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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

A futher little titbit I discovered today ( If True ) was that Dino made
more money from doing The Ambushers that Sir Sean got for Thunderball !  ajb007/amazed
I'm guessing Dean Martin had a better agent than Sir Sean, the article added that
as already stated Dino had lost interest in the films but it was the murder of
Sharon Tate, that really did it for him.

https://worstmoviesevermade.com/best-wo … 1966-1969/

Last edited by Thunderpussy (13th Aug 2019 17:13)

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Dean had insisted on being a full partner in the Helm pictures as a condition of his participation. Sir Sean asked Cubby and Harry for the same, and was refused. I'm not sure about the timing, but it's definitely one of the major causes of his disenchantment.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

It was interesting that original scenes of Sharon Tate in "The Wrecking Crew" were featured in "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," which I watched just last weekend.

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

I was browsing a discount bookseller’s wares during the weekend and I stumbled upon a few Matt Helm novels going cheap. I’ve seen a number of recommendations for these books on AJB over the years so I am looking forward to giving them a read. I would have liked to get some of the early books in the series, but apart from the first book, most of the other ones are much later entries. I hope they will still be entertaining. The titles that I got are:

Death of a Citizen (1960)
The Betrayers (1966)
The Terrorizers (1977)
The Vanishers (1986)
The Frighteners (1989)

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Thunderpussy wrote:

The Helm films also had Bruce Lee as the fight Choreographer and
an early appearance of Chuck Norris as a general " Heavy"  ajb007/wink

I didnt know this. Which films did he choreograph?

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

In further readings about “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” it turns out that Bruce Lee trained the cast of the Matt Helm movie that was featured, which is how he and Sharon Tate became friends.

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

The ironic thing is the parody of Bond that the Helm and Flint movies represented predicted the direction the Bond movies would take.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Hello, my agents. I watched two Matt Helm films (because I believe that only these two were dubbed in my country). And from what I could see, it looked like I was watching an Austin Powers movie. But I didn't think there were elements that I liked. (1960s, visual, women, comedies). Have you ever stopped to think if these films were equal to 007 and passed from actor to actor? I even liked the films being different from the books, and being more comical. Those two films were what Casino Royale 67 was not for me.

Sean Connery: The best of all James Bond

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Which two films were they, PAP?

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

The Ambushers (1967)
The Wrecking Crew (1969)

Sean Connery: The best of all James Bond

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

While I love them, those are weaker than the first two IMHO.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

I watched the Silencers the other night.
Never seen it before, or the sequels, never read the books either. But it sure looks exactly like something I've seen before.
As Barbel notes Austin Powers owes much more to this than it does to our Bond films, Dr Evil and the chest-hair rug aside.
Not just the photographer gig, but all the pacing, the jokes, the sightgags, the visual aesthetic, the gadgets...

My verdict: much better than the awful Modesty Blaise film, more enjoyable than our Casino Royale but without the artistic pretensions, not so enjoyable as Our Man Flint. Seems like there was a lot more spy film spoofs than proper spy films in those days. Oh yes, nowhere near so good as any random Get Smart episode.

Jill St John in Diamonds are Forever owes something to Stella Stevens' character doesn't she, she even repeats the machine gun gag.


The same dodgy website where I watched this, also has the other three, so I'll keep going. I'm sure I'll be a convert by the end.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Following on from superado's points of last year, Tarantino's  'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' does indeed include a touching scene amounting to a love letter to 'The Wrecking Crew',  commemorating a poor film inside a great film because of Sharon Tate's endearing performance in TWC as "the klutz" (specifically, one of her perfectly executed pratfulls, and her 'girl fight' face-off choreographed by Bruce Lee). Before I saw Tarantino's movie last August I was concerned, given his choice of subject matter, that his movie might be in bad taste, but it really isn't; it's a sweet tribute to Tate. Some Bruce Lee fans took issue with it, though; the offending scene, with Mike Moh as Lee, is hilarious imho. (No spoilers, in case there happens to be anybody out there who still hasn't seen it.)

Last edited by Shady Tree (13th Jul 2020 19:26)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

I'm one of the few who hasn't (can't stand DiCaprio) but what you say tempts me into watching it.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Barbel wrote:

I'm one of the few who hasn't (can't stand DiCaprio) but what you say tempts me into watching it.

I'd highly recommend it. I'm no big fan of DiCaprio either, but he's good in this, it's as much Brad Pitt's movie and there's an impressive tapestry of supporting talent around them. Tarantino's DiCaprio is a different (imho better) proposition to Scorsese's DiCaprio.

