The Wrecking Crew is a 1968 film, starring Dean Martin, Elke Sommer, Nancy Kwan, Tina Louise, and Sharon Tate. It is one in a series of American comedy-Spy Fiction theatrical releases featuring Martin as secret agent Matt Helm, a spoof of the James Bond films.
Helm (Martin) is assigned by his secret agency, ICE, to bring down an evil count named Contini (Nigel Green), who is trying to collapse the world economy by stealing a billion dollars in gold. Helm travels to Denmark, where he is given a guide, Freya Carlson (Tate), a gorgeous but bumbling woman from a Danish tourism bureau. Equally gorgeous women are Contini's accomplices, who attempt to foil Helm's plans.
This was the last film of Tate's to be released in her lifetime before her murder at the hands of Charles Manson's followers on August 9, 1969.
The Troping Crew:
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Contini, the Big Bad of the film, is a count.
- Crash-Into Hello: Freya Carlson introduces herself this way to Matt Helm when she first meets him.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Freya bumbles her way through the movie. She's even introduced tripping all over herself. Matt is annoyed by her, but not enough to prevent him from falling in love.
- Feng Schwing: A rare example of a female, Lola Medina, having a room like this (including mood lighting), which she uses to try to seduce Helm.
- High-Speed Hijack: After using a ploy to slow it down, eight of Count Contini's men climb aboard a moving train, kill the guards and hijack its cargo: A billion dollars in gold.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Freya interrupts nearly all of Matt's encounters with Contini's henchwomen.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Freya and Yu-Rang salute each other before fighting, despite being on opposite sides and having no friendliness for each other (and also, Matt is fighting for his life at the time).
- The Mountains of Illinois: This film may have been the direct inspiration for the "England looks in no way like Southern California" gag in Austin Powers. The movie takes place in Denmark. Some portions of the film, though perhaps only second-unit stuff, appear to have been shot in Denmark. The finale, however, with its exciting car chase along twisty mountain roads that ends with a confrontation on a cable car connecting two of the Danish Alps... wasn't. In reality, the highest point in Denmark, Møllehøj, is 170.86m high. The caption for Wikipedia's picture of Møllehøj, notes that the actual high point is "obscured by the farm buildings" in the picture's foreground. California locations doubled for the "Danish Alps".
- Tap on the Head: Freya is fond of using karate chops on the opponent's neck, though due to her clumsiness they're usually ineffective, or hit someone she didn't mean to, like Matt.
- Train Job: The film features the train robbery of a fortune in gold bullion.
- Unwanted Assistance: Freya is sent to aid Matt in his mission, but her clumsiness often creates more problems, as Matt keeps lampshading.
- "Will Return" Caption: At the end of the film, there's a caption that says "Matt Helm will return in The Ravagers". The Ravagers would have been the fifth Matt Helm film, but it was never made.