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STANLEY BAKER BONDS ESPIONAGE IN 'INNOCENT BYSTANDERS'

James Bond style poster art from 1972 Rating: ***1/2

Square-jawed British actor Stanley Baker was "considered" for James Bond... ironically he resembles Sean Connery and starred in HELL DRIVERS where a young Connery began...

Skip to... fifteen-years later, after super-star Connery left the iconic spy role, Baker starred in a movie so Bondish that... just hearing the flaunting, jazzy, repetitive score, you'd think INNOCENT BYSTANDERS was yet another 007 entry, including power-hungry villains, led by the most famous of Bond foes, Donald Pleasence, danging a carrot to lesser corporate heavy Dana Andrews...

The first who Baker's agent/assassin John Craig works for, sent on what's basically a suicide mission to retrieve a rogue Jewish scientist, making the action-packed scenes when he's in the dark work best — and is where ITALIAN JOB director Peter Collinson uses enough signature 1970's zoom shots to put a dozen Kung Fu flicks to shame... BYSTANDERS even includes karate fights between "Craig" and scene-stealing mercenary couple Darren Nesbitt and Sue Lloyd, who call him "old man" and needed more overall screen-time... Instead, forced, semi-likeable comic relief Warren Mitchell as an Australian con man and the INNOCENT character in Geraldine Chaplin's mousy ingenue, conveniently kidnapped and along for the ride — from England to Turkey — slows both the pace and Baker's no-nonsense tough guy, who becomes so pitifully vulnerable, anyone expecting daring-do adventure from a daring-do adventurer will eventually tire of the poor guy getting captured, tortured, and recaptured: What Wouldn't Bond Do.   

Stanley Baker in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS with Geraldine Chaplin
Stanley Baker in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS with Dana Andrews
Dana Andrews in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Sue Lloyd in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker and Geraldine Chaplin in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker and Geraldine Chaplin in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Donald Pleasence and Dana Andrews shake on INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Donald Pleasence and Dana Andrews in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Dana Andrews in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Pauline Chamberlain and Stanley Baker in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Dana Andrews phones in for INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker and Warren Mitchell in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker and Warren Mitchell in HELL IS A CITY over a decade earlier
Stanley Baker and Warren Mitchell in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS
Stanley Baker takes aim in INNOCENT BYSTANDERS

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