When even escapist stories have dark edges

Poster for In Like Flint

In the 1960s, there were many escapist takes on the spy genre. But even the escapist versions had their dark sides.

Case in point: In Like Flint (1967), the second Derek Flint movie starring James Coburn. The movie’s story includes elements that are downright disturbing when you stop to think about it.

Rich people out to take over the world: In the case of In Like Flint, the rich people are women. As the film opens, the women have been at it for some time. They have been working to brainwash other women through their chain of Fabulous Face beauty outlets. Hair washing and brainwashing at the same time, hero Flint observes.

A big chunk of the U.S. military is on the plot: Colonel Carter (Steve Ihnat) is on the plot — or so the rich women think. In reality, Carter is going to double-cross the rich women. He intends to take over the world himself.

More disturbingly, Carter appears to have quite a number of military personnel working with him. And Carter has access to U.S. space projects which figure into the plan. Flint ends up having to combat quite a number of Carter’s men.

The U.S. President can easily be replaced with a double: A big part of the plan involves kidnapping U.S. President Trent (Andrew Duggan) with an actor who has undergone plastic surgery. The President’s abduction occurs with only a minimum of security present while Trent is golfing with ZOWIE head Kramden (Lee J. Cobb). After the switch takes place, very few people are aware of it.

To be sure, the movie is very light-hearted overall. Flint comments about an actor as president. At the time this was made, Ronald Reagan had been elected as governor of California and there was already talk of him running for president. There are also in-joke references to the 1966 Batman series (made at 20th Century Fox, where this movie was also produced) and Fantastic Voyage (also made at Fox and produced by Saul David, producer of the Flint films).

2 Responses

  1. This is one of my viewing pleasures. I live the Flint series and sometimes it is comforting to watch and think of that era.

  2. The title In Like Flint is dark enough, surely.

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