November 18, 2013: In Like Flint (1967)


Cast and Crew: Gordon Douglas (Director), Jerry Goldsmith (Music)

What It’s About: A beauty resort in the Virgin Islands is a front for a cabal of wealthy women who conspire to control the world by brainwashing other women and threatening nuclear annihilation.  Before their plot is subverted by male co-conspirators, they replace the President of the United States (Andrew Duggan) with a double (also Duggan) and oust the well-meaning head of Intelligence, Cramden (Lee J. Cobb).  Cramden calls on the assistance of Derek Flint (James Coburn), a Renaissance man (“superspy” is too limited a word for a man who speaks Dolphin and develops a machine that can use soundwaves to destroy things or propel him…in outer space) who realizes he also needs to rescue his harem from the evil resort operators.

Why Watch it Today?: James Coburn died on this date in 2002 at the age of 74.  His film career spanned some greats (Charade) and some oddities (Duck, You Sucker!).  In this film, he brings his slow drawl, huge grin, lanky frame and some outfits filched from Leonard Nimoy‘s closet to the then-popular role of the “Superspy.”  (The tagline to the first “Flint” movie, Our Man Flint (1966), was “The ORIGINAL Man of Mystery!”)  If you liked the original David Niven Casino Royale, which came out in the same year, or enjoy the idea of melding Bond and Q into one character, you may love this film.  Otherwise, you will at least get a laugh from the campy “judo” sequences, brainwashed bikini-clad “Amazons,” bumbling Communists, and other denizens of Sixties-era parody.

6 comments on “November 18, 2013: In Like Flint (1967)

  1. T.A. Gerolami says:

    Said this elsewhere, but my lone attempt to watch a Flint movie-I think it was this one-was abortive, probably because of things not related to the movie (I hadn’t quite come to embrace 60s camp yet and it was the week I was home for my father’s funeral and my patience with anything that wasn’t immediately entertaining wasn’t there). I should really give this a second shot. Looking at the Coburn tag, I can’t believe I haven’t run President’s Analyst as Movie of the Day yet. It’s another spoof of 60s spy movies (although it’s also a spoof of life in the mid 60s generally) starring Coburn and I enjoyed it because Coburn is a psychologist rather than a secret agent, and it was fun to see him playing something other than a man of action. Also, it features Godfrey Cambridge and William Daniels (as a secret agent and a gun toting karate chopping suburban liberal respectively) and both count for a lot.

  2. geelw says:

    I actually find the Flint flicks supremely silly, but really fun viewing. I only watched the first one because it had A Jerry Goldsmith score and as the second one was on right afterwards, I figured “why not?”. I actually LOVE “Duck You Sucker” as it’s really interesting to see Leone get political while making a western that’s still a quirky and recommended experience. As for Casino Royale, interesting cast aside, I have a very special place in hell for that old flick, but I need to write about that on my own site in detail…

    • bellabone says:

      I agree that “Duck You Sucker” was enjoyable — but it was odd. Some of the parts that required the largest suspension of disbelief were Coburn being Irish and the idea that anyone, ever, had said “Duck You Sucker!” Kinda like the first time I saw The Crow and wondered who actually says “What the crap?”
      I think I would have enjoyed Flint a lot more when I first heard about the films and was a Bond addict. I’ve just rewatched “What’s New Pussycat,” another parody-esque film from the era with silly sound effects, and am not quite sure why it used to be one of my favorite films. (To be honest I think the only possible explanation is Peter O’Toole.) I still haven’t made it all the way through the Niven “Casino Royale” so I’ll look forward to your post.

      • geelw says:

        Oh, I absolutely agree with you on “Duck” being an odd duck (and yeah, Coburn’s “Irish” accent had my eyebrow up for nearly the entire film). It’s almost as if it’s a western made by someone who’d seen a Leone film and had no other reference point but some interesting things to say that help get over the bumpy bits…

        You’re on the right track about Casino Royale, as it’s such a draining film to watch for me now that it has to be seen at least once in bits and pieces because it’s nearly incomprehensible as a whole film (if that makes sense). Too many cooks on that one really was a bad idea. Funny – I also liked “What’s New Pussycat” as a kid, but like other 60’s films that went the corporate cool route, it’s not at all fun to watch these days…

      • T.A. Gerolami says:

        We made it through Casino Royale, but it wasn’t easy. Moments worked, but it’s just such a mess (and behind the scenes it was also a crazy mess). Somehow I am the lone Leone guy I know who didn’t like Duck, You Sucker!. I think part of my problem is I really, really can’t stand Rod Steiger. I might have also seen one of the terrible edits.

      • geelw says:

        Heh. I think Steiger, I think of him eating the scenery in The Amityville Horror and The Illustrated Man (never see those on a double bill unless you want to burst a blood vessel). I think he’s Ok here, but yeah… a little Rod goes a looooong way. I saw the film first as one of the cut up versions and disliked most of it, then I gave it another chance with the longer edit and liked it more. I have to re-watch Casino in a few days with a friend who’s never seen it, so I’m going to be the one tied to the couch like Donald Moffat in The Thing begging to be let loose…

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