I Saw A Film!

In deepest Africa a mysterious red streak seems to have been painted across a thatched hut and a poor fellow resting comfortably on his belly. Is he dead? He is indeed. A British radio operator sits in agony over a radio set, a bright red paint stripe across his chest. Soon enough it becomes clear that these deadly red stripes are the result of something called a “thermal prism” and someone has won the arms race to develop it. None other than intrepid heroes Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin–the Men From U.N.C.L.E.– are on the case! In a helicopter, of course.

These films always have the weakest gun discipline, Solo has conversations with people on his team while pointing his pistol directly at their chests, and strangest reactions. When a hokey knife-thrower corners Solo, Solo doesn’t grab one of the knives and fight back, he waits for his opportunity to resort to open-handed combat. And, of course, the effects leave much to the imagination. Sped up film of cars ripping about a tremendous speed are hard to imagine fooling anyone but children, watching these things. Some of the sets on Lost In Space looked more convincing. But for sheer sixties kitsch-styling it’s hard to beat. Vaughn seems less than impressed. A thinly veiled smirk on his face most of the time. And doing little more than donning a white wig completely hides Solo from everyone, soap opera style. Ridiculously Kuryakin wears jungle camouflage in a desert.

In Teheran they find their wealthy nemesis. A Dr. Kharmusi who collects poisonous mushrooms. Something I actually have done a lot of, maybe mad science is my future. But, since Kharmusi is a successful scientist, perhaps I could take a few pointers. Kharmusi recommends not trusting a woman who is always on time, as it indicates a deeper problem. Pure Evil. The scientist has a device attached to his heart that blows up his compound if his heart stops. Good plan that.

Part II follows the subterfuge our Uncle fellows were undermined by, and the kooky counter-culture “religion” that was headed up by guru Carradine in the beginning has acquired a rocket to launch the stolen deadly prism into space. The stage show they put on at their meeting is all too telling: girls in go-go boots dancing to fuzzy rock while swirling colored lights are projected on the backdrop, signals enough about what the producers imagine a simplified counter-culture to be. There isn’t even a mention of drugs! Sexy girls and rock music are enough to get the squares worried.

Prime (usa) charges a couple of bones to watch this nonsense. Though, it’s fun getting to see John Carradine as a guru, and Sid Haig as a brief henchman. Bradford Dillman looks like Ron Mael from Sparks. This apparently was a double episode of the show that aired back in the day. And ends up being a very long 90mins.

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