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The Silencers

Australian film poster
Directed by Phil Karlson
Produced by Irving Allen
Written by Donald Hamilton (novels)
Oscar Saul
Herbert Baker (screenplay)
Starring Dean Martin
Stella Stevens
Music by Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography Edward Colman, ASC
Burnett Guffey, ASC
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) February 18, 1966
Running time 102 min
Country Flag of the United States.svg
Followed by Murderers' Row

The Silencers is the title of an American secret agent comedy motion picture produced in 1966 and starring Dean Martin as agent Matt Helm. It is only loosely based upon the novel of the same name by Donald Hamilton, as well as another of Hamilton's Helm novels, Death of a Citizen.

The film was the first of four produced between 1966 and 1969 starring Martin. Whereas Hamilton's books were generally serious spy novels about a former Second World War assassin who is recruited to continue killing for an American government agency, the film versions were light-hearted spy romps spoofing the James Bond series in the same spirit as Our Man Flint. They have been cited as the principal inspirations for the Austin Powers spy comedies of the 1990s and early 2000s.

The Silencers does borrow a plot element from the first Helm novel, Death of a Citizen, as it begins with the agent being coaxed out of retirement. Helm's mission: to stop an evil organization called "BIG O" (the Bureau for International Government and Order) from their plan of "Operation Fallout"; diverting an American missile into an underground atomic bomb testing site into New Mexico. Co-starring with Martin are Stella Stevens, Daliah Lavi, Victor Buono, and Cyd Charisse who opens the film with a sexy striptease while lip synching the theme song "The Silencers" sung by Vikki Carr.

James Gregory makes his first appearance as Macdonald, Helm's superior and a recurring character in the film series (although Gregory does not play him in all four films).

Contents

Production

Director Phil Karlson had the idea to make the film in a tongue in cheek style. Comedy writer Herbert Baker (screenwriter) revised Oscar Saul's original script. Dean Martin was a co-producer of the Helm series. Moss Mabry provided the costumes except for Dean Martin's Sy Devore suits.

Reception

Released at the height of James Bond mania, The Silencers was a major box office hit in 1966. There were three follow-up films: Murderers' Row (also released in 1966), The Ambushers (1967) and The Wrecking Crew (1969). A fifth film, The Ravagers, was announced but never produced.

Music

Elmer Bernstein provided the score with Vicki Carr singing the title song and Santiago. A scopitone video of the title song was sung by Joi Lansing [1]. Two soundtrack albums were released; Bernstein's original score on an RCA Victor album that does not feature any artwork of Dean Martin, and a Reprise album by Martin singing several songs that were featured in the film along with some instrumentals by the Mike Leander Orchestra. Carr's version of the title song was used on the soundtrack of the film Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

References

  1. ^ http://amanoutoftime.livejournal.com/tag/joi+lansing

External links

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