Our Man Flint (1966)

May 9, 2009 § Leave a comment

If something is immensely successful, parody never takes long to arrive, and original actor Sean Connery was still playing Bond in 1966 when James Coburn starred as Derek Flint. Flint doesn’t work for the government and has to be talked into a mission to stop a powerful organization from controlling the climate and threatening destruction on a global scale (and, never mind how that has an eerie ring to it over forty years later). Flint knows everything, is followed by women wherever he goes, but declines the briefcase with a hidden knife in favour of his lighter, which has 82 functions — 83 if you actually want to light a cigar. In an amusing twist, he isn’t just a Bond caricature, but a guy that’s even cooler, who’d rather be teaching ballet in Russia than saving the world, which always manages to sort itself out, after all. He even meets “triple-oh-eight” along the way (a Connery lookalike, but with an American accent) and pretty much pummels him and chucks him out the door.

By twenty-first century standards the film is a little slow, but Coburn is a great choice for Flint, and wisely manages to avoid sending it up or winking at the camera. And, unlike the Austin Powers films, Flint actually has some impressive stunts and entertaining (if not too suspenseful) action sequences along the way in addition to a good score by Jerry Goldsmith, probably one of the best film composers who ever lived. There’s nothing utterly memorable here, but it’s a little hard not to enjoy a film that’s both a successful parody and colourful entertainment by itself.

Watch a few clips of the film with the Goldsmith score here, and if you haven’t seen them, check out Coburn in a great Western called The Magnificent Seven (1960) as well as A Fistful of Dynamite (also known as Duck You Sucker), a later Sergio Leone film from 1971.

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