Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

The Silencers

The SilencersCinema Monolith: 3/10 This film is part of the Cinema Monolith collection!
IMDb: 5.9/10
Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide: **½ out of 4

Released on February 18, 1966
Not rated
102 minutes

Directed by Phil Karlson

Written by Oscar Saul and Herbert Baker, based on the novel by Donald Hamilton

Cast: Dean Martin, Stella Stevens, Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, Arthur O’Connell, Robert Webber, James Gregory, Nancy Kovack, Cyd Charisse, Roger C. Carmel, Beverly Adams, Cosmo Sardo, Vicki Carr (voice)

Crooner-turned-actor Dean Martin stars in the first of four lighthearted adventures featuring ultra-suave government agent Matt Helm, a spy caper based very loosely on author Donald Hamilton’s straightforward and serious novels, and co-scripted with tongue wedged firmly in cheek by a former Martin & Lewis comedy writer. Which of course just compounded the foolishness.

Considered by many to be the best of the four, The Silencers took the tough, smart, and ruthless literary Helm, added a heavy dose of Dino, and served up a spy character who was about as lazy and ill-prepared as one could be, and who spent more time seducing gorgeous women and downing alcoholic beverages than battling the evil-doers trying to sabotage atomic missile testing in New Mexico. If this were real life, and the cinematic Helm actually had to tangle with the villains and henchmen he was sharing screen time with, he’d be dead in a matter of minutes.

The screenplay, unfortunately, kept that from happening, and with film noir veteran Phil Karlson directing, you had to wonder how it all became so unabashedly silly. Well, for starters, I’d say look no further than the script, which took the skeletal structure of what might’ve been a decent spy story and buried it under layer after layer of corny gags, unrealistic gadgets, and scenes that hopelessly failed to advance the narrative.

And let’s not forget the endless pilfering of the early Bond films: besides the trademark hot babes and stuntwork, this film contained a tricked-out car, cavernous sets that mirrored the work of Ken Adam, innuendo-laced character names (Lovey Kravezit!), and even a weapons explanation sequence straight out of Q Branch.

However, there are three aspects of the film that are worth mentioning: Stella Stevens as Helm’s love interest, who was quite the well-built, sexy little goofball; Victor Buono as Tung-Tze, who offered a deliciously campy portrayal as the leader of the enemy organization BIG O; and Robert Webber as a BIG O operative, who apparently wasn’t told to pull his punches, and during a scene at a nightclub brutally flung poor Daliah Lavi across a stage floor as if she were a rag doll.

Take my advice: if you expect and demand the tone of the books, like I did, then you might want to pass on this one. Otherwise, if you’re in the mood for corny, indulgent, and purely juvenile entertainment, then have at it.  (3/10)

the-silencers-photo-final

One comment on “The Silencers

  1. Todd Benefiel
    1/30/13

    For those of you who have access to this movie, and would like to skip to the good stuff, fast forward to about the 40 minute, 37 second mark, and watch the woman wearing green, Daliah Lavi, get her ass handed to her by Robert Webber.

Feel free to comment, you readers of the Monolith!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address and click the button below to become a bona fide Cinema Monolith follower. C'mon, what's the worst that could happen?

Join 137 other followers

Review Totals

Movies Reviewed: 159

From the Monolith: 87

Movies by Decade

1920s – 0
1930s – 4
1940s – 11
1950s – 22
1960s – 30
1970s – 22
1980s – 25
1990s – 5
2000s – 10
2010s – 30

Movies by Genre

Action/Adventure – 28
Comedy – 33
Crime – 9
Documentary – 1
Drama – 16
Horror – 28
Martial Arts – 0
Musical – 1
Mystery/Thriller – 14
Romance – 3
Sci-Fi/Fantasy – 19
Western – 6

Movies by Rating

10 star – 9
9 star – 19
8 star – 23
7 star – 22
6 star – 14
5 star – 15
4 star – 16
3 star – 12
2 star – 15
1 star – 11
0 star – 3

Blogathons I’ve Joined

The Coolest Links

%d bloggers like this: