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"Find Robert Kingsley!"

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
13 February 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Norman Hudis 'The Seven Wonders Of The World Affair' was originally planned as a one-off episode, but with cancellation looming executive producer Norman Felton decided to expand it into a two-parter so as to be able to have one more feature film to play in Britain and Europe. The result was called 'How To Steal The World'. Solo and Kuryakin are in Macao, on the trail of THRUSH agent 'Webb' ( Mark Richman ) who has been using a charity organisation as a front. With the aid of the beautiful 'Margitta' ( Eleanor Parker ), he escapes. Margitta's husband, 'Robert Kingsley' ( Barry Sullivan ), is UNCLE's no.4 man in Hong Kong. Or rather was. He has disappeared. A clue is found in his desk - a capsule containing a docility gas. Kingsley is holed up at a secret base in the Himalayas, and begins recruiting scientists - his 'seven intellectual wonders of the world' - for a project to end the war between good and evil once and for all in favour of good. He plans to unleash the gas, turning everyone on the planet into obedient slaves. Solo and Kuryakin are assigned to find him. There is a touch of 'The Prisoner' here as the abducted scientists keep waking up in replicas of their homes. When 'Anna Erikson' ( Inger Stratton ), daughter of 'Dr.Kurt Erikson' ( Albert Paulson ) boards a boat, the men from UNCLE follow, only to have their car crushed and their helicopter shot at as it gives chase. Later, they wake up to find the vessel deserted, and have to radio Waverly for assistance. There is an amusing scene as the tetchy UNCLE chief exclaims: "A sea-plane? Of course! That's what I'm here for!".

Sutton Roley directed Season 4's fine opener 'The Summit Five Affair'. He had a distinctive, arty style that livened up many television shows of that period, including 'Lost In Space' and 'Mission: Impossible'. My favourite shot is of Kingsley seated a long way away at the head of a table while a giant-sized telephone dominates the screen. The story does look stretched; it takes a while to get going - there is quite a bit of padding including some implied sex between Webb and Margitta - but when it does it is great. The first sighting of Leslie 'Airplane!' Nielsen as 'General Maximillian Harmon' raises an unintended laugh - you half-expect him to say 'don't call me Shirley!'. Kingsley has a base in a snow-free region in the Himalayas that looks like a Las Vegas hotel during an off-season. He must be a vain sort of chap as his initials are everywhere. Having traced 'Dr.Garrow' ( Dan O'Herlihy ) to the base, Solo and then Kuryakin follow him. The former is shot down and has to bail out by parachute, while the latter - accompanied by Yarrow's son 'Steve' ( future film producer Tony Bill ) - watch as their helicopter is destroyed not long after they have landed. As the Russian observes, at least they know they are on the right track. To be continued...

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