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George Roy Hill
A government space saucer is hijacked mid-flight by a powerful laser beam under the control of Jose Ortega, who then proceeds to rape the female pilot, Sheila Sommars. ICE sends agent Matt Helm to Acapulco with Sheila to recover the saucer, under the guise of Matt taking fashion photographs of beautiful models. Matt is temporarily side-tracked, falling prey to the seductive charms of enemy agent Franceca Madeiros.Written by
Throughout the entire film you can see the wires that are used to lift things and people up whenever the "anti-gravity ray" is used. This is especially obvious in the scenes where the saucer is brought down to the jungle and when Matt rescues Sheila from the runaway train wagon. See more »
Now I know we're partners. We're trying to kill each other.
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The third of Dean Martin's Matt Helm adventures is generally considered to be the worst of the quartet but, while undeniably the silliest (especially in the film's relentless concession to go-go dancing), it's still never less than enjoyable; I'd say these goofy spy sagas were basically the rough template for the jokey version of James Bond as depicted throughout Roger Moore's tenure in that series!
While here we don't get the hero thinking in song per his usual custom (though Hugo Montenegro's lounge score is as infectious as ever), all of the character's other traits are allowed full sway: the constant intake of alcohol, the lethal attraction to women, the dubious gadgets (guns shooting heat rays or causing people to levitate, an inflatable tent complete with comfort accessories, cigars emitting laughing gas, while even the women spies are given the benefit of narcoleptic lipstick and bullet-shooting bra the latter device has actually reminded me that I've yet to check out the Vincent Price sci-fi comedy DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE ) that I've recently acquired.
The two leading ladies themselves are well chosen: Senta Berger (somewhat ill-used, though, as the obligatory duplicitous female especially since she's eventually disposed off rather too quickly, and not even by Helm!) and Janice Rule (quite delightful as Martin's companion but who also gets to play an important role in the mission); besides, as ever, there's a plethora of other beauties on hand including Helm's ubiquitous secretary Lovey Kravezit (Beverly Adams yet again). The villains, too, are notable: Albert Salmi and Kurt Kasznar; as for the action scenes, perhaps the most elaborate is the one inside Kasznar's brewery and, of course, a jab at Martin's fellow Rat Packer Frank Sinatra never goes amiss! For the record, the best line in the film has Berger toasting via the traditional Scandinavian epithet of "Skol", with Martin's instant retort being "Sure it's cold it's got ice in it!"
The plot, for what it is, involves the theft of a flying saucer (though we're never told just what Salmi intends to do with it and, in fact, is later visited by interested parties bidding for possession of it) which, it transpires, can only be flown by a woman as the atmosphere inside is fatal to the male of the species (huh?). The comic-strip nature of the film extends to the climax in which Helm chases the runaway saucer (speeding across a railway track with Rule still inside it) on a motorbike (he even goes underwater on top of it and comes up with an alligator seated in the sidecar!) which, however, is rather marred by the rampant back-projection involved.
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