When the overworked and stressed-out White House presidential shrink runs away, the CEA and the FBR scramble to retrieve him before he could be abducted by various competing foreign intelligence services.
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At first, Dr. Sidney Schaefer feels honored and thrilled to be offered the job of the President's Analyst. But then the stress of the job and the paranoid spies that come with a sensitive government position get to him, and he runs away. Now spies from all over the world are after him, either to get him for their own side or to kill him and prevent someone else from getting him. Written by
Ken Yousten <email@example.com>
CEA agent Don Masters (Godfrey Cambridge) wears a "Dizzy Gillespie for President" sweatshirt at the beginning of the movie. Legendary jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie actually ran a short-lived campaign for the office in 1964 which, while not entirely serious, appealed to many disaffected voters. See more »
When Sydney and Kropotkin are talking, they lie on a couch. Under Sydney's head, there is something like a cushion (purple). On the close-up of Sydney's head, the cushion is missing. See more »
Film disclaimer: 'This film has not been made with the consent or cooperation of the Federal Board of Regulations (F.B.R.) or the Central Enquires Agency (C.E.A.). Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, and so forth and so on. See more »
Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy and so on and so forth ...
My lasting view of Soviet-U.S. relations was clearly defined after watching THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST. Soviet spy/assassin V.I. Kydor Kropotkin, played by Severn Darden, explains to kidnapped American psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Schaefer, played by the irrepressible James Coburn: "Logic is on our side: this isn't a case of a world struggle between two divergent ideologies, of different economic systems. Every day your country becomes more socialistic and mine becomes more capitalistic. Pretty soon we will meet in the middle and join hands." Beautiful, simple logic, clearly stated in a whacked-out, slightly psychedelic satirical farce about Cold War paranoia. A gem of genius in a world gone mad.
Of course, it didn't pan out that way. The U.S.S.R., trying to maintain its communistic ideology in a world of blissful capitalistic greed, just couldn't keep up and went bankrupt -- financially, morally, socially and politically -- long before the great day of unification could arrive. If only the Reds had made THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST required viewing, maybe they could have hung in there just a tad longer. Of course, the U.S. still continues to slip-slide to the left, but, oh well, that's politics.
Coburn stars as the title character, a New York psychiatrist who lands the plum job of being the confidant to the President of the United States, who basically needs a shoulder to cry on before the job drives him looney tunes. At first, Coburn is elated at his new job, but soon he learns that a President's life isn't an easy one -- nor is the life of his shrink. But worse, the things that the good doctor learns under physician-patient confidentiality are a valuable commodity in international espionage circles. Thus, some people want to kidnap him and brainwash him for his secrets -- others just want him dead. Dr Schaefer suffers a bit of a nervous breakdown and hits the road; a gaggle of spies in hot pursuit.
You'd be hard pressed to come up with a political satire more quintessentially sixties than Theodore J. Flicker's THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST; giddily spaced out and always flirting with being just a little too silly and a little too over the top. It's a 1967 political satire made in the days before political satire became mean and strident. I mean, the unseen "president" in the title is treated with surprising respect, even though it would be fair to assume that he might be LBJ, hardly a man who endeared himself to anybody. Politics and political satire became surprisingly mean and vindictive from the Nixon years on, but a film like THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST retains a sense of mischief rather than malice.
As such, the film exists in something of a protective bubble of style. It is very sixties in tone -- dreamy pop-rock music in the score, a vaguely anti-establishment attitude, etc. -- yet, though the sexual revolution is just taken for granted, there isn't a mention of Viet Nam, anti-war protests, social unrest or anything too real that might distract from the superficial style and goofy story. Unlike, say DR. STRANGELOVE, the sardonic comedy isn't threatened by the gravity of its dark subject matter.
As a spy movie, the film is sort of anti-James Bond; by the time it gets around to the high-tech shenanigans about a plot to control the world, it has already taken a good-natured look at everything from suburbia to rock 'n' roll. There aren't any Connery-esquire Bond types -- or even anyone like Coburn's own Derek Flint -- rather the superspies the film offers tend to be chubby and middle-aged, with a cheerfully pragmatic view of their profession. Indeed, America's top agent is played by roly-poly African-American comedian Godfrey Cambridge. And though practically everyone in the film turns out to be a secret agent, the film gleefully works to avoid as many spy clichés as possible, and only surrenders to the clichés that can be gently mocked.
The film has that giddy air of laid-back sophistication that suggests that it was created by smart people, all of whom were just a little bit high on some sort of illegal substance. Rather than having the martini-sipping, Playboy magazine-style of cool detachment of Bond, the film goes for the trippy, brownies-munching cool disenchantment of Sgt. Pepper. With a bit of MAD Magazine's "Spy vs. Spy" tossed in. The result is as amusing as it is thought provoking. And it is a sensational solution to the hostility problem -- assuming, of course, you don't already have a license to kill.
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