Movie Review: Fanfare for a Death Scene (1964)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1964 made-for-TV movie starring Tina Louise and Richard Egan.

Synopsis: A scientist with a revolutionary new formula disappears and it is up to an American secret agent to find both him and his formula. Things become extra complicated when the agent realizes he is once again facing an old nemesis who, in addition to the secret formula, is interested in what other secrets the scientist may know.


My oldest daughter and I were watching an episode of "Gilligan's Island" a few days ago and I realized actress Tina Louise was the only star of the show I had not seen (or, at least I didn't remember seeing) in a movie. This made me a bit curious and I ended up searching Netflix for one of her films and I ended up watching this movie last night. As it turns out, if this was a good example of her film work, I can fully understand why she isn't memorable as a film actress.

The best way to describe this film, in my opinion, is it is a poorly executed Americanized version of James Bond. The secret agent (Egan) reminded me of the more famous spy in many different ways, whether it was flirting with the ladies or easily gaining the upper hand on the bad guys. The only main difference was he had a much better cover story (he had a day job as a business executive) but wasn't quite as classy overall.

One thing that really doesn't help this movie is the overall story just seems to be a bit choppy, as though the editors weren't really sure where to stop one scene and start the next one. It wasn't really that hard to follow along. But, it did make the film look like it was made on a very tight budget and the filmmakers didn't have the time or money to clean things up a bit.

Another thing I found I wasn't a huge fan of when it came to this movie was the music. This included the introduction, which was actually reaching a point where it was somewhat irritating to watch (it mercifully ending before I was able to fast forward through it) and the action-movie filler music in between some of the scenes. Again, it was something that just made the film look cheaply made and not as a good as a result.

Final Opinion

I think the movie had an interesting premise and, in many ways, Egan's spy character, Stryker, had the potential to be an American rival to James Bond. However, the movie just wasn't executed very well and, as a result of that, wasn't as enjoyable to watch as I hoped it would be.

My Grade: D

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Updated: 01/14/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner 3 days ago

Fanfare for a death scene appears not at all among my have-seen and my to-see films.

But that premise of the scientist missing with a secret formula asks for a film remake, correct?

In the current version, do we get to know what the secret formula does (and -- ;-D -- if it indeed does work)?

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