Thursday, June 9, 2016

Murderers' Row (1966)

Director: Henry Levin

Writers: Herbert Baker, Donald Hamilton

Composer: Lalo Schifrin

Starring: Dean Martin, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Camilla Sparv, James Gregory, Beverly Adams, Richard Eastham, Tom Reese, Duke Howard

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Matt Helm outdoes Matt Helm in his new all-out adventure!

Plot: The handsome top agent Matt dies a tragic death in his bath tub - the women mourn about the loss. However it's just faked for his latest top-secret mission: He shall find Dr. Solaris, inventor of the Helium laser beam, powerful enough to destroy a whole continent. It seems Dr. Solaris has been kidnapped by a criminal organization. The trace leads to the Cote D'Azur.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

Anyone who's seen Dean Martin in action knows that he's very relaxed.  These Matt Helm pictures are relaxed spy comedies.  The pacing is the biggest problem they have (at least so far, I've only seen the first two).  THE SILENCERS (1965) is too long.   This one's 3 minutes longer but it is more entertaining.  Martin is cool and charming as hell and he's got some really funny lines.  The biggest laugh came when Julian (Malden) has Matt (Martin) captured in the bucket of a crane high in the air.  Julian is trying to find out what Matt knows.

JULIAN: Now, can you give me one good reason why I shouldn't drop you to the ground?
MATT: Certainly, I'll get killed.

This picture's got lots of goofy moments like that but, in this case, the editing isn't quick enough to make the punchline faster and funnier.  Ann-Margaret is gorgeous as hell and she's fun to watch like everyone else.  The sets are run, locations are pretty, there's lots of drinking (of course) and Dean's in control of the show.  If you can handle the casual pace of these films AND you love Dean then you're in a better shape to enjoy these mid-sixties, swingin' spy flicks.  I do but I think it'd help to have some friends over and make some cocktails to get you through them. The Columbia DVD box set of all four pictures delivers beautiful anamorphic widescreen prints.  The only extras you get are trailers for THE AMBUSHERS (1967) (fullscreen), CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE (anamorphic widescreen) and one for the DVD set of SEINFELD.

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