Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When I was a little boy, I used to love the Matt Helm films.

Hey pallies, likes one of the most popular Dino-reads on both the ol' net and here at ilovedinomartin is one scribed by Mr. Richard Metzger at the beau-ti-ful blog "Dangerous Minds."  That post is tagged Richard Metzger: The Time I Met Dean Martin and appeared here at ilovedinomartin on July 12, 2011.  As we sez, it has been a very very popular post here garnerin' over 5,700 hits.

Likes today we were thrilled through the efforts of google Dino-blog searchin' to find 'nother powerful post on our most beloved Dino from Mr. Richard Metzger  'gain at this blog "Dangerous Minds."  This time the Dino-scribbin's is accentin' one of the most fab of fab Dino-topics.....our Dino as swingin' spyster Matt Helm.  Richard has tagged his post  "SPY-FIDELITY: DEAN MARTIN AND THE SEXY LADIES OF THE ‘MATT HELM’ FILMS."

In this post, Mr. Richard Metzger  shares his wonderous wise insights into our Dino as Helm and his coolest of cool candid comments include that he has dug the Matt Helm flicks since he was a wee lad of five years old...now how cool is that pallies?!?!?!?!  Michael  shares, "When I was a little boy, I used to love the Matt Helm films. Of all the sub-Bond spy movie imitators of the Sixties, I liked the Matt Helm series the most. They were flashy, colorful, cartoony and quite frankly, they were simple enough for a bright five-year old to more or less understand them."

The post is simply burstin' with Dino-devotion in words, pixs and vid clips includin' the full length vid of the bestest of the best Helmers, "Murders' Row," from Daily Motion as well as an absolutely awesome trailer from said flick as well found at youtube.  In doin' some research we discovered that today's Dino-devotion comin' your way is a total refreshed and renewed....a  remarkable revision of a post that Mr. Metzger  first posted at his pad on September 25, 2009 and that we posted here on October 3, 2011.

While the patter is the same as the 2009 entry, Richard  has really beefed up his Dino-presentation with plenty of posters and pixs a la Helm includin' some of those glorious gals  "from Matt Helm promotional calendars from 1968 and 1969."   We likes sends out just a ton of kudos to our Dino-lovin' pallie Mr. Mr. Richard Metzger for 'nother absolutely awesome piece of Dino-prose sure to help many more into the Dino-fold.  To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this here Dino-report.   Dino-always, ever, and only, DMP


04:09 pm
Topics:  Movies
Dean Martin
Lalo Schifrin
Matt Helm

When I was a little boy, I used to love the Matt Helm films. Of all the sub-Bond spy movie imitators of the Sixties, I liked the Matt Helm series the most. They were flashy, colorful, cartoony and quite frankly, they were simple enough for a bright five-year old to more or less understand them. That’s how old I would have been when I discovered them. I thought Dean Martin was an actor who played Matt Helm, agent of I.C.E. (Intelligence and Counter Espionage), first, and a singer second. “He sings, too?” was kinda where my kid’s brain took it, it was even more confusing for me when “Matt” would listen to Dino’s records in the films.

The Matt Helm movies were fairly frequent “Movie of the Week” fare on network television in the early Seventies. I’d watch them each time they aired. I even read some of Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels which you could always find at garage sales for a dime. They were much more serious than the Matt Helm films’ decidedly light-hearted approach. There were a LOT of them, here are some of the titles:

The Removers
The Shadowers
The Ravagers
The Devastators
The Betrayers
The Menacers
The Interlopers
The Poisoners
The Intriguers
The Intimidators
The Terminators
The Retaliators
The Terrorizers
The Revengers
The Annihilators
The Infiltrators
The Detonators
The Vanishers
The Demolishers
The Frighteners
The Threateners
The Damagers

There’s been a rumor for some time that Steven Spielberg wants to revive the series. I kinda hope that doesn’t happen. What’s the point after Austin Powers?


 Dean Martin, as he pretty much did in nearly all of his movies, played a fictionalized version of himself—see Billy Wilder’s jaw-dropping Kiss Me, Stupid for the best (and most lurid) example— but in this case he was a jovial charming rogue of an alcoholic playboy super spy and not a jovial, charming rogue of an alcoholic playboy cowboy or a nightclub singer or airplane pilot, etc, etc. He was Dean Martin in James Bond drag, basically. And it worked. The Matt Helm films were some of the top grossing motion pictures of the Sixties. Even if they do seem dated, politically incorrect and sexist, they were really popular in their day.

The ladies of the Matt Helm films were truly impressive, let’s not forget about them. Some of the finest grade-A Sixties pulchritude to be found on the planet—Ann-Margret, Stella Stevens, the ultimate MILF Cyd Charisse (who was a very va va va voomish 45-year old when she made The Silencers), Sharon Tate, Tina Louise, Elke Sommer (how I adored her!) and Nancy Kwan (ditto!)—were all on the, uh, Dean’s list. You could certainly make the case that the Helm films rivaled the Bond films as eye candy for the male members of the audience. The ladies had Dino…

These pages are scanned in from Matt Helm promotional calendars from 1968 and 1969.

Tina Louise

Sharon Tate

Elke Sommer

Jann Watson

Alena Johaston

Penny Brahms
Marilyn Tindall

It’s interesting to note that although the Matt Helm series obviously grew out of a desire to copy the success of the Bond films with a home-grown Hollywood version (producer Irving Allen had fumbled the ball on Bond, having insulted Ian Fleming about his books potential as television projects), the James Bond franchise took on a decidedly Matt Helm-esque flavor during the Roger Moore years.

To get Dean Martin to star as Matt Helm, Allen was obliged to make him a partner in the film franchise. Martin ended up making more on The Silencers than Sean Connery made for playing James Bond in Thunderball. Soon after hearing of this, Connery renegotiated his deal.

Japanese Murderer’s Row poster

Below, Murderer’s Row with Ann-Margret and Karl Malden. Dig the FAB opening credits with a typically great score by spy-fi maestro, Lalo Schifrin.

Matt Helm - The Murderer's Row 1966 full movie by ursula-strauss

Here’s a trailer for the film that is typical of the whimsical attitude of the Matt Helm films. Clearly the man don’t give a fuck!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘The time I met Dean Martin…’: A True Story

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