U.N.C.L.E. discovers that Thrush killer Andrew Vulcan plans to assassinate a visiting African leader, Premier Ashumen, while he's on a tour of Vulcan's factory. Napoleon Solo enlists the help of Vulcan's old girlfriend, Elaine May Donaldson, who pretends to be a rich widow and gets closer to Vulcan, trying to find out if her old friend really is the bad man that Solo says he is. At the same time, she also enjoys the life of luxury and wealth and finds it hard to accept that she has to go back to boring married life after the operation is over. The film is made from the first season episodes "The Vulcan Affair" (09/22/64) and "The Four Steps Affair" (02/22/65) from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Written by
Daniel Bolton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film is a re-edited version of the pilot episode for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), plus footage from at least one other episode, with a number of changes. The famous character of Mr. Waverly is not in this film, for example. See more »
An UNCLE agent is killed relaying a message to UNCLE about an assassination which is due to be carried by WASP killer Andrew Vulcan (also a wealthy businessman). When a trio of WASP agents carry out a mission to infiltrate and destroy UNCLE HQ to try and kill whoever got the information, UNCLE know it is serious. They look to get someone close to Vulcan quickly and opt for a high school sweetheart, Elaine May Donaldson. They put Elaine in the guise of being rich but widowed and arrange a chance meeting at a party. Meanwhile her handler, UNCLE agent Napoleon Solo tries to infiltrate Vulcan heavily guarded chemical plant.
Taken from the two earliest episodes of the UNCLE tv series, this film clearly shows itself to be the point from which an enjoyable series developed rather than a series that was in it's stride. First of all the film lacks that enjoyable tongue in cheek humour that the series had throughout. It is still amusing and playful but not quite to the same degree. The plot is as good as other UNCLE films though and it does move along quite well, only the ending seems a little unsatisfactory and didn't quite make sense to me.
Although a version of the UNCLE theme is used it isn't in it's `purest' form and sounds a little too funky. The biggest clue that this is an early UNCLE is the fact that Illya Kuryakin has two scenes - both of which he is portrayed as a junior agent with little English, rather than Solo's partner. As someone used to the `Solo gets girls/Illya gets action' formula it was disappointing to see him play so minor a role. Likewise there was no Mr Waverly and the guy in the UNCLE head role couldn't touch him for the role.
Apart from these two key roles, Vaughn looks very slick and young and is able to carry the film himself despite the hole left by McCallum's absence. He is funny and charming and good with the action stuff. Crowley is OK but a little too moaney for my tastes. A much better girl comes in the form of Luciana Paluzzi - the first of many beautiful Italian women who featured in UNLCE. Here she is drop dead gorgeous and quite playful with her dialogue - her and Vaughn have an easy rapport that works even better due to the relationship between their characters. Weaver is an OK villain but not that menacing.
Overall this is a good film for UNCLE fans but to be honest there are much better ones out there. Like the series itself, the early films are solid and show the seeds being planted, the middle films are the strongest and the last ones are weak. This is worth a watch but not UNCLE at their best.
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