Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


James Coburn, Thomas Hasson, Lee J. Cobb
IN LIKE FLINT (1967). Director: Gordon Douglas.

"By this time tomorrow, women will be ruling the world."

"Brain and hair-washing at the same time!"

"An actor as President?"

In this sequel to Our Man Flint, super-adventurer Derek Flint (James Coburn) is contacted by Lloyd Cramden (Lee J. Cobb) of Z.O.W.I. E. when he realizes that he was blanked out for three minutes during a golf game with President Trent (Andrew Duggan). During that time Trent was replaced by a double, a plot engineered by a group of women who plan to sabotage missiles -- Project Damocles -- to gain their ends. The main representative of this women's group is Lisa Norton (Jean Hale), who runs a cosmetic outfit called Fabulous Face that has its headquarters in the Virgin Islands, adjacent to the missile base. Unfortunately for the ladies, General Carter (Steve Ihnat), is only pretending to be an ally and turns on them, forcing the women to engage in Operation Smooch ... In Like Flint is sillier than the worst episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., slow-paced, unfunny for the most part, and with a climax that seems to go on for four hours. Coburn isn't bad in the part, although both Duggan and Cobb make more of an impression. Anna Lee is fine as Elisabeth, one of the older women in the group, but Jean Hale, while very pretty, isn't much of an actress. Searching for two missing lady cosmonauts, Flint winds up in Moscow, where he gets a standing ovation after dancing in a ballet! Yvonne Craig of Batman fame plays a Russian gal who offers Flint a doped cigarette. That same year saw the release of The Thousand Eyes of Sumuru, which was also about a group of women plotters and which was even worse than In Like Flint. The ladies in Flint never seem very menacing, probably due to typical sixties sexism.

Verdict: This could have killed the parody spy genre altogether. **.


Neil A Russell said...

I think you hit this one right on the head.
As much as I love spy movie spoofs, the Flint series always left me cold.
It isn't because I don't like James Coburn, he's one of my favorites. I can even sit through "Firepower" and "Looker" thanks to his performances.
But in the Flint series, he just comes across as an arrogant horse's ass, always knowing a little bit more than everyone else and more than happy to let it show.

For spy spoofs, I prefer the sillier Matt Helm movies, particularly "Murderer's Row".
It starts off with a great Lalo Schifrin theme and of course Dean Martin provides plenty of wisecracks throughout. "The Silencers" is entertaining too as the first entry in the series, but the steam ran out by the time they got to "The Ambushers" and the particularly ordinary "Wrecking Crew" that finished Matt Helm movies off for good.

For some James Coburn film goodness, I'd have to recommend "The President's Analyst", it's everything the Flint movies should have been with the added bonus of Godfrey Cambridge.

William said...

And let's not forget Pat Harrington (I think) in a weird role (I think he turned out to be a robot).

I loved this movie (and Analyst) when I saw it as a kid in the theater -- maybe simply because it had (to me) some kind of James Bond flavor and I've always loved the Bond films.

I haven't seen the Helm films in some years but I remember that they weren't that terrible, but as you mentioned, they got progressively worse. I think the producers of that and similar series wanted to increase the shrinking profits by cutting down on the production values, which only make the profits shrink even more!

Thanks for your comments, as always!