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Silencers, The (1966)

The Silencers is a quintessential 1960s spy spoof, the first (and best) of four colourful Matt Helm features, with debonair “Rat Pack” member Dean Martin cleverly cast as author Donald Hamilton’s womanising smoothie, the Man from “ICE” (Intelligence and Counter Espionage).

Criminal mastermind Tung-Tze (Victor Buono) of the evil Big O organisation plans to sabotage America’s atomic missile system.

It’s up to Helm – coaxed out of retirement – to prevent it from happening, provided he can keep his eyes off the ladies long enough to concentrate on the job at hand.

The attitudes may have dated – this is very much of its time – but the women continue to delight, especially Stella Stevens as a divine klutz.

The Silencers ensured Dean Martin was the height of cool in 1966. Also making an impact are former Miss Israel Daliah Lavi and one-time MGM siren Cyd Charisse, whose memorable opening dance sequence and title song is a highlight.

Helm returned in Murderer’s Row (1966), The Ambushers (1967) and The Wrecking Crew (1969) – all based on books by Donald Hamilton.

The Matt Helm films were notable for their colourful and creative set design and were an obvious later inspiration for Austin Powers.

Matt Helm
Dean Martin
Stella Stevens
Tina Batori
Daliah Lavi
Victor Buono
Arthur O’Connell
Sam Gunther
Robert Webber
James Gregory
Nancy Kovack
Roger C Carmel
Cyd Charisse

Phil Karlson