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Watch out, Derek Flint. Move over Austin Powers. And take a back seat, James Bond – Matt Helm is on the case!
When the cold war was at its peak and spy thrillers were taking the place of westerns and war movies, America answered the 007 call with a few good men – one of the best being Matt Helm, a suave, lady-loving swinger who could catch the bad guys, snap some great photos and make love to the girl in the same scene.
This series of movies gives us a fantabulous peak at the styles, cars, furnishing and hot chicks of the swingin’ ’60s. The movies are combination thriller-comedies, with the main lean towards funny. With Dean Martin at the helm (as Helm), you get that groovin’ mix of humor, sex appeal and crooning.
This particular flick, one of my favorites, features a 1960s beauty named Daliah Lavi who’s got the right curves in the right places and a sexy accent that will make you melt. Stella Stevens drops in with her crazy figure too. And there’s an all-too-short cameo by the beautiful Cid Charise, dancing her way through a sultry nightclub scene (she sings too, but apparently it’s not her voice – she’s dubbed by a then very young Vicky Carr.)
While 007 sported an Aston-Martin, Matt Helm had himself a good, solid American car – a 1965 Mercury Parklane Station Wagon – of course his was modified somewhat by Chuck Barris…The car now resides at the Volo Hollywood Car Museum in Volo, Illinois. Leave it to Dean Martin to make a station wagon kool, huh?
Since Dino’s favorite drink was the Martini, set yourself up with a pitcher before the show starts. Martin also loved Italian cuisine, so go with that for your dinner and a movie. Maybe a nice Penne ala Vodka with grilled chicken and zucchini. And make sure you watch it with someone who looks like Stella Stevens, you know, for full effect.
-Tiki Chris reporting from behind the Tiki Bar.
Tiki Lounge Talk – The Tiki Culture blog for Retro Kats & Swingin’ Kittens