Twilight Time // 1967 // 114 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // March 11th, 2013
Flint's back in action...in danger...in the Virgin Islands...where the bad guys are girls!
Rarely do sequels to great films match their originals, but sometimes they're just as fun and far more ridiculous. The idea that In Like Flint could be more absurd than Our Man Flint, one of the most absurd spy comedies ever made, may seem impossible, but it's a genuinely, charmingly strange film that takes what the original established and amps it all up a few notches. The bizarre message and general insanity make it a real hoot of a film and it's now available on in a limited edition Blu-ray from Twilight Time.
While out golfing with the president, Z.O.W.I.E. head Lloyd Cramden (Lee J. Cobb, The Exorcist) suddenly loses three minutes of time. Later that night, he is seduced by a beautiful school teacher (Jean Hale, The Oscar) and wakes up next to another woman with lipstick on his face and a photographer sending his life into scandal. He loses his job, so goes to superspy Derek Flint (James Coburn, The Great Escape) for help. His investigation leads to a case of presidential identity theft and a diabolical Caribbean spa where a trio of women are intent on taking over the world for the benefit of the female gender.
The original Our Man Flint was an original and droll spy comedy that had plenty of absurdity, but played the situation straight. In Like Flint, as much as I enjoy it, is really none of these things. In fact, the only way that it bests its predecessor is in its gorgeous Jamaican locations. The original looked very stagey; this one doesn't. It may be all that surpasses Our Man Flint, but it's still a highly enjoyable piece of pure entertainment that is far better than most other movies of its kind.
In Like Flint also has more truly bizarre moments than the original, but I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. In lieu of an absurd but fairly standard world domination plotline, this one takes some bizarre notion about emerging feminism and drives it straight over the cliff. I don't have any idea whether screenwriter Hal Fimberg (In Society) thought there was some kind of plausibility in his idea of modern woman throwing off the reins of their male oppressors and becoming supervillains, but it's about as absurd a story as could possibly be. Brainwashing by hair dryer? That's as stupid an idea as possible.
Replacing Daniel Mann as director for Gordon Douglas (Them!) changes the entire tone of the film, moving it more toward slapstick than the situational comedy of the original. That means there are more outright gags, but the movie suffers for it. While it's a funny idea to see Lee J. Cobb in drag, it's a fairly cheap joke and there are a lot of those thrown around. Still, it's a fast moving and very fun film that a few lame zingers can't ruin.
But, of course, the real highlight of the film is Coburn. He takes the character he built in the first film over the top, with more antics, more homemade gadgets, and more womanizing than ever. He even talks to dolphins in this one and, in fact, his made up dolphin language is his introduction to the picture. Also of note are the performances of two veterans of Batman, the original television show. Jean Hale, the Mad Hatter's girlfriend, plays the female lead and does a very good job, and Yvonne Craig (One Spy Too Many), who would soon be immortalized as Batgirl, plays a Russian ballet dancer who Flint leads to a standing ovation performance.
In Like Flint is a fun film, wackier than the original, though not as good, but that shouldn't deter people from watching. It was on the wrong side of history with its politics and is pretty unashamed of its blatant misogyny, and that's a problem for modern audiences. It's still two hours of great fun that shouldn't be missed.
As they did for the original film, Twilight Time has produced a brilliant Blu-ray for In Like Flint, this one even better than the last. The 2.35:1/1080p image transfer is essentially perfect, with only a few tiny instances of damage on the original print. The colors simply pop off the screen, with all the bright, garish hues the 1960s could muster. Crisp and sharp throughout, the detail is far better than it's ever been. Unfortunately, that detail reveals a few wires here and there, but it's a small price to pay for such a good looking transfer. The sound is top notch, as well, with both the 5.1 and single channel mixes faring great. Purists will probably stick with the latter, and the new mix doesn't have a ton of spatial effects, but it's crisp and bright with enough definition to make it the recommended track.
The extra features are a worthy addition to what was presented for the original film. To begin with, Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic score is presented as an isolated lossless 2.0 track. It sounds as good as it possibly can and I wish more companies would include this feature on their discs. The disc continues with film historians Eddie Friedfeld and Lee Pfeiffer returning for another round of fun conversation about the film. This one is a little bawdier than the first one, but they keep themselves basically in check with a lot of information and interesting stories.
Another round of featurettes fills out pretty much the entirety of the older 3-disc collection. These include pieces on Coburn as an actor and a man; the trouble the studio had with some of the more political lines in the film; the Playboy idea of feminism in the film; and the futurism of the day that informed the style of the film. Jean Hale's screen test, footage from the Puerto Rican premiere, and some trailers close out the disc.
Its rampant chauvinism and insane ideas about feminist politics aside, In Like Flint is a blast of a film and a worthy successor to the original. It doesn't quite reach that film's lofty heights, but it's still a fine film and a superb disc that is sure to satisfy old fans and newcomers alike.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Twilight Time
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* DTS HD 1.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 114 Minutes
Release Year: 1967
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Isolated Score