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Karate Killers, The (1967)

In this unfunny spy spoof, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum) – the men from U.N.C.L.E – are dispatched to prevent the formula for turning sea water into gold from falling into the hands of a memorable, but woefully underused rogues’ gallery.

The formula has been passed on in pieces to the five unsuspecting daughters of the murdered scientist who perfected the process.

UNCLE are very interested in the obvious possibilities of the formula and Solo and Illya are sent to contact the scientist’s widow (Joan Crawford), only to find that THRUSH has beaten them to it.

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So our intrepid pair set off to interview the five daughters. First, they meet Sandy (Kim Darby). In Rome they find another daughter locked up by her eccentric husband, another has fallen foul of the law in London (in the person of Constable Terry-Thomas), another is having an affair in the Austrian Alps with her skiing partner, Carl von Kesser (Curt Jurgens), and so on.

Always breathing down the necks of the Man from UNCLE agents is a highly trained pack of Karate Killers, obedient to their ruthless master, Randolph (Herbert Lom), a deadly THRUSH agent.

Paris, London, the Alps, Tokyo and the Arctic – the action in this MGM colour thriller is speedy and spectacular, but director Barry Shear’s clumsy slapstick approach does no credit to the original TV series.


Napoleon Solo
Robert Vaughn
Illya Kuryakin
David McCallum
Amanda True
Joan Crawford
Sandy True
Kim Darby
Imogen True
Jill Ireland
Herbert Lom
Carl von Kesser
Curt Jurgens
Count de Franzini
Telly Savalas

Barry Shear