discovered that Cavit is a close friend of Spy Smasher's …
CASUS KIRAN is mental. It makes very little sense (concocting a synopsis was harder than it looks!), and the plot unravels at such breakneck speed that I was often left utterly baffled. It didn't help matters that there are a lot of characters getting introduced along the way - not of all of whom get much screen time devoted to them, so when/if they reappear later in the film you'll find yourself struggling to remember who they were!
But KIRAN is fun. It's incredibly fast-paced, with clumsy editing not even allowing for most scenes to end naturally before cutting away abruptly to the following scene. The film starts suddenly, ends suddenly, and rushes through one dangerously amateurish action set-piece to another in-between.
Performances are zealous to say the least, while the no-budget costumes and stunts can't help but be ultimately endearing. Where else but in vintage Turkish cinema would you get the two leads racing fatalistically on a motorcycle over uneven earth? At one point, it looks suspiciously as if the scene cuts mere moments before they crash …!
Badly made and guiltily enjoyable, CASUS KIRAN makes little sense but can boast that it's never dull, is surprisingly violent in tone at times and was successful enough on it's home shores to produce a sequel two years later.
Onar Films must be applauded from unearthing such an obscure gem. And fair play to Onar for being very honest on the back cover, in that "The only surviving elements were surely rotten but Onar's magic touch made the final result watchable enough".
And "watchable enough" it is. Although the black-and-white full-frame presentation may at first seem horrendous, you must bear in mind that this obscure 1968 Turkish film is lucky to even be seeing the light of day on DVD, let alone with extras.
Images are murky and soft, with poor contrast at times. But it IS watchable, and in a way the scratchy print adds to the film's zero budget appeal. The transfer is ropey, but through no fault of Onar's.
The Turkish 2.0 audio is a solid affair, offering a consistent and clear track. Optional English and Greek subtitles are at hand. I can't speak for the Greek subtitles, but the translation on the English ones is excellent.
An animated main menu gives way to static sub-menus, including a scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 8 chapters.
The disc opens with a text dedication to author Metin Demirhan, who worked tirelessly with Onar Films to produce many featurettes and provide many stills for them. He died of "brain bleeding" in November 2007.
Demirhan pops up posthumously (albeit off-screen) for an insightful 23-minute video interview with director Yilmaz Atadeniz, recorded on 11 September 2007. Although Atadeniz initially seems irritated by Demirhan's intelligent but long-winded questions, he provides thorough answers and in the long run Demirhan's questions coax out a good retrospective of the director's prolific career, from his start as an assistant director onwards. The featurette is presented in Turkish audio with optional English and Greek subtitles.
A biography and filmography for Atadeniz follows (12 pages in total).
A 15-page filmography for Atasoy has the added value of providing brief synopses for each film mentioned.
20 stills from CASUS KIRAN follow, each of which has been colourized.
The disc extras end with trailers for DEMIR PENCE KORSAN ADAM, KIZIL TUG CENGIZ CAN, ZORRO KAMCILI SUVARI and KARANLIK SULAR.
A nice added touch is the inclusion of a fold-out A4-size poster of the cover art, included inside the DVD box.
Finally, it's worth noting that as per usual this Onar release has an individually numbered cover, and is limited to only 1200 copies …
Great fun. Another welcome discovery from Onar Films.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Onar Films|
|Region All - PAL|
|see main review|