The original story was first broadcast on NBC@8:00 p.m. (EDT), October 2 and 9, 1967, as the 93rd and 94th episodes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: "The Prince Of Darkness Affair" (Parts 1 and 2).Feature copyright is also 1967. See more »
When Napoleon Solo is meeting Dr Kharmusi for the first time, Dr Kharmusi is seen lighting the top candle of a large candelabra. However, when he blows out the taper, he also blows out two of the other candles at the same time. See more »
UNCLE enlist safe cracker Luther Sebastian to steal a thermal prison from Dr Karmusi in exchange for immunity from all his crimes. However he himself steals the weapon and plans to use it to allow his brothers in the Cult of the Third Way to rule the world. UNCLE agents Solo and Kuryakin pursue Sebastian, closely followed by Annie whose partner was framed by Sebastian for a crime he didn't commit.
After the mess of The Karate Killers this was a refreshing return to the spoof tradition of the UNCLE series. The plot is as ever, very unlikely and farfetched. But it's all done with a great deal of fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. The story is actually quite clever in some places, with a few nice twists to it but more than anything else, it is told with tongue in cheek throughout. This is much better than the Karate Killers which took itself far too seriously and lost all sense of fun.
This has a great sense of fun around it that comes from several places. Firstly both McCallum and Vaughn seem to be enjoying themselves again and bring a lot more energy to the film. Secondly the TV series influence is back - with the theme music back in place throughout. Thirdly the villains are back on top form, previously Hebert Lom was terrible playing it straight. Here Bradford Dillman plays Sebastian really camp and gets plenty of good lines and even his henchmen have some too. For example Sebastian saying "my wife doesn't understand me" or a henchman telling his mom "someday I'll take you away from here", "but I like it here" only to dejectedly say "I know, I know". Or Solo being praised for his good work only to told "you'll have to ride in the back of the truck with the others - I can't show favouritism".
This feeling of fun helps the film immensely and it's really enjoyable to watch. Other nice touches include the Cult's hideout having a service door and the old man who hasn't spoken for 20 years (played by a silent John Carradine!). The rest of the cast are all good. Vaughn and McCallum have equal roles by this stage and enjoy themselves in familiar roles. Dillman is fantastic as Sebastian - following Jack Palance's example of a good UNCLE villain. The women are a pretty non-descript bunch, all pretty blondes etc with no real characters. The best role/s of the film are taken by H.M. Wynant as the 4 circus brothers who help Annie hunt Sebastian down.
One of the best of the UNCLE series - the rule is keep it fun, don't try to be a serious spy movie. Oh - and have a camp bad guy! However why do the vast majority of UNCLE titles have to be meaningless? The film is called the helicopter spies because it opens with Solo and Kuryakin landing a helicopter in a village.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?