President's Analyst

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Overview

This reviewer feels a little like he's died and gone to heaven -- that was his reaction seeing the 2.35:1 letterboxed image on the opening shot (depicting New York City's garment district) of Theodore J. Flicker's The President's Analyst (1967). One of the most subversive movies to come out of a major studio, the comedy has been shown in pan-and-scan (i.e. full-screen) form on channels like American Movie Classics for a decade, but it never made it to laserdisc in any form. And here it is on DVD, anamorphic image...
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Overview

This reviewer feels a little like he's died and gone to heaven -- that was his reaction seeing the 2.35:1 letterboxed image on the opening shot (depicting New York City's garment district) of Theodore J. Flicker's The President's Analyst (1967). One of the most subversive movies to come out of a major studio, the comedy has been shown in pan-and-scan (i.e. full-screen) form on channels like American Movie Classics for a decade, but it never made it to laserdisc in any form. And here it is on DVD, anamorphic image intact -- widescreen picture (with 16 x 9 enhancement for widescreen monitors), good sound, and its hues and sharpness bringing back its 1967-vintage imagery with a clarity that usually only exists in one's memory. At the time of its release, The President's Analyst was a little too piercing and subtle (at the same time) to find the audience it should have; most people wanted the clarity and simplicity of the Flint movies that James Coburn had starred in, not the low-keyed, patient, but ultimately savage, political satire of The President's Analyst, with its all-too-serious overtones. The script here may have been filled with laughs (some of them very nasty) at the expense of our culture and government, but what felt uncomfortably real in 1967, amid the Vietnam War and a the condition of living under a government that found itself increasingly under siege and out-of-step (and even more so in the years and decades that followed) was the all-too-real paranoia. Viewed at the time of this DVD release, the film still recalls the same raw nerve, perhaps as a consequence of seeing it in the midst of another unpopular war being fought under false pretenses, with another Texas politician in the White House under dubious circumstances.... Paramount has done a very good job with this disc, though one wishes they'd been more ambitious. If The Criterion Collection had released a DVD of this movie, they'd have gotten director/writer Theodore J. Flicker to do a commentary track, maybe with some help from cinematographer William A. Fraker. But, as to what is here, it's impossible to complain -- the detail is superb right down to the skin textures, and the restored brightness to the color gives the Washington, D.C., and New York-shot location footage (of which there is a lot, including a shot of Coburn in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, which the government would never allow today) a freshness and vibrancy that no prior home-viewing edition has come close to matching. The assault and chase scene on a Greenwich Village street, capturing what McDougal Street looked like in 1967, is worth the price of admission, and the psychedelic segment featuring the band Clear Light and the Barry McGuire segement are...well, astonishing. The 102-minute movie has been given a reasonable 19 chapters, and the soundtrack has been mastered cleanly, if at a slightly low volume, in Dolby Ddigital mono that sounds good over speakers. Alas, there is no trailer included -- one would have liked to have seen how this movie was marketed at the time of its release -- and the only subtitles or audio track present are in English. The disc opens automatically to a very simple two-layer menu, offering access to all chapters and the few options there are.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen version enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs; Dolby Digital: English mono; English subtitles
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
The success of the first James Bond movies in the early 1960s inspired a number of spoofs featuring ultra-suave secret agents facing perils even more absurd than the ones thrown at Bond (which already verged on self-parody). The President's Analyst, however, appears to be a parody of these parodies, and it appropriately features James Coburn, the star of one of the best Bond take-offs, Our Man Flint. Overflowing with comic anarchy and a cynically cheeky attitude about the state of the world in 1967, the film runs head first into international espionage, the CIA and the FBI (even if it changes their names), the politics of assassination, the counter-culture, consciousness-expanding drugs, life in suburbia, and the unexplored dangers of the telephone company. It's filled to bursting with inspired ideas, and nearly all of them work, thanks to Flicker's breakneck pacing and top-shelf work by a great comic cast including Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden, Pat Harrington, William Daniels, and Will Geer. Theodore J. Flicker never made another film that matched the oddball brilliance of The President's Analyst; perhaps he used all his best ideas in one shot, but you can't deny that he made the most of them.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/8/2004
  • UPC: 097360671643
  • Original Release: 1967
  • Rating:

  • Source: Paramount
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:42:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James Coburn Dr. Sidney Schaefer
Godfrey Cambridge Don Masters
Severn Darden Kropotkin
Joan Delaney Nan Butler
Pat Harrington Jr. Arlington Hewes
Barry McGuire Old Wrangler
Jill Banner Snow White
Eduard Franz Ethan Allen Cockett
Walter Burke Henry Lux
William Daniels Wynn Quantrill
Joan Darling Jeff Quantrill
Sheldon Collins Bing Quantrill
Arte Johnson Sullivan
Martin Horsey 1st Puddlian
William Beckley Puddlian
Kathleen Hughes Tourist
Will Geer Dr. Lee Evans
Technical Credits
Theodore J. Flicker Director, Songwriter, Screenwriter
Jack Bear Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert R. Benton Set Decoration/Design
William A. Fraker Cinematographer
Pato Guzman Production Designer
Howard W. Koch Executive Producer
Arthur Krams Set Decoration/Design
Emile LaVigne Makeup
Barry McGuire Songwriter
Kurt Neumann Asst. Director
Stuart H. Pappe Editor
Hal Pereira Art Director
Robert Post Sound/Sound Designer
Paul Potash Songwriter
Al Y. Roelofs Art Director
Stanley Crea Rubin Producer
Lalo Schifrin Score Composer
David M. Walsh Camera Operator
Wally Westmore Makeup
John K. Wilkinson Sound/Sound Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Late for My Analyst [4:41]
2. A Moral Question [4:25]
3. The Whitney [2:53]
4. Mrs. Me [5:07]
5. Poppycock [:17]
6. Red Means Go [2:42]
7. Paranoia [4:09]
8. Back to New Jersey [1:43]
9. A Wanted Man [3:48]
10. Junior Spy [2:40]
11. Chinatown Showdown [3:48]
12. Lost Innocence [2:59]
13. The Puddlians [3:07]
14. Henry Lux Himself [2:55]
15. Kropotkin [1:02]
16. The Phone Company [6:06]
17. Machinations [:34]
18. Plan Rasputin [4:53]
19. Better Service, Lower Rates [1:53]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play
   Set Up
      Subtitle Options: English
      Subtitle Options: None
   Scene Selection
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Johnson era politics, Hippies, Spies, TPC, and funny as hell.

    It is a perfect comedic send-up of the 1960's that was made IN the 1960's. Dont miss it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2003

    Anylize THIS.......

    My first exposure to this slice'o'satire was about 15 years ago. It was incisive then. Now with a country in a near perpetual state of paranoia, it is even more on-point. If you have not seen it, I shall not ruin it for you, except to say that James Coburn gives one of his more manic performances, and Godfrey Cambridge is so good, it is painful...only to know what a treasure we had before going too soon. For some it may seem dated...for me, it...more than most...captures the essence of the trippy 60's. ANd the points made, as I said, are even more relvenat today. One thing: Be sure to catch Pat Hartington, Jr near the end. (A)you'll forget about a certain skirt-chasing building super and (b)without giving anything away, the final joke is definatly something they are really working on today. Scary. And funny!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews