Solo and Kuryakin narrowly escape an attempt on their lives in Venice. Solo has caught pneumonia as a result of a swim in the Venice canals. As a result, he is replaced on the mission by ... See full summary »
Solo and Kuryakin narrowly escape an attempt on their lives in Venice. Solo has caught pneumonia as a result of a swim in the Venice canals. As a result, he is replaced on the mission by Mark Slate. Slate is to prepare a stripped to take the place of a woman in the employ of Thrush. Written by
"Galatea" is the name of the statue created in Greek mythology by Pygmalion. "Pygmalion" is the play by George Bernard Shaw upon which "My Fair Lady" was based. Rex Harrison, father of guest star Noel, starred in stage and screen versions of MFL. The plot of MFL, which revolves around making an ordinary flower girl into a refined lady, mirrors the plot of this episode. In addition, one of MFL's most famous lines (the elocution lesson's "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain") is mirrored in this episode's elocution lesson's "The police in Greece are difficult to fleece." See more »
In the '60's, Joan Collins notched up guest-star roles in some of the decade's 'coolest' series, including 'Mission: Impossible', 'Star Trek', 'Batman' and, of course, 'M.F.U.'. Here she plays a double role.
Solo and Kuryakin are in Venice when they spot Baroness Bibi De Chasseur ( Joanie, of course ) passing a list of top THRUSH agents to a mysterious figure in a gondola. A THRUSH speedboat opens fire, and the agents dive into the water. Illya survives unscathed, but Napoleon has caught pneumonia and must withdraw from the mission. The Russian is teamed with April Dancer's partner Mark Slate ( Noel Harrison ).
Though not a THRUSH agent herself, the Baroness is being used as a courier. Keen to find out who her superior is, Illya and Slate go to a sleazy bar in Germany known as 'The Lady Godiva'. Its star attraction is Rosy Shlagenheimer ( Joanie again ), who entertains patrons by riding about in the nude on a horse. She is a dead ringer for the Baroness, so they set about trying to turn this uncouth Bronx girl ( or 'goil' if you like ) into a lady...
As you have probably already guessed, this Jackson Gillis-scripted story is partly a spoof of 'My Fair Lady' ( which starred Rex Harrson, father of Noel ), based on George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion'. Joan handles the 'Bibi' character well enough, but her Bronx accent is none too convincing. Still it hardly matters.
This is an entertaining episode, one of Season 3's undisputed highlights. In a neat twist, THRUSH get wind of the plan to replace Bibi with Rosy, and swap them the other way round!
When it was being made, Robert Vaughn was filming a guest spot as 'Solo' in the spin-off 'Girl From U.N.C.L.E.' ( the episode in question was 'The Mother Muffin Affair' ).
This was the second appearance of the 'Mark Slate' character in 'M.F.U.'. He had previously been in Season 2's 'The Moonglow Affair' though played on that occasion by Norman Fell. The Harrison version makes a far better foil to Illya than to April. Had Vaughn declined to do Season 4, they could have done worse than bring him in as a regular.
Carl Esmond is 'Baron Freddy De Chasseur' and a good villain he is too, superior to the buffoons who would crop up in later Season 3 episodes. Michael St.Clair, cast as 'Olaf', was 'Hans Gruber' in 'Our Man Flint'.
You have to love an episode which climaxes with a fight in a wine cellar and just when it looks over the villain's wheelchair suddenly starts spitting bullets. Great stuff.
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