Movie Monday: The Wrecking Crew 1969
Fifty years ago, today, the most popular film at the box office was The Wrecking Crew, a comedy Spy-Fi starring Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, Sharon Tate (Polanski), Nancy Kwan, Nigel Green, Tina Louise and Chuck Norris, making his film début. Opening in the U.S. (NYC) on February 5, it was directed by Phil Karlson, produced by Irving Allen, written by (screenplay) William P. McGivern with music by Hugo Montenegro and Dean Martin serving as Executive Producer, uncredited. Bruce Lee was listed as the ‘Karate Advisor’, choreographing the fight scenes.
The movie was based on Donald Hamilton’s novel of the same name, his second spy thriller about Matt Helm, a fictional U.S. Agent & assassin. Martin played Helm in three previous films and this movie was the last of the series despite the announcement at the end of the film of a fifth installment. Hamilton has written 27 Helm novels spanning 1960 to 1993 with #28 still unpublished, though, finished in the late 1990s.
This was the second to the last movie Sharon Tate (Polanski) made before her murder on August 9, 1969 and the last one released before her death. The Thirteen Chairs was released two months afterwards.
Summary from Rotten Tomatoes:
Secret agent Matt Helm is called on to stop a plan to steal over one billion dollars in gold. With the help of the fumbling female [British] agent Freya, the two race against time to stop the devious plan of Count Contini and his henchmen. The Count is aided by a bevy of beauties who attempt to throw the world economy into chaos with the heist. Helm is constantly interrupted just before his amorous adventures can be set in motion by the overzealous […] Freya.
♦ The working title of the film was House of 7 Joys.
♦ Dean Martin was so distraught over the murder of his co-star and friend, Sharon Tate, that he abandoned the next, already announced, “Matt Helm” motion picture series installment (to be titled “The Ravagers”) and, never played the character again. This is contrary to the post that the series ended due to poor ratings.
♦ Bruce Lee was the martial arts adviser for this film. He also was brought in to train and teach Sharon Tate with her martial arts scenes.
♦ Karate champion Mike Stone was Dean Martin’s fight double. Stone was Priscilla Presley’s boyfriend after she left Elvis.
I can’t find an actual trailer for this movie but, I did find some snippets.
2 thoughts on “Movie Monday: The Wrecking Crew 1969”
February 26, 2019 at 10:53 AM
I remember this movie. It is so dated but kinda fun. Never realised Chuck appeared. You are so good at bringing back these old movie memories
February 26, 2019 at 2:28 PM
It’s kinda like digging around in an attic trunk. 😁