IN LIKE FLINT (1967)
Article 1966 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-2-2006
Posting Date: 12-30-2006
Directed by Gordon Douglas
Featuring James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Jean Hale
Superspy Derek Flint is called in to investigate why three minutes were lost during the president’s golf game. The investigation leads to a cabal of women, and an attempt to turn a space platform into a weapon of destruction.
I was all ready to dismiss this movie as just another James Bond clone, but it really deserves a little more attention than that. Despite its obvious Bond influences, it does strive to be something different; the music and style make the feel of the movie a little less derivative, it has a much lighter touch (but avoids the smirking excesses of the Matt Helm series), and Flint himself is an interesting character, as he’s a renaissance man of sorts with a wide and eccentric intellect and the ability to talk to dolphins. These go a long ways towards alleviating the movie’s turgid pace, but in the end it doesn’t quite succeed; the movie gets quite dull on occasion. James Coburn does a fine job, but he doesn’t quite manage to make his character’s sexism endearing in the way that, say, Sean Connery could do with aplomb; when he sneeringly dismisses the concept that women could run the world, he does so with an edge of meanness that is rather unpleasant. Still, if you ever wanted to see Lee J. Cobb in drag, this is the movie for you. I haven’t seen the first movie in this series, which is reputed to be somewhat better. This one pretty much ended the series, though the character would be revived in a TV movie in the mid seventies.