(A.k.a. GOLDEN BOY)
After almost succumbing to the pressures of an increasingly cut-throat world in the circles of genre DVD distribution, it's marvellous to see Onar Films back with another sterling slice of vintage Turkish mayhem ...
This time around, it's the 1966 comic-book spy film ALTIN COCUK - which bears no small resemblance in content to a certain James Bond. Only, this is the Turkish variant ... so, expect everything to be turned up to 11!
A brunette (Sevda Nur) strips to her underwear for her fella, special agent Altin Cocuk (Goksel Arsoy) beneath the opening titles. While they proceed to make love afterwards, a frogman emerges from the lake outside and approaches their waterside abode brandishing a spear gun.
The unfeasibly smug-looking Altin reaches for his gun but is too slow and the frogman shoots him through the heart. "You killed my golden boy" wails the sexy brunette, but - wait! - all is not what it seems ...
It turns out that the man she had been canoodling with was actually a master of disguise called The Wolf, who had undergone plastic surgery to look like his nemesis! Cute. Altin then forgives his woman for cavorting in bed with his look-alike, and gets it on with her himself.
Their necking is cut short when Altin's boss rings and delivers his latest secret mission to him: get on an aeroplane and foil the plans of a dastardly villain (Altan Gunbay) who threatens to blow Turkey to smithereens with his latest nuclear bomb acquisition.
Following a few minutes of enjoyably needless travelogue footage that end with Altin snogging a mystery blonde, we then get to meet the bad guy - and see precisely what Altin is up against. As it happens, it's a Blofeld-type baldie ... wouldn't you just know it?!
As ever, these Turkish films are madcap affairs that prove very enjoyable to watch but difficult to synopsise. This is because they all feel like they started with a script, then swiftly discarded it and made the rest up as they went along. The only trouble being, no one bothered to check for consistency or continuity in the editing suite afterwards.
It matters not, as ALTIN COCUK is a most entertaining proposition. It never pauses for breath while unravelling it's confused plot with comic-strip aplomb. The entire cast appear to have left their cars in limited parking spaces and are rushing to get the scenes over quickly so they can go and move said vehicle, while the editing is typically severe - further adding to the overall manic pace.
Gunbay is a brilliant villainous presence, which makes up for the fact that Arsoy is a little lacking in charisma in the hero role - despite the filmmakers' best efforts to sell him as a ladies' man. Still, he has Sur to fall back on. And she's hot.
Looking at other aspects of the production, the film is directed with little flair but plenty of panache by Memduh Un and benefits from a marvellous assortment of Turkish pop songs on the soundtrack.
I also enjoyed the bevy of cute ladies willing to soon become scantily clad throughout the film, and the English subtitles which - while perhaps not altogether accurate, I wouldn't know - do a fine job of making the snappy proceedings seem even more in-your-face and amusing as a result.
What else is worthy of note? Oh yeah, it looks as though a few of the actors - including Asroy - do their own stunts. And everything is happily free from subtext: what you see is what you get - a barmy crime caper pitting a mad villain against a suave hero, with loads of hot fillies and Turkish scenery to fill in the gaps.
ALTIN COCUK is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame. I'm guessing this is its original aspect ratio, and it certainly appears to be correctly framed. Black-and-white images exhibit faded blacks but healthy contrast, while natural grain is kept under control and the sharp picture doesn't really suffer from the specks that dart occasionally across the screen.
The Turkish mono audio track is cleaner, despite being somewhat muffled at times. But, as there are perfectly readable optional subtitles available in both English and Greek, this doesn't pose much of a problem.
A nice animated main menu page is our first indication that Onar Films are maintaining their standards elsewhere on the disc too. From there, a colourful animated scene-selection menu allows access to the main feature via 8 chapters.
The main bonus feature on the disc is a good 16-minute video interview with Gunbay, conducted by an attractive dark female. He's only too keen to discuss his career in films and his penchant for playing the bad guy. Aged but looking well, he's a good interviewee and this is a most welcome addition to the disc. This comes with optional English and Greek subtitles, for those of us not adept at following Gunbay's Turkish musings.
From there, we get trailers for KARANLIK SULAR, LOST KILINK, KIZIL TUG CENGIZ HAN, CASUS KIRAN and RINGO GESTAPO'YA KARSI - which is a new one on me.
That's not all. Ever to go the extra mile, Onar Films also offer a photo gallery of 10 stills, and a good 4-page article on Turkish spy films entitled "Turkish Intrigue".
A selected Turkish spy filmography follows, along with enlightening biographies and filmographies for Gunbay and the achingly pretty Nur.
Finally, Onar Films have continued their agreeable trend of including a fold-out poster reproduction of the DVD cover art within the keepcase packaging. Nice work.
Another excellent Turkish film ripe for discovery and subsequent cult-dom, on yet another spiffing DVD from the ever-reliable Onar Films. Long may they prosper.
Review by Stuart Willis
|Released by Onar Films|
|Region All - NTSC|
|see main review|