He Watched It Sober.

Trust us. We won't let this happen to you.


Our Man Flint

Part Four of Operation: 00oddballs

     "Gentlemen, I believe our Mr. Flint has outlived his usefulness."

-- Our Rotten Rodney     




Gonzoid Cinema




Eep! Watch out for falling rocks!


Watch it!



Sights &
Man Flint
 20th Century Fox
 Film Corporation
Need More
Flint? Sure,
We All Do:
All the Swank
You'll Need,
and then some...

Our Man Flint

In Like Flint

Our Man Flint: Dead on Target

A Spy in the
For Your Laughs
Only; a Few More




Code 7 ... Victim 5

2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World

The Venetian Affair

Deadlier than the Male

Spy in Your Eye


Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine


Our latest fantastical features opens with a montage of natural disasters in the scale of biblical proportions, pounding and plaguing almost every nation on Earth (-- resulting in a quick check on the DVD player to make sure I didn't pop in Flash Gordon by accident.). We then move under the sea, to a stealthy black submarine, where three figures -- a stunning red-head, a bald-headed thug, and that guy from Knight Rider -- twist a few knobs on some hand-held cosmic doohickey, and then smugly watch the devastating results of their machinations through the periscope as more hurricanes rage, volcanoes erupt, and the Lydecker Dam crumbles, causing a valley of miniatures to be washed clean away.

Meanwhile, in Washington DC, at the headquarters of the international crime fighting group known as -- oh wow, really? -- Z.O.W.I.E. [Zonal Organization World Intelligence and Espionage -- or something like that], Lloyd C. Cramden (Lee J. Cobb), Z.O.W.I.E.'s top banana, feverishly consults with his fellow agents and experts to try and figure out who is behind all of these unnatural weather disasters. Seems Cramden smells a dubious plot behind it because whoever controls the weather controls the world. But even now, with the ice caps melting, threatening several coastal cities worldwide, Cramden assures his underlings not to worry because he's got a team of top spies closing in on these weather bandits. But he barely finishes this sentence before word comes that the entire team has been wiped out. 

And so, with a new agent needed to save the world, Cramden turns to the British contingent for help. Informed the infamous 0008 is otherwise occupied, Cramden orders everyone to submit what qualifications are needed to root-out these no-goodniks. These will then be fed into a super-computer to determine the next best man for the job. But when the answer is finally regurgitated, the boss is none to happy about the results. For the safety of the entire world relies on the original international man of mystery and roguish scoundrel, Derek Flint. However, feeling Flint is wrong for the job because he's too much of a maverick, who doesn't follow orders or procedures, Cramden is vehemently against this -- until the Presidential hot-line rings (-- an ever present red phone with the Presidential seal and a very familiar ringtone), and the Commander-n-Chief says, over all protests, that Flint is the only man who can save the world...

Cue solarized go-go dancers, Jerry Goldsmith's hideously infectious score, and let the credits roll as Operation: 00-Oddballs rounds the corner and heads down the back stretch with a super-cool spy who uses the ultimate Zippo to battle against the forces of evil and their diabolical blackmail scheme to change the world into a slightly bent utopia, where all women are turned into pleasure units to stock the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and the Dreamland Drive-in in the Reward Room of GALAXY. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves, so lets back up a bit.

When Dr. No debuted back in 1962 I'm sure producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were hoping the adventures of their suave super-spy, James Bond, would be a hit and make them some money; but I don't think even they could have predicted the magnitude of the world-wide phenomenon they had just hatched. And as their franchise quickly blew up, it wasn't long before people started to cash in with their own tales of spies and intrigue in almost every form of popular media. Some were good. Some were bad. And some of them were pretty darn funny. Truthfully, from the very beginning, the James Bond franchise was precariously teetering on the edge of self-parody already. And in 1966, producer Saul David convinced 20th Century Fox to push the Bond mythos over that inevitable edge with Our Man Flint.

