Agent for H.A.R.M.

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
You know your lead is lame when the two women he scores with get more poster space than he does.

Agent for H.A.R.M. is a 1965 American Spy Movie.

The plot concerns the development and distribution of a biological warfare compound referred to as "spore." Said spore turns humans into "living fungus," rather quickly and is apparently painless. Comrade Basil Malko is developing the spore to destroy the population of the United States by dusting the crops. The only man that can stop him is Dr. Jan Stefanik, a biologist from behind the Iron Curtain.

After Stefanik defects from behind the Iron Curtain to the United States, his assistant is killed at his makeshift lab outside San Diego. The eponymous H.A.R.M. sends one of its agents, Adam Chance, to help protect the scientist. Unfortunately, there's various and sundry baddies led by the evil Malko, whom would love nothing more than to turn Stefanik into guacamole.

The film was intended for television as a pilot, but was inexplicably given a theatrical release. Even the director was surprised.

For the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version, please go to the episode recap page.

Tropes used in Agent for H.A.R.M. include:
  • Cardigan And Girdle
  • California Doubling: A drainpipe somewhere in the LA hills is supposed to be Eastern Europe.
  • Cold Open: The film opens on Stefanik's escape from Southern California--err, behind the Iron Curtain.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: Adam kills one of Malko's cronies by strangling him with a wire hanger from the back of the van he's driving - but not before forcing him to take him somewhere. Uh huh.
    • Chance attacks the Mook just as he's leaving the Big Bad's hideout. If the guy didn't keep driving the other Mooks would know something was wrong.
  • Dirty Old Man: Adam is easily old enough to be the extremely youthful Ava's father. This doesn't go unnoticed by the riffers, of course.
  • Downer Ending: Adam fails to protect Stefanik, fails to notice Ava's The Mole despite her being really bad at it, fails to find an antidote to the spore, and fails to even take the villain down properly (the critically wounded Stefanik does all the work). He only manages to succeed at stopping the rather low key crop dusting operation.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Since Ava was stupid enough to register for the Vienna Archery Competition using her real name, Adam easily caught her...after it was too late to actually do much except arrest her after she'd essentially done everything she set out to do short of escaping. So both of these morons get a round of applause for their ineptitude at their jobs.
  • Foot Focus: In one scene where Ava is changing clothes, there is a closeup of her feet slipping out of her sandals followed by her lifting her bare sole into the center of the camera frame in order to put on stockings.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Of the Desperately Shoehorned variety. H.A.R.M. stands for Human Aetiological Relations Machine. For the record, aetiology is the study of causation or origins. So, yeah, they couldn't have reached further if they'd used a cherrypicking machine.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Adam Chance gets to cop a feel.
  • Good Is Not Nice:

Chance: You think you can't get hurt because this is America? "Apple Pie", and all that jazz? Well, my job is to make sure that pie stays on the table - and nobody asks how I do it!

  • Gretzky Has the Ball: The "judo range".
  • Hot Scientist: Ava.
  • Informed Ability: Subverted in that Ava's terrible archery skills are lampshaded by Adam.
  • Look Behind You!: Spaz Chop!
  • Metaphorgotten: Adam's extended "apple pie" metaphor is a little... opaque. And probably not nearly as cool-sounding as he thinks.
  • The Mole: Ava
  • My Name Is Not Durwood: A meta-example. The poster for the film -- which you can see at the top of this page -- misspells lead actor Peter Mark Richman's name as "Mark Richmond."
  • The Pilot: Averted at the last moment.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Malko's minions include a guy that bears an uncanny resemblance to Prince and an odd Englishman.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Adam essentially fails entirely at his mission, only preventing the worst of Malko's plans from coming to fruition.
  • Smug Snake: Our hero, unfortunately.
  • Sociopathic Hero: While the modest cast list prevents him from racking up a significant bodycount, Adam is still pretty nonchalant when it comes to killing.
  • Useless Protagonist: Adam doesn't do much of anything aside from killing a couple henchmen and getting tricked. He doesn't even save the day.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Adam rescues the bikini-wearing Ava from Malko's henchmen he can be seen to (possibly accidentally) cop a feel.
  • You Just Told Me: Ava's real name. Even given that Chance called the Vienna Archery Competition to verify it, it's played as a damning self-incrimination when he addresses her with her real name and she responds. Despite the fact that they are completely alone in the room.