Our Man Flint

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Our Man Flint
Flint coburn movieposter.jpg
original film poster by Bob Peak
Directed by Daniel Mann
Produced by Saul David
Written by Hal Fimberg
Ben Starr
Starring James Coburn
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Daniel L. Fapp, ASC
Editing by William Reynolds
Distributed by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Release dates
  • January 16, 1966 (1966-01-16)
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,525,000[1]
Box office $16,000,000[2]

Our Man Flint is a 1966 American action film that parodies the James Bond genre. The film was directed by Daniel Mann, written by Hal Fimberg and Ben Starr, and starring James Coburn as master spy Derek Flint. The main premise of the film is that a trio of mad scientists attempt to blackmail the world with a weather-control machine.

Plot[edit]

Spy extraordinaire Derek Flint (James Coburn) is an ex-agent of Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage) who is brought out of retirement to deal with the threat of Galaxy, a world-wide terrorist organization led by a trio of mad scientists: Doctor Krupov (Rhys Williams), Doctor Wu (Peter Brocco), and Doctor Schneider (Benson Fong). Impatient that the world's governments will never improve, the scientists demand that all nations capitulate to Galaxy. To enforce their demands, they initiate earthquakes, volcanoes, storms and other natural disasters with their climate-control apparatus.

Flint decides to take them on after a preemptive assassination attempt by Galaxy's section head, Gila (Gila Golan), who replaces a restaurant's harpist while Flint is dining with his four live-in "playmates": Leslie (Shelby Grant), Anna (Sigrid Valdis), Gina (Gianna Serra), and Sakito (Helen Funai). Gila uses a harp string as a bow to fire a poisoned dart, which misses Flint, but hits his former boss Cramden (Lee J. Cobb). Flint sucks the poison out of the wound, saving Cramden's life. A chemical trace on the dart directs Flint to Marseilles for bouillabaisse. In one of Marseilles' lowest clubs he stages a brawl to gain some useful information from "famous" Agent 0008 (Robert Gunner), who is investigating the narcotics trade keeping Galaxy in business. Galaxy agent Hans Gruber (Michael St. Clair) is in the club enjoying his favorite soup while waiting to rendezvous with Gila. Gila sends Gruber to ambush Flint in the lavatory. Flint ends up killing Gruber in a toilet stall, while Gila escapes, leaving behind a cold cream jar she has booby-trapped with explosives. Flint detects the trap and chases the bystanders from the club before detonating the bomb.

The remains of the jar lead Flint to Rome. After investigating several cosmetic companies, Flint arrives at Exotica, where he actually meets Gila for the first time. Gila lets him come to her apartment for an exchange of information. Following their encounter, he steals the keys to Exotica and breaks into the company's safe, learning of Galaxy's location before being trapped inside by Gila's assistant, Malcolm Rodney (Edward Mulhare). Malcolm and Gila assume that Flint will soon run out of air in the safe as they transport it to a waiting submarine. During the journey, Flint learns that his playmates have been kidnapped and taken to the headquarters on Galaxy Island in the Mediterranean Sea. He then uses his power of self-induced suspended animation to fool his captors into thinking they have successfully killed him. Gila and Rodney take an evidence photograph of the "body", which they send to Cramden, then carry Flint back to headquarters on the submarine.

Flint revives and sneaks into the Galaxy complex, but his infiltration is thwarted and he is taken before Galaxy's trio of leaders. Offered a chance to join their new order, he refuses, and is sentenced to death by disintegration. Gila's failure to eliminate Flint results in her being stripped of her leadership role and reassigned to become a Pleasure Unit - a fate which has already befallen Flint's playmates. She thus changes sides, slipping Flint his gadget-filled cigarette lighter before she is hauled away. With the help of the lighter, Flint again escapes, rescues his playmates and Gila, and departs the island as it disintegrates. Flint and the women are picked up by a waiting American warship, as they watch a volcano erupts on the island.

Notes[edit]

The uncredited actor playing the overseer of the Pleasure Unit process is Dick Wilson, who later gained fame as "Mr. Whipple" in a long string of commercials for Charmin toilet paper.

The voice of the US President was provided by Van Williams, imitating then-President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Influences[edit]

The film contains direct nods to James Bond in a comedic and outlandish style. Flint is initially offered a Walther PPK and an attache case with a concealed throwing knife with Flint dismissing both as "crude". During the French strip club sequence, Flint stages a mock brawl with a patron who is identified as Agent 0008, a British secret agent. Flint asks if S.P.E.C.T.R.E (the criminal organization in the early Bond movies) is involved, to which Agent 0008 replies, "It's bigger than S.P.E.C.T.R.E!" The actor playing the role is similar in appearance to Sean Connery. Later in the film, Gila is shown reading a 0008 novel, a reference to the James Bond novels.

Cultural legacy[edit]

The distinctive ringtone of Cramden's "presidential hotline"[3] telephone was re-used in the films Hudson Hawk, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and in Seattle children's television program, The J.P. Patches Show.

Herbie Mann covers Our Man Flint's title theme in his album, "Our Mann Flute". Many other cover versions of the theme music were recorded during the mid-1960s.

A 1965 novelization of the film by Jack Pearl includes much material not seen on the screen that may have been taken from an earlier draft of the screenplay.

The title was nodded to by the 1995 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television episode "Our Man Bashir".

Wall of Voodoo used the theme tune in the 2nd half of their version of "Ring of Fire".

The name Hans Gruber was reused 20 years later in the film Die Hard for Alan Rickman's character.

Sequels[edit]

In Like Flint (1967) was directed by Gordon Douglas, and again starred James Coburn, with Cobb also reprising his role as Lloyd C. Cramden.

Dead on Target (1976), directed by Joseph L. Scanlan, was a Canadian-filmed television pilot starring Ray Danton as Flint, here depicted as a private investigator. This originally aired on ABC-TV on March 17, 1976.

An Italian parody Il vostro super agente Flit was released in 1966.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p254
  2. ^ "Our Man Flint, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 22, 2013. 
  3. ^ In Like Flint - Future Perfect Video on YouTube

External links[edit]