Monday, June 22, 2020

Matt Helm’s Light Blue Knitwear in Murderers’ Row

Hey palllies, we are potently pleased to bring all youse Dino-philes the perfectly perfect pleasure of once 'gain returnin' to the swankest of swank style site,  "BAMF Style -Iconic style from movies and TV," where the purely profound proser  Mr. Nick Guzan (pictured on the left) has shared his most recent lovin' labor of  remarkably revelatory reflections on our beautifully beloved Dino as style icon extraordinaire.  Likes if you puts the tag BAMF Style into the ol' ilovedinomartin search engine on the left top of the home page you will be led to a powerful plethora of previous Dino-grams courtesy of Mr, Guzan.

Likes today's deepest of deep Dino-devotional  is tagged "Matt Helm’s Light Blue Knitwear in Murderers’ Row" and is stunnin'ly shared by Matt in huge homage of our Dino's 103nd anniversary of his descent to our planet.  Likes we keenly knows that all youse Dino-holics will greatly glory in yet 'nother extraordinary exhilaratin'  expose of our Dino's stellar style as superbly seen in Helmer numbero duo ( our personal fav of the Dino-quartet) "Murder's Row."

We've sez it before and likes we sez it 'gain that we stand in absolute, absolute awe of Nick's amazin' ability to supremely share in potent pixs and pure poetic prose  our incredibly iconic Dino as swingin' spyster Matt Helm,,the coolest of the cool, the hippest of the hip, the randiest of the randy.  Likes this time Nick has taken us Dino-adulaters over the marvelous moon with his incredible insights into our Dino's lounge wear as he makes the scene with Miss January in his round bed...truly the most profoundly provocative and extraordinary evocative moments in any of the quartet of Helmer big screen romps!

Likes pallies we coulda 'gain and 'gain pontificate  on and on 'bout Guzan's incredible insights into Dino as Helm and his wonderful wardrobe of trendy threads, but all that woulda do is delay all youse pallies from imbibin' intensely of Nick's wonderful work.  Once 'gain we profoundly praise and thoughtfully thank Mr. Nick Guzan for his wise words in reverently regalin' our one and only Dino and doin' his powerful part in bringin' pallie after pallie to deeper and truer Dino-adulation.  To checks this out in it's original source, likes simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-report.

We Remain,

Yours In Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

Matt Helm’s Light Blue Knitwear in Murderers’ Row

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)
Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers’ Row (1966)


Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent
New Mexico, Summer 1966
Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Happy birthday, Dean Martin! The charismatic entertainer known for his laidback charm and boozy, breezy persona was born June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio. Having established himself as a singer and actor, first in his partnership with Jerry Lewis and then among the swingers of the Rat Pack, Dino set out on his own direction in the mid-1960s, first with his variety series The Dean Martin Show on NBC and then his starring role as easygoing counter-agent Matt Helm in a multi-film franchise based on Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels. Unlike their more straightforward and serious source material, Martin’s Matt Helm movies followed the decade’s zeitgeist for spy parodies in the spirit of Carry On Spying and Our Man Flint. If you thought James Bond was a womanizer, lounge lizard Matt Helm proves that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
While the Rat Pack image may have been sharply tailored Sy Devore suits, Dino’s characterization of Helm preferred a more casual style consistent with his easygoing characterization, invariably wearing turtlenecks or soft knitwear unless the situation called for one of Martin’s signature dark dinner suits, though even this was still dressed down with button-down shirt, of course. Martin and team quickly followed the success of The Silencers with another Helm adventure, Murderers’ Row, released within the same year. This sophomore—and occasionally sophomoric—outing introduces us to Helm in his desert bachelor pad, conducting a photo shoot with a nearly nude blonde:
Well, you’re supposed to look cold, you’re Miss January… and what a way to start the year!

What’d He Wear?

