Sunday, October 12, 2008

Movie: The Ambushers (1967)


Making it quite clear that Austin Powers was a (first movie at least, and rather clever) composite of ideas plundered from 60's spy movies here's The Ambushers, one of the (I think, 4) Matt Helm spy-taculars. This one is brimming with Carry-on worthy double-entendres and lame (read that tragically funny) sex jokes with leathery, over-tanned and probably drunk Dino incomprehensibly irresistible to the hordes of bikini-clad babes a third of his age. There is a notable absence of any attractive males in the film, which might have been deliberate to make Dino the alpha-stud - I'm just saying...

Anyway, Austin Powers - ok, just two examples - there's a bra that fires bullets (although this actually was potentially copied from the 1965 film La Decima Vittima where Ursula Andress is likewise attired with such a firing garment).

The dialogue for its introduction:

Linda: It's not a gun, Mr. Helm. It's the new weapon they gave me, developed right here in our labs.

Matt Helm: Developed pretty well, too!

Linda: May I point out...

Matt Helm: You already do!

Linda: ...that that's why you're here. To become familiar with our latest equipment.

Matt Helm: You right. An agent should always keep *abreast* of the times!

You get the idea, and if you don't immediately repeat 12 "Oh I Saaay!"-s to Kenneth Williams, the great god of the double-entendre. For more Austin-isms I submit the name Lovey Kravzit, which surely must have lead the way for Meyer's more graphic Allota Fagina.

The Ambushers is FUN, with a great soundtrack (which I would love to track down) and the go-go theme sung by Boyce & Hart and all the music by the superb Hugo Montenegro. What also helps this one along are the two lead females - Sheila Sommers, played by Janice Rule and Francesca Madeiros played by Senta Berger. Both leads add much-needed female strength to the film and don't spend their time throwing themselves at Helm like most of the women in the film, and apparently the entire planet, do. Both are also surprisingly complex characters for a film of this ilk, Madeiros as the femme fatale and Sommers as his Emma Peel - and both prove an equal, if not better, to Helm.

Dino seems to saunter his way through the film, even in the action scenes, as if the next martini is just out of the frame. With wise-cracking cool even when staring down the barrel of a gun his Helm is the stuff of storybooks, and makes the movie even more fun. Oh, and there's a mincing- stereotype hairdresser. I know some of my people get upset about stuff like that, but I find it pathetically funny.

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