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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

THE SILENCERS (1966)

Stupefying. A James Bond spoof where everyone’s in on the joke, but nothing’s funny. Dean Martin is Matt Helm, a semi-retired agent with an eye for the broads & a taste for booze, called back to save the world from nuclear annihilation. The cast isn’t bad: Cyd Charisse (fabu @ 45); Robert Webber; James Gregory; Victor Buono (in YellowFace makeup!), but only Stella Stevens, playing a sexy klutz, manages to redeem a few scenes before sinking under some exceptionally mean-spirited comic humiliation. Phil Karlson was a fine director of low-budget crime mellers (THE PHENIX STORY/’55; SCANDAL SHEET/’52), but here his laisser-faire megging proves as deadly as the inane story and miserable production values.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Hard to believe, but there were three sequels. If you’re dying to see a ‘60s spy spoof, try Mike Myers’ AUSTIN POWERS/’97 which gleaned comic silk out of this sow’s ear.

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