THE AMBUSHERS—pitifully stupid ‘Matt Helm’ hijinks, the third in the series, with Dean Martin leching after sexpot Senta Berger and cool Janice Rule, to the credit of no-one, except perhaps the gullibility of a fair-sized section of the 1967 public, who shelled out enough green to make this a decent boxoffice success. Same year as Casino Royale and In Like Flint, so it may be that some secret cabal was trying to make sure spy spoofs weren’t just dead, they would be ground to powder and fed to giant clams.
The ‘jokes’, the ‘action’,the production design are all as rotten as the script. This could very well be the worst of the many lousy secret-agent sendups that ripped off Our Man Flint, which kidded Bond, whose espionage was just tongue-in-cheek to real spying. A spoof of a spoof of a spoof: only thing worse could be a TV series spoofing the spoofers, like, you guessed it–Matt Helm, with Tony Franciosa. It oozed through a handful of episodes before vanishing down the pipes, something the entire subgenre could and should have done after the first tolerably goofy lead-offs in ’66.
Cheesed from the sixth of Donald Hamilton’s twenty-seven Matt Helm novels, it faked its way to a $10,000,000 spot of #22 for its year. Shot in Acapulco, directed by Henry Levin. An agonizing 102 minutes with Albert Salmi, James Gregory, Kurt Kasznar, David Mauro, Beverly Adams, Roy Jenson and Alexandra Hay.