DVD Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (The Complete Second Season)

The spy craze was booming in the mid-60s as James Bonds’ Goldfinger made every studio ready to crank out their own secret missions. Unlike many of the other shows that hoped to cash in on the genre, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. had an amazing seal of approval in their credits. Bond author Ian Fleming was listed as a creator. Of course later it came out that Fleming had a minimal contribution that mostly involved naming the main character Napoleon Solo. But that was good enough to make the TV series the natural compatriot of 007. They both were dashing characters who worked for mysterious organizations and loved their gadgets. The difference was that Solo (Robert Vaughn) had a partner in the equally dashing Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). How could an American and a Soviet work together at the height of the Cold War? They worked for U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement) and fought the nefarious THRUSH (The Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity). The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season had their never ending battle enter the sphere of color.

“Alexander the Greater Affair” has Rip Torn (The Larry Sanders Show) guest star as a Donald Trump-like character that wants to rule the business world and the world in general. Except he’s not happy merely running for president. Solo and Kuryakin must form a hostile takeover of his evil plan. The interesting thing is that the two part episode was edited together for a theatrical release as One Spy Too Many so audiences with black and white TVs could see what the fuss was all about. “The Foxes and Hounds Affair” has a magician sell his mind reading to UNCLE which is great except Vincent Price also wants the device. Can Solo really battle Dr. Goldfoot? “The Discotheque Affair” is a proper joke since it turns out THRUSH is hiding their records at a dance club. “The Re-Collectors Affair” has a group going around hunting down people with art stolen by Nazis. Except instead of returning it to their rightful owners for free, they are selling the artwork back at a premium. “The Deadly Toys Affair” has a boy genius getting offers from the evil organization. This is as bad as being recruited to play at South Carolina. His goofy aunt is Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote).

“The Very Important Zombie Affair” combines Claude Akins (Sheriff Lobo) and the undead! He’s running a third world island country and is eager to control a prominent doctor. The boys must stop Claude before he turns into a Pale Papa Doc. “The Bridge of Lions Affair” is another two-parter that was joined together to create a theatrical event. One of Our Spies is Missing kept Vaughn spying on the big screen like James Bond. “The Moonglow Affair” has Norman Fell (Three’s Company) assigned to save the day with Solo goes down on an assignment. Can Mr. Roper save the day? This alone is a reason to buy the boxset. “The Bat Cave Affair” is a secret plot using the flying mammals. The evil mind belongs to Martin Landau shortly before he’d join Mission: Impossible.

Color added quite a bit to The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. Other shows suffered in tone from losing the shadows of black and white. Man needed the colors to bring out the swagger of Solo and Kuryakin. It is kind of a shock to see the duo in hues and so youthful since we’re used to now seeing Robert Vaughn pushing lawyers in commercials and David McCallum on NCIS. They proved the spy game can be a colorful affair.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The color transfers bring out the sleek spy look. The audio is Dolby Digital mono with the mix perfect for the swanky soundtracks and the occasional bullet shot. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season colors up the glib spy series.

Warner Home Video presents The Man From U.N.C.L.E.: The Complete Second Season Starring: Robert Vaughn, David McCallum & Leo G. Carroll. Boxset Contents: 30 episodes on 10 DVDs. Released: February 2, 2016


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