Created to cash in on the 1960s spy craze, The Man from UNCLE TV show spawned a hit-and-miss series of spin-off movies of which this is arguably the most accomplished.
It features the series’ best villains in the guise of Jack Palance’s pill-popping megalomaniac and his kinky female secretary/assassin, played with delicious malice by Janet Leigh, who – like every good 1960s femme fatale – keeps a knife handy in her garter belt.
The plot is even more tongue in cheek than usual, with the unflappable Napoleon Solo and the impassive Illya Kuryakin teaming up with a pack of stereotypical Italian-American gangsters from the bootleg era to thwart crime syndicate THRUSH’s latest plan for world domination.
Palance’s Louis Strago is working on a scheme to divert the warm waters of the Gulf Stream to Greenland to melt the ice cap and turn the island into a lush tropical paradise to use as THRUSH headquarters.
It’s directed with stylish aplomb by Joseph Sargent, who went on to make one of the best 1970s crime thrillers, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1971).
This is great fun and Jerry Goldsmith’s familiar theme tune sounds as fresh as ever.
Leo G Carroll
Arturo “Fingers” Stilletto
Enzo “Pretty” Stilletto
Frederico “Feet” Stilletto
Mrs “Fingers” Stilletto
Dr Heinrich von Kronen
Elisha Cook Jr