Monday, May 07, 2018

.....and they're all loose, fun portraits of their era and perfect vehicles for Dean Martin.

Hey pallies,  likes today we wind up our swank series of  Matt Helm Dino-grams excellently emanatin' from the potent pad of our Dino-holic pallie Dr. K at "DR. K'S 100 SUPER SPECTACULAR PAGES 100."   Likes over the course of this last Dino-week this delightful dude Dr. K., the "Dr." reverently referrin' to his bein' "an English professor at a small university in South Carolina," has shared his incredible insights into our Dino as swingin' spyster Matt Helm in the quintessential quartet of '60s spy flicks.

Likes today we share Dr. K's remarkable review of the last of the Helmers, "The Wrecking Crew."  First of all we wanna say that we are profoundly pleased to have been able to find replacement vids for all the original vid clips that Prof K offered a decade 'go when his powerful posts were first posted.  These vids add so so much to Dr. K's sweet scribin's.

Dr. K evaluates WC as "probably my least favorite of the Matt Helm movies," and we can understand why he says this, 'though Helmer tres, "The Ambushers" is our least fav.  He does a coolly credible play by play of this Dino-epic and we once 'gain appreciate the noteworthy nuances that adds to the basic plot line.  We were thrilled that at the end of this final Dino-gram from Dr. K he gave a shout out to our humble little Dino-pad by sayin', "Check out dino martin peters's I Love Dino Martin blog, which features some great Dinopix in the monthly Dinocalender."  It's not a feature that we have done for a long time, and it is worthy of our Dino-consideration to do it 'gain.

Likes as we conclude this huge homage of our most beloved Dino by Dr. K, we shares our awesome appreciato for his deepest of deep devotion to our Dino, and once 'gain we apologize that it took us a decade to gets these most Dino-honorin' thoughts up here at ilovedinomartin.  To checks this out in it's original format, simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-report.

We Remain,

Yours in Dino,

Dino Martin Peters


Matt Helm Week: The Wrecking Crew!

Despite some nice moments, The Wrecking Crew is probably my least favorite of the Matt Helm movies. It was directed by Phil Karlson, who also directed The Silencers, and its main problem is that repeats a lot of bits from the first movie. For example, Matt is introduced here through another dream sequence where he fantasizes about the models he's photographing.

However, here, the models are just standing around while he takes his nap. Huh?

There's also a line in one of the songs about "a cow that gives scotch." That's just too much.

The plot of The Wrecking Crew involves the theft of $1 billion in gold from a train guarded by ICE agents. Matt is brought in by the president himself to find the missing gold in 48 hours, before the markets get wind of the loss and a global financial collapse occurs. ICE is pretty certain that Count Contini (Nigel Green) is behind the theft, but they need to find the location of the gold, and Matt is sent to interrogate Contini's disgruntled ex-lover, Lola Medina (played by Gilligan's own Tina Louise).

Lola, however, is killed by an exploding scotch bottle while preparing Matt a drink, once again reinforcing the series' ambivalent attitude toward alcohol.

One of the film's major weaknesses is the presence of Sharon Tate as Helm's bumbling partner, Freya Carlson. Freya is primarily an extension of Stella Stevens's clutzy character in The Silencers, and Tate plays her with little enthusiasm. It is difficult to tell if Tate is a bad actress here, or if she is resisting playing the character as ditzy as the script demands. The script certainly isn't much help, as it requires her to vascillate inconsistently between competence and ineptitude. In the first movie, Stevens, at least, seems to be enjoying herself playing a similar role, and perhaps Tate would have been better off playing a more effective, competent partner like the characters that Ann-Margret and Janice Rule play in the previous two movies. By the end of the movie, it even seems like Dean is getting fed up with her.

Elke Sommer appears as the femme fatale and Nigel Green plays the villain, Count Contini, and next to Karl Malden, he's probably the best villain in the series. He performs the Count as a bored aristocrat who is completely confident in his plan, or "schedule" as he so frequently says with that particular British pronunciation. Both Sommer and Green appeared in similar roles in the 1967 Bulldog Drummond film, Deadlier than the Male, one of my favorite of the Bond knock-offs of the period.

Here's an early meeting between the Count and Matt Helm, which also leads to one of the film's first fights. The camera Matt uses is meant to blind anyone exposed to the smoke.

While The Wrecking Crew may be the worst Matt Helm movie, Dean Martin does kick somebody in the face, so it has that going for it. Also, one of the goons in this scene is played by Chuck Norris, and Bruce Lee is listed as the "Karate Advisor" for the film. All that should make this an awesome film, but it only ends up making it a curiosity.

Mack David and DeVol perform the film's theme song, "The House of 7 Joys," which wins the award for the most culturally uncomfortable theme song in the series, featuring a chorus that contains the line, "Ah so, ah so, welly nice!" Here is a lengthy scene that takes place in "The House of 7 Joys," and it's one of the more entertaining parts of the movie, with a nice pay-off at the end. You also get to see Nancy Kwan as the unfortunately named villain "Yu-Rang."

And finally, here's the fight scene between Sharon Tate and Nancy Kwan. The scene, unfortunately, does not live up to the potential that a girl fight between these two actresses, choreographed by Bruce Lee, should have.

It seems clear to me at the end of this scene that Dean Martin has become impatient with Sharon Tate, as he appears to be treating her a bit rough.

The ending of the movie promises the return of Matt Helm in The Ravagers, but the fifth movie was never made. I'm not sure why the series ended at this point, though it seemed to have run out of steam, and the whole spy craze was coming to an end as well. But, nonetheless, Dino cranked out four of these movies in three years, and they're all loose, fun portraits of their era and perfect vehicles for Dean Martin.

Thanks to everyone who showed up here for Matt Helm Week, especially dino martin peters and rogue spy 007, who provided fun, encouraging comments every day. Check out dino martin peters's I Love Dino Martin blog, which features some great Dinopix in the monthly Dinocalender.

I have some plans for covering other 60s spy movies here in the near future, so keep checking back!


Danny G. said...

Man! That was cool, pal! Thanks for bringin’ to the blog once ‘gain. It was definitely lotta fun & definitely the bestest reviews of all the 4 Helmers that I’ve ever read. Hopefully some new readers to our cool cool blog will go dig up some Helm flicks & watch the master weave his magic! Keep the Dino flowin’, pallies!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Danny-o, that's quite a cool compliment to give Dr. K. Stay tuned for more Dino-helmer action tomorrow and Wednesday. Keeps lovin' our one, our only DINO!