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In Like Flint (Blu-ray Review)

2 Mar, 2013 By: John Latchem

Available via ScreenArchives.com
Twilight Time
$29.95 Blu-ray
Not rated.
Stars James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Jean Hale, Andrew Duggan, Anna Lee, Steve Ihnat, Yvonne Craig.

One of the more amusing aspects to the “Flint” movies, aside from the intentional attempts at comedy, is the way they deliberately strive for over-the-top adventure of the sort the James Bond films they’re spoofing would eventually arrive at naturally through escalation.

To a large extent, Our Man Flint and its sequel, In Like Flint, would seem to a modern viewer to be aping elements of You Only Live Twice, much like the “Austin Powers” films would do 30 years later. There are secret volcano lairs and lavish attempts to dominate outer space. Yet the latter Flint and YOLT were both products of 1967, made in parallel without many ways to influence the other.

In Like Flint is not as subtle as its predecessor, with rugged individualist Derek Flint (James Coburn) embroiled in a scheme by feminists using beauty salons to reprogram women to be more defiant against men. The women and their male accomplices have infiltrated spy agency ZOWIE with the intent of launching a nuclear bomb into space and holding the world for ransom. When presented with the idea of women running the world, Flint laughs off the idea, earning the film widespread criticism as one of the more sexist artifacts of 1960s cinema and the spy genre it produced.

However, in many ways the sequel is a better film than Our Man Flint, with grittier fights and, at times, a much more serious tone that almost borders on legitimate drama. Flint himself is as absurd a character as ever, a MacGyver before his time with just the right gadget to escape any situation.

The film’s prescience extends beyond its anticipation of how silly the Bond films of the 1970s would become. Upon learning the women have replaced the U.S. president with a lookalike, Flint disbelievingly deadpans, “An actor as president?” The film aired not long after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as governor of California, though his ultimate ambitions were probably plain enough for anyone to guess. (In hindsight, the line also brings to mind Back to the Future and Doc Brown’s incredulous response to learning who was president in 1985: “Ronald Reagan? The ACTOR?!?”)

Also, keep an eye out for a cameo by Yvonne Craig, who would go on to play Batgirl in the “Batman” TV show.

The In Like Flint Blu-ray is just as awesome as its counterpart for the first film, with outstanding image and sound quality, and an isolated track of Jerry Goldsmith’s terrific musical score.

From the 2006 DVD is another great commentary from film historians Lee Pfeiffer and Eddie Friedfeld, who discuss the gamut of the culture of spy films and TV shows from the 1960s and ’70s.

The Blu-ray also includes the bulk of featurettes from the 2006 DVD set that weren’t included with the Our Man Flint Blu-ray. The only thing that didn’t carry over was the godawful Dead on Target Flint TV movie from 1976, which was created as the pilot for a potential TV show that thankfully never came to fruition. But if you want it you’ll have to old on to those old DVDs.

Among the wonderful new extras are a featurette about some footage that the studio cut out of the movie, which sheds some new light on how a few scenes were constructed and softens up the rampant sexism that seems to emanate from the final act. Another tracks Coburn’s career from solid supporting actor to leading man and back.

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