“If I were an analyst — which I am — I would say I was rapidly turning into a paranoid personality — which I am.”
A psychoanalyst (James Coburn) hired to work for the president of the United States becomes paranoid that spies are out to get him; soon he finds himself on the lam from multiple agents and hit-men, including Soviet agent Kropotkin (Severn Darden) and “CEA” agent Masters (Godfrey Cambridge).
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Cold War
- James Coburn Films
- Satires and Spoofs
Response to Peary’s Review:
In his review of this “zany paranoia satire” (a minor cult favorite), Peary seems half-hearted at best, noting that while “everything seems to be filmed from the wrong angles, at least the story never gets totally out of hand” — but I don’t think his review does this enjoyable film justice. In addition to Coburn’s fine performance in the lead role, The President’s Analyst is notable for its prescient, no-holds-barred exploration of secrecy and paranoia at every level of government — there’s literally nowhere to hide in this agent-ridden universe, where (as Peary notes) “no one is to be trusted”. The outrageous story moves quickly enough to hold our attention throughout; just when Coburn thinks he’s (momentarily) safe, he finds himself on the run once again, so we never get bored of any particular scenario. The best sequences involve Coburn hiding out at the home of an “all-American” family, where the couple’s young son taps Coburn’s telephone call using his Junior Spy Kit, and a hilarious scene in which multiple agents kill each other off in an “idyllic” meadow while Coburn obliviously canoodles a hippie chick nearby. The supporting performances throughout are commendable, and — to his credit — writer/director Theodore Flicker takes his over-the-top premise to a suitably freaky conclusion. This one’s definitely worth a look.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- James Coburn as Dr. Schaefer
- Coburn’s visit to a seemingly “all-American” family in New Jersey
- Countless spies killing each other off in their fruitless attempt to capture Coburn
Yes, for its status as a zany cult favorite.