Hammerhead (1968 movie poster).jpg
Original film poster
Directed byDavid Miller
Written byJohn Briley (adaptation)
Herbert Baker
William Bast (screenplay)
Based onHammerhead
by James Mayo
Produced byIrving Allen
StarringVince Edwards
Judy Geeson
Peter Vaughan
CinematographyWilkie Cooper
Kenneth Talbot
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Music byDavid Whitaker
Irving Allen Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • April 1968 (1968-04)
Running time
99 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Hammerhead is a British Eurospy thriller film directed by David Miller and starring Vince Edwards, Judy Geeson, and Diana Dors.[1] Its plot concerns a criminal mastermind who attempts to steal NATO secrets, with an American agent hot on his trail. It is based on the 1964 novel of the same title by English novelist James Mayo, and produced by Irving Allen and written by Herbert Baker, who made the Matt Helm films for Columbia Pictures. It was filmed in London and Portugal.


British intelligence asks a soldier of fortune, Charles Hood, to go to Portugal and help stop an international criminal mastermind called Hammerhead, who plans to steal a secret report on nuclear defence.

Hood manages to board the yacht owned by Hammerhead, a collector of valuable erotic art. He is distracted along the way by model Sue Trenton and a pair of Hammerhead's mistresses, Ivory and Kit.

Hammerhead intends to kidnap Britain's NATO delegate, Sir Richard Calvert, and replace him with a lookalike, Andreas, a master of disguise. He finds out Hood's identity and traps Sue and him inside a coffin, but they manage to escape. Kit and Andreas both are killed, while Ivory does away with Hammerhead personally, using a harpoon.



The film was based on a novel by James Mayo published in 1964.[2]

Film rights were bought by Irving Allen, the producer. Allen had, at one time, been in partnership with Albert Broccoli, who wanted to make movies based on the James Bond books; Allen did not, the partnership ended, and Broccoli had a huge success with the Bond movies. Allen moved into espionage films himself with the Matt Helm series, and he bought the film rights to Hammerhead. In 1967, Allen said: "at this stage I'm only interested in making money. I'm not interested in kudos or getting good reviews - I've had all that. I'm just concerned with getting the greatest number of people into theatres."[3]

In May 1967, Allen said the project was on a slate of seven movies he had with Columbia, others being: Cromwell; The Black Frontier; The Wrecking Crew; Savage Canary; The Pocket Venus and The Ambushers.[4] In June of the same year, Allen announced he had signed David Miller to a three-picture deal, starting with Hammerhead, which he would make in London, the following September, from a script by Jack Brierley and Herbert Baker; Allen wanted it to be the first in a series.[5] After that month, Allen announced he had also signed Vince Edwards to a three-picture contract starting with Hammerhead.[6] Edwards described his part as "like Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon".[7]

The original plan was to film in France but this was changed to Portugal.[8] That August, Allen announced Judy Geeson would co-star.[9]

The production of the film was delayed because Columbia contract star Vince Edwards suffered a bone-fracture during the filming in Portugal in 1967.[10]

Diana Dors had previously appeared in another spy movie, Danger Route.[11]


The Los Angeles Times called it "overfamiliar and mechanical, a jaded Bond".[12]

The film was a box office disappointment and there was no sequel. Quentin Tarantino said he was a "big fan" of the movie, but disliked Vince Edwards' performance, even though he generally enjoyed Edwards as an actor. He felt Robert Culp would have been better casting.[13]


  1. ^ BFI.org
  2. ^ Books Today New York Times 18 Nov 1964: 44.
  3. ^ Allen at Helm of Production Thomas, Kevin. Los Angeles Times 6 July 1967: e14.
  4. ^ Fran Jeffries Gets 'Revenge' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 25 May 1967: e11.
  5. ^ Psychotic Role for Tuesday Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 16 June 1967: c13.
  6. ^ Multi-Film Agreement Signed Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 22 June 1967: d9.
  7. ^ 'Ben Casey' Edwards Is on the Verge of Marriage Dorothy Manners:. The Washington Post and Times-Herald 20 June 1967: B5.
  8. ^ Billy Bishop Story on Film Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 15 July 1967: 17.
  9. ^ Producers Go 'Underground' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 5 Aug 1967: 18.
  10. ^ The Film Daily: Volume 131 1967
  11. ^ Vagg, Stephen (7 September 2020). "A Tale of Two Blondes: Diana Dors and Belinda Lee". Filmink.
  12. ^ 'Hammerhead' on Citywide Screens Champlin, Charles. Los Angeles Times 16 Aug 1968: f16.
  13. ^ "Quentin Tarantino introduces and discusses "Hammerhead"". MovieMadMatt. 17 August 2019. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021.