Our latest fantastical feature opens with a montage of natural disasters in the scale of biblical proportions, pounding and plaguing almost every nation on Earth. 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 Z.O.W.I.E. [Zonal Organization World Intelligence and Espionage -- or something like that], Lloyd C. Cramden (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 all because whoever controls the weather controls the world. And so, he orders everyone to submit what qualifications are needed to root-out these no-goodniks, which will then be fed into a super-computer to determine the 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 a man who never found an order or procedure he wouldn't follow, the original international man of mystery, lady-killer, and roguish scoundrel, Derek Flint!
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.
And for the record: if the world was indeed 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'd be calling Derek Flint, too. This jet-setting playboy and doer of good deeds was a true Renaissance man and played beautifully by the seemingly miscast James Coburn. At first glance all spindly arms, long legs, catcher's mitt hands, huge clod-hoppers, and a face that's all teeth, well, looks can be deceiving. Smart, tough, and lethally effective, Coburn's Flint was also Hugh Hefner's wet dream. I've touched on this before, but, 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, where our hero and his bevy of beauties ran totally amok through some truly eye-popping sets, where swank and the space-age met on the graph of such things. Just take a look:
Ably aided and abetted by Jerry Goldsmith's martini-buzz-fueled score, will our man Flint be able to stop these nefarious 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? To answer that you can either give it a spin for yourself or you can get a full debriefing of Our Man Flint, part four of our Operation: 00-Oddballs Spy Spoof Retrospective, over at 3B Theater.
Other Points of Interest:
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