Directed by Woody Allen (Kinda)
“What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?” is the first film that Woody Allen ever “directed.” I use that word loosely because, really, it’s just a dubbed Japanese film. So, Allen acted more like an Additional Voice Over director than he did an actual director. In fact, supposedly Allen and Co. only created an hours worth of voice over for the film, and once the studio got a hold of the cut, they created the rest. (Including adding a ridiculously stupid and useless cameo from a popular band at the time.) This supposedly pissed Allen off to no end, and adding his experiences together from this film with his time spent on “What’s New Pussycat?” Allen realized that if he wanted to make a product he was proud of, he’d have to maintain complete artistic control. (Something he’s done ever since.) So, how does “What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?” hold up? It’s certainly charming and has some trademark Woody Allen humor, but at nearly an hour and a half long, it more or less turns into one extended and at times, annoying, joke.
I think that it’s hardly surprising to find out that the most amusing scenes of the film are those that involve Woody himself. His introduction to the film, intermissions, and final credits sequence are the funniest bits. The dubbing over of the Japanese actors is extremely funny at first, and after that, intermittently throughout. By the end of the movie however, you can’t help but realize that the entire film is a joke that has spread itself far too thin. Only twenty-four hours after having seen the film, I’m having trouble remembering any scene in particular that stood out (save for a hilariously twisted peeping show by the main character on a girl getting into a tub). “What’s Up, Tiger Lilly?” really serves to do nothing except (in retrospect) allow more exposure for a comedian that would quickly become one of the best filmmakers of all time.