Our Man Flint (1966)
Our Man Flint (1966)

Genre: Action Comedy and Spy Running Time: 1 hr. 48 min.

Release Date: January 16th, 1966 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Daniel Mann Actors: James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Gila Golan, Edward Mulhare, Benson Fong, Shelby Grant, Sigrid Valdis, Gianna Serra, Helen Funai, Michael St. Clair, Rhys Williams

 


 

E

pic environmental catastrophes are being instigated by a device aboard a submarine – governed by an evil genius intent on proving control over the weather itself. Team after team of espionage agents have been thwarted by the madman, prompting the Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage (ZOWIE) to rely on their computer system and suggestions from all the global representatives to nominate an outside spy capable of getting to the bottom of the climatic manipulations. Leader Cramden (Lee J. Cobb) reluctantly agrees to approach the top candidate for the mission.

Derek Flint (James Coburn) is the most qualified man, but he specifically lacks discipline and the ability to follow orders or protocols. He’s selfish and arrogant, and now lounges around in his luxurious apartment with a bevy of sexy young women to wait on his every command. Aside from his skills as a martial artist and fencer, he’s also a ballet instructor, a medic, an advanced meditator, and something of an interior decorator. Cramden has no time or interest in Flint’s services, but the world is in trouble and no one else seems to be available.

It’s all rather comical, though intentionally so. As an obvious spoof of 007, but without an exaggeration of slapstick or over-the-top one-liners, “Our Man Flint” opens with a title sequence full of silhouettes of nude, dancing women (an utter rip of the James Bond graphics) before proceeding to elaborate assassination attempts and the introduction of hokey gadgets. A brief mention of SPECTRE (and triple-oh-eight) actually ties this directly to Ian Fleming’s world, as if this was a spin-off instead of a parody.

Flint is a one-man army with knowledge and skills that surpass any mere mortal, capable of resuscitating a man’s heart with a light bulb socket, or identifying the percentages of ingredients used in recipes only found in Marseilles, or analyzing molecules from various parts of the world. Strangely, the villains employ equally absurd gimmicks, such as having henchmen undergo last-minute plastic surgery instead of utilizing “Mission: Impossible”-styled masks. Flint’s only weakness, apparently, is women, though that never actually gets him into hot water.

Even though “Our Man Flint” isn’t meant to be serious, it doesn’t help that chief assassin Gila (Gila Golan) is so completely incompetent (she has sex with her target not to ensnare him in some sinister booby-trap, but just for fun) and that the military mastermind (Edward Mulhare as Malcolm Rodney) behind the disasters is so terribly unthreatening. Nevertheless, there’s some mild amusement to be had in the superspy confidence and invincibility, the jazzy trumpet tunes, a few cleverly edited fight sequences, an anti-American attack eagle, the sheer silliness of the enemy headquarters being based on a random tropical paradise (like something out of “The Time Machine”), and the sultry vixens that routinely appear fractions of a second away from revealing actual nudity (particularly in an outrageously strange subplot about hypnotizing women into becoming emotionless “pleasure units” – a male fantasy concept twisted into laughably unstimulating role-playing scenarios, such as a drive-in movie set). The most effective joke (if it is, in fact, a joke), is the casting of American character actor Peter Brocco as “Dr. Wu” and the clearly Asian Benson Fong as “Dr. Schneider.” Unfortunately, the film isn’t humorous enough to be an outright lampooning (though some of it is unintentionally hysterical or hysterically bad), nor is it adventurous enough to be genuinely exciting.

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10