This week I decided to entertain myself with some of the seemingly endless selection of parodies of James Bond.

Wednesday Double Features - James Bond Parodies -OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of SpiesThe first on my list OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies had been recommended by a friend. I hadn’t heard of, though I had heard of the lead actor, Jean Dujardin, from his supporting role in Wolf of Wallstreet.

OSS is based on a series of books by Jean Bruce (sort of the way the original Casino Royal is based on Ian Fleming’s original novel.) Here the hero, French secret agent Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath / OSS 117, is a dashing credit to French manhood, popular with the ladies and good in a fight. Of course, he is also a jingoistic, sexist and racist twit, but somehow he still somehow gets the job done. He is sent to Cairo to investigate the disappearance of a fellow OSS agent as well as a Soviet Freighter (all of this takes place in the mid-fifties during the completion of the Suez canal). From here things take a turn as he makes one mishap after another in an attempt to create his mission.

This was a fun film with a great performance from Dujardin as a wonderfully self-important, oblivion ass. My favorites include his beating up a muezzin (the person who calls Muslims to prayer) who is keeping him up, oblivious to the consequences and when he takes his cover as the head of a chicken warehouse too seriously.

The best thing about it is how they take full advantage of having the film be a period piece is the number of historical in-jokes with characters looking optimistically towards things we know will fail, and how all of Hubert’s missions take place in situations that were disasters for France.

Wednesday Double Features - James Bond Parodies - Our Man FlintThe next film I watched was Our Man Flint starring James Coburn as the title character.

The film involves a triumvirate of scientists attempts to blackmail the world by controlling a series of natural disasters to create a utopia. Desperate to stop them the government summons master spy, Derik Flint to stop them.

This was an interesting film. Instead of having the parody of James Bond, as in most of these films, Derik Flint is impossibly competent, a master of multiple martial arts, being able to stop his heart for several hours and so intelligent he is able to identify where a bouillabaisse has been made just by tasting it. For the most part, I don’t think it would have worked with anyone besides James Coburn. It’s his unflappable deadpan that makes the film work.