Tagged: Dean Martin

Matt Helm’s Blue Blazer in Murderers’ Row

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers’ Row (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent

French Riviera, Summer 1966

Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday to Dean Martin, born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio! After a successful singing and acting career that included partnerships with Jerry Lewis and the Rat Pack as well as his own TV show, Dino was tapped for the role of Matt Helm, the American counter-agent at the center of author Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels.

While Hamilton wrote his Matt Helm novels with a serious tone, Dino’s characterization parodied the character as more of a playboy lounge lizard, the American satirical answer to his contemporary womanizer James Bond. Thus, the four Matt Helm movies produced in the late ’60s often starred the popular singer opposite many of the most attractive leading ladies of the decade. Continue reading

Advertisements

Matt Helm’s Pink Silk Sport Jacket in The Silencers

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in The Silencers (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in The Silencers (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent and photographer

New Mexico to Phoenix, August 1965

Film: The Silencers
Release Date: February 18, 1966
Director: Phil Karlson
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

Dean Martin infused his lounge lizard persona into a James Bond-like spy for his four-film portrayal of Matt Helm, a playboy whose love for turtlenecks, womanizing, and drinking above actual spying may make him more of an antecedent for the character of Sterling Archer than of 007 himself.

With a bossa nova score by Elmer Bernstein and a hip mid-sixties sartorialism styled by costume designer Moss Mabry and the Rat Pack’s go-to tailor Sy Devore, the Matt Helm series serves as a swingin’ time capsule to the waning heyday of hi-fis and hedonism. Though it may be dated, the series—particularly this first film, The Silencers—seems perfectly content with that and, in fact, it may be an intentional way for the 1966 zeitgeist to remain intact for modern audiences. Never taking itself too seriously, packed with decent talent, and sticking to a tight, quick-paced plot, The Silencers differentiates itself from its contemporary spy spoofs like Casino Royale in that it can still entertain 50 years later.

Continue reading

Sammy Davis Jr.’s Gray Jacket in Ocean’s 11

Sammy Davis Jr. and his Ocean's Eleven (1960) cast mates Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.

Sammy Davis Jr. and his Ocean’s Eleven (1960) cast mates Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop. (Photo by Sid Avery)

Vitals

Sammy Davis Jr. as Josh Howard, sanitation worker and World War II veteran

Beverly Hills, December 1959

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

The days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve are an ideal week for reunions. In the Rat Pack’s arguably most famous film, Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra) organizes a reunion of eleven men from his 82nd Airborne unit for a heist to ring in the new year.

After deciding not to attempt the life of “a one-eyed third baseman in Mobile,” former paratrooper Josh Howard (Sammy Davis Jr.) took a job in sanitation. “Trash is where you find it,” Josh explains. “You gotta follow the fleet!” Continue reading

Dean Martin Turns 100: Dino’s Iconic Tuxedo

Dean Martin on the set of The Dean Martin Show, circa 1965

Vitals

Dean Martin, smooth and multi-talented entertainer

Burbank, California, 1965 to 1974

Series: The Dean Martin Show
Air Dates: September 16, 1965 – April 5, 1974
Director: Greg Garrison
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

On June 7, 1917, Dino Paul Crocetti was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela and Gaetano Crocetti, the latter a barber from the Abruzzo region in Italy where much of my own family hails. One hundred years later, the world remembers him as Dean Martin, the charming crooner whose legendary career spanned half a century as a major headliner from nightclubs and casinos to movies and TV shows.

Effortlessly charismatic and unflappable, Dino brought his smooth star power to his popular comedy act with Jerry Lewis and later as a leader of the Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Continue reading

Dean Martin’s Gray Suit in Ocean’s Eleven

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean's Eleven (1960).

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean’s Eleven (1960).

Vitals

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon, lounge singer, war veteran, and casino heister

Beverly Hills to Las Vegas, December 1959 through January 1960

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

The height of the Rat Pack’s heyday was 1960. Frank’s buddy Jack was elected into the White House, Marilyn was still alive, and the whole gang was living it up in Vegas while filming Ocean’s Eleven. The movie began after Peter Lawford heard the story from Gilbert Kay, who had heard it from a gas station attendant. Once Frank Sinatra was on board, there was no doubt that his famous pals Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. would fill out the rest of the top billing.

It was while filming the movie’s finale, an irony-laden funereal march in front of The Sands, that one of the most iconic of Rat Pack images was captured: the five main performers – Sinatra, Dino, Sammy, Lawford, and Joey Bishop – in front of their names on the Sands’ marquee. Suited up by the legendary Sy Devore, the five men look like they could run the world. And in Las Vegas, they did. Continue reading

Dean Martin’s Blue Striped Sport Coat in Ocean’s Eleven

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean's Eleven (1960).

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon in Ocean’s Eleven (1960).

Vitals

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon, lounge singer and part-time casino heister

Las Vegas, January 1960

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

Tomorrow would’ve been the 97th birthday of a true icon from a past era… Dean Martin.

In the film that helped cement the Rat Pack’s place in history, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin play two old army pals who team up with nine fellow ex-commandos to take down five Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve. Ocean’s Eleven is mostly an excuse for these actors to get together to drink, smoke, chase dames, and sing, but that’s all we really want to see them do anyway. Continue reading

Dean Martin’s Classic Brown Striped Sport Coat

Dean Martin and co-star Angie Dickinson in 1960's Ocean's Eleven.

Dean Martin and co-star Angie Dickinson in 1960’s Ocean’s Eleven.

Today would have been the 96th birthday of Dean Martin, the King of Cool.

Vitals

Dean Martin as Sam Harmon, lounge singer and part-time casino heister

Beverly Hills, December 1959

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

Although Sinatra’s vision may have been for a more serious heist film, the presence of Dean Martin ensures that this time capsule of lounge-era cool kept things fun and lighthearted. After his brief introduction earlier in the film (where he sports a very sharp gray suit at the airport to be covered later), our true introduction to the Sam Harmon character begins at the Beverly Hills hotel as Sam provides a piano accompaniment to his own vocal rendition of Dino’s too-racy-for-radio hit “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”. Continue reading