The handsome top agent Matt dies a tragic death in his bath tub - the women mourn about the loss. However it\'s just faked for his latest top-secret mission: He shall find Dr. Solaris, inventor of the Helium laser beam, powerful enough to destroy a whole continent. It seems Dr. Solaris has been kidnapped by a criminal organization. The trace leads to the Cote D\'Azur...
Dean Martin ... Matt Helm
Ann-Margret ... Suzie
Karl Malden ... Julian Wall
Camilla Sparv ... Coco Duquette
James Gregory ... MacDonald
Beverly Adams ... Lovey Kravezit
Richard Eastham ... Dr. Norman Solaris
Tom Reese ... Ironhead
Duke Howard ... Billy Orcutt
Ted Hartley ... Guard
Marcel Hillaire ... Police Capt. Deveraux
Corinne Cole ... Miss January
Robert Terry ... Dr. Rogas
\"Murderer\'s Row\" (19669), like all four of Deano\'s Matt Helmers, is so bad it\'s good.
Deano obviously never read a script beforehand, never cared about the plots...just plain never cared. I guess that was part of his and the film\'s charm. But it must have driven his directors up the wall, including \"Murderer\'s Row\'s\" Henry Levin.
The sets are cheesy as hell as is the music by Lalo Schiffrin. But veteran costumer Moss Mabry\'s creations (especially for the gals) are terrific. Very hip, very 1969 - yet still very cool today.
I am NOT an Ann-Margaret fan - never have been. But she\'s really good here. And glamorous Swedish actress Camilla Sparv...WOW~! Talk about beautiful! Bad guy Karl Malden is appropriately sinister, slightly amiable and yes, bad. And his right-hand man, Tom Reese (Sgt. Velie on one of the greats, \"Ellery Queen\") has a cool chrome steel plate atop his head - nifty gimmick.
Deano\'s four Matt Helm flicks, made in between taping his TV show and partying between 1966-69 were all the Andre Champagne of spy flicks compared with Bond as the Dom Perignon.
Why is it that I will ALWAYS watch them whenever they\'re on TV? I mean I\'m drawn like a fly to you-know-what. I can\'t resist them. I guess it\'s because they\'re a guilty pleasure. Cheesy but still a lot of really stupid fun.
MASTER PLAN: Operation:Scorch - use a new heat ray on Washington DC. After \"The Silencers,\" there was no where to go but with more fun in the sun with Matt Helm - poking fun, that is, at the James Bond spy genre. Dino Martin is as lackadaisical as ever as Helm, the part-time super agent, barely awake in some scenes and ready with the cute quips in, well, every line of dialog. To illustrate the difference between Helm & Bond: Bond, as an example, is allowed one minor joke during his usual mission briefing with M. Now, Helm jokes with his boss, MacDonald (James Gregory, reprising his role) during the entire session, even as MacDonald tells him that Helm may have to commit suicide during the mission. \'I ain\'t going\' Helm quips. The villains are again the evil organization Big-O(oh), who target all the major secret agents as the film starts, including Helm. But, this is one of those false deaths for the hero, just as was done in a couple of the Bonders (and they don\'t explain how Helm survives). The action takes Helm to Monte Carlo, where a primarily young crowd do a lot of dancing and swinging. Helm searches for a scientist who is providing Big-O (led by Karl Malden) with the final formulas for a super heat ray.
The action slows down at the mid-point, especially with the seemingly endless scenes of young folks shaking their bodies to sixties tunes. The filmmakers manage to work Sinatra in again in a sort-of cameo. The absurdity and sight gags are at the usual level: all of Helm\'s girlfriends attend his funeral dressed exactly the same. The main henchman walks around in public with this big metal plate covering the top of his head and no one notices. Helm drinks while driving and on the job, joking with the liquor bottles. Ann-Margret plays the daughter of the missing scientist and she\'s always great, no matter what she\'s doing, but she even gets quite involved in some strenuous action towards the end. Sparv is fine as the femme fatale, with her slightly exotic good looks, though she inexplicably seems to change sides near the end (Helm never even had a chance to seduce her). Malden as the head villain does not do as well, speaking with a dopey accent which fades in and out. He is the subject of an effective on-going gag with a gun that delays firing for a few seconds. The climactic action in the villains\' lair is not bad, with some actual suspense and humor mixed in, though the very conclusion on the hovercrafts, on the water, seems like an afterthought. The epilogue is just too silly. Helm would return in \"The Ambushers.\" Hero:6 Villain:5 Femme Fatales:7 Henchmen:6 Fights:6 Stunts/Chases:6 Gadgets:5 Auto:4 Locations:7 Pace:6 overall:6-
MURDERER\'S ROW is the second Matt Helm movie and just as sloppy and ill-conceived as THE SILENCERS. It\'s also just about as much fun. Dean Martin, clearly not sticking to any script, has a few funny one-liners and Ann-Margret is Ann-Margret...as a swinging sixties sex kitten, she\'s second to none. Karl Malden collects a paycheck as the villain and the stunning Camilla Sparv plays his moll. There are a few amusing scenes such as Dean in a line-up with two French peasants and the women\'s outfits are very Rudi Gernreich without actually being designed by Gernreich. The film, directed by Henry Levin, could just as easily have been named \"LONG SHOTS and STUNT MEN\" when you consider how few close-ups Martin has during the action sequences.
There\'s just one main reason to see this film.....ANN-MARGRET\'S FABULOUSLY FANTASTIC dancing, and her flashy swingin 60\'s costumes! Other then that, It\'s your typical Matt Helm film. Lots of confusing action..Matt gets the girl.. E.T.C. But it definitely showcases A-M as the ultimate triple threat that she is! LUV A-M, she\'s the greatest! Def. for A-M and Dean Martin fans