What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (1966)

whats up tiger lily poster 1966 movie woody allen
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 4/10
Visuals: 4/10

Kind of fun intro and outro for the movie by Allen himself

The spy movie isn't very interesting and the dubbing isn't that clever

Movie Info

Movie Name: What’s Up, Tiger Lily?

Studio: American International Pictures

Genre(s): Comedy

Release Date(s): November 2, 1966

MPAA Rating: PG


Egg salad, here we come!

There are some things worth risking your for life…freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of the perfect egg salad recipe.  When secret agent Phil Moskowitz is hired by the Grand Exalted High Majah of Raspur to retrieve the elusive recipe, he finds himself caught in a life-and-death game to uncover the true recipe before rival spies retrieve it.

Directed by Woody Allen, What’s Up, Tiger Lily? is Woody Allen’s first feature film.  Allen introduces and concludes the film but the actual dubbed film is a combination of two Japanese films International Secret Police:  A Barrel of Gunpowder (1964) and International Secret Police:  Key of Keys (1965).  The movie was taken out of Woody Allen’s control, and Allen condemned many of the changes.


Hot Time Summer in the City…Oh wait, wrong song

Honestly, the movie isn’t that good or funny.  It is kind of like watching a bad episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the fun MST3K commentary of Tom Servo and Crow.  There are few little gags and quick comebacks that are funny, but they waste too many opportunities on stereotype jokes and really, really dry humor that is even too dry for it to be fun.  The real movie isn’t extreme enough to have fun with (it was originally about recovering some microfilm).  Naked Gun or even Police Squad! would be a better version for a similar style of humor.

The big objections Allen had to the final project is that the producer inserted The Lovin’ Spoonful into the plot.  Occasionally they just show up and start singing.  It does provide a bit of a soundtrack for the otherwise flat movie.  The Lovin’ Spoonful are just random and make little sense (granted the whole movie is about egg salad…but still).


Strip tease time!

The movie is pretty short and Allen’s intros and outros are the only really “fresh” feeling part of the film.  Allen explains the concept of the movie and shows a clip as a demonstration.  The end of the film features Allen talking with China Lee doing a striptease and some crazy credits.  It is the only sense of a Woody Allen humor, but even then it isn’t very smart…something that Allen is usually credited with.

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? is for fans only.  It really isn’t worth watching…it is dated, and very cheesy.  A person could probably name twenty similar styled movies that do it better (obviously Allen’s film is one of the earliest examples), and I wouldn’t be able to disagree with them.  Check out What’s Up, Tiger Lily? at your own risk…fortunately you don’t have to devote much time to it with a short runtime.  Following What’s Up, Tiger Lily, Allen next directed Take the Money and Run in 1969.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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