The Russian Spy Idea

Leading from
 Ash the Robot

Donald Pleasence as the Russian spy in Fantastic Voyage
Dan O'Bannon: It annoyed me when they did it because it was what I called The Russian Spy. It was a tendency in certain types of thrillers, when people are on an interesting mission to stick in a Russian spy. One of them is a spy and they don't know which one, he's trying to screw up the mission, Fantastic Voyage had that. When I saw Fantastic Voyage, I thought it annoying, you're just about getting ready to head off into body of this person and have this fantastic mission to go through his blood stream , get to his brain, save him when you're informed that one of them is a Russian spy and he's going to, er, stop the mission from its completion, and instead of it adding any genuine suspense, it did was annoy me and made me think, "Oh I see, so maybe now I don't get to see what I want to see in the movie because the Russian spy will prevent it. It's a tensioning device which is commonly resorted to and doesn't work because it doesn't provide any real suspense, it doesn't do anything except provide, um, finger exercise for the writer who thinks that all stories must have subplots, so I think its an inferior idea of inferior minds, well acted , well directed, and fortunately it occupies little enough screen time that it doesn't disrupt the main plot."
(Alien commentary, Quadrilogy, 01:18:29 - 01:19:29.)

Fantastic Voyage poster


  1. It might have seemed that way for Fabtasic Voyage, but I personally thought the Ash subplot worked perfect. For some reason, I can't remember any of these comments from Dan on the Quadrilogy commentary! Guess I'll have to have a listen once again since it's been a while. Loving these article's wmmvrrvrrmm.

  2. Many thanks, I still have to finish transcribing both versions of the quadrilogy commentary which is slightly different on the Blu-Ray version, it is a bit confusing working out what might have been misheard by me and might be for many others