If I was a psychiatrist, which I am, I would say that I was turning into some sort of paranoid personality, which I am!

PresidentsanalystJust a quick note for those NYC folks that tomorrow one of my favorite movies, Theodore J. Flicker's 1967 comedy The President's Analyst, will start a one-week run at the Film Forum.

If you've never seen it, the basic premise is that James Coburn — at his turtleneck wearing coolest — is drafted by the US government to become the, um, President's analyst. Such an opportunity is impossible to turn down, but Coburn quickly becomes a target from virtually every other country in the world who wants to find out what's going on in the head of the world's most powerful man.

Flicker, a TV writer who went on to create '70s sitcom Barney Miller, could've played this as a straight-up paranoid thriller, but instead goes the wild comic ride route, sending up suburbanites, hippies, hipsters, the Cold War and the all-powerful phone company along the way. It would make a good double feature with Dr. Strangelove.

In addition to the witty script, Flicker has a nice eye too and uses the widescreen format to full effect. It's also got a score by Lalo Schifrin, who also wrote the song "Look Up" for the film. As far as I can tell, there was never a soundtrack released for it, but "Look Up" did later make it onto a Christmas Music compilation — "joy to the world" is sung over and over, though I'm pretty sure Schifrin never intended it as a yuletide number.

Jetset2
I actually prefer the version of "Look Up" that made it onto the 1999 album Songs for the Jetset Vol. 2 which was mostly a bunch of reverent covers of obscure 1960s soundtrack songs, from movies like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and President's Analyst.

MP3: Kim & Co. – Look Up

The whole album (not really a compilation despite different artists being credited to different songs) is great and is fairly easy to find — either on Amazon or digitally at Emusic.

3 Comments

  1. I have fond memories of this — haven't seen it in maybe fifteen years — but wonder if the monolith that was Ma Bell will seem as distant and unrelatable as Lily Tomlin's Ernestine… or if, with phones ruling their lives more pervasively, it will feel more convincing.

  2. Thank you(!) for posting "Look Up," and thank you, Google, for bringing me here. It's bizarrely coincidental that a groovie 60s "kinda Christmas" song should cross my mind in July – and just a month after you posted this.

  3. thanks for this, one of my all time top 10 films..coburn's best, daniels a genius, all of them incredible. lalo schifrin on fire!

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