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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Humor > Satire > Spoof > Documentary > Cars > Automobiles > Gadgets > Filmmaking > Documentary > TV Spec > In Like Flint (1967/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Top Gear: 50 Years Of James Bond Cars (2012/BBC DVD)

In Like Flint (1967/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Top Gear: 50 Years Of James Bond Cars (2012/BBC DVD)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B-/C+     Extras: B/D     Film: B-/Documentary: B-



PLEASE NOTE:  The In Like Flint Blu-ray is limited to 3,000 copies and is available exclusively at the Screen Archives website which can be reached at the link at the end of this review.



Twilight Time concludes their separate limited edition Blu-rays of the James Coburn/Derek Flint films with In Like Flint (1967), running only 3,000 copies like the first film Our Man Flint (1966) which we reviewed at this link:





As noted before, Flint is an expert ace agent who is simply not active at the time a new crisis arises.  When his spy agency Z.O.W.I.E. (Zonal Organization World Intelligence Espionage) needs him, spymaster Lloyd Cramden (a great set of performances by Lee J. Cobb) reluctantly calls on him yet again.  This time, the U.S. President kidnapped and Flint called in to find him.  This leads him to an all-women’s organization who have their won crazy plan to take over the world led by a devious mastermind (Anna Lee).  Also showing up are Andrew Duggan, Jean Hale and a pre-Batman Yvonne Craig (Batgirl in the third and final season of the hit Fox TV series) as a Soviet dancer and possibly more among a cast of many women and a cast as amusing as the first film.


Again based on Hal Fimberg’s Flint books, Fimberg did the screenplay adaptations himself but solo this time out.  Though again not taking the spy genre too seriously, the films have their amusing action moments.  The film has a different tone and is a little darker as directors switched from Daniel Mann to the underrated Gordon Douglas.


The over-the-top look, color, production design, satire and jokes continue and there is a sense that the film wants to move into darker territory even as it is relentlessly wacky, but that becomes a contradictory thing and despite Producer David wanting to add some more thoughtful dialogue (which studio head Richard Zanuck had cut against David’s wishes, leading to him leaving the studio for good) and ending the series as they had done everything they possibly could have with the material at hand.


Again, the influence on Austin Powers is obvious, though this was also the look of The Summer Of Love, the late 1960s, color coming into filmmaking & TV and at least the character (and franchise, if you will) quit while it was ahead.  The glut of many similar films also likely had Fox move onto other projects despite the film being a hit.  I think it is as good as the first almost, but some repeated scenarios do not help, yet I like what Douglas brought to it and Coburn did everything he could have with the role.


Extras again have again been expanded from the DVD edition and repeat the terrific feature length audio commentary track by film scholar/fans Lee Pfeiffer and Eddie Friedfeld, the five featurettes form the DVD version (Future Perfect, Feminine Wiles, Spy School, Musician's Magician and Spy Vogue), two brief on-camera interviews with Coburn and Cobb by Art Linkletter at the premiere in Puerto Rico, Deanne Lund screen test for the film, the Original Theatrical trailer for this film, a great trailer for the underrated The Quiller Memorandum (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and a very nicely upgraded HD copy of the original promo featurette “Take It Off” with great color fidelity, detail and depth.  New extras include another new illustrated booklet on the film with another winning essay by Julie Kirgo, the Isolated Music Score Track by the great Jerry Goldsmith in stereo and four new featurettes (made in 2009) after the film was issued on DVD including Derek Flint: The Secret Files, James Coburn: The Man Beyond the Spy, Designing Flint and Flint Vs. Zanuck: The Missing 3 Minutes.


That too makes this as loaded as any James Bond Blu-ray, which says something since they are so extensive.  If you are a serious Spy fan, these new upgraded Our Man Flint and In Like Flint Blu-rays are must-have releases and make all previous versions of the films on home video highly obsolete, belonging on the same shelf as all those loaded James Bond Blu-rays.



The only thing Flint never had was a distinctive car or even a comical one, but James Bond has a longtime association with great motor vehicles from his first novel.  The great Richard Hammond hosts Top Gear: 50 Years Of James Bond Cars, a one-hour special from 2012 meant to promote Skyfall, celebrate a half-century of the most successful film franchise of all time and give us a review of the cards for better and sometimes worse in the series.


