February 18, 2009


Our Man Flint (1966) In Like Flint (1967). Art Director/Jack Martin Smith (Planet of the Apes, Valley of the Dolls), Set Decorator/Raphael Bretton (Poseidon Adventure), Set Decorator/Walter Scott (Fantastic Voyage, Hello Dolly), Art Director/Dale Hennesy (Logan’s Run, Sleeper, Dirty Harry, Fantastic Voyage). Out of the elevator and into a thinking man’s penthouse apartment. The sets for the two Flint films offer much to discuss the attitudes of the times. Actress Jean Hale and historian Mary Corey called Coburn’s character the first metrosexual- a man who excels as an intellectual, artist, lover, foodie, sportsman, inventor, adventurer, scientist, and who, most importantly, can satisfy his companions emotionally. With his harem of female friends, he is a Spy Vibe version of Hugh Hefner. Flint embodies Hef’s credo that a Playboy be a “man who must see life not as a vale of tears, but as a happy time; he must take joy in his work, without regarding it as the end and all of living; he must be an alert man, an aware man, a man of taste, a man sensitive to pleasure, a man who- without acquiring the stigma of the voluptuary or dilettante- can live life to the hilt.” Though Hale and Corey see the pro-feminism elements in the Flint films, they point out that the movies had not quite caught up with the feminism movement. But Flint tries- breaking the hypnotic spell that holds his partners in sexual slavery by uttering the magic mantra, "You are not a pleasure unit!" The entrance to the pleasure quarters is a wonderful nod to the Mondrian Day Dress by Yves Saint Laurent, which saw its debut one year earlier in 1965.

Flint’s penthouse pad is a conglomeration of Playboy's apartment illustrations and has design schemes to fit different moods- all immediately changeable at the flick of a switch. Erotic paintings and sculptures revolve into the wall to be replaced with modern d├ęcor and canvases by Modern masters. The rooms are eclectic: futuristic gadgetry, military traditional, neo-classical- all shades of the male fantasy. An aperture monitors the front door to a clear security panel that rises electronically from a clear coffee table (shades of Lucas’ private screening room). The library area is like an editor's office, filled with books (that Flint wrote), and the patio sports a dolphin tank where Flint conducts his research for a Dolphin dictionary. He is the modern man!

The bad guys have it even better! Their vast evil lairs embody male fantasy and freedom that predates the Playboy Mansion (sorry, Hef!), which didn't start its Shangri-La renovations until 1971. The movie has ultra-stylized sets, including beauty salons, hot tub spas, a disco with go-go dancers, ancient Roman bacchanalia, a drive-in theater for backseat necking, cryogenic chambers, and an array of Space Aged labs, control rooms, and corridors. This pair of cult-classic spy adventures was produced with wit, care, and quintessential Spy Vibe cool.


Check out Spy Vibe's production set series, an event that gathered together many writers to celebrate the best spy sets from cold war-era film & TV. Guest Set Lists: Lee Pfeiffer, Jeremy Duns, Armstrong Sabian, Steve Bissette, Roger Langley, Matthew Bradford, Wesley Britton, David Foster, Matt Kindt. Spy Vibe's Set For Adventure here, Set Countdown #10, #9, #8 ,#7, #6, #5, #4, #3, #2, #1.


  1. What can I say about the FLINT films? It was love at first sight. The circular bed features prominently in that 1962 PB Townhouse link I sent you, so the Hef ethos definitely applies to Flint.

    On a less-exalted level, "Mission: Impossible" team leaders Dan Briggs and Jim Phelps also had nice pads from which to plot the IMF's next assignment. I wonder if we'll see their digs here, too?

    BTW, CINEMA RETRO's plugged SPY VIBE at their site today; congrats.

  2. Thanks! and Thanks :) Yes, I love the apartment in Mission Impossible, as well. Didn't they often start out with a high-angle establishing shot? Looked very cool! Yes, we might see it here soon :)