HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Dark Phoenix
No Mercy
Arctic
Fate of Lee Khan, The
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
   
 
  Silencers, The Booze, Broads and Bossa NovaBuy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Phil Karlson
Stars: Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, Cyd Charisse, James Gregory, Beverly Adams
Genre: Musical, Comedy, Action, Science Fiction
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm novels centred around a grittier super-spy, prone to psychological angst, with little interest in booze, broads or bossa nova. Not so Dean Martin, who played Helm in four kitschy, colourful, double-entendre laden spy spoofs throughout the Swinging Sixties, kicking off with The Silencers. Retired from active duty with I.C.E. (Intelligence and Counter Espionage), super-spy turned playboy photographer Matt Helm daydreams about beautiful girls before a gadget laden bed slides him into a warm bubble bath with his gorgeous secretary Lovey Cravesit (Beverly Adams). Hey, “Pussy Galore” ain’t exactly subtle either.

Anyway, since Matt is living a swinging bachelor lifestyle, his boss Macdonald (James Gregory) fails to entice him back to work. That is, until a lady assassin takes a pot-shot at Helm and bombshell I.C.E. agent Tina (Daliah Lavi) persuades him to help trace an American scientist defecting to the world-conquering organisation Big O. Led by chubby Chinaman Tung Tzo (Victor Buono, with Fu Manchu makeup and groan-inducing chop suey accent), Big O plot to reroute the upcoming missile tests to Santa Fe, thus blanketing the South-Western United States with radiation. All they need is a computer tape with missile codes, which is where that defecting scientist comes in. Matt and Tina trail the tape to a swanky nightclub where their contact, exotic dancer Surita (legendarily leggy dance diva Cyd Charisse) performs an amazing floorshow. But Surita is shot, Tina is kidnapped and Matt is forced to team up with klutzy waitress Gail Hendricks (Stella Stevens) to foil Big O’s evil scheme.

Fans of Hamilton’s sober pulp thrillers were aghast, but the Matt Helm movies were pretty popular with moviegoers. Tailored around co-producer Dean Martin’s stage persona, their ramshackle plots are basically an excuse for him to trade boozy quips, croon silky lounge numbers and ogle more scantily clad starlets than the eye can clock. Modern audiences may not take too kindly to their casual sexism and those averse to Dino’s louche, easygoing charm will find them an endurance test, but the Matt Helm movies really haven’t a mean bone in their collective body. Those fond of the kitschy extravagance and lame humour of Moonraker (1979) or the Austin Powers movies will find themselves on familiar ground, and these predecessors are almost as self-aware.

Loosely based on the first Matt Helm novel, “Death of a Citizen”, The Silencers has at least some semblance of plot when compared to the later entries. While Martin eventually lapsed into autopilot, here he tosses gags and wild gadgets (including a backwards shooting gun and coat button hand grenades) with aplomb and sparks genuine comic chemistry with the talented Stella Stevens. In what became a reoccurring gag throughout the series, this finds Matt squabbling with Gail over her taste in music: Frank Sinatra singing “Come Fly with Me.” She obliges by switching the radio onto a certain booze-loving Rat Pack member performing “Everybody Loves Somebody, Sometime.” To which Dino observes: “Now there’s a guy who can sing.”

Daliah Lavi already had a host of Eurospy movies under her svelte belt, with kitsch classics like Casino Royale (1967) and Some Girls Do (1968) in her future. She could probably play sultry femme fatales in her sleep, but thankfully never did and brings a touch of exoticism to her meagre role. MGM’s production designers fashion a frothy, fantastical world keyed in to fantasies of the Swinging Sixties jet set, much as their musicals did for audiences in the Fifties. Speaking of musicals, Surita’s eye-popping floorshow provides the highlight of The Silencers, a plot point that oddly foreshadows one in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element (1997) (is Besson a Matt Helm fan?), while the opening credits also feature Cyd Charisse, as she lip-synchs the theme song by Vicki Carr. Matt Helm would return in Murderers’ Row (1966).

Click here to watch the movie

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3727 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: