- James Wyatt wrote:
> Does anybody remember Matt Helm any more? (ForgetSure, I still have a stack of the early ones. You're right, the later
> 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.
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.
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
- 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,
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?)