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The second big screen outing for "The Man from UNCLE" is a notch down from the first. It is made up primarily of the first season episode "The Double Affair" and contains additional footage from "The Four Steps Affair". The doppelganger plot is never fully exploited and there is an excessive amount of padding centred around Vaughn's romantic dalliances. Sharon Farrell delivers a feisty turn as Vaughn's put-upon air hostess girlfriend and McCallum has a bigger role than in the first film (TO TRAP A SPY), but overall this is a routine mission.
THRUSH kidnaps Napoleon Solo (Vaughn) and replaces him with a double in order to infiltrate a secret UNCLE operation called 'The August Affair', which will enable them to get their hands on 'Project Earthsave', an intense energy force that is being stored for use in the event of attacks from outer space. Such a weapon could give THRUSH what it always wanted - control of the world!
THE SPY WITH MY FACE was the second spin-off movie from the popular MAN FROM UNCLE spy series. It is an extended version of a season one episode called 'The Double Affair' (originally broadcast 17/11/64) and contains additional footage that was considered too risqué for television. For example the scene where Vaughn takes a shower with Senta Berger and Vaughn in bed with Sharon Farrell. The opening sequence where UNCLE invade THRUSH headquarters Australia was also an extra scene that didn't feature in the TV original.
THE SPY WITH MY FACE is one of the best of the UNCLE films in that it's slickly produced and stands up as a time capsule of it's era, the 1960's when spy thrillers were all the rage. Series regulars Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, David McCallam as Illya Kuriyakin and Leo G Carroll as Mr Waverly are a joy to watch as always.
I am no expert on The Man From UNCLE, in fact, before I got the DVD
this year the series was just some memory of the 1970s (when I watched
it in re-runs when I was too young to understand the sophistication).
Robert Vaughn is surprisingly good in this role and the humour of the movie is highly entertaining. Despite making three viewings of the movie in one year, I am amazed that I simply don't remember huge sections of the film now. I guess that says something? The film has two highly memorable scenes. The first is where the Australian UNCLE spy talks to the UNCLE boss. Nothing in the way of characterisation is given to the Oz spy but he is given what was probably considered correct for an Australian, a way out sense of humour. The Aussie is having a very serious conversation with the UNCLE boss when suddenly he makes a joke. The boss is not amused.
The second great scene has already been mentioned here by another poster, McCallum is ambushed by two small toy robots firing rockets. During the original network run in the US, The Man From UNCLE was screened with Irwin Allen's Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea on another network at the same time. It is interesting to note that this kind of toys with spys scene would be seen in Voyage episodes such as The X Factor.
The Spy With My Face is probably the best of the five UNCLE movies released together on DVD, I would not call the movie very memorable but you will love Robert Vaughn, the music, and fans of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea will enjoy comparing UNCLE to Voyage.
Helicopter Spies (1968) is the second best UNCLE movie as it has four great guest stars who get perhaps some of the greatest lines ever heard in a spy movie! ("you guys are strange, really strange"). Oddly enough, that movie has almost nothing to do with helicopters?
UNCLE (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement agents Napoleon Solo
(Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (McCallum) are sent in a group of ten to
secret codes to a computer vault controlling project "earth save". Earth
Save is an immensely powerful weapon designed to deal with potential
from outer space. THRUSH meanwhile create a double of Solo to infiltrate
team to gain access to the weapon.
Another in the series of UNCLE films following the TV series. This film plays just like the shows so if you like them then you'll like this. Plenty of girls & romantic interludes, plenty of gentle action and gentle laughs all done in a 1960's sense of innocence and spoof-fun. There are of course plenty of weakness in this, it is after all a cheap bond spoof and always was, but it is a gently enjoyable film. For me, as a fan of UNCLE, the biggest disappointment of the film was the lack of the UNCLE theme music.
All the regular actors (Vaughn, McCallum & Leo G. Carroll) are as good as ever, being comfortable in their roles, the women are all pretty as required. The only thankless task is Donald Harron in the role of Kitteridge who has to do a very dodgy Australian accent whilst wearing a really bad fake beard.
It's not brilliant but it's all a bit of 60's fun. How serious can you take it when McCallum is ambushed outside a drycleaners by two small toy robots firing rockets!?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
'The Spy With My Face' was the second of eight feature films compiled
from episodes of 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' series, and the last to be
formed using a single episode extended by specially shot footage. The
original was titled 'The Double Affair'. Subsequent features would be
based on two-part stories.
It opens in Australia, where Napoleon Solo ( Robert Vaughn ) accompanies fellow U.N.C.L.E. agent Kitt Kittridge ( Donald Harron ) on a mission to destroy a THRUSH stronghold. They are successful; but THRUSH are secretly watching their every move. They have created a double for Solo, but before they can use him try to murder the one man closest to the agent - Illya Kuryakin ( David McCallum ). Illya is leaving Del Floria's one evening when two toy robots with swivelling eyes glide towards him, and open fire. The Russian shoots one, and deactivates the other. "I think someone's sending their Christmas presents a little early this year!", he quips.
Solo is dining with his current-girlfriend, air stewardess Sandy ( Sharon Farrell ) when he receives a call from Serena ( Senta Berger ), a THRUSH agent claiming to have knowledge of 'The August Affair'. Back at her flat, they make love, then she gasses him, and the double takes over.
The fake Solo is assigned to travel to Austria - along with Illya and two other U.N.C.L.E. agents - with the combination to open an underground vault containing a deadly new form of radiation, to be used only in the event of Earth being assaulted by creatures from outer space. THRUSH intends to use it to conquer the world...
Like all the U.N.C.L.E. films, this one charmingly betrays its origins as a television product. However, such was the show's popularity at the time that audiences did not care, and lapped up each new one as it was released. The films were shown on I.T.V. in the '70's, and a decade later the B.B.C. screened them in two bumper seasons in 1982/83.
As both Solo and his impostor, Robert Vaughn is excellent, providing a nice contrast between the real man from U.N.C.L.E. and his arrogant counterpart. McCallum here shows why the character of Illya developed a following of his own. Next to Patrick McGoohan's 'John Drake', he was the coolest spy on television at that time. Senta Berger provides glamour as 'Serena', a task she also performed on the movies 'The Quiller Memorandum' and 'The Ambushers'. Donald Harron's 'Kitt Kittridge' is extremely likable. Asked by Mr.Waverly if his beard is real, he says: "Its fake. The real one is in my pocket!". The U.N.C.L.E. boss is not amused. The Director of 'Project: Earthsave' is a woman ( Paula Raymond ). U.N.C.L.E. sexist? Never!
No big set-pieces of the Bond variety as such, but the opening gun battle, briefcase-switching scene on the plane and motorbike chase and subsequent fight are some compensation. Michael Evans is fun as THRUSH villain 'Darius Two' ( so what happened to Darius One? ), delivering his lines in a manner which put me in mind of Rex Harrison. Catching a guard spying on Solo's romantic tryst in a cell, he orders him from the scene with "Go away, you filthy pervert!", before peering through the door himself!
( One thing I wish they had done with the movies was create new titles, rather than slow down footage and impose the credits over it. 'Face' suffers especially badly, as when the footage returns to normal speed Solo and Kittridge look like something out of Mack Sennett. )
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