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Raquel Welch was a HUGE movie star in the sixties. All the reasons why are on ample display in the campy spy adventure FATHOM, released in 1967.

The year after she exploded to stardom in "One Million Years BC" and "Fantastic Voyage", Welch branched out into this comic thriller that benefits greatly from her outlandish 60's bikinis and outfits.

Welch is professional skydiver Fathom Harvill (rolls off the tongue eh?) who quickly becomes ensnared in a complicated cross/double-cross web of Government Agents, thieves and eccentrics in pursuit of a priceless Chinese art piece.

Tony Franciosa (TV's Matt Helm) sports a lot of blonde hair and pearly whites as Peter Merriweather, a playboy dancing on both sides of the law.

As the bodies pile up around Fathom wherever she goes, Welch changes outfits every four minutes, spends more time in the water than she does in the air while making every sixties adolescent's dreams come true.

The story is goofy, the characters are bizarre, the locations exotic and the music score by John Dankworth is Austin Powers groovy baby.

It's shot by Douglas Slocombe (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Lion in Winter) and looks way better than it should.

But every time you think it looks high-end, Director Leslie H Martinson brings the whole thing crashing to a silly halt with all the class and seriousness be brought to TV's "Batman" for many episodes and the feature film that was a huge hit in theatres back in 1966.

If Raquel was as talented as she is beautiful, she would have been the Meryl Streep of the era. She's pretty wooden throughout, delivering every line of dialogue with the same hesitant delivery of someone reading a script for the first time.

But did I mention the bikinis?

Welch and Franciosa are clearly having a lot of fun in the action scenes, but they're not really edited with enough clarity to create any tension.

One scene sums up the movie pretty well. The bad guy is out in a little motor boat with Welch. He had a loaded harpoon gun that he fires repeatedly at her, somehow missing every time. Since she manages to execute pretty consistent form rising out of the water before she dives, it take a real sense of fantasy to imagine why he aims so long without pulling the trigger.

Maybe they were counting on us being WAY too distracted by Welch in her bikini to keep track of the action.

They're not wrong.

I'll give this ridiculously dated action flick a D.

But Welch is stunning. Did I mention the bikinis?

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