No. 1 of the Secret Service
|No. 1 of the Secret Service|
Original US film poster
|Directed by||Lindsay Shonteff|
|Produced by||Elizabeth Gray|
|Written by||Lindsay Shonteff (as Howard Craig)|
|Music by||Leonard Young|
|Distributed by||Hemdale Film Corporation|
|Running time||91 minutes|
No. 1 of the Secret Service is a 1977 imitation James Bond film starring Nicky Henson as British secret agent Charles Bind. It was directed and written by Lindsay Shonteff and produced by his wife Elizabeth Gray. The film had the working title of 008 of the Secret Service. It was released on VHS under the title Her Majesty’s Top Gun.
Eccentric Arthur Loveday decides to do his bit for world peace by having influential financiers assassinated. With regular law enforcement agencies powerless to prevent their deaths, Her Majesty's Government sends in their top agent Charles Bind who is licensed to kill.
Loveday accomplishes his deeds through an organisation of mercenaries named K.R.A.S.H. (Killing Rape Arson Slaughter and Hit). Bind takes them on with his pair of .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolvers and a .50 calibre M2 Browning machine gun for crowds.
Nicky Henson ... No. 1 / Charles Bind
Richard Todd ... Arthur Loveday
Aimi MacDonald ... Anna Hudson
Geoffrey Keen ... Rockwell
Dudley Sutton ... K.R.A.S.H. Leader
Sue Lloyd ... Sister Jane
Jon Pertwee ... The Rev. Walter Braithwaite
Milton Reid ... Eye Patch
Susan Baker ... Loveday's Girl
Jennifer Baker ... Loveday's Girl
Fiona Curzon ... Bar Girl
Jenny Till ... Vampire Girl
Katya Wyeth ... Miss Martin
Aspects of production
In 1965 Canadian director Lindsay Shonteff directed and co-wrote Licensed to Kill, a low budget British made James Bond imitation/parody exploitation film. Produced by James Ward, it starred Tom Adams as Charles Vine imitating Sean Connery as James Bond. With the popularity of the mid-1960s spy movie craze, American producer Joseph E. Levine picked up the film for American and worldwide distribution. He retitled the film The Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World and added a new title song sung by Sammy Davis Jr.
The international success of the film led to producer Ward and Tom Adams reprising Charles Vine in two sequels; Where the Bullets Fly (1966) directed by John Gilling and presented by Levine and the 1967 made in Spain film Somebody’s Stolen Our Russian Spy/O.K. Yevtushenko that languished in a vault until a release in the mid 1970s. Shonteff had nothing to do with those films.
With the continued popularity of the James Bond films starring Roger Moore in the mid 1970s, talk of Sean Connery reprising his 007 role in the planned James Bond of the Secret Service and the delay in the production of Eon Productions’ The Spy Who Loved Me, Shonteff thought he would return to the imitation James Bond field with his own film. The original title of 008 of the Secret Service was replaced by No. 1 of the Secret Service.
Perhaps to avoid rights difficulties with producer James Ward, Shonteff replaced the name of “Charles Vine” with “Charles Bind”, that was also the name of one of the characters in Carry On Spying (1964). Bind was played by a fair haired Roger Moore imitator, Nicky Henson. Bind’s M type superior Rockwell who was previously played by John Arnatt is now played by Geoffrey Keen who would later make appearances in several Bond films as the Minister of Defence.
“He sleeps with two .357 combat magnums and both eyes open”
"Tell the other guy to move over! I'm Number One"
“There’s no zero beside my name; I’m a winner in every game”
- Todd, Richard Caught in the Act Hutchinson (July 1986)
- p.72 Wood, Christopher James Bond, the Spy I Loved Twenty First Century Publishers Ltd, 31/08/2006
- p. 288 Derry, Charles The Suspense Thriller: Films in the Shadow of Alfred Hitchcock McFarland, 2001