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 <email@example.com>
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 »
Low Budget But Engaging Pilot Episode for UNCLE Series
At the height of "spy mania" in the mid- 1960's, MGM sought to exploit their phenomenally successful "Man From UNCLE" TV series with low-budget, big screen adaptations of episodes that had been edited together. The admittedly cheap tactic was nevertheless effective. "To Trap A Spy" was released in the US in early 1966 as part of a double feature with "The Spy With My Face". Unlike the other adapted films that followed, this one wasn't based on a two-part TV epidode. It was derived from the pilot episode "The Vulcan Affair", that was broadcast in b&w, though shot in color for possible theatrical release. As with several of the UNCLE films that followed, certain sequences were shot especially for the theatrical version, most relating to sexual references that were deemed to hot for TV.
The film is more effective than one would think, and illustrates the origins of what was to be the weekly basis for UNCLE episodes: an innocent citizen (a la Hitchcock) is drawn into a caper of international intrigue involving UNCLE. In this case, Patricia Crowley is an everyday housewife who is recruited to thwart her old high school flame (Fritz Weaver), of late a millionaire megalomaniac. This formula of utilizing everday citizens was quickly abandoned. Purists will note the limited presence of David McCallum's Illya Kuryakin. As this was the pilot show, no one had forseen his eventual popularity with audiences, thus the lion's share of footage goes to Robert Vaughn's dapper and suave Napoleon Solo. Wil Kuluva appears as the UNCLE boss Mr. Allison, but in the actual series the character was replaced by Leo G. Carroll as the wonderfully eccentric Alexander Waverly. James Bond's "Thunderball" femme fatale, Luciana Paluzzi has some extended screen time as another bad girl, and keep an eye out for a blink-or-you'll-miss-him appearance by future Bond villain Richard ("Jaws") Kiel in the climax. All in all, a very enjoyable and nostalgic experience. Available only in the UK on Region 2 DVD.
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