Having written a review of Our Man Flint on my review blog (click here to read!), I decided to revisit the 60's world of super-spy adventure! James Bond has been a hot property since first appearing on the printed page in 1953, and the movies have been a pop culture staple since Dr. No (1962). And as has been the case since the dawn of Hollywood, success breeds imitation. And while many of the Bond knock-offs have long been forgotten (no one I know who loved Austin Powers knew where half the references were coming from), the craze was pretty widespread.
One series seeking to cash in were the Matt Helm movies, starring Dean Martin, and produced by Irving Allen, former partner of Albert "Cubby" Broccoli, producer of the Bond films. Based on the long-running series of novels by Donald Hamilton, the movies took on a swinging sixties tone compared to the dark and violent atmosphere of the books. Martin is good fun, the gadgets wacky and vehicles bizarre (Helm's first vehicle is a trick-filled station wagon!), the movies are completely watchable and hilariously awful. Think of them, if you will, as James Bond as created by the makers of the 60's Batman Tv series.