Hal Fimberg and Ben Starr's tongue-firmly planted in cheek script called for a true Renaissance man. "An art collector, gourmand, and an expert in karate, ballet, and marine biology" -- and that's just scratching the surface, folks; Derek Flint symbolized, epitomized and embodied the absolute zenith of 1960's Americana hipitude. And to pull that off, the studio cast the tall and lanky James Coburn. The man with the sincere, Cheshire smile and resonating voice was a solid second banana in Hollywood at the time, making the likes of Steve McQueen and James Garner look even better as their wing-man, pulls this character off with apparent ease, bringing an earnest modesty to the role that helped audiences overlook the inherent smarminess of such an individual. Trained in the martial arts by Bruce Lee himself, Coburn had a natural physicality when the role called for fisticuffs, but what may come as a shock, appearing at first glance to be all long legs, flailing arms, ginormous hands and feet, and massive teeth, he is surprisingly smooth with the ladies when called upon. And he is called upon to do that in this movie. A lot.

Aptly supported by the acerbic Lee J. Cobb as his long suffering boss, a gorgeous femme fatale in the form of Gila Golan, and a worthwhile villain with a dastardly turn by Edward Mulhare, Coburn and his bevy of beauties were then allowed to run amok through some truly eye-popping sets with the overall tone drawing a bead exactly where swank and the space-age meet on the graph of such things -- and combine all of that with Goldsmith's low-fi soundtrack of barely contained horns and scratchy guitars, whose catchy hook will reel you in before you even know what hit you, makes it all go down smooth. Case in point: Flint's penthouse apartment, where the master of this kooky dojo is currently practicing his martial arts. Interrupted by Cramden's first envoy, a full-bird Colonel, Flint (Coburn) refuses to even talk to him. What follows next is an increase in rank and refusals until Cramden -- after another round of Presidential prodding -- decides to talk to Flint himself. 

And while Cramden impatiently waits at the door of the very same penthouse -- an ultra-cool combination of the Guggenheim and the Playboy Mansion, we get a quick tour of what's waiting inside, including Flint's entourage of personal attendants (Shelby Grant, Sigrid Valdis, Gianna Serra and Helen Funai). Finally granted entrance and an audience, when Cramden is a little over-whelmed by the decor, Flint casually flips a switch and all the artwork in the room changes, folds or flips to another, less volatile period. Having just returned from Moscow, where he gave the Russian Ballet a refresher course, Flint apologizes for his jet-lagged appearance as he slumps into a barber's chair. On cue, two of his attendants appear and start lathering him up for a shave while Cramden makes his pitch for Mom and Country. But nothing can sway our hero to get involved. Seems he's not in that line of work anymore and no amount of ranting or raving from his old boss will get him back into it. And Cramden is still ranting and fuming when his plane lands in Washington, where he's greeted by a soldier holding a familiar ringing telephone. Taking the call, Cramden gets an earful, rolls his eyes, and gets right back on the plane to go and try again.

Back in New York, Flint and his entourage descend upon a restaurant. As the house band plays, one by one, Flint takes a tour of the dance floor with one of his posse. But little does he suspect that sinister eyes are upon him, namely the red-head and baldy from the submarine. Mr. Clean is Hans Gruber (Michael St. Clair), a Hitler Youth trainer who escaped from Nuremberg, and the lady is the deadly agent, Gila (Gila Golan). Who are they working for, you ask? All in due time, but the cause for being there will soon be made clear. For, while Hans prepares a poison dart, Gila dons a disguise before the two deftly snatch the harpist off the stage, allowing Gila to step in without missing a beat. Using the harp as a bow (!), Gila draws a bead on our man, Flint, and fires. But Cramden picks this exact wrong moment to blunder into the scene and takes the dart instead. Examining the projectile with a quick whiff, Flint determines the toxin before performing emergency surgery right there on the dance floor, using only a house key and a candle to save Cramden's life. (Eat your heart out, MacGuyver.) Also, knowing full well the dart was meant for him, Flint finally admits he'll have to step up and save the world whether he wants to or not.

