Murderers’ Row (1966)

Henry Levin would direct the next two Matt Helm movies, starting with Murderer’s Row. He had some spy experience, having directed Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die.

This one starts off with a literal bang, as the Big O blows up the U.S. Capitol building with a heliobeam. Matt Helm better stop taking pictures of supermodels and start doing what he does best. No, not drinking. Killing enemy agents. But first, he has to fake his own death.

Karl Mulden is the main villain, Julian Wall, while Ann-Margaret plays the daughter of the scientist that Helm must recapture or kill. Camilla Sparv, who was once married to Robert Evans, shows up as a femme fatale, as does Playmate of the Month for May 1958, Corinne Cole (she used the fake name Lari Laine as her father was running for Congress at the time).

Beach movie regular Mary Hughes — she’s also one of the female robots in Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine — is here as Miss September. She used to date Jeff Beck and the Yardbirds song “Psycho Daisies” mentions here twice.

Jan Watson, another of Goldfoot’s robots and Levin’s wife for some time, is on hand, as is Jacqueline Fontaine (one-time comedy party of Duke Mitchell and one of the Outlaw Women in that Ron Ormond film) and Miss California 1964 Amadee Chabot.

Beverly Adams returns as Helms’ assistant Lovey Kravezit, James Gregory is back as his boss MacDonald and the singing group Dino, Desi and Billy — featuring Dean’s son Dean Paul Martin from Misfits of Science — make an appearance. Look out for Soon Tek-Oh (Colonel Yin from Missing In Action 2)!

The funny thing is, despite this being a spoof, the Bond movies would come to rip it off. For example, in Diamonds Are Forever, SPECTRE threatens the world with a heliobeam from an orbiting satellite. Ironhead (Tom Reese, the sheriff from Vanishing Point) the villain of this film, is a lot like Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me. And the hovercraft chase and Hugo Drax in Moonraker are a lot like scenes and the villain of this movie.

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