Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

Trailer for the film is now available and looks rather good!



Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

I'm excited to watch this.  I like how they retained the original period of the TV series.  Hammer seems versatile considering the two roles I've seen him in, Lone Ranger and J. Edgar.  Cavill seems dashing enough for the role, but maybe too young?  Nonetheless, he looks good in the trailer. 

Where I live, during the late 80's and early 90's reruns of the show were broadcast in the wee early hours and though I could have taped it on the VCR, I sometimes stayed awake from the night before, or got up early before dawn just to watch it.  Interestingly enough, The Saint was also shown during the same pre-dawn time slots but on a different channel and for some fortunate happenstance, the two shows were not broadcast on the same days so I never experienced a viewing conflict!

"...the purposeful slant of his striding figure looked dangerous, as if he was making quickly for something bad that was happening further down the street." -SMERSH on 007 dossier photo, Ch. 6 FRWL.....


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

The Man from UNCLE is one of my favorite shows, with the black and white first season (when Sam Rolfe was more heavily involved with the show) being the best of any of them.  Much of the second season is good -- and in beautiful 1960s color -- but as has been ably noted, veers toward camp, with the third season being mostly dreck, and the fourth season pulling back too much toward "serious" spy stories that the fun left the show.

I have mixed feelings about the upcoming film.  I'm not a huge fan of Henry Cavill, who always looks like he's sneering to me and should be the guy kicking sand in the face of the 98-pound weakling in comic book advertisements, and I don't really know who Armie Hammer is except he seems to be an albatross for big budget movies succeeding.   Robert Vaughn and David McCallum were so wonderfully cast and gave the show a combination of panache and intelligence that I can't see these other two doing justice to the roles.  However, with Guy Ritchie directing and the film being set in the 1960s, the production itself may take on enough of a life that who is playing the roles is really no big deal.  I will say, though, that publicity for this movie has been very tightlipped . . . and that doesn't always suggest a studio thinks it has a hit.


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

I just completed season 1 of the Man from UNCLE.

I know season 3 is supposed to be the campy one, but this first season was pretty silly too, with Solo continuously smirking and winking while Ilya plays it deadpan but very witty. They seem to mess up their missions as often as they succeed, and often rely on luck, so its hard to say this show is that much more serious than Get Smart, which it resembles except without the catchphrases.

The secret entrance to UNCLE headquarters through the tailor shop was a concept recycled in Kingsmen. But is UNCLE headquarters actually the U.N. building itself or another building on a nearby block? Establishing shots frequently show the U.N. building, and the episode Mad Mad Tea Party Affair establishes their headquarters is a midrise building with access to the roof, not all underground as I had been assuming up til that point.

Episodes heavily featuring UNCLE boss Mr Waverly are good because they tend to give us more inside info on the UNCLE organisation. Waverly is played by Leo G. Carroll, a veteran of several Hitchcock films, including North by Northwest where he also played the head of a spy organisation. In The Bow Wow Affair, Carroll also plays the part of Mr Waverly's cousin.

the Man from UNCLE tends to feature a whole different galaxy of guest stars than the ITV adventure series, thus not so many faces familiar from our Bond films. Richard Kiel (The Hong Kong Shilling Affair) and Luciana Paluzzi (The Four Steps Affair) were the only Bond veterans I spotted.

Earliest episodes follow a Notorious plot structure with Solo recruiting various naïve sheltered innocent women to infiltrate the villains operation. This formula starts to vary towards the middle of the season, but there is almost always an innocent for a guest star to play, as well as the villain. in some episodes Solo and Ilya are relegated to supporting roles themselves as the guest stars are getting so many lines!

Many of the earliest episodes are directed by Richard Donner, who later made the first Superman film.

Listing some memorable episodes with guest stars who were notable to me:
(I expect somebody who watched this show in real time in the 1960s would recognise a lot more of these actors than I could)

-second episode The Iowa Scuba Affair stars Slim Pickens (Dr Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, 1941), playing it relatively straight.
-The Shark Affair features James Doohan (Scotty from Star Trek) but I think he's only in the opening scene. Not surprised I didn't recognise him, as Doohan has the reputation as a chameleon-like voice actor.
-The Green Opal Affair stars an unrecognisable Carroll O'Connor as the villain. This performance really increased my respect for his acting chops!
-The Giuoco Piano Affair is notable for a party scene where four of the partiers doing silly things are the behind-the-scenes creators of the show.
-The Project Strigas Affair is perhaps most significant for guest stars of any episode as it features both William Shatner as the innocent, and Leonard Nimoy as the villains underling, two years before Star Trek!
-The Finny Foot Affair has thirteen year old Kurt Russell as the innocent, and Tura Satana (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!) as the evil henchwoman
-The Dove Affair Ricardo Montalbán plays a rival spychief in an unnamed east European country, and is excellent in this one. He and Solo have a great rapport as they stab each other in the back yet are repeatedly stuck together, and the episode in general has a more serious cold war vibe.
-The Four Steps Affair as noted features Luciana Paluzzi (Fiona Volpe) as the bad girl, Solo has to frisk her for weapons and she loves it. Also Don Harron as a fellow UNCLE agent. Harron was a Canadian comedian best known for his character Charlie Farquarson, who appeared regularly both on HeeHaw as well as doing satirical editorials Canadian radio throughout the 1970s.
-The Brain-Killer Affair has Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) as the innocent and Elsa Lanchester (the Bride of Frankenstein herself) as a Mengele type villain.
-The Hong Kong Shilling Affair as noted above has Richard Kiel (Jaws) as a villain, and he gets more to do than both his Bond films combined. Also Gavin Mcleod (Murray Slaughter from Mary Tyler Moore, Captain Stubing from the Love Boat) as the big baddy.
Kiel is also supposed to be somewhere in the very first episode The Vulcan Affair, but he must have been crouching because I didn't spot him.
-The Never-Never Affair is even better, with Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) as an aspiring UNCLE agent a year before Get Smart . It could almost be Agent 99's origin story, damn is she a charmer. And... Cesar Romero (the Joker) as the villain. These two are so good, and get so much screen time, Solo and Ilya are relegated to bit parts in their own show.
-The Gazebo in the Maze Affair features George Sanders (a onetime Saint as well as appearing in many other great movies) playing the charming villain.
-The Odd Man Affair features Marty Balsam (Psycho, Catch-22) as a retired UNCLE agent, another episode where Solo and Ilya are relegated to bit parts. This is the season closer, and almost seems to be setting up Balsam's character for his own series.

As I watched this show, I found the blog Preppies Of The Apocalypse to be a most useful fan site. Blogger Morgan Richter is a screenwriter who understands how teevee shows are made, and makes lots of hilarious observations as well as giving us trivia and context. She repeatedly points out that Solo and Ilya are  terrible spies, but also argues they share a homoerotic bromance: constantly flirting with each other, then Ilya pouting every time Solo finds a new ladyfriend.

Last edited by caractacus potts (30th Dec 2020 15:29)


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

caractacus potts wrote:

... Waverly is played by Leo G. Carroll, a veteran of several Hitchcock films, including North by Northwest where he also played the head of a spy organisation...

Earliest episodes follow a Notorious plot structure with Solo recruiting various naïve sheltered innocent women to infiltrate the villains operation. This formula starts to vary towards the middle of the season, but there is almost always an innocent for a guest star to play, as well as the villain.

It also follows the North by Northwest plot structure, in which the naive, sheltered innocent caught up in the intrigue and espionage was Roger Thornhill rather than a young woman. There are many similarities between them as you admirably point out, CP!  ajb007/martini

"How was your lamb?" "Skewered. One sympathises."


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

Charmed & Dangerous wrote:

Interesting too that Fleming used the name Mr Solo in Goldfinger for one of the hoodlums.

I did think it was quite a good idea to call one of the continuation novels 'Solo' as it's obviously a word Fleming was keen on, although it perhaps needed a little bit more.

He must've had some more thoughts beyond just the character's name though?


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

Charmed & Dangerous wrote:

It also follows the North by Northwest plot structure, in which the naive, sheltered innocent caught up in the intrigue and espionage was Roger Thornhill rather than a young woman.

good point. And in Notorious itself, Ingrid Bergman's character is not naive or innocent, she is the daughter of a convicted Nazi, drunken and implicitly promiscuous. Very different from the types Solo ropes into into his schemes.
I just mean the general setup of a secret agent controller persuading a civilian, usually female, to go on a secret mission, usually with incomplete information and her life put recklessly in danger. There's lots of stories that follow that plot, and I think of that as the Notorious plot though it was probably done earlier than that.
In the 39 Steps or North by NorthWest the civilian hero stumbles into the plot by accident, rather than being deliberately recruited by official authorities.

First two seasons of the Avengers follow the same setup, though the characters Steed recruits are not one-offs like most of the innocents Solo recruits. Steed appears positively sinister when he gets Dr Keel to do his work, Dr King is openly hostile to Steed, and Venus Smith is way too young and naive to be asked (one episode we learn she is twenty and she often acts younger). It's only after Cathy Gale becomes the regular "talented amateur" the Notorious concept disappears, because she is so ready and willing to take on the challenge, but even then she continues to recognise and resent how manipulative Steed really is. Whereas with Emma Peel there is never any question of morality in her being involved.

What is cool, is that the more I learn about the other spy series that were contemporary to the classic Bond films, the more I understand how it all goes back to Hitchcock. The quoted material in Thunderpussy's post on page 1 proves the Man from UNCLE absolutely was inspired by North by NorthWest!


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

Well now, why don't we just look at all the losers on this thread dating back all the way to 2012, and who on earth started this anyway?

What happened to them all?   ajb007/crap

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

2012, what a weird time. The only people wearing masks, were terrorists or Bank
robbers. You could visit old people, and you didn't have to shake elbows with people.

