though she’s not supernaturally attractive. Then we get a blonde stripper with a feathered boa, and then - holy crap! - It’s Cyd Charise! She sings a stupid slutty song with dumb lyrics and dances and does a slow striptease, and it must be said she looks freakin’ unbelievable for a 44-year-old-woman in the sixties. I particularly love when her hair falls down in front of her eyes. Unlike the two women before her, she’s not *really* a stripper (Or “Specialty Dancer” as IMDb lists ‘em), and she only *starts* to take her clothes off when the title sequence ends and we cut away from her, but it’s still surprising. She’s obviously way more comfortable with her body than you’d expect of a woman of her age and social standing in those days.
Ah, hell, just watch it: There’s nothing particularly titillating in here, but, damn!
And if that link doesn’t work, then go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaT7K_a1g_Y
Anyway, once that’s all done and the movie actually starts, we find ourselves in the office of “Mac” MacDonald (James Gregory, also from Star Trek, but best known as Inspector Luger from Barney Miller). Mac is the head of ICE: the US department of Intelligence and Counter Espionage, the nonexistent-but-real-sounding spy agency for this particular movie. (Gotta’ have one of those, but you can’t use a real one without getting sued.) Mac is on the phone talking to one of his female agents (Daliah Lavi, the Israeli actress/model, who was 24 when this movie was made and it must be said that her unusual accent and looks and slightly refined, slightly imperious manner make her fairly compelling), who’s partner was just killed. He decides to recall the legendary secret agent Matt Helm (Dean Martin, aged 49 and he looks it) to active duty.
Cut to Matt/Dino’s swanky upscale bachelor pad: He’s asleep on a round bed, dreaming of some models he’s recently photographed for various T&A magazines. In his dream, he macks with the cowgirl from Western Trails (Who’s just adorable), then smooches around with the mostly-naked cover model from “Bait & Tackle magazine” (Who’s kinda’ bland, actually), and then smooches around some more with the woman who’s fencing in her underwear on the cover of “Slaymate” magazine. (She’s ok, but frankly the cowgirl just kills it for all of ‘em.), all the while Dean is singing parody versions of some of his own songs on the soundtrack. MacDonald’s phone call wakes Helm up, but he refuses to go back to active duty. He hits a button and his round, rotating bed slides across the room, through the wall, and dumps him in to a swimming pool-sized bathtub, complete with naked secretary with the unfortunately Flemmingesque name of “Lovey Kravesit.” (Beverly Adams, who continued working until the late 90s, but this is really her most famous role). They smooch around in the tub a bit, and after the auto-towel-drying system gets done with them, they decide to head to Acapulco for a photo shoot. Granted, three of the girls were in a dream sequence, but we’re not even ten minutes in to the movie and he’s made out with four chicks!
Meanwhile in the middle of nowhere, Roger Carmel he heading to the secret lair of “Big O,” the evil SPECTRE-like bad guys from this movie. He’s tailed by a couple ICE-operatives, and called on the carpet about this by his boss, but it all comes to nothing. The boss is Victor Buono, one of my all-time favorite character actors, who did episodes of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Wild Wild West, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane, but curiously, *didn’t* do an episode of Star Trek. In this movie, he’s playing a character named “Tung-Tze,” an extremely obese man who’s hilariously not-at-all Chinese. Honestly, I’m not sure what the guy is supposed to be - is he of mixed racial ancestry? Is he actually supposed to be Chinese? (Unlikely with those blue-grey eyes). Is he just a fat gay dude who likes to wear a lot of eyeliner and mascara? (Maybe). Seriously, the casting here boggles me, but it’s always good to see Victor. He plays the role with a vaguely effeminate stern politeness that was kind of what people thought Chinese dudes were like in those days. Anyway: Tung-Tze reveals to his lieutenants that the US will be doing a missile test, and an unrelated underground nuclear test, on the same day, and they intend