Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 12th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1967
Director: Mino Loy
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi
Cast: Paolo Gozlino, Claudie Lange, Ivano Staccioli, Jack Ary, Micaela Pignatelli
DVD released: September 24th, 2008
Approximate running time: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Fin de Siècle Media
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (Sweden)
Retail Price: SEK129,00
After the success of films like Danger Diabolik and Kriminal countless other superhero films would emerge in Italian cinema in the late 1960’s. The screenplay for Flashman was written by prolific Italian screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi who’s other notable screenwriting credits include The Strange vice of Mrs. Wardh, Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, All the Colors of the Dark, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Torso, Forbidden Photos of a Lady above Suspicion, Death Walks on High Heels, The Case of the Bloody Iris and Death Walks at Midnight. Flashman was directed by Mino Loy who go onto produce many Italian genre classics like So Sweet… So Perverse, The Sweet Body of Deborah, Rome Armed to the Teeth, Cannibal Ferox, A Blade in the Dark and Eaten Alive! As a director Mino Loy never establishes a distinctive style and the end result is workman like direction that is adequate at best. Visually most of the credit should go to cinematographer Floriano Trenker whose other notable films include Naked and Violent and The Strange vice of Mrs. Wardh. The kitschy score for Flashman was composed by Franco Tamponi who frequently collaborated with Mino Loy.
The plot revolves around an invisible man, seductive women counterfeiters and a wealthy man who has an alter ego named Flashman. The plot is your basic cat and mouse games as Flashman chases after the criminals as they visit various exotic locales. The minor drawback about the plot is that Flashman’s origins are never fully explained. Another head scratcher is why does Flashman enlist the help of a bumbling detective who works for the Scotland Yard? The most obvious inspiration for Flashman is Batman. Just like other superheroes like Batman who has a sidekick Riobin. Flashman’s has a sidekick his eccentric and free spirited younger sister. The way the plot evolves is at times reminiscent of how the bad guys in an Austin Powers film’s are allowed to escape to easily. Flashman clearly has the upper hand and yet the bad guys elude him numerous times.
Cast in the role of Flashman is a wooden actor named Paolo Gozlino whose performance feels like he is just goes through the motions and nothing more. The best performance in the film is Claudie Lange who plays Helene the boss of the female counterfeiters. She looks is stylishly dressed and looks good in every scene that she is in giving the film some much needed eye candy. Flashman would not go onto spawn a series of films with this film being his one and only adventure. Ultimately Flashman is the type of film that fans of Italian superhero films will thoroughly enjoy.
Flashman is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors look nicely saturated and at times robust. Black levels are strong and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression or artifacts and edge enhancement is minimal.
This release comes with two audio options Italian and English. Both audio mixes are presented in a Dolby Digital mono. Both audio mixes sound clear, clean and evenly balanced. This release comes with Swedish subtitles that are forced during playback and cannot be removed.
The only extra that comes with this release is an image gallery. Overall Fin de Siècle Media gives Flashman a good DVD release that makes up for its lack of extra content with its strong audio/video presentation.