When Mike Myers released the Austin Powers comedies, I wonder how many people actually knew what the parody was based on. Sure it was a take off on James Bond movies (specifically the early Sean Connery ones) but even more it was a parody of other movies from the 60s like Our Man Flint (1966) and even The Avengers TV series. Ultimately referenced the idea of swinging London of the 60s. The era that gave us bongo goofy movies like a The Beatles Hard Days Night and even the fashion photography classic Blow Up as well as more obscure films like Sandwich Man or the American version – The Monkey’s tv show.
Austin Powers’ Swinging Pad circa 1969
Our Man Flint – Trailer – notice the Fembots!
There was a sequel – In Like Flint:
There’s really been only one rival to James Bond: Derek Flint. That’s because of James Coburn’s special brand of American cool. He’s so cool, in fact, that he doesn’t care to save the world. That is, until he’s personally threatened. He’s a true libertarian, with more gadgets and girls than Bond, but with none of his stress or responsibility. In Our Man Flint (1966), he’s totally unflappable as he thwarts mad scientists who control the weather–and an island of pleasure drones. Lee J. Cobb costars as Flint’s flustered superior, and Edward Mulhare plays a British nemesis with snob appeal. For fans of Austin Powers, incidentally, the funny-sounding phone comes from the Flint films. However, the best gadget remains the watch that enables Flint to feign death. There’s a great Jerry Goldsmith score, too.
There was bound to be a Flint sequel, and In Like Flint (1967) delivers the same kind of zany fun as its predecessor. Flint is recruited once again by Lee J. Cobb to be the government’s top secret agent, this time to solve a mishap involving the President. Turns out, the Chief Executive has been replaced by an evil duplicate. The new plan for world domination involves feminine aggression, and Flint, with his overpowering charisma, is just the man to turn the hostile forces around. In Like Flint is still over the top, but some of the novelty has worn off, and it doesn’t have quite the same edge as the original. Even Jerry Goldsmith’s score is a bit more subdued. But the film still has James Coburn and that funny phone. –Bill Desowitz
Recently I ran across the trailer for a movie that captures this era of goofy, swinging 60s London. Even if the movie isn’t that great, its a fun look at London at the time. And those crazy cars! Like the Morris Minor that you would see in classic TV like The Prisoner.
Ex-Goon Michael Bentine walks the swinging streets of 60s London in this gentle comedy which also features comedians Harry H. Corbett, Bernard Cribbins, Terry-Thomas and Norman Wisdom. This film is taken from a brand-new transfer from the original film elements and also includes a commentary with the producer.
What does swinging 60s London have with photography? None other than projecting the fashion photographer to stardom. A trio of photographers in London shooting for the fashion magazines projected the topics of the day – Youth Pop Fashion and inspired the iconic film Blow Up.
Sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all…says the trailer for Blow Up:
During the 1960s, a London photographer believes he inadvertently photographed evidence of a murder only to have the evidence mysteriously disappear.
There are a couple other documentaries on the iconic swinging 60s fashion photographers worth checking out. “Duffy” deals with Brian Duffy and is show here in full length: