Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blu-ray Review: IN LIKE FLINT (1967)

Label: Twilight Time DVD
Region Code: Region FREE
Rating: Not Rated 
Duration: 114 Minutes
Video: 1080p Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 with Optional English SDH Subtitles
Director: Gordon Douglass 
Cast: James Coburn, Lee J. Cobb, Jean Hale, Andrew Duggan

The man with the panther stroll James Coburn returns as super-spy Derek Flint in this whimsical Bond-spoof actioner from director Gordon Douglass and once again we get pretty much anything one could want for from a spy-comedy. There are fantastic sets, exotic locations, irreverent and sexist humor, kitschy gadgets, go-go dancing chics, gnarly fashions, and it's all wrapped up in the candy-colored veneer of 1960's technicolor.

Flint once again returns to aid Z.O.W.I.E. when an insidious group of women who run the Fabulous Face Spa infiltrate and replace the President of the United States with a double and assume control of a new space lab orbiting the Earth. Armed with nuclear weapons they threaten to blow up the world unless control is handed over to women - yup, that's right, feminist terrorism. Hilariously the secretive group recruit women for the cause by brainwashing them with hairdryers armed with subliminal messages, "Brainwashing by hair washing". Yeah, sure it's goofy but it's a lot of fun too.  

Aside from the charismatic presence of Coburn as super spy Derek Flint a definite highlight is the return of befuddled spy chief Lloyd C. Cramden         (J. Cobb) who goes undercover dressed in drag to the Fabulous Face spa, it's quite a sight. The set pieces and locations are fantastic, plus the action is ramped-up including a great snow-covered rooftop pursuit that's on par with any 007 film, thrilling stuff. In Like Flint (1967) is not just a great spy-spoof sequel, it's a spy film on par with many of the 007 entries. 

Blu-ray: Twilight Time presents In Like Flint (1967) with a 1080p AVC encoded transfer in it's original CinemaScope aspect ratio, the source print used for the transfer is fantastic. There's a nice grain structure, colors are vibrant, greens and red especially pop, it's a sharp presentation with wonderful clarity and some actual depth to the 1080p image, a very nice transfer. 

There are two audio options including a DTS-HD Master Audio Mono and a 5.1 surround mix. The 5.1 sounds quite nice, dialogue, Jerry Goldsmith's score and effects all sound balanced and clear, it's a punchy track and the Goldsmith score sounds fantastic, there's some nice atmospheric use of the surrounds which add some minor depth. I was surprised at the inclusion of the 5.1 as the previous Our Man Flint (1967) Blu-ray offered only a mono mix, optional English SDH subtitles are included.  

As with their presentation of Our Man Flint (1965) Twilight Time offer copious amounts of extras on the disc beginning with Jerry Goldsmith's isolated music score, a fantastic score with some great spy themes and jazzy swing, it's a lot of fun. 

We get another Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lee Pfeiffer and Eddy Friedfeld who talk at length about spy films of the 60's and 70's. 

There;s over an hour of featurettes with interviews from co-author John Cork, director Michael Mann, author Collin Stutz, Lisa Coburn, Mathew Bradford and many others covering all facets of the production, the parodies it inspired, the kitschy style, the future retro design and spy gadgets and Jerry Goldsmith's fantastic score, this is a pretty stuffed disc. 

My favorite segment would have to be James Coburn: The Man Behind the Spy (14:53) which reveals much about the man with the panther stroll, such as did you know Coburn studied under Bruce Lee! Coburn was a very quirky guy who was into youth culture and marched to his own beat. There's loving tributes from his daughter Lisa Coburn, screenwriter Ben Starr and producer Hilard Elkins as they speak about his career, suffering crippling arthritis in the 70's and winning an Academy Award at the age of 79 plus voicing the character of Waternoose in Pixar's Monsters, Inc (2001)

The plethora of extras are finished off out by screen tests and trailers plus a full-color 8 pg booklet with writings from Twilight Time staff writer Julie Kirgo whom offers an appreciation of the spy spoof, James Coburn and the the film's take on the burgeoning feminist movement. .

Twilight Time's In Like Flint (1967) Blu-ray is bursting at the seams with extras and and a sweet 1080p transfer, this is a great disc. The disc is strictly limited to 3,000 editions and is available from or for inflated prices on or eBay. If this release intrigues you you'd best snap it up quick before it's gone.  

Special Features: 

- Isolated Score Track 
- Audio Commentary with Film Historians Lee Pfeiffer and Eddy Friedfeld
- Derek Flint: The Secret Files (15:34) 
- James Coburn: The Man Beyond the Spy (14:53)
- Designing Flint (11:33)
- Flint vs Zanuck: The Missing 3 Minutes (7:09) 
- Take it Off (8:41) 
- Puerto Rico Premiere (11:42)
- Future Perfect (7:28)
- Feminine Wiles (6:29)
- Spy School (6:28)
- Musician's Magician (5:11)
- Spy Vogue (5:59)
- Screen Test (2:15)
- Trailer #1 (:56)
- Trailer #2 (3:22) 

Verdict: James Coburn again wins me over with his anti-Bond spy persona, super-smart and super-cool from start to finish, if you love spy cinema this is a no-brainer, you must own this technicolor marvel, a blast of retro-spy awesomeness. 4 Outta 5