Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967)

A quick diversion from the Buck Rogers festivities to look back at two James Coburn spy flicks from the 1960's. In them, Coburn plays Derek Flint, a highly individualized former spy, and top man in his field. He is a secret agent, scientist, inventor... He can talk to dolphins. Oh, and the women fall all over him. These are corny, comical, jiggly spoofs of James Bond films that are superficially fun, but there is a sinister slant to In Like Flint that really bothered me. But first...

Our Man Flint has our hero battling "Galaxy," an international syndicate bent on world domination through use of a weather control device. We find out they are led by a group of scientist who have deemed man to ignorant to rule himself. They plan to create a Utopia led by the best and brightest. Once Flint encounters them, they offer him a place in their organization; after all, he is a talented, intelligent man. He is exactly what they are looking for. He claims their price is too high. He's all into freedom, baby, but not freedom as dictated by others. That's not freedom, you dig?

Now, In Like Flint follows the same basic agenda. This time a group of powerful women plan to take over the world. They have been brainwashing women through hairdryers to instill a dissatisfaction with the male world. They have massed an army of women, they have infiltrated top levels of the government, and even replaced the president with a disguised actor. The threat of nuclear annhilation is their trump card, as they have armed a space station with nuclear warheads. Again, Flint disagrees with their ideas on Utopian civilization, and sets out to twart them, but it turns out that those ranking government officials have turned coat and plan to take over the world themselves.

The problem I have with In Like Flint is that the character is supposed to be this enlightened fellow that women love because he treats them with respect (after a fashion), but when the women antagonists explain their plan, he laughs them off. There is no way women could run the world. That's crazy. Even with a nuclear arsenal, they really gotta have penises to be in control.

Obviously, I am thinking a lot into this movie, but his attitude so flies in the face of the character as to ruin the entire film for me. And this film has Yvonne Craig in it, albeit briefly. I don't want to hate anything with Yvonne in it.

Anyway, there are a lot of reasons to watch these movies, if you have not. First, Austin Powers is a total ripoff of these films. Second, the swingin' sixties at their swinginest! Also, the first movie has a brief Tura Satana appearance, while the second, as mentioned, contains Yvonne Craig as a Russian ballerina. Bikinis. Corny henchmen uniforms. Jet setting. Technicolor. Just eat your popcorn and bask in the bright colors and swingin' jazz, and forget all that sexist stuff I mentioned being there.


6 comments:

J.D. said...

I always felt that these two films were definitely products of their times and certainly reflect their attitudes and, obviously, they are totally riffing on the Bond films but with tongue firmly planted in cheeck. I haven't had a chance to watch IN LIKE FLINT but I quite enjoyed OUR MAN FLINT and I think that's due in large part to the groovy production design, snazzy soundtrack and the performance of James Coburn who cruises through the film with a confident smirk.

You are also right on the money about how the AUSTIN POWERS films totally ripped off these films. They should sue for plagiarism! Scary...

Darius Whiteplume said...

I found it hilarious that Flint was a Yoga master, or whatever (he can stop his heart, for crissakes) yet he was always smoking! :-)

In Like Flint is perhaps even more spoofy than the first. Our Man Flint, while comedic, seems a lot like the Matt Helm movies (though I must admit I have never seen one). In Like Flint is almost a spoof of the first film.

Apparently there was going to be a tv show too. The pilot is supposed to be on one of the Ultimate Flint discs.

J.D. said...

Yeah, I've been meaning to pick up that ULTIMATE FLINT box set - it looks like it has a nice set of extras. Plus, just to have the films letterboxed.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Yeah, I hate full screen to the point of snobbery. I get so pissed when I buy a fullscreen DVD by mistake. "Why do they makes these? And why don't they print 'full screen version' bigger?!?"

:-D

ColKillgore said...

When I first saw the Flint movies I liked them, but thought James Coburn could have tried a little harder to make his martial arts moves more realistic. Years later I saw a documentary on Bruce Lee and low and behold there is James Coburn in Burce Lee's backyard sparring. Of all the unreality of the movies it seems that James Coburn's martial arts was the real deal.

Darius Whiteplume said...

@Kilgore - I thought I remembered that. So many stars worked with Lee, it is hard to keep track. Colburn does seem to be from the William Shatner/James T Kirk school at times, but I guess a lot of that has to do with the stunt coordinator (or lack of) and skill of the other actors.

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