Well, one way of looking at the level of popularity surrounding England's best secret service agent is Hollywood's response to it: producers sought to capitalize on worldwide audiences hunger for it with not one but two like-minded imitators. Dean Martin was cast to bring Matt Helm to the big screen, and James Coburn became Derek Flint for Our Man Flint in 1966. Our Man Flint proved so powerful that 20th Century Fox immediately demanded a follow-up, thus ushering the first and only sequel to the spy franchise ... In Like Flint ... which premiered on this day in Puerto Rico back in 1967. (Its U.S. launch would follow roughly two weeks later.)
While I have vague recollections of watching the Flint films on television back in my youth, I honestly didn't think too much of them. Series star James Coburn never quite seemed as impressive as, say, Sean Connery was in his feats of derring-do; and I'd also suggest that some of the franchise's humor was probably lost on me (being so young and innocent). The Matt Helm films, by comparison, are much bigger and broader with their parodic strokes, so it's easy to see that neither Dean Martin nor the audience was probably taking any of it all that serious. That was patently obvious to even my impressionable brain.
But back to Flint ...
I've read that -- ahem -- not a lot of effort and originality was extended on the sequel. As can happen with some properties, studio suits saw the returns on the first flick and figured they had a Golden Goose with which to lay a few more Golden Eggs, but In Like Flint's reviews weren't all that flattering. While Coburn has stated in interviews that the studio was interested in having him return for a third, he killed that possibility by refusing to do another one, thus ended Flint's true terms of service, allowing the superspy to finally relax in retirement.
Directed by Gordon Douglas from a script by Hal Fimberg, the picture also starred Lee J. Cobb, Jean Hale, Andrew Duggan, Anna Lee, and Hanna Landy. Viewers watching closely will spot the lovely Yvonne Craig who would soon light up small screens with her portrayal of Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl) aboard the campy Batman television serial.
Here's the plot summary as provided by IMDB.com:
"Flint is again called out of retirement when his old boss finds that he seems to have missed three minutes while golfing with the president. Flint finds that the president has been replaced by an actor (Flint's line [with a wistful look] is "An Actor as President?") Flint finds that a group of women have banded together to take over the world through subliminal brainwashing in beauty salons they own."