The Wrecking Crew-Golden Gun mashup

Bruce Lee supervises Sharon Tate (left) and Nancy Kwan during production of The Wrecking Crew

The new movie Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood prompted the blog to again watch The Wrecking Crew, the final Matt Helm film with Dean Martin.

The latter figures prominently in the Quentin Tarantino-directed Once Upon a Time.

After the latest viewing of The Wrecking Crew, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities with the 1974 James Bond film, The Man With the Golden Gun.

Wrecking Crew: Freya Carlson (Sharon Tate) is a klutz.

Golden Gun: Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) is a klutz.

Wrecking Crew: Freya works for British Intelligence.

Golden Gun: Goodnight works for British Intelligence.

Wrecking Crew: One of Freya’s colleagues is known as JB.

Golden Gun: One of Goodnight’s colleagues is James Bond.

Wrecking Crew: Matt Helm (Dean Martin) spends a portion of the movie commenting on Freya’s clumsiness.

Golden Gun: James Bond (Roger Moore) spends a portion of the movie commenting on Goodnight’s clumsiness.

Wrecking Crew: When the mission is completed, Helm’s boss, MacDonald (John Larch) unexpectedly calls Helm in the villain’s private rail car that is towing $1 billion in gold. (You’d think it’d have an unlisted number.)

Golden Gun: When the mission is completed, Bond’s boss, M (Bernard Lee) unexpectedly calls Bond in the villain’s private boat. (You’d think it’d have an unlisted number.)

Wrecking Crew: Movie ends with Helm and Freya making out, about to make love.

Golden Gun: Movie ends with Bond and Goodnight making out, about to make love.

A guide to references in Tarantino’s new film

Post for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

These aren’t plot spoilers but the spoiler adverse should avoid.

The Quentin Tarantino-directed Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood opens this weekend. Trailers and TV spots for the film promised references to 1960s entertainment. It delivers.

Here’s a guide to some of the references that may be of interest to readers of the blog.

The Wrecking Crew: Margot Robbie, playing Sharon Tate, goes to a movie theater to watch the fourth Matt Helm film starring Dean Martin. She’s depicted as gauging how the audience reactions.

As a result, for most of the sequence, you have the fictional Tate watching the real Sharon Tate opposite Martin and Nancy Kwan. At one point, a fight scene between Tate and Kwan is juxtaposed with scenes of  of Robbie’s Tate training with Bruce Lee (Mike Moh).

Burt Reynolds in The FBI episode All the Streets Are Silent. Leonardo DiCaprio replaces Reynolds in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

The FBI: Actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and stuntman/gofer Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) goes to Dalton’s house to watch the actor’s appearance in The FBI in an episode titled All the Streets Are Silent.

It’s an actual episode of the series. Except shots with Burt Reynolds, playing the episode’s lead villain, are replaced with DeCaprio as Dalton. “This is my big FBI moment,” Dalton says just before the freeze frame at the end of the pre-titles sequence where the villain’s name is on the screen.

All the Streets Are Silent was a 1965 episode. But the film is set in 1969. So the title card for the episode’s name is altered so it’s consistent with the series for the 1968-69 season.

Mannix: At one point, Booth goes home to his own trailer and watches an episode of the private eye drama. The title sequence does match the titles for the 1968-69 season.

The arrangement of Lalo schifrin’s theme uses strings instead of a piano (which began in the third season and lasted the rest of the series.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.: The two shows are mentioned in passing by a character played by Al Pacino. Girl went off the air in 1967 while Man’s final episode was in January 1968.

The Wild Wild West: The show isn’t mentioned by name, but Al Pacino also references “Bob Conrad and his tight pants.”

The Green Hornet: There’s a flashback scene depicting Cliff Booth getting into a fight with Bruce Lee on the set of the 1966-67 series.

Have Gun-Will Travel: Underscore from the 1957-63 Western is used with a fictional Western series where Dalton had been a big star. Details of specific music is cited in the end titles.

Batman: The theme music for the 1966-68 series shows up in the end titles, along with audio from what sounds like a radio ad featuring Adam West and Burt Ward.

These are just a fraction of movie and TV references in the film. There are other trailers, posters and billboards shown throughout the movie.

UPDATE (July 26): Matthew Chernov advises via Twitter that there also is music from Thunderball in the end titles of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

“It’s a cue from Thunderball,” Chernov wrote in response to a tweet from me. “I saw both movies virtually back to back and it’s definitely part of a climactic action track.”

Chernov conducted a question and answer session with Luciana Paluzzi on July 17 at the Tarantino-owned New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. The actress attended a showing of Thunderball at the theater.

