Sadly it rarely rises above middling. McDowell turns out a fine performance, but he's not the right man to play the brawny, dark Flashman. Worse, the buffoonery of the character has been magnified at the expense of his remarkable (self) honesty. Reed is the most captivating as an intense, humorless Bismarck. Fine costumes and a couple decent gags. Lester's mediocre direction is a real drag.