Needing a few hours to prepare -- and to say goodbye to his women, Flint returns to his pad, where we find him planking between a couple of chairs. As they fretfully watch, one of the gals explains how the boss has once more entered a transcendental state of meditation, and, rightfully, it frightens them, a lot, when he stops his heart like that. Suddenly, his wristwatch starts beeping, and we zoom in to see a small, metal probe emerge that starts poking at his wrist until Flint wakes up. Sufficiently psyched-up, he makes with the goodbyes and heads for Z.O.W.I.E. headquarters, where Cramden tries to arm his agent with the usual array of spy gadgets: a Walther PPK, an exploding briefcase etc. But Flint refuses them all, saying he only needs his trusty 82-function-Super-Zippo Lighter. (83 functions if you count lighting a cigar.) He also refuses to use the government code book and will use his own; a progression of numbers whose origin Cramden refuses explanation. Meantime, he had that dart analyzed, and aside from the curare poison, there were several other ingredients including garlic and other spices that Flint recognizes as ingredients for a bouillabaisse (-- a certain French soup for us uncultured types). And judging by the proportion of each ingredient, the soup had to come from Marseilles, France, making that Flint's next stop.

On the way out, Flint passes two guards, stops, and then attacks and kills them both without provocation. Arrested on the spot, Flint points out some telling mistakes in their uniforms and tiny plastic surgery scars. This fakery is confirmed when the real guards are found. One is dead but Flint is able to save the other by using a light socket and Cramden as a defibrillator to get the man's heart going again. And if things weren't bad enough already, with Z.O.W.I.E. compromised, whoever they're dealing with can't be underestimated by even one iota!

Upon arrival in Marseilles via his own jet, Flint starts hitting the restaurants and sampling the soup. (Yes, we're supposed to notice that all the maître de's recognize him.) His search eventually leads him to a seedy bar, where we spy a stripper doing her thing (-- and is that Turu Santana?), and Gila and Gruber lurking in the background; the latter slopping away at a big bowl of bouillabaisse while the former chews him out for carrying around a large and seemingly harmless jar of cold cream. They both spot Flint ordering a bowl of soup; and two slurps later, our hero determines this is definitely his prey's feeding ground. He also spies one of the locals giving the stripper a hard time and intervenes. The resulting brawl lands them in the coat-check room, where we find out this local is really Agent 0008 (Robert Gunner). Turns out they're working on the same case, and as the men continue to fight, they secretly exchange info between punches: 

Apparently, Agent 0008 has uncovered and international narcotics ring. He thought it was SPECTER but it's actually a new group, known only as GALAXY; and it's all tied in with the freakish weather. That's all he knows, so Flint gives him the bum's rush out the door before heading to the bathroom to clean up. Gruber follows, gun in hand, but this proves little match for Flint's kung-fu. The fight continues unabated -- until Gruber winds up in a pay-toilet stall, leaving Flint to come up with the correct change to continue this dust-up. He does, and the fight ends with Gruber impaled on his own dagger. As Flint tries to clean himself up, the smudge covering his face gives him and idea. Back in the bar, Gila dumps the narcotic contents of Gruber's cold cream jar into her purse and replaces them with a ticking device of an explosive nature before vacating the bar. Meanwhile, Flint completes his disguise by reversing his tux coat into a white Nehru jacket and wraps the drying towel into a turban around his head. Spying Gruber's empty soup bowl and cold cream case, he carefully examines them and realizes what's inside the jar. With little time, he fires Gruber's pistol into the air, scaring all the other customers away, and then detonates the jar from cover. He then sends a cryptic message to Cramden, saying he's off to Rome to find another can of cold cream.

Back in the submarine, Gila and Malcolm Rodney (Edward Mulhare) report to three men, decked out in lab coats, that we correctly assume are the brains behind GALAXY. Told her reports of Flint's death is a bit premature, Gila must suffer through Rodney's blatant attempt to seize control of Operation: Kill Flint before the trio of scientist grant her one last chance. Seems she's just received information that Flint has a weakness. Four weaknesses to be exact ... What follows is a quick montage of Flint's female posse being abducted from a beauty salon, a dressing room, an elevator, and shower (-- and does she always bathe in a bikini?) Meantime, in Rome, Flint and an exasperated cab driver have been crisscrossing the city in search of the right cosmetic company. Proving that he is human, like the rest of us, it's the last one he checks -- the Exotica Beauty Company -- that turns out to be the one he's been looking for all along. Before heading in, he radios another message to Cramden, saying he's probably walking into a trap, but, with luck, he'll find GALAXY's secret lab. If not, please send flowers. After decoding this message, an exasperated Cramden decides to head to Rome himself.

