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The Silencers

06 Dec

The Silencers – directed by Phil Carlson – a parody of Bond. — 102 minutes color 1968

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Do you find garage doors fascinating? Like them this film is a gadget, not without its grumbling use and occasional comical breakdown. And it itself is full of gadgets, huger doors, fatter death-rays, wilder amo. If you fire this revolver it will shoot you in the chest, if you press that button you will find a naked tomato in your bathtub. Of course, the hugest garage doors are the false eyelashes of the babes. They come crashing down, dislodging civilizations. Step back from them. Dean Martin certainly does. He is wise and unperturbed by the sexual affront they present and the cavernous décolletage they awn. Ah, for the peace of refusal which seems to be his, as he plays in this, the first of the Matt Helm mock-Bond series. Nowadays we don’t have leading ladies such as Stella Stevens whose hair is dyed Irish Setter and held in place with Gorilla Glue. She’s Helm’s fumbling side-kick, called that, I suppose, because she keeps kicking him in the side. Martin is some kind of easy dish, like spaghetti, pleasant and not without nourishment, easy to take. He never asks to be liked and so is likeable for it. He strolls through bullet-hails with benificent nonchalance. Daliah Lavi presents hair piled on the back of her head as though concealing a rocket launcher. Dozens of ladies, equally coiffed and lashed throw themselves at Martin’s head, but he retains his incredulity as to the animal fervor they advertise, as any normal intact male would. Their ferocious armamentarium promises pornography, that is to say, unearned nudity. And, since the film begins with a series of strip-teases, we are able to sustain no virginal delusions about what is to follow. Even when the miraculous Cyd Charisse performs. Two numbers are given her, miserably choreographed, vilely costumed, but her dignity, her alacritous genius, and the natural placement of her hip-bones conquer the drooling mess.

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