In this, the first Matt Helm movie, we see Matt Helm coaxed out of semi-retirement by an attractive ex-partner. It seems that the evil Big O organization has a nefarious plan called \"Operation: Fallout.\" If this plan comes to fruition, Big O will explode an atomic bomb over Alamagordo, NM, and start WWIII. Only Matt Helm can stop them.
Dean Martin ... Matt Helm
Stella Stevens ... Gail
Daliah Lavi ... Tina
Victor Buono ... Tung-Tze
Arthur O\'Connell ... Joe Wigman
Robert Webber ... Sam Gunther
James Gregory ... MacDonald
Nancy Kovack ... Barbara
Roger C. Carmel ... Andreyev
Cyd Charisse ... Sarita
Beverly Adams ... Lovey Kravezit
Richard Devon ... Domino
David Bond ... Dr. Naldi
John Reach ... Traynor
Robert Phillips ... 1st Armed Man
The first in the Matt helm series; some say the best of all the James Bond spoofs. Violence and humor are equally mixed, as they are in the Bond pictures. *The Silencers* probably has the most alluring collection of femmes fatales as Hollywood has ever assembled. Klutzy (or is she really?) Stella Stevens, brunette Dahlia Lavi, blond Nancy Kovack, and dancer Cyd Charisse all have important roles. It is not giving away too much to say that of these four women, two are good, two are bad, and three of them suffer the fate of getting shot to death at surprising moments.
A bit of trivia: Beverly Adams, Helm\'s curvaceous secretary, married Yvres St. Laurent. And deadly Nancy Kovack married conductor Zubin Mehta, the lucky devil. Kovack, clad in only her high heeled shoes and one of Martin\'s white shirts, tries to seduce him into coming back to work for ICE, his old outfit. It is perhaps the most erotic three minute scene in any spy movie.
THE SILENCERS was the first in a line of spy films starring the legendary Dean Martin, but it will probably be enjoyed more by fans of old Dino than by fans of the genre. For one thing, there\'s no way it can be taken seriously as an action-adventure, with all of the star\'s mugging and leering, his double entendres, and frequent song parodies that come out of nowhere. But neither is it really a comedy, since there is a lot of realistic violence and mayhem.
Rather, it hovers back and forth and in between the two, a world in which Martin is completely at home as the all too casual superspy Matt Helm, agent for ICE (Intelligence and Counter Espionage). You know that he\'ll meander along in his own inimitable way, boozing, joking, and scoring, until he saves the world at film\'s end. If you accept that, then you can kick back and enjoy the show for its low-brow humor and the adequate action.
Forget the plot. I\'m not sure that I can explain much beyond relating that the evil BIG O (Bureau of International Government and Order) is out to start WWIII between the superpowers. The main bad guys are played by Victor Buono (made up to be Chinese!), Robert Webber, and Arthur O\'Connell. Each of them have done far better work elsewhere, and there\'s nothing in their roles here that couldn\'t have been handled by a call to central casting.
The ladies are another matter. Helm is joined by a partner, played by Daliah Lavi (in a step down from the previous year\'s LORD JIM), who tries very hard in her role. Making a better impression are Cyd Charisse and Stella Stevens. Charisse, the only female co-star in Martin\'s \"over forty\" age bracket, proves that she\'s still got it with a libido-raising routine during the credits, and turns up again later as an exotic dancer who passes along some vital microfilm during her act.
Stevens really livens things up, playing a redhead who is suspected of being an enemy agent, mainly because she was the girlfriend of Webber\'s character, and happens to wind up with the microfilm. She\'s innocent (well, at least of being a spy) but gets dragged along, accompanying Helm on his mission. Later on, her character turns out to be not as dumb as she seems, and does her part to battle the bad guys and save the world. While Dino as Helm is singlehandedly mowing down the enemy, she shows a lot more ingenuity with her clever use of the reverse-firing gun (you\'ll see).
Again, this film will be enjoyed if you know what to expect, and you\'ll know what to expect if you know Dino, who played Helm the way he played himself. If you\'re a fan of his well-worn persona, then that\'s probably good enough. Along with his easygoing style and humor, throw in assorted action sequences, and many beautiful women (especially sexy Stevens, who does a lot with her role), and you\'ve got THE SILENCERS. It succeeds as passable entertainment, and is certainly the best of the entire Matt Helm series.
This is the best Matt Helm film and along with the somewhat more serious Bulldog Drummond film, Deadlier Than The Male, one of the best tongue-in-cheek spy/adventure films ever made.
The production is breezy and entertaining, the direction is hilarious (Martin, Stella Stevens) and seductive (Daliah Lavi) and there are quite a few clever bits of strategy played out by all the characters.
Matt Helm likes his women but treats them with respect. The women, unlike in the Bond and Flint movies, are not just window dressing; They become integral to the plot.
The mixture of clever plot, sharp dialog and self-deprecating humor make this Bond alternative much more enjoyable than the pretentious, boring, self-congratulatory Flint films. Matt Helm wants to have a good time but knows when to get down to business.
Universal Pictures packages this film with the enjoyable film The Wrecking Crew. This package deserves to be part of any spy collection.
Yep, that\'s the premise, and the beginning to the silliest spy series, before a certain dentally-challenged International Man of Mystery arrived.
Dean Martin starred as Matt Helm, the lead character in a series of novels by Donald Hamilton. The books were serious spy adventures; but, there is nothing serious about the film series. Dean plays it tongue-in-cheek, often making fun of his own image and rivalry with fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra. The films are filled with strange characters and silly gadgets.
Martin has fun with the role and keeps the film rolling along, but Stella Stevens makes it memorable. She is sexy as hell, but is such a lovable klutz that she dominates every scene. Victor Buono gets to chew the most scenery this side of his Batman appearances.
The gadgets make James Bond look like a documentary: a gun that shoots backward unless the trigger is pushed, exploding buttons, a station wagon with a fold down bed and bar, and Helm\'s many household appliances.
These films were anything but serious, but this one is very entertaining. The films tended to get worse with each new entry, but most of the elements work well here. If you are looking for serious spy cinema, try 007 or Harry Palmer. If you want some goofy fun, try this.