Murderers' Row (1966)

108 mins | Comedy | 21 December 1966

Director:

Henry Levin

Writer:

Herbert Baker

Producer:

Irving Allen

Cinematographer:

Sam Leavitt

Editor:

Walter Thompson

Production Designer:

Joseph C. Wright

Production Company:

Meadway-Claude Productions #2
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HISTORY

The 11 Jan 1966 DV reported producer Irving Allen’s plans to film his sequel to The Silencers (1966, see entry) on location in Saint-Tropez, France, and Monte Carlo, Monaco, with interiors at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, CA. According to the 11 Mar 1966 DV, Dean Martin was set to reprise his role as secret agent “Matt Helm,” with Stella Stevens returning as his leading lady. Three months later, the 9 Jun 1966 DV announced that Ann-Margret had assumed the female lead. The 22 Jul 1966 issue reported the start of principal photography four days earlier. Meanwhile, a second unit was dispatched to the French Riviera to photograph exteriors between the cities of Menton and Marseilles. Other sources include the England’s Isle of Wight as a location.
       A news item in the 12 Aug 1966 LAT noted that the trio of Dino, Desi and Billy would appear in a musical sequence, performing a song by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The band was comprised of Billy Hinsche, Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin.
       As stated in contemporary sources, the cast also included Dick Delmar (1 Aug 1966 DV) ; Virginia Ann Ford (8 Aug 1966 LAT) ; Guy Danfort and Gary Lasdun (11 Aug 1966 DV) ; Richard Gardner, Alex Rodine, Jacqueline Fontaine, Martin Cross, and Tedford Cross (12 Aug 1966 DV) ; Lou Robb and Ermete Santucci (17 Aug 1966 DV) ; Maurice D. Tern, who played an inebriate (28 Aug 1966 LAT) ; and dancer Mary Jane Mangler (16 Sep 1966 ... More Less

