The Intelligence Men

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The Intelligence Men
The Intelligence Men.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Robert Asher
Written by Dick Hills and Sid Green
Starring Eric Morecambe
Ernie Wise
William Franklyn
Music by Philip Green
Cinematography Jack Asher
Edited by Gerry Hambling
Distributed by Rank (UK)
Walter Reade Organization (US)
Release date
  • 1965 (1965)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Intelligence Men is a 1965 comedy film starring the British comic duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise.

The film is subtitled "M.I.5 plus 2 equals 0". In the US, the film was retitled Spylarks[1].

The film was successful enough to enable Morecambe and Wise to make two further films - That Riviera Touch and The Magnificent Two.


Eric (Eric Morecambe) is happily serving espresso in his London coffee bar when a strange-looking man (Tutte Lemkow) tries to persuade him to remember a tune as a clue to some evil plot. Unfortunately, Eric is tone-deaf. Ernie Sage (Ernie Wise) enters the coffee bar and Eric tries to get him to identify the tune, without much success. Eventually Sage realises that this could be something to do with a forthcoming visit by a Russian trade delegation and an assassination attempt by an organisation known as "SCHLECHT"[2] to sabotage this mission. He reports this to his superiors in Military Intelligence (although he is little more than an office-boy), and they reluctantly agree that only Eric, having heard the tune, will be able to lead them to the centre of the plot. Eric is persuaded to pose as a British agent – the recently deceased Major Cavendish – who had managed to infiltrate SCHLECHT. After a few set-piece comedy interludes, the tune is identified and the plot switches to a performance of Swan Lake, the projected venue for the assassination. This section provides some of the funniest moments of the film- for example Eric, masquerading as a Russian, adopts a broad Scottish highland accent; during the ballet performance itself, Eric and Ernie, dressed in Egyptian costumes, get mixed up in the "Dance of the Little Swans". Finally, however, the villain is unmasked and all is well. Eric returns happily to his coffee bar.



Critic Leslie Halliwell awarded the film no stars, describing it as an "inept and rather embarrassing big-screen debut for two excellent television comedians".[3]

The film was one of the 12 most popular movies at the British box office in 1965.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^ this is German for "bad" or "evil", although there is little evidence of German involvement
  3. ^ Halliwell, Lesle (1997). Halliwell's Film and Video Guide. Harper Collins. p. 379. ISBN 0-00-638779-9. 
  4. ^ "Most Popular Film Star." Times [London, England] 31 Dec. 1965: 13. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 11 July 2012.

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