Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Out like Flint.

I'm really glad there aren't vampires. Congressmen are bad enough.

I mean, there's a reason generations pass on, while new ones take the reins. An immortal, like a vampire, or someone who doesn't know when it's past time to retire, like many a congressman, can't help but carry a point of view forged in a time with different considerations into a time when that mindset will lead to some very bad choices.

Remember that movie you loved when you were thirteen? It's the best, right? So much better than that garbage thirteen-year-olds like now. Um . . . yeah . . . about that . . . .

Thirteen is thirteen, no matter the era.

I was thinking about this early this morning, as I caught the tail end of one of my favorite movies, Our Man Flint, a James-Bond-inspired action-comedy that was popular enough for a sequel, In Like Flint. I dearly love both of these James Coburn movies, but every time I see them now, I'm reminded of how deep in the past they are, containing a weird male-dominated faux feminism that only mid-nineteen-sixties Hollywood could channel. Women should not be programmed as sex objects, but it takes a man's man to deprogram them. A multi-cultural team of scientists works to save the world by starting weather catastrophes. And polyamory was cool, just so long as it was one penis per set, and still highly hetero.

What does all this have to do with Sherlock Holmes, you ask?

Well, we always like to tell our stories of "how I met Mr. Sherlock Holmes" like he was our first love. Like we weren't fans of anyone similar before him, anyone prior who might have set our tastes up to fall under his spell much more quickly. Yes, I'm sure Sherlock was many a fan's first . . . but not all of us . . . oh, no.

Some enjoyed the logic of Mr. Spock before coming to Holmes's deduction. Some found the wizardry of Harry Potter magical before Holmes worked his own detective sorcery. Sometimes the similarities are obvious to us, sometimes they go unnoticed for years, and even decades.

Which brings me back to Mr. Derek Flint. A man who transcended the regular ranks of his profession by drawing in knowledge and skills from other disciplines. A man who the official folk came to when they had exhausted all other means. And a man who had a way of dying and then somehow turning back up alive to the shock and amazement of his "Watson," a government official named Lloyd C. Cramden. (Middle initials are important to a Watson!)

Derek Flint so strongly fits the mold of Sherlock Holmes in so many ways that he had to be modeled after Holmes than the man he was supposedly parodying, James Bond. A much better investigator than 007, Derek Flint combines analysis of tobacco, poisons, and perfumes into one single scene that would have made Sherlock go "Bravo!"

And as we feel about Sherlock Holmes, when his Watson is asked how Flint pulled off some particularly amazing feat, Lloyd Cramden excitedly cries, "Because he's Flint!" The man is just so good at what he does that his name alone is enough to explain it to those who've heard the name.

Running into a Flint movie on TV this morning, I suddenly remembered whose fan camp I was in before I ever found Sherlock Holmes. And maybe was even my training-wheels preparation for enjoying Holmes later. And even though it was sexist as hell, and I've grown way past the simple male fantasy that was pure candy to a thirteen-year-old, it's locked into a place in my heart that will be there until the day I make space for some future Earthling to take their place on the planet, for better and worse.

Would I have been a Sherlockian without Flint? Probably eventually. But having a similar key loosening up that lock ahead of time probably does not hurt one's fan-nature at all.

1 comment:

  1. My Sherlock interest (barely) predates Flint as the latter was in the drive-in (!) when I was eleven but didn't see it until it hit the t.v. screen. BUT Derek Flint was up there on my popularity chart. Cool, cool, cool!