What’s Up Tiger Lily? (1966)

whats up tiger lily

“Oh never mind. If there’s no mayonnaise on board we’ll use Miracle Whip! Heee-yeee-he-he-ha-ha!”

The Scoop: 1966, Directed by Woody Allen and starring Tatsuya Mihashi, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tadao Nakamura and Susumu Kurobe

Tagline: WOODY ALLEN’S BACK!

Summary Capsule: Woody Allen re-dubs a Japanese spy film and changes the plot to the search for the perfect egg salad recipe. Hilarious dialogue, ridiculous situations and uncomfortably affectionate shadow puppets ensue.

Heather’s rating: 9 out of 10 jars of mayonnaise.

Heather’s review: This review has been one of the most confounding reviews in my high tenure of little over a year of mutandom to write. Somewhere around June I was introduced to this movie, which a friend assured me that I would absolutely hands-down love. His exact reasoning for this assuredness was “If you like MST3K then you’ll like this movie!” And that, my dear readers, is exactly the phrase that has been gnawing on my back like that green batch of ugly, Blanca. Actually I guess he was more into chomping on heads. And electrocution… but I digress.

My friend’s uttering of that phrase echoes what nearly every other person has said about this movie. It’s as if a wall has been put up between me and not sounding completely repetitive. It’s very difficult when a movie just needs to be written up on this site, and yet you feel as if what you say in your review is nothing but just a rehashing of everything else that’s been said.

Well now that that’s out of the way, I should note that everyone is right. If you like Mystery Science Theater 3000, then I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy this movie. Woody Allen took a hokey Japanese James Bond rip-off from the ’60s, re-dubbed the movie with  all-new, ludicrous dialogue, and cut and re-edited the scenes to change the plot from some typical spy fare to the search for the perfect egg salad recipe.

Woody Allen and friends do a great job with the voice work, and the dialogue is hilarious at times, but in the end this movie feels more like a lesser episode of MST3K. It’s good, but hits some dry spells with the jokes and gets slow at times. It doesn’t help that the cutting and re-editing gives a real disjointed feel to the film so that you can’t ever really follow what’s going on. Still, this movie keeps me coming back to it over and over and entertains me every time. It’s definitely got that odd ball quality and quirky humor that Woody Allen fans, and fans of cult films in general, really dig, baby. Groovy.

I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is a fantastic egg salad.

Intermission!

  • The sister Japanese spies in the film were renamed “Teri Yaki” and “Suki Yaki”. While that gets points for using my favorite food in the world, “sukiyaki” is pronounced “skee-yah-key”, not “soo-kee-yah-key”.  Japan uses the word “yaki” liberally in its cuisine, movie. Couldn’t you have gone with a word that you didn’t have to mispronounce? Like…Teppan Yaki? Okonomi Yaki? Tako Ya- okay so maybe not.
  • The movie’s original name is International Secret Police: Key of Keys. The original plot revolved around the search for a secret microfilm.

Groovy Quotes

Woody Allen: If you know me at all, you know that death is my bread and danger my butter.

Phil Moscowitz: Oh, by the way I was almost shot and killed before the opening credits.

Phil Moscowitz: Would you like to see my collection of off-color Italian hand gestures?

Shepherd Wong: You want egg salad, I’ll give you egg salad! Did you bring the mayonnaise?
Suki Yaki: Mayonnaise?
Shepherd Wong: I told you to take a jar!
Suki Yaki [thinking]: Boy is he weird.
Shepherd Wong: Oh, never mind. If there’s none on board, forget it. We’ll use Miracle Whip. Heee-yee-hee-hee-ha-ha!

The Interviewer: Woody, the story is a little bit difficult to follow. Would you give the audience and myself a brief rundown on what’s gone on so far?                                                                                                                                                         Woody [casually]: No.

Suki Yaki: Bring plenty of dynamite. It’s a big mutha.

Phil Moscowitz: Back off! My secret spy camera has taken pictures of you all through your clothes. Unless you release me, your naked photos will be sold in every school yard in Tokyo within the hour. Unless you are totally comfortable with your body, you must release me.

Phil Moscowitz: I’m going to decode some ancient erotic poetry: ”There once was a man from Nantucket..”

If You Liked This, Try These:

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie
  • Our Man Flint
  • What’s New, Pussycat?

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