What's Up, Tiger Lily?

Watch What's Up, Tiger Lily?

"He's not the world's greatest lover... but 8th place is not bad!"
  • PG
  • 1966
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 5.8  (9,939)
  • 63

What's Up, Tiger Lily? is a hilarious and unique film from 1966 that kicked off Woody Allen's illustrious career as a filmmaker. The film is a comedic reworking of the Japanese spy film "International Secret Police: Key of Keys," which Allen and his co-writer Frank Buxton have dubbed in English with entirely new dialogue and storyline. The result is a wacky, irreverent comedy that celebrates the absurdity of both the spy genre and the film-making industry more broadly.

At its core, What's Up, Tiger Lily? is a spoof of the classic spy thriller, complete with femme fatales, international intrigue, and high-stakes espionage. When a top-secret recipe for "Egg Salad Japanese" is stolen by a gang of nefarious villains, the International Secret Police are called upon to retrieve it. But when master spy Phil Moscowitz (played by Woody Allen himself) gets wrapped up in the case, things take a turn for the ridiculous. Along with the help of his bumbling sidekick, the hapless Wing Fat (played by Frank Buxton), Moscowitz sets out to save the world from the evil clutches of the criminals who seek to misuse the Egg Salad Japanese recipe.

But what sets What's Up, Tiger Lily? apart from other spoofs of the spy genre is its unique approach to storytelling. Rather than simply mocking the conventions of spy movies, Allen and Buxton have taken an existing film and inserted their own dialogue and narrative. As a result, the film switches back and forth between the original Japanese footage and newly shot scenes featuring the English-speaking cast. This creates a surreal and often hilarious effect, as the characters in the English version comment on the absurdity of the original footage, while the action often continues without their involvement. It's a bold and innovative approach that gives What's Up, Tiger Lily? a distinctive style and tone.

In addition to its clever approach to storytelling, What's Up, Tiger Lily? is also notable for its soundtrack, which features a wide array of music from the popular 1960s band The Lovin' Spoonful. The band's catchy, upbeat tunes provide a perfect counterpoint to the film's zany on-screen antics, adding to the overall sense of fun and irreverence. The Lovin' Spoonful also appear in the film itself, performing several musical numbers throughout.

Despite its off-beat humor and unconventional structure, What's Up, Tiger Lily? was a surprising success upon its release in 1966. It was praised for its inventiveness and earned a cult following among fans of both Woody Allen and the spy movie genre. Today, it remains a beloved and influential entry in Allen's filmography, and a classic example of how spoofs can be both hilarious and innovative.

What's Up, Tiger Lily?
What's Up, Tiger Lily? doesn't appear to be available from any streaming services.
Add this movie to your Watchlist to get notified when it's available.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.8  (9,939)
  • Metascore