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  • ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING was the fourth big-screen spin-off from the cult spy series THE MAN FROM UNCLE. It was compiled from a two-part episode called THE BRIDGE OF LYONS AFFAIR. Part one was aired on 4 February 1966 and part two on 11 February 1966, and in common with most of the other films in the series, it was not televised in the countries where the film was released under the new title. Considerable changes were made from the TV version including the removal of the scene where THRUSH agent Jordin (Bernard Fox) receives his briefing from his superiors at Thrush's Hong Kong headquarters. There was also scenes added into the film that were not considered suitable for television including Robert Vaughn's scenes with Yvonne Craig.

    Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuriyakin (David McCallam) are assigned by UNCLE chief Alexander Waverley (Leo G Carroll) to prevent a youth rejuvenation formula from falling into the hands of THRUSH who intend to use it for their own evil ends.

    ONE OF OUR SPIES IS MISSING is one of the best of the UNCLE pictures with plenty of slick tongue-in-cheek action, which made the original series so memorable and it boasts one of the show's most memorable villains in Bernard Fox's suave THRUSH agent Jordin. The series regulars, Vaughn, McCallam and Waverley are uniformly excellent, Gerald Fried's music is superb and the show's sets always looked impressive in Fred J Koenekampe's Metrocolor camera-work.
  • When famous scientist, Dr Lancer, goes missing and then turns up months later looking 40 years younger UNCLE agent Solo is dispatched to find out what is happening by contacting Lancer's fashion model daughter. He starts to uncover a plot run by feminists in the fashion industry. Meanwhile Illya Kuryakin is busy in London chasing cats as he tries to uncover why they are going missing. When the two investigations begin to cross over in the form of a plot to develop a machine that reverses the aging process, the sinister hand of THRUSH in the form of Jordin starts to make itself known.

    Another double episode of the UNCLE TV series that has been pasted together to form a film. The plot is, as ever, daft - cats being used in an experiment to develop an anti-aging machine because "cats have the closest aging process to humans"! Cue a convoluted plot that is a bit too muddled to be totally enjoyable but is saved by the sense of fun running through it. The direction of the film is very 60's. It's good to hear the UNCLE music used regularly and cleverly. Cleverly because the music is adapted to reflect location etc whilst keeping the same style - i.e. Rule Britannia when the action switches to London, or a patriotic US theme occasionally. It's good that the music is used to enforce the spoof element of the film.

    The actors are of course having fun for the most part. This episode is better than previous "films" where Kuryakin (McCallum) is very much sidelined by Solo (Vaughn). Here he is given a rubbish assignment but he gets a lot more of the comedy and in terms of action and plot involvement it is much more evident that McCallum and Vaughn are on equal footing. Having said that, McCallum gets the short straw by chasing cats over London while Vaughn gets the usual assignment which involves him chasing girls. It's also good for Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll) to have more of an involvement in the action.

    The supporting cast is not that great unfortunately - with one exception. The THRUSH villain Jordin is played by Bernard Fox and is a typically English bad guy. He brings a sort of dry humour with his very 'proper' English behaviour (even when killing), he also knows not to take the whole thing seriously. However the main conspiracy brings in a range of minor villains and scientists that it's hard to keep track of, basically none of them really stick in the mind because they are not great characters and have to carry the serious (such as it is) element of the film. This is a thankless task because they are really only providing a reason for the whole film while the leads get the resulting action and comedy. One interesting point relating to casting is that Control/Wanda is played by the beautiful Yvonne Craig (Batgirl!), however in the previous film (one spy too many) she played the same Control role but was Maude Waverly rather than Wanda. It's not that interesting but it's another example of actors/actresses who have played more than one role in the UNCLE series. Special mention of the worst performance of the film - Robert Easton as Bently the Texan who is in it for less than 2 minutes and does the most wooden performance and worst accent in the whole thing.

    Overall a daft plot is saved by the spoof aspect of the film. The performances of the leads and the music are all fun throughout and it's difficult to dislike the film even if it doesn't make any sense at all. And I still don't understand why it is entitled "one of our spies is missing" - nobody is missing at all!
  • Prismark1030 September 2015
    I vaguely remember The Man from Uncle TV series repeats as a kid but only got reacquainted with the show when the spliced together movies were regularly shown in the 1980s when its campy nature was more apparent.

