In Hollywood, this is the year of the 1960s spy. The Mission: Impossible franchise cruises along with its thrilling fifth entry. Next month, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. finally hits movie theaters courtesy of Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie. Oh, and a dapper fellow named Bond, James Bond, returns this fall.
Film adaptations of 1960s spy shows are nothing new. Unfortunately, most of the prior reboots have been disappointing. The less said about The Avengers (as in Emma Peel, not Iron Man) the better. Wild Wild West was just as dopey. Get Smart lost a lot of the original charm with its CGI gloss. Frankly, we totally forgot until just now that Eddie Murphy remade I Spy.
All of those deserve another shot in wiser hands, but we're going to look at four secret agents that have yet to be rebooted.
4) Matt Helm
In the novels by pulp ace Donald Hamilton, Helm is a jaded Cold War counter-agent. In four film adaptations, star Dean Martin added a lot more winks and Rat Pack ring-a-ding-ding to what was a sort of washed-up character. The Helm movies became Bond knock-offs loaded with beautiful women and gadgets. They were a key inspiration for Austin Powers. DreamWorks apparently holds the rights to this.
3) Derek Flint
Mike Myers' shagadelic sleuth borrowed from this franchise as well. In the perfectly titled In Like Flint, James Coburn plays the titular agent of Z.O.W.I.E. who must take down Fabulous Face, a spa in the Caribbean bent on world domination. So, yes, fans of Adam West's Batman should eat this up.
2) Harry Palmer
Amidst all the spoofs and bombshells was a more serious take on the espionage film, The Ipcress File. The breakthrough role for Michael Caine, Palmer was far more serious in tone than his peers, and all the better for it.
1) John Drake
The classic series The Prisoner may or may not be a continuation/spin-off of this prior British show also starring Patrick McGoohan, depending on who you ask. In the U.K., it was called Danger Man, while here it was retitled and better known as Secret Agent. The American version featured the immortal theme song "Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers. A sort of anti-Bond, McGoohan's John Drake was still seriously cool, but resorted on his wits instead of gadgets and guns.
Which character would you most like to see revived? Which actors could best pull off these roles today? Leave your thoughts below.