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Murderer's Row vs Goldfinger


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#1 AMC Hornet

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:22 PM

I just watched Murderer's Row again recently, and I remain more impressed with it than I am with any of the other three Matt Helm movies that Dean Martin made.

Sure, it has its silly moments, but it's clear that they are all in good fun, whereas The Silencers, The Ambushers and The Wrecking Crew didn't seem to know what they wanted to be.

I could even see Murderer's Row working as a Bond film, with a few changes. Dean had some killer lines (Malden: "Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn't drop you to the pavement?" Dean: "Certainly, I'd get killed!" / Malden: "Men of good will have done a perfectly dreadful job of running the world. I can't do much worse." Dean: "Oh, I think you can - I have faith in you!")

If I were Sean Connery I too would have been pissed off to learn that Dean made more money out of The Silencers than I did for making Thunderball. Still, I enjoy Murderer's Row (the hovercraft scenes even remind me a little of TB), and I couldn't help but notice one glaring similarity between it and Goldfinger, to wit:

Although MR takes place largely in Monte Carlo, Dean never left the Hollywood backlot. A second unit went to the south of France and filmed a body double driving around in a new Thunderbird, then the principal unit matched the footage with what they were doing in the studio (or vice-versa). It was very cleverly done, and I never noticed it myself until I noticed that:

Goldfinger begins with a long pan into the Fontainbleu hotel in Miami, followed by a close-up of Cec Linder admiring the pool windows and indoor skating rink before threading his way through the poolside loungers to find Connery and Dink by the cabanas. There follows a series of back-and-forth shots which bring Linder into the Pinewood recreation of the cabana deck, then we see Connery framed against the same back projection as was used for Linder only a moment before.

So Connery never went to Florida or Kentucky to film Goldfinger - the second unit brought the locations to Pinewood (the scene of Linder outside a KFC could have been filmed anywhere in the U.S.). I'm not even convinced that Connery went to Switzerland - I'll have to watch GF again to confirm that.

Also, I noted that Dean had only five costume changes in MR, whereas Connery had at least ten in GF. Yet, it takes repeated viewings to notice these sort of things. That I can watch MR multiple times is a testament to its quality - which stands out even more when compared to the other three Matt Helm flicks.

I'm not out to belittle GF with this post - I remain impressed with how much Guy Hamilton accomplished with a $3m budget (I think MR had about the same). In fact, I think I'm usually more impressed with the modestly-budgeted early films than I am with the lavish $100m+ productions we've seen of late. I think we see more creativity when the money is tight.

Since Skyfall is being made for less money than originally hoped (hence the move from India to Turkey) I hope to be impressed with it, rather than bleating about how 'cheap' it may look.

#2 Phuyuck

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 01:41 AM

I totally agree! Murderer's Row is definately the best Matt Helm movie, the others I could barely even finish watching. It's especially funny if you're into the 60's retro thing. A friend and I made a Dean/Elvis/Bond mashup series a while ago with Connery as the villain and Moore as a hitman and we used a lot of clips from Murderer's Row.



Edited by Phuyuck, 20 September 2012 - 11:20 AM.


#3 PrinceKamalKhan

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 03:34 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPcKdF3wQgs&


Interesting work. I liked the way you spliced "Dial M For Murder" and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service together. Which Elvis Presley movies did you use?

I definitely like the ice gun from "Murderer's Row". And Lalo Schiffrin's score is far and away the best of the 4 Matt Helm film scores:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lV_qx389lW4

In retrospect, it's too bad they didn't keep the "Murderer's Row" theme for the rest of the series as the Matt Helm theme.

#4 Phuyuck

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:22 PM

Thanks! I think there are clips from Live a little love a little, Double trouble, Spinout and Jailhouse rock. Sorry if the video seemed confusing, it's part 7 of 9. I just posted that one cause it had a lot of scenes from Murderer's Row.

Would've been interesting if John Barry scored a Matt Helm movie. The music was so much better in the 60s/70s than it is now.

#5 PrinceKamalKhan

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:12 PM

Thanks! I think there are clips from Live a little love a little, Double trouble, Spinout and Jailhouse rock. Sorry if the video seemed confusing, it's part 7 of 9. I just posted that one cause it had a lot of scenes from Murderer's Row.


I'll need to check those out.

Would've been interesting if John Barry scored a Matt Helm movie. The music was so much better in the 60s/70s than it is now.


Or if Jerry Goldsmith or Henry Mancini had gotten to score a Bond film.

On main topic, it's interesting that the scene in Murderer's Row where Helm uses the magnet to capture the metal capped henchman predated the similar scene where Bond did the same thing to Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me by 11 years. Also, the idea of the hero faking his "death" to fool his enemies. You Only Live Twice anyone?

These following Matt Helm films are now on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLLjOh76mHY

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKaNqR75Fqs

Haven't found Murderer's Row yet.

#6 Napoleon Solo

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:20 AM


Thanks! I think there are clips from Live a little love a little, Double trouble, Spinout and Jailhouse rock. Sorry if the video seemed confusing, it's part 7 of 9. I just posted that one cause it had a lot of scenes from Murderer's Row.


I'll need to check those out.

Would've been interesting if John Barry scored a Matt Helm movie. The music was so much better in the 60s/70s than it is now.


Or if Jerry Goldsmith or Henry Mancini had gotten to score a Bond film.

On main topic, it's interesting that the scene in Murderer's Row where Helm uses the magnet to capture the metal capped henchman predated the similar scene where Bond did the same thing to Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me by 11 years. Also, the idea of the hero faking his "death" to fool his enemies. You Only Live Twice anyone?

These following Matt Helm films are now on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLLjOh76mHY

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKaNqR75Fqs

Haven't found Murderer's Row yet.


Or, pay your leading man so much by making him a partner in the enterprise, he'll get more than the guy who stars in the Bond movies?

That's what Irving Allen, Albert R. Broccoli's one-time partner, did. The four Helm movies, if you glance at the copyright notices list "Meadway-Claude Productions" as the copyright owner. Claude was Dean Martin's production company. The Helm movies arguably had the most impact on the Eon-007 movies but not necessarily because of the finished product.

#7 AMC Hornet

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 08:21 PM

Thanks for posting these links, Kamal.

It's been yonks since I've seen The Ambushers. I have Murderers' Row on video, and I maintain it's the only one worth watching. I cannot understand why the critics say The Silencers is the best of the lot. I can, however, understand why there was no follow-up to The Wrecking Crew.

#8 PrinceKamalKhan

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 02:17 AM

Thanks for posting these links, Kamal.


You're welcome.

It's been yonks since I've seen The Ambushers. I have Murderers' Row on video, and I maintain it's the only one worth watching. I cannot understand why the critics say The Silencers is the best of the lot.


I think The Silencers benefits from being the first of these basically film versions of a James Bond spoof sketch from Dean Martin's musical variety show of the time. The idea of combining Dino's shtick with the mid-1960s-Bond mania craze was fresh and creative in 1965 when it when into production. By 1969, it was tired and stale. TS also has maybe the best line from a Helm girl: "Who designed this house? Smith and Wesson?"-Tina(Daliah Lavi).

Dino and his MR leading lady re-united on his TV show a few years later:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3ghHJIhLzc

Now that's what I call chemistry.

#9 AMC Hornet

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 05:44 PM

Rowrrrr...

I loved that nice little nothing she was almost wearing while trying to recruit Matt to her side in MR. Or, rather, I like what it was failing to adequately conceal.




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