The 11 Jan 1966 DV reported producer Irving Allen’s plans to film his sequel to The Silencers (1966, see entry) on location in Saint-Tropez, France, and Monte Carlo, Monaco, with interiors at Columbia Studios in Hollywood, CA. According to the 11 Mar 1966 DV, Dean Martin was set to reprise his role as secret agent “Matt Helm,” with Stella Stevens returning as his leading lady. Three months later, the 9 Jun 1966 DV announced that Ann-Margret had assumed the female lead. The 22 Jul 1966 issue reported the start of principal photography four days earlier. Meanwhile, a second unit was dispatched to the French Riviera to photograph exteriors between the cities of Menton and Marseilles. Other sources include the England’s Isle of Wight as a location.
       A news item in the 12 Aug 1966 LAT noted that the trio of Dino, Desi and Billy would appear in a musical sequence, performing a song by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart. The band was comprised of Billy Hinsche, Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Martin’s son, Dean Paul Martin.
       As stated in contemporary sources, the cast also included Dick Delmar (1 Aug 1966 DV) ; Virginia Ann Ford (8 Aug 1966 LAT) ; Guy Danfort and Gary Lasdun (11 Aug 1966 DV) ; Richard Gardner, Alex Rodine, Jacqueline Fontaine, Martin Cross, and Tedford Cross (12 Aug 1966 DV) ; Lou Robb and Ermete Santucci (17 Aug 1966 DV) ; Maurice D. Tern, who played an inebriate (28 Aug 1966 LAT) ; and dancer Mary Jane Mangler (16 Sep 1966 DV). The film marked the final screen appearance of stuntman Saul Gorss , according to his obituary in the 12 Sept 1966 DV. The 11 Sep 1966 LAT credited Dean Martin with spelling his name backward (Onid Nitram) on a grave marker for a cemetery sequence.
       An item in the 16 Aug 1966 DV reported the return of associate producer Euan Lloyd and second unit director James Havens from location shooting in France. The 21 Sep 1966 Var announced that principal photography was completed during the previous week. Post-production was underway as of 7 Oct 1966, as noted in that day’s DV.
       Murderers’ Row opened on 21 Dec 1966 in New York City, and on 8 Feb 1967 in Los Angeles, CA. Reviews were mixed: While the 8 Feb 1967 LAT praised Martin’s performance, the 22 Dec 1966 NYT described the picture as “a feeble serving of James Bond leftovers.”
       Public response was considerably more enthusiastic, evidenced by an article in the 1 Mar 1967 Var, which partially credited the film with contributing to a 322 percent revenue increase for Columbia Pictures. Seven weeks later, the 26 Apr 1967 Var estimated gross receipts at $17 million, compared to The Silencers, which earned $15 million.
       Irving Allen revealed in the 6 Jul 1967 LAT that actors such as Paul Newman refused the role of Matt Helm, fearing they could not compete with Sean Connery’s “James Bond” films. After a comedy element was added, Allen cast Dean Martin, who was enjoying a wave of popularity with the launch of his television variety series that same year. Five more sequels were planned, although only two, The Ambushers (1967) and The Wrecking Crew (1969, see entries), were released.
       On 3 Jan 1968, LAT reported that Dean Martin was voted the fourth most profitable star of the past year by readers of Motion Picture Herald. That same day, Var estimated the film’s1967 rental income at $6.24 million.
       According to the 27 Sep 1967 Var, Columbia was reissuing both Matt Helm pictures as a double feature, in emulation of the marketing strategy used by United Artists Corporation (UA) for its James Bond series. The bill opened 20 Sep 1967 in Los Angeles.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
11 Jan 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
11 Mar 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
9 Jun 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Jul 1966
p. 7.
Daily Variety
22 Jul 1966
p. 10.
Daily Variety
1 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
11 Aug 1966
p. 8.
Daily Variety
12 Aug 1966
p. 16.
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 Aug 1966
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Sep 1966
p. 14.
Daily Variety
16 Sep 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
7 Oct 1966
p. 2.
Daily Variety
17 May 1967
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
8 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 25.
Los Angeles Times
12 Aug 1966
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
28 Aug 1966
Section B, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
11 Sep 1966
Section N, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
28 Jan 1967
p. 16.
Los Angeles Times
8 Feb 1967
Section E, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
6 Jul 1967
Section E, p. 14.
Los Angeles Times
11 Sep 1967
Section C, p. 32.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jan 1968
Section D, p. 8.
New York Times
21 Dec 1966
p. 47.
New York Times
22 Dec 1966
p. 39.
Variety
27 Jul 1966
p. 4.
Variety
21 Sep 1966
p. 4.
Variety
14 Dec 1966
p. 6.
Variety
1 Mar 1967
p. 4.
Variety
26 Apr 1967
p. 21.
Variety
27 Sep 1967
p. 13.
Variety
3 Jan 1968
p. 25.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
An Irving Allen Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2nd unit dir
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
2nd unit photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward
MUSIC
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup
Ann-margret's hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv
Scr supv
Gaffer
Grip
Grip
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel Murderers' Row by Donald Hamilton (New York, 1962).
SONGS
"If You're Thinking What I'm Thinking," words and music by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart
"I'm Not the Marrying Kind," music and lyrics by Lalo Schifrin and Howard Greenfield, sung by Dean Martin.
DETAILS
Series:
Release Date:
21 December 1966
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 21 December 1966
Los Angeles opening: 8 February 1967
Production Date:
18 July--mid September 1966
Copyright Claimant:
Meadway-Claude Productions #2
Copyright Date:
1 December 1966
Copyright Number:
LP34011
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
108
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As part of his plan for world conquest, archvillain Julian Wall has kidnapped Dr. Norman Solaris, the inventor of a helio-beam, a device capable of destroying the earth by harnessing the sun's rays. Wall has also eliminated most of America's ICE (Intelligence and Counter-Espionage) agents, including the famous Matt Helm. Unknown to him, however, the ever resourceful Helm is alive and traveling incognito. Arriving on the Riviera, Matt finds his contact woman murdered, but he meets Solaris's daughter, Suzie, who is worried about her father's disappearance. Matt poses as an American gunman on the lam; and Wall hires him but becomes suspicious when Matt rescues Suzie from being killed by one of Wall's henchmen. Matt and Suzie escape and make their way to Wall's island stronghold. After numerous misadventures, they rescue Dr. Solaris and destroy Wall and his gang, thereby preventing the imminent destruction of Washington, D. C., by the ... +


As part of his plan for world conquest, archvillain Julian Wall has kidnapped Dr. Norman Solaris, the inventor of a helio-beam, a device capable of destroying the earth by harnessing the sun's rays. Wall has also eliminated most of America's ICE (Intelligence and Counter-Espionage) agents, including the famous Matt Helm. Unknown to him, however, the ever resourceful Helm is alive and traveling incognito. Arriving on the Riviera, Matt finds his contact woman murdered, but he meets Solaris's daughter, Suzie, who is worried about her father's disappearance. Matt poses as an American gunman on the lam; and Wall hires him but becomes suspicious when Matt rescues Suzie from being killed by one of Wall's henchmen. Matt and Suzie escape and make their way to Wall's island stronghold. After numerous misadventures, they rescue Dr. Solaris and destroy Wall and his gang, thereby preventing the imminent destruction of Washington, D. C., by the helio-beam. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.