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

2012. My Mum was alive. Think we had her in a care home at that point, but it was before the big fall out when one care home nearly killed her, and I reported it to the local press, then all hell broke lose and the British State went after me. By which I mean, the local authority - Surrey County Council - and boy, did that uncover stuff. Toxic.

Oh, she nearly copped it in March 2014, but she lived until Oct 2017.

Funnily enough, I did take her to see The Man from Uncle film at the BFI Imax and she liked it. I mean, it's not.a great film really but it has. a great opening and some lovely shots, plus Hugh Grant pops up.
It was a good dry run for Spectre, also at the BFI Imax, which we also took her to see, as Bond was a family favourite with us growing up. Oddly, what, five years on or so it's STILL the latest James Bond film. I can still say, hey, I took Mum to the latest Bond film.
I do remember when I heard of some early delay to 'the next James Bond film' sort of thinking, well, much as I'd like it otherwise, I can't see Mum (who had advanced Parkinson's for years by this point) really making it to see that... Little did I know. Even now, many years on, none of us have seen it yet! No Time to Die indeed! You'd need All The Time in the World to see that one.

Anyway, didn't mean to make it maudlin in the early hours but 2012 - that's a long way off! Brexit, Covid, Trump... nothing!

"This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

Roger Moore 1927-2017


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

I have warmed to the new movie of TMFU,  and was happy to get all four seasons
of the TV series on Amazon Prime for only around a fiver a season. It's interesting
to compare the Movies to the two part stories they were made from, as I also
have the movie collection.

"I've been informed that there ARE a couple of QAnon supporters who are fairly regular posters in AJB."


Re: Fleming and The Man from UNCLE

To Trap a Spy, the first Man from UNCLE movie

what is general consensus about the movies? should they be watched in place of the equivalent teevee episodes? are the movies the definitive versions of those stories? is any content lost not watching the equivalent episodes?  only problem is I might not be able to find most of them online, but I've found the first three.

To Trap a Spy is actually an expanded version of the pilot, rather than the first episode per se. There's a different actor playing Mr Waverly, who was recast between the pilot and the first episode proper (The Vulcan Affair). Though otherwise most of the scenes looked the same. But with a couple lines of dialog added here and there, mostly sexual in nature, Solo's flirting with his secretary for example.

Attached to The Vulcan Affair content is half of what would be a later episode The Four Steps Affair (actually the 21st episode), starring Luciana Paluzzi (she's one of ours). Either version, her plot seems artificially grafted onto an otherwise unrelated story. Here her scenes come in two halves: a first act  preceding the introduction of Solo and the UNCLE organisation, then she reappears in the the middle of the film, stowing away in Solo's car then (following the frisking scene, which includes a few more frisks in this version) leading him back to her place. Difference here is Solo then sleeps with her while patiently awaiting the expected assassination attempt.
Really, her whole plotline is the same as Fiona Volpe in Thunderball: she picks up our hero in a car, he sleeps with her knowing what she is up to, and ultimately...

Spoiler...she is shot by her own men

Since this film came out in 1964, that means Thunderball copied an UNCLE plot almost precisely, even with the same actress. Rather ironic, considering they had threatened legal action over the name Solo!

After the opening act introducing Paluzzi's character  we get to the Vulcan Affair content, starting with the villains infiltration of UNCLE headquarters via the tailors shop. These scenes, both in teevee episode and movie, are a great way to quickly visually establish the UNCLE concept and headquarters location. Solo himself is dramatically introduced behind bullet proof glass in silhouette, a shot that would be reused in opening credits in shows to come.
Waverly as noted is played by a different actor. Ilya, as in the teevee episode gets about two lines then disappears (ironic the main character is named Solo when most of the show's run would be a two man act).
THRUSH for some reason is named WASP in this version, and we can even see the new name is overdubbed into existing dialog. Why did they bother to rename it if theyd already filmed scenes calling it THRUSH?

Balance of the film is the exact same as The Vulcan Affair, with its Notorious style plot. When the second chunk of the Paluzzi plot appears (after Solo leaves Vulcan's party) it really stands out as an irrelevant digression.

One thing I noticed this time is how much the final scenes resemble Dr No (hero and innocent female accomplice tortured in steam room, final showdown in reactor core).
I did finally spot Richard Kiel. He is in it for literally less than a second. When Solo is being pursued by brownshirt clad security guards and Dobermans he runs up a staircase, straight into a worker who swings a huge mallet at him and misses. That's our Jaws cameo, keep your eyes peeled for that moment because our favourite seven foot henchman is easy to miss.

In the Four Steps Affair, the Paluzzi content is also awkwardly grafted into an unrelated storyline. Halfway through that episode, Solo conspicuously combs his hair into a different style. Why?  because throughout this movie, he is wearing his hair in a different style than he would ever do throughout the rest of the series, including the other material in that episode! They took the time to film a scene explaining why his hairstyle suddenly changes!

Last edited by caractacus potts (10th Jan 2021 18:05)