Film Review Round-up – The first three (of eight) THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. films from the 1960s

To Trap a Spy (1964; USA; Metrocolor; 92m) ∗∗∗  d. Don Medford; w. Sam Rolfe; ph. Joseph F. Biroc; m. Jerry Goldsmith.  Cast: Robert Vaughn, Luciana Paluzzi, Pat Crowley, Fritz Weaver, William Marshall, Will Kuluva, David McCallum, Ivan Dixon, Victoria Shaw, Eric Berry, Miguel Ángel Landa. The pilot for the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., re-edited and released to theatres as a feature. U.N.C.L.E. discovers that W.A.S.P. killer Andrew Vulcan plans to assassinate a visiting African leader, Premier Ashumen, while he’s on a tour of Vulcan’s factory. Whilst lacking the scope and grandeur of the James Bond films that inspired it, this is still a fun spy thriller. Vaughn and Crowley spark nicely off each other, but McCallum has only a background role. Followed by THE SPY WITH MY FACE (1965). [PG]

Spy with My Face, The (1965; USA; Metrocolor; 88m) ∗∗  d. John Newland; w. Joseph Calvelli, Clyde Ware; ph. Fred J. Koenekamp; m. Morton Stevens.  Cast: Robert Vaughn, Senta Berger, David McCallum, Leo G. Carroll, Michael Evans, Sharon Farrell, Fabrizio Mioni, Donald Harron, Bill Gunn, Jennifer Billingsley, Paula Raymond, Donna Michelle, Harold Gould, Nancy Hsueh, Michele Carey. THRUSH captures Napoleon Solo and replaces him with a look-alike to infiltrate U.N.C.L.E. Second feature lacks the spark of TO TRAP A SPY and after a promising start descends into lapses of logic with its muddled plot. It also lacks an effective villain with Evans lacking charisma. The movie first aired on NBC as the eighth episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), “The Double Affair” with additional scenes filmed to expand the running time. Followed by ONE SPY TOO MANY (1966). [PG]

One Spy Too Many (1966; USA; Metrocolor; 98m) ∗∗½  d. Joseph Sargent; w. Dean Hargrove; ph. Fred J. Koenekamp; m. Gerald Fried.  Cast: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Rip Torn, Dorothy Provine, Leo G. Carroll, David Opatoshu, James Hong, Yvonne Craig. Megalomaniac Alexander wants to be like Alexander the Great. His plan is to commit the world’s greatest crimes to expand his industrial empire. Fairly enjoyable spy hokum, which despite low production values and a dodgy script is enlivened by well-staged action sequences, some witty lines and a winning supporting performance by Provine. Torn makes for an enigmatic villain. Expanded from the second-season opener, “The Alexander the Greater Affair” of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with additional scenes filmed for theatrical release. Based on a story by David Victor. Followed by ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING (1966). [PG]

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