Bullying his way in to see the manager, who turns out to be Gila, Flint is certain they've met somewhere before, like, say, playing the harp in New York or planting a bomb in a bar in France! But enough about that, Flint says. What he really wants to talk about is the weather and galaxies. Promising to answer all of his questions, just not here, Gila playfully dangles the keys to her place. We then jump to her place, where Flint proves his prowess as a wooer of women as he gets all kinds of information out of Gila about GALAXY; like how it's located on a volcanic island. But before he gets the exact location, she quiets up and lures him into the bedroom ... The next morning, like any good spy, Flint loves 'em, pumps 'em (-- for info you dirty minded cretins!), and leaves 'em -- but not before stealing Gila's keys. Once back at Exotica, Flint sneaks in undetected -- or so he thinks. And while he uses his Super-Zippo and several articles of clothing to pick the lock of a huge, walk-in safe, once in the vault, Rodney and Gila spring their trap and seal him inside. Next, the entire office is converted into a camper and hooked up to a car. And as the villains prepare to leave, Rodney presses several buttons on the cosmic doohickey, causing the Exotica Cosmetic building to sink into the street before being replaced with an outdoor cafe. Then, with their prized captive in tow, Rodney and Gila roll off -- just as the same Cabbie arrives with Cramden and the cavalry, only to find the building and Flint gone, seemingly into thin air.

Inside the safe, Flint studies the contents and finds a map with the exact location of GALAXY Island before using function #56 of the lighter to blowtorch his way out of the safe. Seeing Rodney and Gila in the car towing him around, using more of his clothes, Flint rigs up a listening device, which reveals our villains don't like each other at all. Their latest spat gets even more heated over how to dispose of the captive: Rodney wants to just shoot him (-- seems logical), but feels his partner won't let him because she's not-so-secretly fallen for him. Ah, but Gila points out a gun would have killed Flint too quickly, and now he is slowly suffocating. This appeases Rodney -- for the moment. After taking all that in, Flint radios Cramden, saying he's discovered GALAXY's base of operations. But before he gives the coordinates, he overhears Gila report that Flint's four playmates have arrived at the island for reprogramming. Meantime, Cramden impatiently waits for the location so he can send in the Navy to bomb the hell out of it, but the message abruptly ends, with Flint announcing he must attend a family reunion first.

Okay, so, when the villains finally reach their destination, they find the trailer empty but a quick check of the re-sealed safe shows Flint inside on the floor. A quick check for a pulse finds none. With the enemy agent dead, his body is tossed into a coffin for a photo-op. The coffin is then loaded on the submarine. Next stop: GALAXY Island ... Back at Z.O.W.I.E headquarters, Cramden receives a copy of the picture just as all the TV monitors and view screens go haywire. Every channel shows the same interference until the picture finally clears up to reveal the GALAXY Trio (-- no not Galaxy Girl, Meteor Man and Vapor Man), who present their ultimatum to the world: Surrender to their rule and destroy all weapons of mass destruction or they will continue to melt the ice caps. To accentuate that point and back up the threat, they activate two extinct volcanoes. With that, the world has one hour to answer or face total annihilation. 

Meanwhile, the sub closes in on GALAXY Island. Inside his coffin, Flint's watch gets his ticker ticking again as the boat enters an inlet and secret hangar by passing through a large waterfall. And as the coffin is unloaded, Rodney and Gila are still bickering and sniping at each other. The grumbling continues as they enter the main elevator with the coffin, destined to be presented to the Galaxy Trio. But after the elevator closes, we pan back to reveal the forklift operator, who transported the coffin, is none other than Flint himself! Abandoning the forklift, he keeps the disguise to explore the complex further. Outside, he finds a veritable Garden of Eden of hedonistic pleasure (-- if you're a guy, I must point out.) All around, hundreds of Bikini clad women frolic about and tend to the needs of the GALAXY men. 

