Dr. Kharmusi, a criminal scientist, has developed a "thermal prism," which generates intense heat beams. UNCLE recruits Luther Sebastian, wanted for various crimes in 22 countries, because ...
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Dr. Kharmusi, a criminal scientist, has developed a "thermal prism," which generates intense heat beams. UNCLE recruits Luther Sebastian, wanted for various crimes in 22 countries, because he designed the kind of safe where Kharmusi keeps the prism. Napoleon Solo infiltrates Kharmusi's base of operations as an amoral businessman while Illya Kuryakin and Sebastian work to steal the device. However, Annie, whose boyfriend was framed for murder by Sebastian, complicates matters. Written by
This was the first of a two-part adventure written by Dean Hargrove, back after a season-long absence. It was later compiled into the feature film 'The Helicopter Spies', released in 1968.
Solo and Kuryakin find the inhabitants of an African village dead, strange red markings on their bodies. The whole area looks to have been subjected to intense heat. A man babbles about seeing 'lights in the sky' before too expiring. Suddenly, a plane opens fire with a laser-like device, and the U.N.C.L.E. duo are themselves almost incinerated.
The device in question is known as a 'thermal prism'. Put one in orbit and you have the super-weapon of all time. The inventor is Dr.Parviz Kharmusi ( John Dehner ), the noted Persian scientist. Solo enlists the aid of Luther Sebastian, a safe cracker hiding from the law on a Greek island owned by a mystic cult called 'The Third Way'. Sebastian agrees to help U.N.C.L.E. break into Kharmusi's safe in return for a full amnesty.
In Teheran, Iran, Solo finds the lovely Annie Justin ( Carol Lynley ) who is searching for Sebastian, believing him to be responsible for a crime her fiancée is currently serving time in a Turkish prison for. Solo tells her to mind her own business.
Azalea ( Lola Albright ), wife of Dr.Kharmusi, takes Solo to a fortress in the desert. While he poses as a businessman, Illya and Sebastian parachute onto the estate and penetrate the wall of security surrounding the safe.
The unexpected arrival of Annie throws the plan off balance. She makes a deal with Kharmusi; blowing Solo's cover in return for information leading to Sebastian's whereabouts...
Hargrove was probably the best U.N.C.L.E. writer; his scripts seemed to blend action and humour better than anybody else's. This is good enough almost to wipe away the bad memory of the previous season. Death rays are, of course, a cliché of spy fiction; in 'Murderer's Row' ( 1966 ), Dean Martin's 'Matt Helm' thwarted the destruction of Washington by a 'helio-beam', while in the Bond movie 'Diamonds Atre Forever' ( 1971 ), Ernst Stavro Blofeld tried to hold the world to ransom with a laser satellite.
Of a first-rate cast, John Dehner shines as wily 'Dr.Kharmusi'. Lola Albright is devastatingly sexy as 'Azalea', his unfaithful spouse, though she is given competition by Carol Lynley's 'Annie'. As 'Luther Sebastian', Bradford Dillman is suitably duplicitous. No wonder. The actor could probably play villains in his sleep.
In a neat twist on the old 'water torture' scene, Solo and Azalea find themselves imprisoned in a room with sand trickling from the ventilation grille. As Kharmusi explains: "Water is a rare commodity in the desert. I had this device converted to sand!".
Boris Sagal, the director, later worked with David McCallum on the war film 'Mosquito Squadron'.
The whole thing moves at a brisk pace and the action never lets up for a moment.
To be continued...
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