Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cinema Tuesdays {The Silencers}

I had a great deal of trouble deciding on which one of the many spy-spoofs to end February with and finally picked The Silencers from 1966 for two reasons:
First, Cyd Charisse sings and dances to the title song.
Second, Dean Martin plays Matt Helm, the semi-retired agent who now works as a fashion photographer. I've never understood the fuss about Jerry Lewis as I've always thought that Dean Martin was the funny one. Anyway, Matt Helm is basically Dean Martin as a spy. Plus, he is the only spy in which we hear his thoughts, in the form of his hit songs.
Matt Helm lives in California in a large house which has lots of gadgets, the most important of which is a circular bed which tips the sleeper into the bath in the mornings.
This is Lovey Kravezit, Matt Helm's back scrubber, secretary and answering service. I can't decide who has more fun- the audience or Dean Martin with the script.

The evil organization this time is called Big O, headed by Tung-Tze. Big O's plot to take over the world is called Operation Fallout, which is essentially fun with nuclear weapons.
Matt Helm doesn't want to help out the agency as he has a photo shoot do to in Mexico. Fortunately, Big O thinks that he is involved and so send an agent to kill him.
Matt Helm's old partner Tina (Daliah Lavi) shows up in time to shoot the enemy agent. I love the big bow on her suit,
and her cute, yet practical holster.
Let's have a look at Matt Helm's uncomplicated spy gear:
There's a camera that shoots knives
And his bullet-proof station wagon, which includes two separate bedrooms. I think that this is the best car that a spy could have since no one would suspect it, whereas an Aston-Martin armed to the teeth simply screams "Look at me! A spy drives me!"
There's also a clever gun which kills the shooter.
And the buttons on his jacket are actually grenades.
Anyway, Matt and Tina go to a certain hotel in Phoenix and quickly find the bar.
We also meet Gail (Stella Stevens) in a bathing suit that simply isn't made anymore.
Gail is a klutz and not the brightest crayon in the box. Remember, blonde isn't a hair colour, it's a state of mind.
That evening, Matt and Tina are in the night club to observe the hand-over of a computer tape by a corrupt scientist that essential for Operation Fallout.
And who should they see but Gail, in a pretty LBD, on a date with an enemy agent.
The hand-over is to be made through Cyd Charisse during her act, however she is working against Big O and for the Government.
But the Big O agents figure this out and shoot her on stage in front of too many witnesses. And who should reach her first and take the computer tape but Gail.

Gail doesn't believe that Matt is working for the Government or the significance of the computer tape. But that could be because Matt has an unorthodox way of searching her for the computer tape.
Matt and his boss just can't figure out if she's working for Big O or if she's just plain dumb. So Matt takes her along on a road trip to San Juan, where the HQ of Big O is.
Along the way there's the inevitable car chase along the lonely desert road.
Fortunately, the station wagon also comes with it's own liquor store. Don't you just love Gail's chic travelling suit? If you're going to save the world, you might as well do it in style and have fun doing it.
Gail still isn't sure about what's going on and so tries to escape during the dark and stormy night and ruins her hair and her white suit.
But by morning in San Juan, her set is back to normal perfection. After all, it is a movie and not real life.
This is the trouble with small towns, everyone seems to be an enemy agent.
And so Matt and Gail are captured
and are taken to Big O headquarters. But really, this could be any HQ of any diabolical leader of an evil organization of evil, since they all live in the same paper mache underground lair.
Aw, Tina is actually a double agent and second-in-command of Big O. Anyone else think that her jump suit looks a lot like the one from Grease?
And this is her room, done in the style of Cave-Dweller Barbie.
Look who's figured out how to use the backwards gun. Unlike other dumb blondes, she does fight her way out and doesn't scream, faint or get recaptured.
Meanwhile, Matt Helm (Dean Martin barely uses a stunt double) is left to fight off everyone and outwit the rather clumsy laser device operated by Tung-Tze.
This is the master switch that controls the nuclear missile, it's so easy to use and labelled in big letters.
So, how does Dean Martin save the world, escape from Big O
and make his way to the happy ending? Well, you'll just have to watch it and keep your ear out for the cameo by Mr. Sinatra and also find out why Dino has to wear a hilarious poncho:

I couldn't find the trailer or any funny scenes, but her is a clip show someone made in celebration of Elmer Bernstein's fantastic musical score:

1 comment:

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, thanks so much for liftin' up the name of our Dino in such a stellar way...such Dino-devotion you have shown to our great man...loves all the caps from "The Silencers." Hopes you will feature the other three Dino-flicks in the Matt Helm quartet...never was, never will be anyone as cool as the King of Cool...oh, to return to the days when Dino walked the earth...

btw, your cool Dino-post will be featured this very Dino-day at the ilovedinomartin Dino-blog...