U.N.C.L.E. agents Solo and Kuryakin try to stop a megalomaniac who thinks he's like Alexander The Great, commits offenses against the ten commandments and steals chemical weapons from the army in order to achieve world domination.
T.H.R.U.S.H. with the help of Doctor von Kronen, a Nazi scientist, has a plan to divert the Gulf Stream, turning Greenland from a barren wasteland into a lush island for their new Headquarters. The men from U.N.C.L.E. Napoleon Solo and Ilyia Kuryakin are sent to stop them.Written by
The movie first aired on NBC@10:00 p.m. (EST), Friday, November 25 and Friday, December 2, 1966 as the 70th & 71st episodes of "Man from U.N.C.L.E., The" (1964), "The Concrete Overcoat Affair" (Parts 1 and 2). See more »
In an overhead shot of the chase scene at the beginning of the film, the lower part of the helicopter filming the action is clearly visible. See more »
Hunted nazi scientist Dr Kronen (Ludwig Donath) is recruited by THRUSH agent Louis Strago (Jack Pallance) to put a mastermind scheme into place. They plan to use heavy water to divert the Gulf stream causing Greenland to become a tropical paradise under THRUSH control while other areas fall into colder climates. UNCLE agents Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) are dispatched to stop the plot.
This is the best of all the UNCLE 'films'. It simply has the best plot, the best comedy, the best performances and the most professional feel to it. The plot is silly as all spy movie plots are, but this does have a slight believability to it, and any nonsense is cancelled out by the other great elements. The story is strong because it mixes spoof with action and a gentle sense of fun and comedy. The main story is good, but it is mixed in with a subplot where Solo is forced to marry an Italian girl after he is "indiscreet" and is pursued by her aged uncles, once prohibition gang leaders. This adds to the plot and actually mixes with the main plot as both mobsters and THRUSH hunt Solo for different reasons!
The whole film does have a very movie feel to it where the others mainly did feel like they were only 2 episodes of the TV show stuck together (which in fairness they were). But this uses a lot of locations and even when studio-bound has a higher production value than usual. However the performances are what makes this the best UNCLE.
Vaughn and McCallum fall comfortably into their well worn role, Vaughn gets the girls and most of the comedy, while McCallum gets the action. However here they are as good as they got, both come across as totally comfortable and are obviously enjoying themselves. Also where early movies sidelined McCallum as a sort of "Robin" to Vaughn's Batman, by this stage they have developed into partners and have almost equal status. Leticia Roman is feisty as the Italian girl who Solo dishonours and her mobster Uncles are the funniest thing in the film. Unfortunately they're all very much Italian stereotypes and Roman does get a bit irritating with all her "mama mia" and "si"ing.
The best 2 performances come from the bad guys, both big name actors. Jack Pallance is great as Strago and plays him as a frustrated middle-manager in a small bank chain. He is all frustration as he tries to stay calm and play everything within the rules of business. I can't describe it very well but he's very good throughout. The standout role is Janet Leigh as Miss Diketon, Strago's secretary. Diketon is not quite as suggestive as some Bond girl names but it still a bit risqué. Leigh plays the role with an incredible amount of sexuality. She takes a sexual thrill in killing and pain, using a knife strapped high up her thigh. It is quite amazing that her S&M killer got through the 1960 censors, she really is very sexy and erotic as she shivers with sexual excitement. In fact the whole film has a vein of sexuality running through it that is greater than previous outings.
Leigh's S&M fanatic is only one blatant thing in it. The film also contains a short sweaty cat fight between Leigh and Roman which is a quite thinly veiled bit of teasing lesbianism. The most amazing bit is where Roman is undressing in her bedroom in Sicily and we watch from the traditional bad view. However not once, but twice doe we see a side view of breast and a very clear nipple. In previous UNCLE movies they've used the back shot as a teasing bit of sexuality but here I couldn't believe that the censors had let 2 separate nipple shots go uncut. I'm not saying that these made the film any better but it's just funny to see how much really heavy sexuality is in this film compared to the other UNCLE movies (not to mention other TV/films of the same period). If you watch this film to get a glance of nipple then you're very sad - you should watch it for the whole film instead.
Overall the best of the UNCLE series for so many reasons, but made all the better by sterling performances by Pallance and Leigh.
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