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Agent for H.A.R.M.

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1966). Dimension VI/Universal Pictures. Produced by Edward F Abrams and Joseph Robertson. Directed by Gerd Oswald. Written by Blair Robertson based on his original concept. Cast includes Barbara Bouchet, Wendell Corey, Carl Esmond, Martin Kosleck and Peter Mark Richman. 84 minutes. Colour.

US special agent Adam Chance (Richman) is employed by H.A.R.M. (for Human Aetiological Relations Machine), an espionage agency led by Jim Graff (Corey). He is assigned to protect Professor Jan Steffanic (Esmond) a defecting Scientist from an unnamed country behind the Iron Curtain, as well as his niece Ava (Bouchet). Steffanic has developed a biological-warfare Weapon consisting of spores which can be fired into the human body like bullets, quickly causing death as the victim is consumed from within by flesh-eating fungus. He wishes to create an antidote to the spores, but before he can do so is kidnapped by Communist operative Basil Malko (Kosleck) from the beach house where Chance is hiding the pair. It shortly develops that Ava, with whom Chance has fallen in love, is also a Soviet spy. She tries to kill Chance but fails; he searches for the professor, finding him in a deserted warehouse where Malko is forcing him to work on a plot to spread the spores about the USA. A gun battle erupts; Steffanic sacrifices himself to destroy the spores, an act which also eliminates the remaining foreign agents. Finally Chance returns to the beach house in time to capture Ava before she can escape.

A very early example of "spy fi", Agent for H.A.R.M. was originally intended as the pilot for a Television series in the manner of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1968); for reasons which are unclear it was instead released theatrically. [GSt]


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