AKA The Love Factor

DIRECTED BY: Michael Cort

FEATURING: Robin Hawdon, Yutte Stensgaard, James Robertson Justice, Dawn Addams

PLOT: While in bed with a blonde, a secret agent flashes back to his last mission, when he was in bed with a blonde while he was supposed to be out investigating a gang of female aliens abducting girls in miniskirts.

Still from Zeta One (1969)

WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: There’s camp value, and lovely birds in and out of teeny tiny miniskirts, in this soft porn parody of Barbarella and the Bond movies, but you have to sit through a ridiculous amount of padding to get to the “good” (and to the “weird”) stuff.

COMMENTS: When there are no naked women on the screen, you may try to entertain yourself during Zeta One by musing about Robin Hawdon’s mustache and its role in the plot. You see, in the flashbacks, alleged superspy John Word sports dashing soup strainer, but in the present time, he’s clean-shaven. But it’s not that the director simply forgot that he had a mustache in earlier scenes. The first time we see Word he’s wearing a fake mustache, which conspicuously falls off when he’s startled by Ann Owen, the sexy secretary from his secret agent office, who has snuck into his kitchen to pump him for information about the mission he just completed. To divert her questions, and to fill up time, the couple play a real-time game of strip poker: we watch them shuffle the cards, deal them out, consider their hands, draw, exchange bets and double entendres, lay down their hands, and then—the loser takes off her shoes! On to the next hand. This procedure burns up ten minutes of screen time, before they fall into bed and pillow talk turns into potential treason as Word flashes back to his last mission. It’s twenty minutes into the film, and the plot is just starting. That plot involves a race of all-female topless aliens who are kidnapping leggy young Earth women and training them to be the next generation of girlnapping topless aliens (for reasons I never quite puzzled out), while a portly supervillain-type is trying to horn in on the alien action (again, I have no idea why), and so hires a volunteer stripper to be abducted so she can scope out the alien civilization of “Angvia.” Once Her Majesty’s Service (or whomever) gets an earful of this scheme they call in Word, who, manly stache intact, just happens to be rolling around in bed with two naked blondes when he gets the call to action. But the plot continues without Word, who procrastinates by bedding another swinging chick, until he finally finds the time to go to central headquarters (where he encounters the film’s only funny joke, a wisecracking elevator). At no time does putative protagonist Word actually appear in the same scene with the villains, the aliens or the abducted stripper. His parts all appear to have been cheap padding added later. Which is a shame, because the few scenes the filmmakers managed to shoot for the sexy sci-fi parody they were making before the money ran out weren’t bad, and might have made a decently campy 45-minute film. That movie had geometric futurist sets decorated in bold primary colors, lots of those lava lamp/kaleidoscope freakout psychedelic effects (often incorporating nude women into the hallucinatory tableaux), and an army of kung-fu alien babes in bikini bottoms, pasties and pageboy wigs. The wraparound movie just has a smarmy would-be Bond lying in bed with naked women reminiscing about exploits he was not involved in in any way. But what about his fake mustache? My proposed solution to the facial hairpiece conundrum is to speculate that Robin Hawdon was called in for two separate rounds of padding: once when he was sporting a hearty lip bush, and a second time after he had shaved it off for another role. To explain the follicular discrepancy, they filmed a scene where he takes off a fake mustache, but they couldn’t think up any way to go back and insert dialogue in the earlier part of the film to explain why he needed a lip toupee to entertain Swedish stewardesses in his bachelor pad in the first place. But, why not just keep the fake mustache on for the new scenes? I have no good answer for that—maybe starlet Yutte Stensgaard refused to kiss a mustachioed man.

According to Nick Gillies at Den of Geek, the continuity director of Zeta One petitioned IMDB to have her credit on this film removed from the movie database!


“…encapsulates everything that was weird and not-so-wonderful about the [swinging London] era.”–Gordon Sullivan, DVD Verdict (Blu-ray)

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