[box cover]

In Like Flint

"Women running the world? [laugh] You can't be serious!" That line, exclaimed with righteous derision by our hero, pretty much summarizes the plot and purpose of In Like Flint. This 1967 sequel to the popular secret agent lampoon Our Man Flint tries to top its predecessor by sending sardonic übermensch Derek Flint to Moscow, outer space, and the Isle of Uppity Brassiere Models. Instead it comes across as a flabby mix of the Batman TV series and a third-tier men's magazine.

It has its amusing moments, some fun action and sci-fi elements, and once again James Coburn is appealing as the smirking superspy-scientist-athlete-adventurer who's now also a dolphin language expert, matador, and Bolshoi ballet star. And of course he's still the irresistable "free love" representative whose mastery includes all women most guys only fantasize about. However, the best thing in this he-male mother-goosery is Jerry Goldsmith's sticks-in-your-head musical score that spoofs period flavorings. The plot has something to do with a space laboratory, a duplicate of the U.S. President, a cryonics chamber, and a cosmetics firm fronting for an all-female organization out to overthrow global male authority by brainwashing women using hairdryers. Trying to connect the dots among all this is a pointless exercise, especially after Flint confronts the empowered "ladies" and wins them to his side by telling them that they're being a bunch of silly-billies who shouldn't worry their pretty little heads so. The fade-out sees Flint beginning an orbital three-way with two lovely cosmonaughties.

In Our Man Flint the gender attitudes add to the fluffy fun when viewed in their anthropological context. Here they're just smug and condescending. The Flint films tell us that beautiful "liberated" women with upright breasts and space age blonde hairdos are either disposable "pleasure units" or, if they're smart and assertive, castrating queen bees who really need and want a man's leadership, and Derek Flint is naturally that man. In Like Flint makes hand-waving gestures toward equality by giving Flint a superfluous "I don't compete with women" line and by showing the diabolical dames incapacitating squads of military men by batting their eyelashes and pressing their bikini'd flesh — still, the clear message is that the little darlings who've merely tired of dish-pan hands should remember their place and not threaten the Natural Order of Things. But it's all done as a comedy so wheeee it's okay.

Simply as a movie In Like Flint is further kneecapped by sloppy pacing, shoddy production values, and Lee J. Cobb looking like he's planning to make a stern call to his agent.

*          *          *

The good news is that, as a DVD, Fox's release delivers another terrific anamorphic transfer (2.35:1 ) that's on target in every way that matters. Likewise, the monaural Dolby Digital 2.0 audio is clear, clean, and strong enough for the task. The sole extras are the trailer plus those for Our Man Flint, Fathom, and Modesty Blaise. Keep-case.

—Mark Bourne



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