Derek Flint, the superspy with four girlfriends who picks up a fifth during the course of this film, has the most interesting bed in film history. In many ways, he’s infinitely more interesting than James Bond. Of course it’s all a joke, right? Well, sort of. It’s not actually that much more far-fetched than the Bond series. In fact, we simply have a superspy whose life makes explicit everything inferred by the exciting Mr. Bond. To be sure, there is not much inferred in the Bond series (save sexual inferences).
Director Daniel Mann had helmed BUtterfield 8 in 1960 which starred Elizabeth Taylor. His filmography otherwise is not really a stunning list to read, but his direction here is fine indeed. He gets a lot of help from his lead star James Coburn. In 1960 Coburn was one of The Magnificent Seven. Coburn was a very capable actor (as evinced in the little-known Blake Edwards film The Carey Treatment).
But yes, this is a spy spoof in the strictest sense. Instead of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., we get Z.O.W.I.E. (or, actually, for the bad guys, Galaxy). Funny that an organization wielding power through controlling worldwide weather should make its first assassination attempt on our hero by using a harp (or is it a HAARP?).
The whole bouillabaisse section is infinitely hilarious. Like a monk through extreme concentration, Flint also places himself in suspended animation twice during the film. The second time he does so to play dead (quite successfully) which allows for his escape once his watch tickles him back to consciousness. Flint knows every trick in the book…from Shaolin to spetsnaz.
Gila Golan is excellent as (you guessed it) Gila.
The presidential ringtone (3 x 5) is a catchy, kitsch motif throughout the whole production. The music in general (by Jerry Goldsmith) is excellent.
If you like James Bond films, you probably have a sense of humor. If you can stomach the scattershot Casino Royale (1967), this will seem like the greatest film ever made. It really is a joyful little classic.