Despite all of these sparkling distractions, Flint refuses to ignite and follows a monorail that leads deeper into the complex instead. And at this exact same moment, Gila presents the empty coffin to her superiors. And while she makes excuses, Rodney gloats as the intruder alarm is sounded. Outside, Flint hears the klaxon and follows everyone toward the main entrance but is ferreted out by an anti-American eagle that's guarding the entrance. (It's been trained to hunt down Americans. How diabolical!) Led inside under guard, Flint takes in the lay of the land -- and for his convenience, everything, be it room or machine, is clearly labeled, including the communications room, a giant turbine that most likely powers the whole complex, and the control valves for the volcano they're sitting on! Here, Flint seems genuinely fascinated by the machinery but the guards won't let him marvel for very long and hustle him into the main control room, where the GALAXY Trio eagerly await his arrival. Seems Doctors Krupoff, Woo, and Schneider (Rhys Williams, Benson Fong and Peter Brocco) are excited to finally meet the great Derek Flint in person. Told he was only carrying a cigarette lighter, Dr. Woo examines it and is about to give it back before Schneider stops him, realizing it must be a spy-gadget, and tosses it aside.

Here, Rodney makes his play to take over command of security, saying Gila's bungling and feelings for Flint could have led to total ruination. The scientists agree and decide that Gila, as a woman (-- and can I get a collective "Oh, brother..."), can and will serve GALAXY in a much better capacity and sentence her to reprogramming as a "pleasure unit." Of course, Gila raises holy hell over this but her fate is sealed. With one last act of defiance, she lunges for Flint and manages to return the Zippo to him undetected before she's hauled off. With that, the GALAXY Trio make one final sales pitch to Flint, hoping he'll join them, much to Rodney's consternation. They offer a Utopia of easy living, through science, and peaceful coexistence, pointing out that they don't even use guns. (You know, he's right. Nobody's armed. Hey, waitaminnit. Was that a pea-shooter Gruber was carrying, then?!?) But Flint only apologizes, saying he came to GALAXY island to destroy it -- not join it. The rejected scientists are sorry to hear this, and so order the captive to undergo reprogramming before being placed in their R&D Department. Rodney, of course, goes apoplectic over this development and protests vehemently, saying Flint must be eliminated immediately. Fearing Flint's will is too strong for any kind of brainwashing, on second thought, the scientists grant Rodney the privilege of reducing the intruder to his basic elements by tossing him into the Electro-Fragmentizer. But before Flint is escorted to his doom, he manages to get a knee into Rodney's *ahem* little Rodneys.

Once he's before the menacing Electro-whatsawhosit, Flint engineers his escape with the help of his trusty Zippo and tosses the armed escort into the machine, where they're instantly vaporized. Alas, our hero doesn't escape this scrape completely unscathed as the Super-Zippo was vaporized as well. Meanwhile, in the reprogramming room, a guard, who I swear is Mr. "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" Whipple from those old toilet paper commercials, is in the process of brainwashing Gila; now clad in a red bikini. This "process" involves her staring into a spinning swirl of color while repeating the mantra "My soul purpose in life is to bring pleasure to my companion." But Flint arrives in time, dispatches the guard (-- squeeze that, ya creep!), and begins to deprogram Gila. This takes about five seconds thanks to Flint's highly effective counter mantra "You are not a pleasure unit" whispered into the ear. When Gila snaps snaps out of it, Flint hopes she can get him into the communications room. But she can't. Seems she's expected in the Reward Room. What's that? Flint asks. She has no time to explain but guarantees her rescuer will love it -- but first, he must brand her to complete the illusion of her being a docile sex slave. 

He complies as we cross some threshold, here, that I can't quite express, and won't, because we haven't even gotten to this Reward Room yet. Now, the Reward Room is basically Flint's penthouse and the Playboy Mansion on steroids. At the entrance, several GALAXY schlubs pop some aphrodisiacs (-- think Viagra), which were transported in those cold cream jars, and then hustle into the waiting fantasy rooms filled with mesmerized and accommodating women. And while Gila heads to the Polar Bear Room first, Flint heads into the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and rounds up two of his kidnapped ladies, works his magic, and breaks them free of their programming. (The guy can even cut a mean groove on the dance floor. Truly amazing, our man Flint.) Next, they move to the massage parlor and pick up another stray, and then find the last captive in a mock-up of a Drive-In movie theater, where no one is watching the movie if'n you know what I mean (-- in fact, there is NO movie playing!). With everyone accounted for, then, Flint tells all the ladies to stay put. Seems he has a plan to put GALAXY into orbit.

