Monday, June 16, 2008
I hate Dean Martin!
Pipe down! It's not about Dean Martin, it's about my favorite novel series - Matt Helm!
For an introduction you can go here - http://www.matthelmbooks.com/intro.html
but I am going to do it here anyway.
Matthew Helm, code name Eric, is an agent, a secret agent, something of the kind that James Bond is but more hardened, more down to earth quite practical. His task more often than not is to kill people. Yes, you heard me right, he kills people - people like enemy agents, or U.S. agents who have joined hands with the enemy or any conspirators, bad guys...anyone that his boss says to "remove". His is not to ask.
Funny thing is even though Donald Hamilton, the author, emphasizes the point of portraying Matt Helm as a mindless or rather opinion-less killer, in the books he is not just a callous murderer. He is also a philosopher the way we analyzes and theorizes about things without seeming to, he's also a detective as he tries to figure things out during his missions, he is quite human in the way he feels about people and things, yet quite professional in his work. It is not often that he goes against the orders even if they go against his feelings or opinion.
The narration of the books is always in the first person which makes it easier to identify with this superhero. Speed of the story is always such that it keeps you turning pages.
Matt's boss, a man known only as Mac, is shown to be an older gent, quite ruthless in his approach towards his work, and a human calculating machine in Matt's words, but that makes the little rare, human things that he does, stand out more and lend a unique touch to the situation.
The agency Matt works for remains anonymous, throughout the 27 books of the series (no, I haven't read all of them, some of them are hard to find, but I am on my way to do that), but the agency has been named variously as titles of several of the novels e.g. "The Silencers", "The Removers", "Murderer's Row", "The Wrecking Crew" etc.
More than once I have wished while reading a Matt Helm novel, that they had made it into a movie. 4 of the books were made into movies, but not properly. They just borrowed the names, the plots were completely out of line from the originals and just taken a point or two here and there. Actually, there was no plot at all. I saw that after I bought the DVD set and watched them. It was a few years later though, that I learnt that the movies were made as a spoof on James Bond movies. As such they disgrace both James Bond and Matt Helm. The movies are good for nothing more than cheesecake, they are full of beautiful girls but otherwise completely useless.
I hate Irvin Allen for producing these stupid bunch of movies and I hate Dean Martin for mocking my favorite secret agent Matt Helm.
If I had money and knowledge of the field, I would make these books into movies myself, so much I love them. The plots are quite good and the story laid out in enough detail that you won't have to work too hard to produce a screenplay. Well, according to Wikipedia DreamWorks has a project underway to make the Matt Helm books into movies but no release information is available for that. Well, hopefully they'll do it properly this time and hopefully very soon.