Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Our Man Flint


There was a rash of spy spoof films shortly after James Bond became such a huge hit. They stretch right down to the present day, with the Austin Powers franchise. Most of them were pretty lame, such as the awful Dean Martin “Matt Helm” movies. Most of them concentrated on exaggerating the whole Bond girl gadget-ridden double-O shaken-not-stirred paradigm of the Bond movies.

This one does, too, but has a little more wit than the others. Derek Flint knows every martial art there is, dates four girls at a time, and has a cigarette lighter that also has 83 different uses: “84, if you count lighting a cigarette.” It’s a large, expensive production, but today it looks surprisingly cheesy, with little imagination in the sets and such. The real saving grace is the performance by James Coburn, who knows better than to give us a big wink, but still understands that none of this is to be taken seriously.

The main reason I wanted to see it again, though, is that it contains one of the larger film roles ever played by my dear, departed friend, Peter Brocco, who had a long career in bit parts. Here he is Dr. Wu, the mad scientist on the right of the TV screen when we first see him. Not the Chinese guy, whose name is Dr. Schneider (played by Benson Fong). Peter is the balding fellow with a face like a hawk. He was the last listed in the credits, but that’s okay. He often didn’t make the credits at all. Peter was one of those hard-working fellows who had a long, long list of credits, and never made it big. But he loved his work, and was one of the nicest people I ever met.