As importantly, it's full of joy, surprise and reward for anyone who loves cult film and TV of the 60s. (Hell, it even gets around, in a later sequence, to visiting Italian fare, with a pretty obvious allusion to 'Operation Kid Brother' - briefly but hilariously.) And Al Pacino's character in this would be a great participant in our live AJB live commentaries!  Overall, the period mise-en-scene matches the pop-cultural references in being fastidiously accurate, a nostalgic visual and aural feast.

Okay, this IS Tarantino skirting around the Manson murders, but it's mature Tarantino - a roomy, thoughtful, layered movie. Like I say, it's only ever tasteful/ respectful in the way it remembers Sharon Tate.



Edit: I just rewatched this and - OMG! - right at the close of the end credits, among other fun stuff, it samples John Barry's TB score (from the climax of TB, as the good guys parachute into the sea to take on Largo's men).

Last edited by Shady Tree (13th Jul 2020 18:44)

Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 49 years.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Last night at Cinema Potts: Murderers' Row

I think this is incrementally more serious than the first one.
Karl Malden makes for a better villain (and he is fooled into taking our hero into his employ, as bookScaramanga and movieSanchez both did).

Ann Margret is excellent as this adventure's HelmGirl, and does lots of kooky 60s dancing. Huge chunks of the film are given over to psychedelic discotheque sequences where she never stops grooving.

As well as specific gags reappearing in Austin Powers and the 70s Bond films, I think next year's You Only Live Twice even stole the faked death opening from this film. Why were EON tossing out Fleming and borrowing plot-hooks from Matt Helm at the height of the 60's spycraze?

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

paging Barbel!

Was the title of this thread perhaps inspired by the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes book series?
I'm reading a few stories from that collection right now, and the cumulative image of Victorian London overflowing with eccentric consulting detectives showing up the police at every job made me think of this thread, all the suave studly 1960s superspies who must have been tripping over each other competing to save the world first.

Was there ever a part 3? Bond must have had more suave '60s rivals than just Helm and Palmer!

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

(1) Yes, partly. I haven't read the books but I did watch the TV series about 50 years ago.

(2) No. I'd have to have done actual research rather than just writing off the top of my head, and I'm far too lazy for that. I did do one on Jack Ryan, though.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

The TV series is being repeated on Talking Pictures channel here in the UK at the moment.

As for Matt Helm, I tried watching one of them it was so bad I had to switched it off a few minutes in.

My Top 10 Bond Films: Octopussy, Goldeneye, From Russia With Love, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, Licence to Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Well, it's all a matter of perspective. Either you like that kind of thing or you don't.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

The Helm films are very 60s Camp, Which is not to all tastes. I love a bit of camp humour.
Hence why I enjoy them, along with The Persuaders, The Avengers and Dept S etc.

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

Barbel wrote:

Well, it's all a matter of perspective. Either you like that kind of thing or you don't.


Definitely. I certainly want to like them, so maybe I'll give the first one another go at some point.

My Top 10 Bond Films: Octopussy, Goldeneye, From Russia With Love, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, Licence to Kill, For Your Eyes Only, Moonraker, Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me.

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

The Ambushers

The special effects, when the flying saucer is stolen, are better than similar scenes in You Only Live Twice, made the same year, even if they are just recycling leftover Star Trek props.

Lead Helmgirl isn't so good as Ann Margret from the previous movie or as funny as the klutzy Helmgirl from the first movie. But she does play an equally competent fellow ICE agent, even more competent than Helm since she can fly the Saucer, years before Bond met such equally competent Bondgirls as Holly Goodhead.
I never heard of Janice Rule, but turns out she's normally a serious actress, she was in the original stage version of Picnic (the teenager who gets seduced by the drifter), and in the Burt Lancaster film the Swimmer (Lancaster's ex-lover, bitter because she was always "the other woman"). So a bit miscast, but if method actor Karl Malden can ham it up in these films then she can try too.

Ending makes no sense. Why does she land the Saucer on a train? how does Matt Helm know where she took it? there's no engine, how is the train moving? why do they let the Saucer blow up, I thought the mission was to retrieve it? were some boring expository scenes left out that might explain this ending better?
I worry abut this ending because the film made such perfect sense up til that point.

Last edited by caractacus potts (4th Aug 2020 18:19)

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

https://i.postimg.cc/XGpLfNPr/bond-and-elektra.jpg

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Re: The 60s James Bond Rivals (1): Matt Helm

I love Matt sliding  down the  train
Track on the hill. It looked very
Dangerous  to me.  ajb007/martini

“I remember the last thing my Nan said to me before she died.
‘What are you doing here with that hammer?’”..... Lee Mack.