Rat Pack Theater: Murderers’ Row (1966)

I’ll be honest, I don’t remember many of the plot points from Murderers’ Row, but I still had a great time watching the flick. See, back in the mid 60s the James Bond movies were pretty darn popular and also getting a little silly with all the girls and gadgets. Well, someone had the great idea to take hard core spy of the book world Matt Helm and hand him over to Dean Martin to make some of the swingenest spy flicks of all time. Basically spoofs, these spy movies took Dean Martin’s wildly popular lovable drunk image and transplanted it into the world of spy organizations and hoverboat races. The Austin Powers concept seems to have borrowed heavily from these movies, including Powers’ occupation as a photographer which he shares with Helm.

Anyway, watching Martin is always a pleasure (I love him by himself and with the rest of the Rat Pack), but when you throw in the tropes of spy movies (which I also love) with the aforementioned girls and gadgets how can you go wrong? You can’t, especially if you throw in the lovely Ann-Margret and Karl Malden.

See, I know Malden from a live action Disney movies called Pollyanna that my mom loves. I’ve probably seen the movie as many times as I’ve watched Mallrats (probably one of my most viewed movies) and embarrassingly far more times than I’ve seen any single Star Wars movie. I’ve got the thing memorized and could probably write a fairly accurate screenplay from memory. Anyway, in that movie, Malden plays a real fire and brimstone priest and in this he plays the bad guy. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what made him bad, but at the end of the movie he takes off in a giant hovecraft and Helm gives chase on a smaller one. What a great chase scene! I’ve wanted a hovercraft ever since I was a kid and saw commercials for a remote control one (does anyone remember the name of that toy?) For whatever it’s worth I think he came off scarier in Pollyanna.

There’s two more Helm movies I haven’t seen (I watched the first one but didn’t blog about it and don’t remember much) and plan on watching the other two assuming their both on Netflix Instant. Damn, I love this service!

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