    In this film, no spy seems to be missing unless you count Kuryakin wandering around the Soho area of London looking for pussy. I mean the four legged kind even though the producers would had been well aware that Soho was a notorious red light district!

    The plot involves reversing the ageing process and cats have been used for the experiments hence why Kuryakin is looking for missing cats in a studio bound London setting.

    Napoleon Solo gets to chase ladies as well as making sure THRUSH does not get the youth rejuvenating formula with a plot of a senior diplomat being at risk of being kidnapped, de-aged and put under the control of THRUSH.

    It is all very silly, all shot in California with the tunes of Rule Brittania every time the setting moves to England.

    Bernard Fox is the standout as the THRUSH villain Jordin who brings the right balance of menace and humour.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "One Of Our Spies Is Missing" (the title has very little to do with the content, by the way) is synthesized from a two-parter episode of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E", so you would think it would have enough coherence for a feature-length film, but it doesn't. The first half of this film makes it look like Solo and Kuryakin will have to battle one group of villains, then in the second half those are put aside to make room for a second group of villains; the problem with this strategy is that the most promising elements of the first half (like the lethal henchwomen Olga and Do Do) are underutilized. But there are still some memorable moments here, like Illya's fight with a man twice his size, or one reverse-aging image that pushes the film even further into sci-fi territory than before. ** out of 4.
  • Bearing a title which includes the in-word of the time "spy", but otherwise no other relation to the plot, to this fan of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." this was rather thin fare and escaped my brain almost the minute it entered it.

    Unlike others in these spliced-for-European-cinema features, this effort has very few redeeming features. There are few action set-pieces, no race-against-time death-trap from which to escape, no Mr Big" megalomaniac villain to tilt our heroes against and barely even a big-name celebrity cameo to divert the viewer's attention (unless you count Vera Miles, probably the biggest name in the cast here).

    David McCallum in particular gets almost nothing to do, chasing cats around "London", Robert Vaughn as ever, gets amongst the ladies but hardly memorably as the chase is on for a youth-regeneration invention. Even Mr Waverley's stepping out to join Solo in escaping from the bottom of a wine vat (unoriginally used twice for the same purpose) barely registers its novelty value.

    Somewhere in the cast you'll catch sight of Yvonne "Batgirl" Craig, James "Scottie" from "Star Trek" Doohan, but otherwise this adventure has potboiler written all over it and the awful soundtrack which plays variations from "Rule Britannia" throughout to attempt to fool us that we're all in Swinging England doesn't help either.
  • It's interesting that so many of the reviews of the U.N.C.L.E. films are from Brits. The show was incredibly popular here in the 1960s and I can remember joining the U.N.C.L.E. organization set up by MGM (I still remember my number: 10472 Section 2 Operations And Enforcement and I am still at the ready in case I am ever called up for action) and you could also buy novels and annuals. There are a couple of good websites based on the show and there is an excellent book by Jon Heitland published in 1987. So there we were riding along on the crest of a spy wave and just having waved goodbye to "One Spy Too Many" which was released in February and then on 31 July 1966, "One Of Our Spies Is Missing" arrived in Glasgow and suddenly we went crashing to the ground. Here's what I thought...

    'The Man From UNCLE' was still being made, but as there were so many imitators, the powers that be decided to change the format and make it more of a spoof (although there is no way they could outspoof TV's 'Get Smart') with the result that the new film at the Regal and Bedford, "One Of Our Spies Is Missing" was nowhere near as sharp and exciting as the previous efforts. It was a compilation of the two part episode 'The Bridge Of Lions Affair" which had been shown on American TV in February but was not going to be shown on British TV. David McCallum as Illya crawls around the streets of a very studio bound Soho looking for cats and Robert Vaughn is on the trail of Vera Miles who seems to know something about the formula that makes people much younger. It was a real disappointment for fans, and the title made no sense whatsoever in relation to the plot. To compound the poor quality, it played with "Hold On", which was a vehicle for Peter No one and Hermans Hermits to be chased by fans and be chosen as the first pop group to be launched into space, and they also launch into song including 'A Must To Avoid' which could describe this double bill. Poor, but their worst film was yet to come.

    Adapted with permission from the author from 'What We Watched In The 1960s (In The Cinema)'.

    Jim Doyle is the author of 'What We Watched In The 1960s (In The Cinema)', 'What We Watched In The 1970s (In The Cinema)" and 'What We Watched In The 1980s (In The Cinema And On Video)'