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Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Victor Buono, Daliah Lavi
Directed by Phil Karlson
Screenplay by Oscar Saul
Columbia Pictures 1966
Part of The Matt Helm Lounge Box Set
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2005
The Silencers, based on the spy novels The Silencers and Death Of A Citizen by Donald Hamilton, is one of the four comic spy movies in The Mall Helm Lounge box set from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Dean Martin as Matt Helm out-Bonds James Bond when it comes to the ladies and comic timing. Stella Stevens pretty much steals quite a few scenes from the crooner in her role of Gail Hendricks, a gorgeous klutz who gets caught up in yet another megalomaniac’s desire to rule the world.
Victor Buono is okay as Tung-Tze the bad guy who wants to redirect an American missile towards the United States, cause World War Three, and rule the world. Of course, as all baddies in such spy thrillers neither he nor his crew are particularly capable.
The Matt Helm series is known for the many gorgeous women paraded in front of ICE secret agent Dean Martin and The Silencers is no exception. Daliah Lavi is one of the agents but the cutest and funniest of the buxom babes is certainly Stella Stevens.
Matt Helm is a comic spy movie series and The Silencers is particularly funny and enjoyable. There are many, many comedic moments. For example, when Matt Helm dreams, he dreams of beautiful women to a Dean Martin soundtrack. When Gail Hendricks turns on the car radio, Helm changes the station from one playing Frank Sinatra to one playing, of course, a tune by Martin.
The screenplay by Oscar Saul is very witty and he certainly knows how to write a funny scene. For example, when Helm find a gorgeous woman in his room and she jumps all over him you hear this bit of humorous dialogue:
Helm: “Don’t you think we should be introduced first?”
Girl: “You’re Mat Helm.”
Helm: “Good enough for me.”
When a female agent from Big O, the baddy organization, dies in his arms, Helm tells his associate, “Let’s put her in my bed so we don’t arouse suspicion.”
What really makes The Silencers work is not only Dean Martin’s deadpan delivery of many quips but the slapstick work of Stella Stevens. The scene when she tries to leave Helm’s car in the middle of a storm is hilarious and Stevens really goes for every gag possible. The running gag involving Stevens and one of Helm’s guns is also excellent and very original.
Matt Helm: The Silencers is an excellent funny spy movie that will please both fans of comedy and fans of James Bond style movies.