Thursday, June 24, 2021

Swingin' Spy Watch: The Silencers (1966)

Watched:  06/23/2021
Format:  TCM on DVR
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1960's (so very, very 1960's)
Director:  Phil Karlson

Thanks to a misfire of the Google Fiber TV television schedule - I've found it.  The most 1965-1968 movie ever made.

This is the second movie I've recorded by accident while trying to watch a recording of The Kissing Bandit as part of the Cyd Charisse month-long retrospective.  Last time I'd accidentally recorded Singin' In the Rain, and this time...

I'd heard of The Silencers (1966) a while back, but never stumbled across it or had reason to watch it.  It was always lumped in with movies that influenced Austin Powers about 30 years after this film arrived (and we're now almost as far from Austin Powers as this was from that!  WOW, are we getting old).  It stars Dean Martin as a sort of super-spy in a made-up NSA-type agency called "ICE".  

If you can get over Victor Buono cast as a Fu Manchu-type Bond villain (oh, 1960's), and plenty of humiliation of women for a punchline, it's kind of a fun movie.  I mean, Dean Martin looks just delighted as all hell in every scene, like he can't believe he's getting to do this, but it also sometimes behaves so much exactly like a Bond film, sometimes the comedy evaporates a bit against machinegun fire and the massive number of dead bodies Martin, as super-spy Matt Helm, generates.  

I'd be remiss to not note there are large parts for Helm's love interests, played by Stella Stevens and a Daliah Lavi, who I'd never heard of, but, goodness.  

Charisse does appear, but it's more or less a dance-on part, where she sings a few songs and then that's it.  

Anyhoo... this is apparently the first of four of these, and - while deeply dated - are also fascinating to watch for same.   

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