the president's analyst
director: Theodore J. Flicker (up in the cellar)
starring: james coburn, godfrey cambridge, severn darden and joan delaney
REVIEWER: lyall carter
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.
In this lively satire, psychiatrist Sidney Schaefer (James Coburn) is recruited by the U.S. government to serve as the president's own top-secret psychoanalyst. On call at all hours and privy to the leader's most private thoughts, Schaefer develops paranoia, which turns out to be warranted, since numerous international agencies are out to get him for his highly classified knowledge. Aided by spy Don Masters (Godfrey Cambridge), Schaefer must survive the many attempts on his life.
Although there are scenes that severely date The President’s Analyst, the overall premise of this political satire of which would have been lightyears ahead of it’s 1967 release would still have relevance if it was made in today’s political context. The lack of trust, scepticism and even hatred that people have on one side for the other seems as if it was created for today. Everything is spoofed in The President's Analyst from blind, red tape bureaucrats to nationalism and psychoanalysis with generally hilarious results.
James Coburn aptly navigates these challenging elements and in the hands of a lesser actor wouldn’t have managed to quite pull them off with the skill and likeability that Coburn manages here.
Although The President’s Analyst can be a little dated, it presents a cutting and hilarious satire that is as relevant today as it was forty years ago.