Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
THE SPY IN THE GREEN HAT
THE SPY IN THE GREEN HAT (1966). Director: Joseph Sargent.
The Spy in the Green Hat was the European theatrical version of the two part Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode "The Concrete Overcoat Affair." Thrush has decided upon a crazy plan to turn Greenland into "Thrushland" and is planning to use deadly missiles in their scheme. Louis Strago (Jack Palance) is the person Thrush has assigned to this plan and he is assisted by a sadistic secretary/assassin played by Janet Leigh. While investigating the operation, UNCLE agent Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) is caught in the bedroom of a pretty young Italian girl , Pia (Leticia Roman). Her relatives, prohibition mobsters who are now elderly men (Eduardo Ciannelli; Allen Jenkins), go after Solo to force him to marry her, but wind up teaming up with him when they learn that Pia has been taken captive by Strago. Jack Palance's performance is just a little over the top even for this kind of material, but Janet Leigh strikes just the right note as the psychotic hit woman and she has a nifty (if too brief) cat-fight with Letitia Roman. Ludwig Donath is the ex-Nazi who is working with Thrush and even Elisha Cook shows up as another petty, aging mobster. This is an entertaining UNCLE movie, with the usual quota of excitement and humor. "The Spy in the Green Hat" turns out to be Mr. Thaler, an emissary from Thrush Central, who comes to see Strago carry out the operation successfully. Thaler is well played by Will Kuluva, the actor who was first chosen to play the head of UNCLE [Mr. Allison] before it was decided to go with the better known Leo G. Carroll. [Kuluva also appears in the first UNCLE film To Trap a Spy.] Vaughn and David MaCallum are in good form as Solo and his fellow agent Illya Kuryakin.
Verdict: As theatrical telefilms go, this isn't bad -- if you're an UNCLE fan. ***.