Ultimate Flint Collection (Our Man
Flint/In Like Flint)
B- Sound: C+ Extras: B Films: B-
films and TV shows were inspired by the James Bond films that many are still
not available on DVD or have even been shown on TV in decades. All are a hoot, intentionally or not, but
some are standouts and no set of feature films did a better job in showing the
response and Hollywood attitude to Bond at the time than the Derek Flint films
20th Century Fox made starring James Coburn. Issued several times before, the new Ultimate Flint Collection offers both Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flint (1967) at the peak of the
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 Flint back to
duty in Our Man Flint. The evil Galaxy organization has their hands
on a weather machine and they intend to hold the world ransom and will
permanently damage the polarity and atmosphere if their demands are not met.
Malcolm Rodney (Edward Mulhare perfect to play a stuck-up elitist villain),
Galaxy will stop at nothing unless something or someone can stop him. Due to their leadership, Z.O.W.I.E. is
unprepared to do anything about this, but Flint has a few ideas that just might
work and the one-man army goes to work.
In Like Flint has 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. At least a minor genre
classic like the previous film, both produced by the late Saul David (Logan’s Run), the films (along with the
1967 comedy version of Casino Royale)
inspired the Austin Powers films and look very good for their age. Fox did put some money into them, more than
just about any Bond-like film of the time.
the reasons the films work is simply because Coburn’s comic performance,
underplayed while still being the good guy taking things seriously, something
producer David would try later with Ron Ely in Doc Savage with less success.
Based on Hal Fimberg’s Flint books, Fimberg did the screenplay
adaptations himself, with Ben Starr also working on the first one. Though not taking the spy genre too
seriously, the films have their amusing action moments.
the directors of each should be noted, with Daniel Mann establishing the world
of Flint very well and the underrated Gordon Douglas pulling off a very
interesting sequel. Both know how to
direct and do good things with the material.
What may have seem dated to some a few years ago suddenly seems ageless
since the Austin Powers films and fashion itself have brought back some of the
more interesting items here.
supporting casts are pretty good, with Gina Golan, Benson Fong, Sigrid Valdis
and Michael St. Clair adding to the fun in the first film, while Anna Lee, Jean
Hale, Andrew Duggan, Herb Edelman, Deanne Lund and Yvonne Craig (soon to be the
first and best live action Batgirl on the final season of Batman) add fun and spice to the already manic situations in both
Bond films were just becoming larger and larger productions that would influence
commercial cinema worldwide, David, Fox, Fimberg, Coburn and company found more
than just a niche. However, Coburn was
smart enough to know this did not have the endless source material Bond had and
quit before the bottom fell out. A third
film never emerged and the craze started to slowly peter out. However, they are very entertaining films and
were only rivaled by the jokier Dean Martin/Matt Helm series at Columbia and
British Bulldog Drummond revival (Deadlier
Than The Male in 1967 and Some Girls
Do in 1969) with Richard Johnson taking a character that influenced Bond
and trying to make him into Bond.
Bonds out in expanded special editions and eventually in Blu-ray, Fox has
decided to go all out for the Flint films with the best playback copies to date
and a nice set of extras.
anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on both films look good and were among
the last major Fox productions shot in the CinemaScope format. While the Bonds beginning in 1965 were shot
in Panavision, Fox was still using the older system to the end. Both processed in DeLuxe color, they look
good and were shot by cinematographers who knew how to shoot for a big screen:
Daniel L. Fapp (West Side Story, One, Two, Three, Ice Station Zebra) and William H. Daniels (Von Ryan’s Express, Valley
Of The Dolls) both looking very good for their age here.
is only Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono for both films, though we thought the music was
originally recorded in stereo. Composer Jerry
Goldsmith already created a favorite in the genre with the theme to the hit TV
spy series The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but
managed to create another classic in his theme and scoring of both films. It is one of the biggest factors that
separated them from all other Bond spoofs and imitators. Also, the sound effects as fun as they are
iconic. Goldsmith is one of the great
composers and his work here is very good.
are terrific and include two feature length audio commentary tracks by film
scholar/fans Lee Pfeiffer and Eddie Friedfeld that are among the most hilarious
and informative commentaries of the year.
If you are sick of commentaries that play like animated radio passively
describing every scene, but also are not a fan of “facts-only” commentaries
that sometimes do not work, you’ll love these.
Be sure to watch the films first.
of the films themselves also include trailers to both films, plus the lame
version of the Fathom trailer
(instead of the politically incorrect sexy one) and one to the awful Modesty Blaise film. Those trailers are repeated on the third
bonus DVD with The Magus, Peeper, Deadfall, Quiller Memorandum
and The Chairman trailers, most of
which you will find reviewed elsewhere on this site.
bonus DVD also includes a terrible, failed 1976 TV movie pilot to revive Flint called
Dead On Target that was dead on
arrival, but is amusing to watch. There
are also extras for each film in their own sections on the disc. Our
Man Flint includes an extended trailer and four new featurettes: Spy-er-rama, A Gentleman’s Game, Spy Style
and The Perfect Bouillabaisse. The In
Like Flint section includes 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, original promo featurette “Take
It Off”, and five new featurettes: The
Musician’s Magician, Future Perfect,
Spy School, Spy Vogue and Feminine Wiles.
all, this is a solid set for some good films that have become better with
time. More studios should give this kind
of treatment to their spy movies, no matter how big or small, because who knows
what kind of materials are in the vaults.
With the huge hit success of the new Casino Royale, we may just be on
the verge of a new boost in Spy cinema. The Ultimate Flint Collection pretty
much lives up to its name.
- Nicholas Sheffo