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To Trap a Spy (1964)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Adventure, Drama | 1964 (Hong Kong)
The pilot for the TV series "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," re-edited and released to theaters as a feature.


Don Medford


Sam Rolfe


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Cast overview:
Robert Vaughn ... Napoleon Solo (archive footage)
Luciana Paluzzi ... Angela (archive footage)
Pat Crowley ... Elaine May Bender Donaldson (archive footage) (as Patricia Crowley)
Fritz Weaver ... Andrew Vulcan (archive footage)
William Marshall ... Sekue Ashumen (archive footage)
Will Kuluva ... Mr. Allison (archive footage)
David McCallum ... Illya Kuryakin (archive footage)
Ivan Dixon ... Jean Francis Soumarin (archive footage)
Victoria Shaw ... Gracie Ladovan (archive footage)
Eric Berry Eric Berry ... Alfred Ghist (archive footage)
Miguel Ángel Landa Miguel Ángel Landa ... Lancer (archive footage) (as Miguel Landa)


U.N.C.L.E. discovers that Wasp killer Andrew Vulcan plans to assassinate a visiting African leader, Premier Ashumen, while he's on a tour of Vulcan's factory. Napoleon Solo enlists the help of Vulcan's old girlfriend, Elaine May Donaldson, who pretends to be a rich widow and gets closer to Vulcan, trying to find out if her old friend really is the bad man that Solo says he is. At the same time, she also enjoys the life of luxury and wealth and finds it hard to accept that she has to go back to boring married life after the operation is over. The film is made from the first season episodes "The Vulcan Affair" (09/22/64) and "The Four Steps Affair" (02/22/65) from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Written by Daniel Bolton <klsdb4@cynergy.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your Favorite UNCLEs Have a Date With Danger!


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

1964 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

The Vulcan Affair See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Released in the U.K. in 1965 as the second feature with The Americanization of Emily (1964). See more »


Napolean Solo refers to his handgun as an "X38 automatic, also improved." It is actually a standard issue Luger. See more »


Angela: I think you misunderstood your grandmother's problem. Probably she was merely looking for someone to help her with a difficult zipper. Would you?
Napoleon Solo: Well now, that's not a great problem. That opens very easily.
Angela: You've been practicing.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was re-edited from the pilot episode of the TV series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.". For the TV version, broadcast as "The Vulcan Affair", all of Will Kuluva's scenes as Mr. Allison were cut and reshot when it was decided to replace him with Leo G. Carroll as Mr. Waverly. But his scenes were left intact in To Trap a Spy. As this film version of the TV pilot was being prepared, there was legal wrangling over the use of the name THRUSH for the enemy organization. As a result, the word WASP is overdubbed in the theatrical version whenever THRUSH is mentioned. See more »


Edited from The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: The Vulcan Affair (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

My Love Affair With The MAN From U.N.C.L.E. Affair
10 December 2015 | by jimdoyle111See all my reviews

I first saw "To Trap A Spy" at the ABC in Dundee in June 1965 when I was 14. I shouldn't have seen it because it was the b movie to the X rated "The Americanization Of Emily", but my grandmother lied to the commissionaire about my age saying I was a youthful looking 17 (but still tried to negotiate half price for my admission). I was glad she took me because this colourful spy romp which introduced Napoleon Solo and U.N.C.L.E. to Britain was and is first class entertainment with good guys, bad guys, good spies and bad girls with a plot involving an innocent housewife (Pat Crowley) being used as a pawn in a dangerous game of espionage by Napoleon Solo. I was amazed when I settled down in front of the TV the following Thursday (24th June 1965) at 8 o'clock and saw one of the scenes from the movie being used as the opening to a (then) brand new to UK TV show called 'The Man From UNCLE' which was basically James Bond in your living room and this show soon became the talk of the playground every Friday morning.

What I liked about "To Trap A Spy" and the early UNCLE stuff is that the Solo character is tougher and the stories grittier and people get slapped around and threatened. Hard to believe within a season or so they had David McCallum dressing up as the Abominable Snowman and having plots that were too stupid to be true. In this though, Fritz Weaver is a worthy and believable villain and William Marshall with that superb voice of his convinces as the leader of an African nation. Lots of good dialogue e.g. Lucianna Paluzzi starts to take her dress off and says 'What would you like me to change into?' Napoleon replies 'Anything..... but a boy'.

Filmed in November 1963 including location filming at the Lever Brothers plant near Los Angeles, it only gives David McCallum a small part, and Will Kuluva plays what would become the Leo G Carroll role. When the TV episode shows up nowadays it is re-edited so that Mr Waverley appears. Filming was halted on 22nd November when news of the assassination of John F Kennedy was announced.

Even in 2015 every time this film shows up on TV I still watch it and still enjoy it – and look out for Richard Kiel (later to be Jaws on "The Spy Who Loved Me" and "Moonraker") in a small non speaking part.

Here's what I wrote about it in my book "What We Watched In The 1960s (In The Cinema)" when it arrived in Glasgow during week commencing 25 July 1965.

What many may have come to the La Scala and Bedford for was the b movie, "To Trap A Spy", which was the pilot for the TV series 'The Man From UNCLE' which was now gaining a young and loyal following on BBC every Thursday night. Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) has to stop an attempt on the life of an African premiere and find out why spy organization WASP wants to assassinate him. Based on 'The Vulcan Affair' and 'The Four Steps Affair', neither of which was shown on TV, and neatly edited together, and of course it was in colour at the time all British TV transmissions were in black and white.

Soon after, "To Trap A Spy" started picking up bookings as the top feature supported by more family friendly films and on 16 October 1966 it was reissued as a double bill with "The Spy With My Face".

Jim Doyle is the author of 'What We Watched In The 1960s (In The Cinema)', 'What We Watched In The 1970s (In The Cinema)" and 'What We Watched In The 1980s (In The Cinema And On Video)'

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