Those Fantastic Flying Fools (1967)

Genres - Action, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction  |   Release Date - Jul 13, 1967 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Although Those Fantastic Flying Fools is drawn from a Jules Verne story, it is very, very freely drawn, and as the title indicates, it really belongs in that bizarre 1960's subgenre that might be called "would-be wacky period comedies dealing with means of transportation" -- The Great Race, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, etc. If one accepts it as belonging to the latter category rather than to the Verne category, Fools is moderately entertaining; if one considers it as a Verne adaptation, it's nothing short of ghastly. In either case, it features a rather disjointed screenplay that is nowhere near as amusing as it wants to be, but that does provide some decent laughs along the way: the opening sequence in particular is quite funny and raises one's hopes (soon dashed) that the entire picture will play so well. Don Sharp's direction is scattershot and doesn't hold the picture together, but he does manage a few clever moments and one gets the impression that he had a fondness for this little film. The cast includes such genre stalwarts as Terry-Thomas, Gert Frobe and Lionel Jeffries, as well as a nice turn by Burl Ives as a P.T. Barnum that is far more likeable than the real article. Troy Donahue is seriously dull, but there are nice turns from Hermione Gingold, Dennis Price and Joan Bennett, among others.