Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

THE HELICOPTER SPIES


THE HELICOPTER SPIES (1968). Director: Boris Sagal.

"Never trust a woman who's always on time. It always indicates a -- much deeper -- problem."

Originally shown on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. television program as Parts 1 and 2 of "The Prince of Darkness Affair," this was turned into a theatrical feature for overseas release. While it has a few too many campy moments, basically it's an entertaining flick with Robert Vaughn in top form, as usual, as super-spy Napoleon Solo. UNCLE makes a deal with the nefarious Luther Sebastian (Bradford Dillman) to help them get a new weapon, a thermal prism, away from its mad inventor, Dr. Karmusi (John Dehner), who is holed up in a desert bunker -- which will self-destruct if his heart stops. But once Sebastian gets his hands on the device, he has no intention of turning it over to UNCLE. There's also a weird cult called The Third Way, a gang of men who all have white hair, the always-amusing Kathleen Freeman as a short order cook, and John Carradine as a guru who hasn't said a word in forty years. Carol Lynley is the feminine innocent caught up in the melodrama, Lola Albright is the bad girl, and Julie London has a nice turn as Sebastian's wife, who seems to bed a different hot guy every night. The film is well-edited and has some exciting scenes and interesting doom-traps. Dillman's performance is odd. H. M. Wynant is fun as all of the handsome Aksoy brothers. This busy actor is still working at eighty-two.

Verdict: Entertaining hokum. **1/2.

No comments: