The Silencers (1966)
I liked it. Whether I should or not, I did.
It should probably just be retitled: Boobs and Dean Martin. You can tell this was a movie made during the early Bond fervor and towards the end of the Motion Picture Production Code. There’s a striptease in the opening credits! And then Dean Martin starts the movie with a wet dream (check the bed). Every woman seems contractually obligated to be almost but not quite bursting out of their tops. Some say it’s a big inspiration for Austin Powers, and it could be in all honesty. I think this one was a little bit steamier than In Like Flint but that’s just an opinion.
In all seriousness, Matt Helm was supposed to be serious. Ex-WWII assassin recruited by US for further wetwork?
I think there was a cleverness to these movies. Ever see Brinkley in her red Ferrari 308 GTS 17 years later? Okay, if not, follow me to see what they do. There are layers of fantasy at the beginning: strippers pulling off clothes for us, an assassin’s bullet with a name on it, an important job from the government that only one man can do, the day job of that man is photographing lingerie/Playboy shots, he wakes up fantasizing about all these women only to be dropped in a big soapy tub with a hot naked woman eager for his affections. Then we see some mundane life of getting dressed and having coffee. Later we see Helm drive up to a suburban house. What? He drives a 1966 wood-paneled Mercury Station Wagon? Ahh, his wife must be home. She tries to stab him in the back? Definitely his wife except Barbara just got her ass shot by Tina? WTF?
This is where we need to pause. They’ve taken us from serial guy fantasies back into normal everyday life which would have led to a terrible modern ennui movie but then save us by having the fantasy literally kill reality. Un-pause and see fantasy take over.
Of course Tina is this model-hot exotic woman and of course there are more assassins waiting outside so let’s run away from this shitty suburb house and get on it! Whoa, the bad guys are “Big O” (the Bureau for International Government and Order)? That’s like some weird combo of the United Nations and a generic “Buy ‘n’ Large” (Helm’s alter ego works in a 1960’s business job?) that sounds like a sexual reference. Somehow we end up at a resort to meet Gail who is literally falling head over boobs on Helm. Catch the casual swinger’s attitude of Tina? With Barbara out of the way, Helm has an accomplice not a drag and she doesn’t seem to resent the attentions of a centerfold. Then, after some sex with his new girlfriend, Helm gets to go see a Mata Hari style dance number but zOMG, there’s a murder! And he just has to kidnap that hot new girl Gail and Tina helps him do it. Let’s take her back to our hotel room and rip her clothes off! Then poor Gail has the choice of jail or to go alone on a road trip with “sex maniac” Helm to prove her innocence. Hijinks ensue, much alcohol is consumed, consequence-free traffic accidents with other motorists, then a good night of “parking” also known as attempted flight followed up with muddy sex. A fight the next day leads to capture to a reunion with other hot girl who is now bad but still takes Helm to her bed and tries to talk him into joining her. Instead he refuses with a grenade, destroys bad guys and evil plan, and ends up in a bangfest with Gail. But he is still in the fantasy apartment leading us to believe that he never returns to that suburban home and gets to stay a socially important spy, exciting naked girl photographer, and sexual free agent to go whither his boner will lead him.
No man would ever claim that these movies would ever, ever represent any possible reality. It’s fantasy. Take that argument and look at the carefully artificial story-lines of the modern Rom-Com. Ladies, you’ll argue “that’s how it should be!” but the argument isn’t any more valid than the indulgent fantasies of Helm. It’s not reality, that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Men, resist the temptation to believe that your women should be like that and women resist the temptation that your men should be like that. (relevant video) Then go watch more boobies and 50 shades!
The singing inner monologues are randomly hilarious. In fact, Dean Martin in general seems to be pretty funny. I actually liked all of the actors in this movie and thought they did a great job. Stella Stevens and Daliah Lavi in particular were perfect for their roles.
p.s. Somebody else’s underwear and clothes tossed on the floor are only erotic before you’re married and have kids. After that, it’s just dirty laundry.