Chernov also wrote a July 23 article for the James Bond Radio website about Pauluzzi’s appearance.

(July 29): Reader Matthew Bradford, in a comment on The Spy Command’s page on Facebook, advises the Thunderball music was part of the Batman radio spot cited above.

(July 30): Reader Delmo Waters Jr. identifies the Mannix episode as “Death in a Minor Key,” original air date Feb. 8, 1969. Guest stars include two future Bond film actors: Yahphet Kotto and Anthony Zerbe.

The Wrecking Crew figures into new Tarantino movie

The Wrecking Crew, the fourth and final Matt Helm film, figures into Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

The cast includes Margot Robbie as actress Sharon Tate. The movie’s trailer includes a scene where Tate goes to a theater playing The Wrecking Crew. In the Helm film, Tate played a klutzy British agent who ends up teamed with Dean Martin’s Helm.

A fifth Helm movie, The Ravagers, was announced at the end of The Wrecking Crew. The plan was to have Sharon Tate return. However, she was among seven people murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. Eventually, The Ravagers was called off and the Helm series ended.

You can view the trailer below.

Happy birthday, David McCallum

Happy 82nd birthday to David McCallum. To celebrate, here’s a publicity still of the actor during production of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

 

David McCallum with Sharon Tate in 1965,

A cool U.N.C.L.E. publicity still (1965)

Toward the end of the first season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., David McCallum, playing Illya Kuryakin, posed for a series of publicity stills during production of The Girls of Nazarone Affair, the next-to-last episode of the show’s first season.

In this photo, he’s in a convertible with Sharon Tate, who had a small role in the episode. Tate, in this photograph, shows off her personality that made an impression on casting directors. She soon would soon get larger roles.

Looking at this image, you can understand why Dean Martin wanted Tate to return for a planned fifth Matt Helm movie, The Ravagers. Tate had been his co-star in The Wrecking Crew.

It wasn’t to be. Tragically, she would be murdered in 1969 by the Charles Manson family.

David McC, Sharon Tate

Bruce Lee working on The Wrecking Crew

There’s really not much to be said here. During production of The Wrecking Crew, the fourth and final Matt Helm movie, Bruce Lee was credited as “karate adviser.” In reality, he was the fight arranger.

This photo popped up Facebook. Here, Lee (1940-1973) works with Sharon Tate (1943-1969) and Nancy Kwan (b. 1939) on a fight sequence toward the end of The Wrecking Crew.

Even though Lee didn’t appear on camera, his stunt work/fight arranging made The Wrecking Crew a unique entry in the four-film series starring Dean Martin and produced by Irving Allen, Albert R. Broccoli’s former producing partner.

Bruce Lee supervises Sharon Tate (left) and Nancy Kwan

Bruce Lee supervises Sharon Tate (left) and Nancy Kwan

The U.N.C.L.E. movie may have an echo of a TV episode

Solo doesn't realize it, but he's very close to Thrush's Dr. Egret

The opening scene of The Girls of Nazarone Affair.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie now filming in the U.K. apparently has a sequence that has an echo of an episode of the 1964-68 television series.

The Extras Casting Web site has INFORMATION ABOUT THE MOVIE seeking extras who also have pre-1965 cars to appear as part of a sequence including “a memorable and iconic scene involving Grand Prix racing.”

The filming is to take place for four days starting Oct. 16 at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. Participating extras will receive 200 pounds a day but must be available for all four days.

As it turns out, the original show incorporated a Grand Prix race (a generic race, not the European-based Formula One series), for the next-to-last episode of the first season, The Girls of Nazarone Affair.

In the episode, which originally aired April 12, 1965, U.N.C.L.E. and the villainous organization Thrush are after a serum that greatly accelerates the healing process.

Thrush has gotten its hands on the serum and conducts a test, with women operatives firing automatic weapons into woman race car driver Nazarone. The latter survives and U.N.C.L.E. agents Solo and Kuryakin (Robert Vaughn and David McCallum) must plot a way to get the formula back. Meanwhile, the Thrush forces are led by Dr. Egret, a woman master of disguise in her second, and final, appearance in the series.

In the show, Southern California doubles for the South of France. Nazarone, whose behavior grows increasingly erratic, drives her race car onto the “Le Grand Prix” race circuit with the U.N.C.L.E. operatives in pursuit. The driving sequences take place on isolated roads.

It sounds Guy Ritchie, director of the new U.N.C.L.E. movie, starring Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer, plans something more elaborate. The Nazarone episode of the television show included Sharon Tate in the cast.

Shoutouts to @laneyboggs2001 on Twitter and the Henry Cavill News and HenryCavill.org Web sites.