The Curator of Schlock #149 by Jeff Shuster
Our Man Flint
(Derek Flint does what James Bond Don’t.)
I still have yet to see the new Jason Bourne movie, but I did rewatch the previous films in preparation. Do you know what I learned? The Bourne movies take themselves too seriously. Heck, spy movies take themselves too seriously these days. SPECTRE, the last James Bond movie, resembled a funeral. Gone are the days of James Bond tsunami-surfing. Now we get James Bond being psychologically tortured by having to face his inner demons or some such nonsense. I want my goofy spy movies back, but until then, I’ll have to settle for spy movies of the past.
This month, we’ll be taking a look at some of the James Bond competitors from the 1960s, starting with 1966’s Our Man Flint directed by Daniel Mann and starring James Coburn in the title role. I think I caught the beginning of this on TCM back in my salad days, rolled my eyes, and changed the channel. I was getting into Bond movies back in the mid 90s due to the resurgence of interest in the character all due to the release of Goldeneye and the popular Nintendo game that was based on it. I tracked down all of the Bond movies, enjoying most of them until I got to 1967s Casino Royale, a non-series canon adaptation of the first Bond movie that was a spoof of the spy genre and an unfunny one at that. Maybe I’ll revisit it this month to see if my opinion has changed. Needless to say, it had made me suspicious of spy parodies from the 1960s.
I gave Our Man Flint another shot. Did I like it? Uhhhhh…It was okay. The plot was nothing new. A bunch of nerdy scientists aim to take over the world by controlling the weather from their secret base inside an island volcano. Actually, that is kind of cool. If I were a super villain, I’d have my lair hidden inside a volcano… or an asteroid belt. Not a sewer though. Seriously, what was the Phantom of the Opera thinking? Couldn’t he find another hideout? Paris is a big city.
I think a large part of the humor in Our Man Flint is how Derek Flint upstages James Bond in every respect. Flint has a cigarette lighter that can perform eighty-two tasks, eighty-three if you use it to light cigars. Flint is a karate champion, a medical expert, and a skilled dancer, which he puts to good use with his four live-in girlfriends. While investigating the case, he runs into special agent 0008 who informs him that the organization he’s up against is even bigger SPECTRE, the evil criminal organization from the James Bond films.
Our Man Flint doesn’t manage to match the greatness that are the first five Sean Connery Bond films, but it’s worth a look if your into the genre. It’s certainly better than Diamonds Are Forever. Yes, I hate that Bond movie. Not as much as 1967’s Casino Royale. Next week, I’ll cover In Like Flint. See you then.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
Don Royster said:
I agree with you about spy movies taking themselves too seriously. Just like the superhero movies. Along with In Like Flint, don’t forget the Matt Helm movies with Dean Martin. They were also a lot of fun. Maybe the reason that these movies, both spy and superhero, take themselves so serious is because they cost what would be considered the GDP of a small country.
Jeffrey Shuster said:
Yeah, I couldn’t get my hands on any Matt Helm movies for Spy Month, but I’ll look into covering them one day.