To start with, Hammond misses a few cars.  He drives the original Vintage Bentley of the books, but forgets to show the similar car in From Russia With Love, talks about the Aston Martin DBS in Quantum Of Solace, but skips the original model in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and (it had one scene in) Diamonds Are Forever, has fun making fun of the AMC cars in The Man With The Golden Gun but while celebrating its classic broken jump sequence did not note or know the producers wanted an AMC Javelin (their answer to the Mustang used in Diamonds Are Forever) but it had been discontinued, skips the Lotus Turbo Esprit from For Your Eyes Only while talking about the Citroen 2CV instead and otherwise covers the history well all the way up to showing the many cars used just for the opening of Skyfall.


He covers all the Aston Martins, the Toyota 2000GT from You Only Live Twice, the Lotus Esprit S2 submarine car from The Spy Who Loved Me and rightly bashes the Brosnan BMWs (complementing the Aston in Die Another Day too much), test drives some of these cars and even tries out an ivory white Lotus Excel submarine car that is the icing on the cake.


Unfortunately, this lasts less than an hour, but is a fun show (the series usually is so) and Hammond obviously loves bond and gets to interview many people connected to the films including Daniel Craig, Producer Michael G. Wilson, Roger Moore and Guy Hamilton.  Don’t miss this fun special, but there are sadly no extras.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on In Like Flint was among the last major Fox productions shot in the CinemaScope format (along with the first Flint film) while the Bonds beginning in 1965 were shot in widescreen scope Panavision.  The DVD version looked good, but this new Blu-ray of In Like Flint also has better color range and richness throughout than that older DVD.  Originally processed in DeLuxe color, a lab Fox founded so they did not have to pay Technicolor anything, I think the color is a little more consistent here, but detail can sometimes suffer (save stock footage) because of the age of the print and the lenses.  The film stocks seem to be a little faster, though, as compared to Our Man Flint.  Shot by Director of Photography William H. Daniels (who worked with Saul David before on Von Ryan’s Express and also lensed Valley Of The Dolls), it is meant to be seen on a large, big, widescreen and now more than ever, more so than most action films today.


This Blu-ray too is the equal of the Bond Blu-rays for You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and The Spy Who Loved Me (all also 2.35 X 1 scope films that we finally caught up with and I discussed in some detail in the previous Our Man Flint Blu-ray review), but the Panavision scope lenses are still superior and since we also caught up with the stunning-looking Diamonds Are Forever Blu-ray, a comparison to that Bond versus the Flint films will give film fans and other viewers an idea of just how far Panavision got ahead of CinemaScope (ending its use eventually, but offering its own special odd look to the Flint films that actually helped both) as well as how their superiority held up against challenges from cheaper Techniscope, SuperScope, the inevitable Super 35mm format as well as interesting and distinctive scope lenses like Todd-AO 35, Franscope, HawkScope, ArriScope, J-D-C-Scope and Technovision, all of which are formats I like for different reasons.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Top Gear special has some great clips from the Bond films, plus the new interview and driving footage is all shot in HD.  This looks good for DVD, but I wish this were issued on Blu-ray as well.



The sound on In Like Flint (unlike Our Man Flint) is this time upgraded to a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix that is not bad and better than the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono original sound lossless mix of the film as issued in optical theatrical mono.  Both are warmer and richer than the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono from the DVD and the 5.1 has more depth as expected, so it is not a bad upgrade.  The isolated music track with Composer Jerry Goldsmith’s fun score is here in again stereo, also again included background starts & stops including Goldsmith cueing the orchestra to play in a great additional behind the scenes look at this hit film and the music again still holds its own against the 5.1 mix.  The audio commentary track is here in regular DTS 2.0 Stereo.  The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the Top Gear special is just fine for such a special, but the Bond clips constantly sound underwhelming and a controversial piece of “music” was edited out of The Man With The Golden Gun car jump.  Hmm….


Check out both releases today!



As noted above, In Like Flint (along with Our Man Flint) can be ordered while supplies last at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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