Now, the first step of this plan leads him to the radio room, where, after giving the radio operator a lethal dose of static, Flint begins to transmit his location via his personal code. Meanwhile, in the main control room, waiting for the President's broadcast of capitulation, the GALAXY Trio overhear Flint's message but can't decipher it. Elsewhere, on an aircraft carrier, Cramden lets out a whoop of joy! Flint's still alive, and after telling the President to stall for as long as he can, he orders the Navy task force to the transmitted coordinates ... Back on the island, realizing Flint is still alive and kicking, Rodney is sent to find and destroy him. By now, Flint has stopped transmitting and started rampaging through the guts of GALAXY, kung-fu-ing all the guards and breaking every control panel he sees, until Rodney finally catches up to him. (And this is also when Goldsmith's score really kicks in!) The following fight and chase leads them to the controls for the volcano, which Flint destroys, filling the room with super-heated steam. This sets the stage for his duel with Rodney, who's donned some kind of mace over his left hand. But he can't land a single blow on our nimble hero (-- and who said those ballet lessons wouldn't pay off?). Then, with one deft hassan-chop, Rodney is dispatched. 

Eyeing the master controls for the turbines, with large wrench in hand, Flint moves to strike but is interrupted by the timely arrival of the GALAXY Trio, who collectively plead with him to stop destroying all their hard work. When Flint says the price for their Utopia is too high, the men even offer a full surrender if he'll stop now, saying no one else need die. Alas, Rodney wasn't listening and hurls a heavy block and tackle at Flint. He dodges this, but it knocks all the scientist over a railing and down a shaft that leads to the volcano's molten core. But there's no time to react as all the damage Flint had already done reaches a critical stage, causing GALAXY to start falling apart at the seams. In the chaos, Rodney escapes, but Flint lets him go to save the girls ... Fighting his way back to the Reward Room, he rounds them up, and, as the whole complex is rocked with explosions and falling debris, with the normal exits blocked, Flint takes the girls up instead of down and out. (And watch for a very noticeable goof, when a good sized chunk of rock bounces harmlessly off of Gila's head. See illustration in the sidebar.) Reaching the summit of the volcano, wouldn't you know it, the water fall at the top is artificial, too. And as GALAXY explodes below them, taking Rodney with it, Flint seals each woman inside a steel drum, and then dumps them into the water, where they eventually plummet over the edge to the sea below. And with no one to seal him in a barrel, Flint shows off one more time by executing a perfect high dive off the cliff into the waiting water. 

From the carrier, Cramden watches as the barrels tumble out and orders a boat to go and pick them up. Once they're safely rescued, the women are carefully helped on board by the gob-smacked sailors, leaving poor, water-logged Flint to drag himself onto the deck all by his lonesome. And while GALAXY goes through its final death throes, our hero plops down in the Captain's chair and is immediately swarmed by his posse -- especially the newest member, who closes in for a kiss. And after swapping some spit, they all turn and watch the foundering fireworks as the island heaves and booms one last time, putting a final statement on a job well done by our man Flint.

The End

Let's clear something up first. If the world's in trouble, and it were up to me to decide who gets to save it? There's no question, in my mind. Forget 007, I'm calling Derek Flint. Now, our jet-setting playboy and doer of good deeds did it his way through two films and one less than stellar made for TV movie. He's smart, tough, lethally effective -- and Hugh Hefner's wet dream ... Unfortunately, one cannot talk about this, his first film, without ducking the hedonistic and, let's just say it, highly misogynistic take on the roll of women in GALAXY's proposed Utopia. A world of perfect peace populated by go-going pleasure units may seem like a great idea -- and very, very, very, very tempting -- but I, too, will have to respectfully decline, and then cry myself to sleep every night, cursing my moral fortitude, thinking I could have had Gila Golan in a red bikini whispering naughty things in my ear lying right next to me. *sigh*

Back in college, during my lesser enlightened days, I, and the usual gang of cohorts, Endless Dave, Naked Bill and our friend, Renee, caught Our Man Flint on cable one night at Murphy's, a local watering hole. And in our inebriated state, all the guys toasted "To GALAXY!" while Renee, in her vast and level-headed wisdom (-- and always the voice of reason among all that testosterone), toasted "To Flint!" It's become a long-standing toast at our reunions ever since.

