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Matt Helm

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  • RICHARD LIEDHOLM
    As some of you may know, the Dean Martin film The Silencers was released on DVD this week. A silly, but entertaining, film, if you are in the right mood. But
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 17, 2003
      As some of you may know, the Dean Martin film The Silencers was released on DVD this week. A silly, but entertaining, film, if you are in the right mood. But it got me thinking: what does this group think of the Donald Hamilton series? Any thoughts? It's a little off topic, and I apologize for that... But if James Bond is (arguably) the golden age of British spies than Matt Helm must be considered a great American counterpart. Does anyone have any favorites that they would recommend?

      Richard


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • luis molina
      ... THE CREDIT IT DESERVES. HE WRITES WELL, DEVELOPS HIS CARACTHERS, AND HELM IS A WELL FLESHED HERO. I WOULD RECOMEND ALL, BUT SPECIALLY THE FIRST 7 NOVELS.
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 17, 2003
        --- RICHARD LIEDHOLM <jandrliedholm@...> wrote:
        > As some of you may know, the Dean Martin film The
        > Silencers was released on DVD this week. A silly,
        > but entertaining, film, if you are in the right
        > mood. But it got me thinking: what does this group
        > think of the Donald Hamilton series? Any thoughts?
        >I THINK THE WRITING ON HAMILTON HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN
        THE CREDIT IT DESERVES.
        HE WRITES WELL, DEVELOPS HIS CARACTHERS, AND HELM IS A
        WELL FLESHED HERO. I WOULD RECOMEND ALL, BUT SPECIALLY
        THE FIRST 7 NOVELS.


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      • b_ergang
        I agree with both of you about the Helm novels, of which I ve read all but one or two of the more recent ones I haven t been able to find new or used. They
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 17, 2003
          I agree with both of you about the Helm novels, of which I've read
          all but one or two of the more recent ones I haven't been able to
          find new or used. They were written in a crisply literate style
          reminiscent of some of the older British thriller writers, but one
          distinctly American for all that.

          Hamilton's characters were indeed well developed, although you have
          to admit that the female leads were all pretty much of the same
          stripe. They started out with some hostility toward Helm, then clung
          to and called him "darling" repeatedly right after they slept with
          him.

          In comparison to Bond, Helm was a much more credible character,
          always prepared to kick (or shoot) ass first and *then* take names,
          whereas Bond often blundered into dire situations a cannier
          agent would have avoided. Of course, that would have taken the fun
          out of the stories, but....

          A blurb on some of the early Hamilton books rightly stated that Helm
          made "James Bond look like a powderpuff."

          Hamilton's plots were infinitely more credible than Fleming's, but
          whether they're better is a matter of the reader's taste. Helm was
          also much more of a "sleuth" than Bond was.

          The films were fun, especially "The Silencers," and wonderful spoofs
          of the "super-spy" craze embodied by the success of the early Bond
          films. The only thing was, anyone expecting the books to be as
          comical and gadget-ridden as the movies was going to be grossly
          disappointed.

          --- In GAdetection@yahoogroups.com, luis molina <lrmolina47@y...>
          wrote:
          >
          > --- RICHARD LIEDHOLM <jandrliedholm@m...> wrote:
          > > As some of you may know, the Dean Martin film The
          > > Silencers was released on DVD this week. A silly,
          > > but entertaining, film, if you are in the right
          > > mood. But it got me thinking: what does this group
          > > think of the Donald Hamilton series? Any thoughts?
          > >I THINK THE WRITING ON HAMILTON HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN
          > THE CREDIT IT DESERVES.
          > HE WRITES WELL, DEVELOPS HIS CARACTHERS, AND HELM IS A
          > WELL FLESHED HERO. I WOULD RECOMEND ALL, BUT SPECIALLY
          > THE FIRST 7 NOVELS.
        • Jon Jermey
          I ve been trying to order books via the House of Stratus website in the US but it seems to be off the air. Does anyone have a fax number for them? Thanks, Jon.
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 19, 2003
            I've been trying to order books via the House of Stratus website in the
            US but it seems to be off the air. Does anyone have a fax number for
            them?

            Thanks,

            Jon.
          • Tony Medawar
            Jon I tend to use email a.. info@houseofstratus.com There is also a toll free number for US citizens 1-800-509-9942. Tony ... From: Jon Jermey To:
            Message 5 of 7 , Dec 4, 2003
              Jon

              I tend to use email

              a.. info@...
              There is also a toll free number for US citizens 1-800-509-9942.

              Tony
              ----- Original Message -----
              From: Jon Jermey
              To: GAdetection@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 11:46 AM
              Subject: [GAdetection] Fax no for House of Stratus?


              I've been trying to order books via the House of Stratus website in the
              US but it seems to be off the air. Does anyone have a fax number for
              them?

              Thanks,

              Jon.


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            • Mike Blake
              ... Sure, I still have a stack of the early ones. You re right, the later books got longer bit less interesting. He s no spy or secret agent, just an
              Message 6 of 7 , Apr 1, 2004
                James Wyatt wrote:
                > Does anybody remember Matt Helm any more? (Forget
                > those awful movies starring Dean Martin.) Hamilton did
                > some great ground-breaking stuff in the spy/caper/thriller
                > genre, or whatever you want to call the current Parker/
                > Dan Brown junk. His river went dry, however, after about
                > the first four in the series.

                Sure, I still have a stack of the early ones. You're right, the later
                books got longer bit less interesting. He's no spy or secret agent, just
                an unabashed assassin. Not of all the political asides rubbed me the right
                way, but the first books in the series were chillingly realistic.

                --Mike Blake

                PS, yes, those movies were about the worst spy book adaptations I ever
                saw, poor attempts at "camp." Even the awful MODESTY BLAISE movie was
                better.
              • b_ergang
                I ve read all but one, which I haven t been able to find a copy of. I agree the earlier ones were the best, but I enjoyed all of them-- though you re right,
                Message 7 of 7 , Apr 1, 2004
                  I've read all but one, which I haven't been able to find a copy of.
                  I agree the earlier ones were the best, but I enjoyed all of them--
                  though you're right, Mike, some of the later ones were too long.
                  Because of the sameness of situations in many of the books--early,
                  middle, and late--this was not a series I could read one book after
                  another without a break.

                  Some editions ran a reviewer's blurb (I forget which reviewer) which
                  said Helm "makes British secret agent James Bond look like a
                  powderpuff," and he was right. Someone else described the Bond books
                  as "Mickey Spillane in gentlemen's clothing," but Bond bore little
                  resemblance to Mike Hammer, despite the amount of violence in his
                  adventures. Helm, on the other hand, had a lot in common with the
                  literate P.I. school. For that matter, his adventures often had him
                  doing some actual detecting.

                  As I recall from another blurb, Anthony Boucher liked the series,
                  too.

                  The movies? Call me an apostate. I would *love* to see a Helm
                  movie faithfully adapted from one of the novels and played straight.
                  But as spoofs of the sexy, gadget-riddled super-spy genre, some of
                  the Dean Martin films were genuinely funny, albeit hokey and with
                  effects that were far from special.

                  The eye-candy in them wasn't half-bad either. (Senta Berger, where
                  are you now that I need you?)

                  Best,
                  Barry
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