The 1960’s was the decade of the spy film thanks to our pal Bond, James Bond.
There were countless imitation spy movies that came out in the wake of the popularity of the 007 series. One of them was the Matt Helm films.
Starring Dean Martin, Matt Helm was an American spy spoof of the Bond series. Armed with plenty of gadgets, gorgeous girls and Dino songs popping up throughout his adventures, Matt Helm ended up starring in four films from 1966 to 1969.
Being a Bond fan I had always heard of the Helm films, but never got around to watching them. I always thought Dino was one of the coolest cats ever (who didn’t), a silly spy spoof is something I’m always up for seeing and the 60’s with the gorgeous girls in their snazzy outfits and the Vegas era music for me will never go out of style.
I finally got to watch the first Helm film – The Silencers. I thought it was ok. Dino is certainly the best part in it, but there are some funny gags, really silly gadgets and Dino gets a nice joke in aimed at Frank Sinatra (you’ll just have to see it).
It’s certainly not a serious movie, but they ever planned it to be. It’s just meant to be a fun romp of a movie. Stella Stevens got on my nerves after awhile though, but I’m certainly planning to continue to watch the rest of the films.
For essentially what I thought was a pretty disposable film I probably wouldn’t bother bringing it up or recommending it to anyone, unless your a spy film fanatic. And in that case you ‘ve probably already seen it.
No, the reason I bring up this film is because the opening title sequence had my mouth drop and my eyes open. It was one of the most hypnotic numbers dance numbers I’ve seen.
After a brief pre-credits sequence to set up the story, two dancers arrive on stage individually to shake their tootsies to a jazzy number and do seductive strip teases alongside the opening credits.
They depart and we watch Dancer Cyd Charisse get introduced. She is credited as a “guest star” and lip syncs the title song performed by Vikki Carr while performing an incredibly sexy strip-tease style dance. I’m so ashamed of myself that I’ve just stumbled onto this sequence now!
I really wish her number went on longer…..
Since the film was released in 1966 there is no nudity, but that doesn’t stop Charisse’s number from being one of the sexiest I’ve seen in a long time. It certainly shows how talented Charisse was and how incredibly sexy she could be with her dancing, her attitude, her performance. She just oozed sex appeal. This was no young innocent girl dancing, but a real woman!
And I don’t say that because she was forty-four years old when she filmed this scene, but because she clearly could just work her thing so expertly! Plus, the song is terrific.
I can easily imagine if I had been twelve and seen this in 1966 I would never have forgotten her! I don’t doubt when the young kids decided to to see this spy film and saw this opening it left quite an impression on them.
As for the film itself…..eh it’s ok. The best thing about it is Dino as Helm and Charisse’s opening number. Maybe I’ll like the second Helm film Murderer’s Row a bit more.
As for now The Silencers made me wonder – Why don’t movies have opening credits like this anymore!
The only thing I can add here is that Tony Martin, Cyd Charisse’s long time husband. was a VERY LUCKY man. Good luck checking out the rest of Matt Helm (you’ll need it getting through The Ambushers). My humble opinion: The Wrecking Crew. the final entry, is surprisingly the best of the bunch.
I agree, the Wrecking Crew was some movie.