Unwittingly marked for death by Karl Malden’s evil organization, Matt Helm easily succumbs to the undressed charms of “Miss January” (Corinne Cole), who—of course— turns out to be an assassin. She lures the sleepy ex-agent into bed and, with Helm distracted in mid-coital embrace, into his own swimming pool, which she rigged to explode with a “heliobeam” device, and…you know what? Let’s just cut to the clothes.
Bemoaning his extended efforts the previous evening with Miss November and Miss December, Matt dresses solely for leisure, outfitted in a sky blue “walking suit”, a soft-knit precursor to the leisure suits that would be popularized during the following decade.
The top of Matt’s walking suit is a short-sleeved sport shirt with a ribbed collar and placket, which fastens via five light blue plastic sew-through buttons from below the collar to the edge of the straight waist hem; Matt leaves the highest button undone over his chest, providing occasional glimpses of the gold necklace he wears under his shirt. The short, set-in sleeves are banded at the ends above his elbows, and the shirt is detailed with a slim-welted set-in pocket over the left breast.
Matt’s pocketless bottoms are a hybrid between tailored trousers and pajama pants. When his untucked shirt covers the waistband, we observe the soft if straight-legged structure of these trousers, from the creased flat front down to the plain-hemmed bottoms that break clean and high over his boots. Removing his shirt for an amorous interlude with Miss January, we observe the fully elastic waistband with only a squared tab to connect the hidden hook closure suggesting any sort of adjustable fit.
I'd never considered elastic-waisted trousers particularly fashionable, but their effect on Miss January has me rethinking this theory...
I’d never considered elastic-waisted trousers particularly fashionable, but their effect on Miss January has me rethinking this theory…
Matt Helm may be dressed for comfort, but he’s still on the clock and at least appoints his feet accordingly, sporting a pair of tan napped leather low ankle boots with low, gently slanted heels. These short plain-toe boots are slipped on with the ease of elastic over the instep, stylishly concealed by the long vamps. Matt Spaiser of the estimable The Suits of James Bond identified this as a specialty style of London luxury bootmaker John Lobb Ltd. in his expert analysis of James Bond’s varied slip-on footwear. As Dean Martin was notably a John Lobb customer in real life, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they crafted this pair for the crooner. Helm wears them with black socks, a jarringly high-contrast choice of hosiery for this light-colored outfit.
This promotional lobby card for Murderers' Row depicts Matt and Miss January in flagrante delicto just before she orchestrates his explosive assassination.
This promotional lobby card for Murderers’ Row depicts Matt and Miss January in flagrante delicto just before she orchestrates his explosive assassination.

What to Imbibe

Oblivious to the potential detriment of letting his guard down in front of his murderous model, Matt Helm fixes himself a libation, pouring a drop of orange juice into a rocks glass and filling the rest with gin.
While Matt’s morning pick-me-up doesn’t exactly appeal to me, I do envy his rotating bar setup, consisting of glass tumblers filled with his favorite spirits and mixers—namely whiskey, rye, gin, and orange juice, to name a few—rotated and poured with the press of a button. Apropos our hedonist’s smooth, booze-centric lifestyle, it’s hardly a necessary or efficient alternative to keeping a few of his favorite bottles neatly arranged on a bar cart as seen in The Silencers, but to argue for efficiency is to miss the point of Helm-style hedonism altogether.
It lacks the mid-century elegance (and automation) of Matt Helm’s example, but imbibers can affect their own dash of Dino drink-slinging with rotary dispensers like this.
"Ah, there's nothin' like fresh orange juice," Matt marvels.
“Ah, there’s nothin’ like fresh orange juice,” Matt marvels.
Despite the simplicity of its name, Helm’s concoction isn’t quite the celebrated “Gin and Juice” (in fact, it’s hardly juice!), but it does hearken back to the popularity of gin-and-orange juice cocktails during the pre-Prohibition era, namely the Bronx and the Orange Blossom. As it lacks the vermouth or the simple syrup required for each of these cocktails, respectively, Helm clearly isn’t making either of these, though his straightforward combination does resemble a simple cocktail, The Abbey, that takes this to the next level.
According to Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide, the Abbey is made by shaking an ounce and a half of gin, an ounce of orange juice, and a dash of orange bitters, strained into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a maraschino cherry.
Dean Martin and Corinne Cole in Murderers' Row (1966)
Dean Martin and Corinne Cole in Murderers’ Row (1966)

How to Get the Look

I had been considering one of Dean Martin’s dressier, tailored looks from the Matt Helm series for his birthday post, but the months on lockdown during the COVID-19 epidemic had me thinking about comfortable leisurewear. While Helm’s look at the start of Murderers’ Row may not appeal to most, it certainly illustrates a more stylish alternative to sweatpants and slippers.
  • Sky blue soft-knit sport shirt with ribbed collar, five-button ribbed placket, set-in breast pocket, and straight hem
  • Sky blue soft-knit flat front trousers with elasticized waistband (with hidden hook closure) and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Tan napped leather elastic-on-instep low ankle boots
  • Black socks
  • Gold necklace

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie or the whole four-film Matt Helm series.


Danny G. said...

Hey pals...this Nick fella seems to REALLY know cool cool fashions! Anyone who digs on Dino's duds is one cool cat in my book, mi amici!

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Danny-o, in Dino-addition, Nick knows how to powerfully potently pontificate on our Dino's swankest of swankest style! Keeps lovin' 'n sharin' our one, our only DINO!