Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Matt Helm: Back again for the first time

There was a time in my life when I pounced upon and devoured each new hardboiled novel by Donald Hamilton about licensed-to-kill secret agent Matt Helm like a hungry lion upon an unwary antelope. The '60s spy-spoofy extravaganzas starring Dean Martin as Helm were greatly disappointing -- if not downright enraging -- as wrong-headed adaptations of Hamilton's ultra-gritty paperbacks. And I can barely remember anything about the short-lived '70s TV series that reconstituted Helm as a private eye played by Tony Franciosa. So I'm very glad to hear from my Variety colleague Michael Fleming that one of the heaviest of Hollywood's heavy hitters may finally bring Matt Helm to the screen with all the straight-shooting seriousness that the character deserves.

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