"How did you get a name like 'Fathom'?" "It's short for 'Elizabeth'"
Well, not really, but "Fathom" abounds in plenty of silliness with several hysterical moments - a bullfight being a main politically incorrect highlight - involving the voluptuous Raquel Welch (free from her prehistoric dish towels in "One Million Years B.C."), Tony (Anthony) Franciosa (sporting a sandy-brown mop), and Clive Revill (back in another spy spoof, after a more limited role in "Modesty Blaise, this time wielding a 'terrifying' dual-bladed pocket watch!). Long a veteran of spoofing, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple toned down his "Batman" sensibilities in adapting Larry Forrester's novel for the big screen, and episodic television director Leslie H. Martinson's rare foray into feature territory delivers an lofty balance of smooth camera movements, stunning Spanish locations, and gorgeous aerial photography (with assistance from second unit/associate producer Peter Medak).
Jacque Dubourg and Douglas Slocombe's Cinemascope lensing is faithfully preserved in Fox' gleaming anamorphic transfer, ably showing off Spain's mountainous regions and coastal towns, along with the solid colour schemes of Welch's ever-changing wardrobe. Maurice Binder's customized (and ludicrously phallic) title sequence also benefits from this excellent transfer.
The psuedo-stereo mix is adequate, although the roughness and shrill present in the mono mix (also included on the disc) are slightly emphasized by the boost in the track's mid- and high-range sonics. The otherwise well-balanced soundtrack shows off John Dankworth's Mancinesque score, after dipping into jazzy-pop kitsch in "Modesty Blaise."
Like 20th Century Fox's "Our Man Flint" and "In like Flint" DVDs, there's the same collection of trailers, and alongside thelabel's other spy spoof "Modest Blaise," the Amaray case is a creamy orange sorbet.
© 2002 Mark R. Hasan