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

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Robert Vaughn and David McCallum

As of this writing, tomorrow unveils the new big-screen adaptation of the sixties spy show, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Frankly, the previews I've seen of the new movie don't seem that promising, but I'll reserve judgment until I see it. In the meantime, this week we've got a round-up of UNCLE-related posts, including a look at seasons three and four (the final season) of Man from UNCLE (click for reviews of seasons one and two, already posted); a round-up of UNCLE paperback novels; a look at the reunion movie made in the early eighties; and two or three more "eurospy" flicks. (No spy movies next week, I promise. Well, maybe just one.)

The Man from UNCLE started out as an exciting spy series that was essentially told straight even if it had its humorous aspects and was never quite totally "serious." The second season the show began turning into a bit of a spoof, with more and more camp, but was still quite entertaining. The third season had some memorably zany episodes, but by this time it had become a full-on spoof as in Get Smart, and the ratings plummeted -- why watch UNCLE when Get Smart was better and funnier? [The less said about the abysmal The Girl from UNCLE, the better.] The fourth excellent season returned to the kind of episodes they had in the first season, but it was too late, and UNCLE was canceled after only about half the episodes were completed.

I freely confess that I loved The Man from UNCLE with its gadgets and colorful villains, and eagerly devoured each new paperback as it came out. I won't go so far as to say that I wanted to sign up with THRUSH, although I sort of found that organization more fascinating than UNCLE. But UNCLE was always one of my all-time favorite programs. [Needless to say, I loved James Bond novels and movies as well.]

It was hoped that the reunion movie The Return of the Man from UNCLE would lead into a new series, but despite high ratings, it was not picked up. We'll soon learn if the big-screen adaptation is a success or not.

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