I first heard of the Matt Helm movies around 1967 when I saw a copy of the magazine, SPIES, SPOOFS AND SUPER GUYS. I already knew Dean Martin from television but I wasn't a fan of his "sophisticated" drinking man's humor or his half-hearted singing. In fact, I never did warm up to Dean all that much and when I finally did catch the Matt Helm films a few years later, I had to admit they weren't really very good. In fact, they seemed about as half-hearted as Dean's singing, not even taking themselves seriously within their own milieu. That said, it's hard to deny that a nostalgic charm has settled on the Helm films over time, giving them an almost Austin Powers feel (which is odd when you consider that the original book series by Donald Hamilton was played more or less straight!). Ann-Margret and Sharon Tate highlight a bevy of sixties beauties who appear throughout, along with Beverly Adams (the future Beverly Sassoon) as Helm's sexytary...err...I mean, secretary. One thing the movies had from the beginning though--great posters!
Sunday, February 14, 2016
I first knew Ann Sothern from her appearances on TV's THE LUCY SHOW and her voice as MY MOTHER, THE CAR. Later I caught some reruns of THE ANN SOTHERN SHOW. But her place in motion picture history lies with Maisie, a wisecracking showgirl with a heart of gold who ends up in a variety of situations over a series of 9 years and 10 B movies. These B films were form MGM, though, which means they looked like everybody else's A list features! Ann's co-stars included major talents such as Robert Young, Red Skelton, Lew Ayres, and George Murphy. The role of Maisie was said to have been tailored for Jean Harlow who passed before the first film.