When you analyze the film it does get a little sticky when you consider Flint's motivations. Is he trying to save the world from this fate, and make the world safe for democracy, baseball and apple pie? Sure. But I've often wondered if he stops it for more selfish reasons. If GALAXY succeeded, then the entire world would have access to Flint's playboy lifestyle. You'd think he'd be all for that, but then, instead of everybody wanting to be like him, in this new Utopia, everybody could and would be like him! In our world, he's the king. He's unique. Why ruin it and let everyone else in on the fun. Heck, yeah. I'd probably blow it up too.

Woody Allen's Dr. Noah would have a similar plan in the royal mess that is Casino Royale, hatching a plot that would make all the woman of the world love short men by killing all men over five-feet-four inches tall.

When I reviewed Diabolik, I ragged on the lead character as being amoral, smug, too damned perfect, and too damned full of himself. Derek Flint may be the polar opposite of Diabolik in terms of character but the similarities can be just as grating at times, too. As Cramden so eloquently puts it: "Dammit, man, is there anything you don't know!" Flint's saving grace, though, is when the character answers "Of course." Here, Flint's abilities and gadgets run from the sublime to the outright ridiculous. Still, the film works because Coburn is so friggin' brilliant in the role. He plays it straight on a dime, while everyone else around him is on another goofy plain of reality, metaphorically speaking. I've already touched on his gangly frame and steely grin but what always struck me was the intensity of his eyes. With a simple cocked eyebrow, or a subtle squint, Coburn can run the gambit of "Hi, how you doin'" to "I'm going to kick your ass" with only the slightest change of expression.

Sharp eyes will also spot Howard Lydecker's name in the credits. All those wonderful miniature sets destroyed in the film were his doing. Howard and his brother, Theodore, were famous for this kind of special-effects work in a joint-career that began in the matinee serials, and the two had been making things big and small go boom, cinematically speaking, ever since. Again, I'd also like to give a shout-out to production designers Ed Graves and Jack Smith, set-decorators Raphael Bretton and Walter Scott, and set construction supervisor Greg Jensen for the conception and execution of the mind-boggling playsets our characters get to run amok in. I'm telling ya, they used every candy-colored Crayola in their arsenal and their efforts are truly awesome to behold.

Yes the film is definitely very easy on the eyes but isn't without its flaws. Daniel Mann's directing is pretty uneven, and I think the middle kinda drags until things pick up on GALAXY island, where things speed up so much the film threatens to break up and fall apart. But just when you think it's lost you, the film takes another hilariously absurd turn, Coburn does something unbelievably cool, or, more than likely, Jerry Goldsmith's score -- the glue that holds the whole flam-damned-thing together -- cranks-up into another fine groove and the film hooks you again. I can't really explain it any better than that.

Despite all the complaints, I really do enjoy Our Man Flint. It's a swinging good time if you can get past a few moral hiccups. And reflecting on it further, its overall silliness tends to dull the edges of the more twisted stuff. I was disappointed with the sequel, In Like Flint. And out of all the oddball spy flicks, the Austin Powers trilogy owes the greatest debt to the Flint series. They're all picking on James Bond, sure, but by the time Our Man Flint came out in 1966, 007 himself had fallen into self-parody as well. So what we've got is a parody of a parody of a parody. And parody only works if it has a good straight man to mock. So is it any wonder, then, that this genre fizzled out so quickly?

Our Man Flint (1966) 20th Century Fox / P: Saul David / D: Daniel Mann / W: Hal Fimberg, Ben Starr / C: Daniel L. Fapp / E: William Reynolds / M: Jerry Goldsmith / S: James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Gila Golan, Edward Mulhare, Shelby Grant, Sigrid Valdis, Gianna Serra, Helen Funai

Back to Operation: 00-Oddballs.

Originally Posted: 03/26/03 :: Rehashed: 02/10/2013

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.

How our Rating System works. Our Philosophy.