Blu-ray Review: In Like Flint - Twilight Time Limited Edition

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January saw the Blu-ray debut of the 1966 spy spoof Our Man Flint. Now the same boutique label that brought us that cult favorite has followed up with its sequel, the 1967 In Like Flint. Twilight Time has released the film as one of their traditional limited edition runs of 3,000 copies. Despite a change in director, with Gordon Douglas subbing for Daniel Mann, most of the primaries remain the same. Saul David produced, Hal Fimberg scripted, Jerry Goldsmith scored, and of course James Coburn starred as the Bondian superspy Derek Flint. Lee J. Cobb is also back, in an unfortunately more central role, as Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization for World Intelligence and Espionage) chief Lloyd Cramden.

In Life Flint booklet (137x250).jpgIn this outing, it’s a sort of battle of the sexes as a radical feminist group attempts to overthrow the male-dominated U.S. government. Actually their ultimate goal is world domination, but they start by replacing President Trent (Andrew Duggan) with a lookalike after covertly switching out his golf ball with a gas bomb. Cramden was on the green with Trent and, since he can’t figure out what happened, pays a visit to his former star employee Flint. Though he’s busy developing a dolphin-speak dictionary, Flint reluctantly gets involved. It all leads towards a snoozer of a climax at a space station.

The opening act suffers from a surprising lack of Flint. We get lots of Cobb, but little Coburn—the main selling point for either film. From there on it’s a confusing mess of ideas stretched out over a too-leisurely 114 minutes. Make no mistake, this isn’t Austin Powers. At best, the attempts at humor fall flat and at worst they’re barely discernible. Even as a sexist time capsule piece—with Flint guffawing wildly at the very notion that women could rule anything, let alone the world—it lurches along without momentum. As these feminist revolutionaries set out to brainwash an army of women via subliminal messages delivered through salon hairdryers, it becomes painfully obvious that inspiration was sorely lacking in the writing, directing, and acting departments.

As is often noted, Jerry Goldsmith’s memorable score is just about the sole exception to all the dreariness. So good is the music, it seems a shame it was wasted on this formless nonsense. I am aware there are Derek Flint fanatics out there, but I would hazard a guess that most of them have been fans since the films first hit theaters in the mid-‘60s—or at least after they went into repeated television broadcasts the following decade. Point being, I doubt many people discovering the films today (even the far more stylish first one) would find much to enjoy. Heck, some of the lesser Bond films are actually a bit of a chore to sit through, but at least they’ll always have the advantage of being part of a large, beloved franchise. There’s a good reason Flint’s escapades came to an end after two films.

In Like Flint BD cover.jpgTwilight Time’s Blu-ray presents In Like Flint with 1080p, AVC-encoded transfer framed at 2.35:1. The image is consistently excellent, more so than the original. I thought Our Man offered strong visuals, but here the colors are bolder. There’s still the issue of subpar stock footage, but it’s much less of a distraction than it was in the earlier film. Audio offers a choice between DTS-HD MA 1.0 mono or 5.1 surround. I prefer the original mono mix, which sounds flawless. The 5.1 expansion is fine, but the sound design doesn’t lend itself well to the format. Neither the surround channels nor the LFE channel factor significantly.

Most of the supplements have been ported over from a previous DVD edition. The new feature, customary for Twilight Time releases, is an isolated score track that presents Jerry Goldsmith’s music in DTS-HD MA 2.0. Among the ported features is a commentary track by a pair of film historians and about 100 minutes of featurettes. I believe the only thing of any significance not carried over from Fox’s 2006 three-disc DVD set Ultimate Flint Collection is the ‘70s TV pilot (a failed attempt at rebooting the franchise), Dead on Target.

For more about Twilight Time, including a complete listing of their limited edition titles, visit their official website.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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