Writer. Publisher and owner of Luft Books. An Angeleno adrift in New York City, I've got a BFA in screenwriting from USC's film school, a fiendish love of pop culture, and a Duran Duran lyric for every occasion. Reach me on Twitter or at me_richter(at)yahoo(dot)com.
In Paris, nightclub owner Max Von Schreeten (Lloyd Bochner) and
his cousin Josef (Gerald Mohr) receive a delivery of a suitcase filled with cash.
The Von Schreeten cousins embezzled half a billion dollars in uncut,
unregistered diamonds from a diamond syndicate; to prevent them from flooding
the world diamond market, the syndicate has been paying them a cool million each
month in extortion fees. Max wants to use his new ill-gotten wealth to lure
Mary Pilgrim (Kathryn Hays), a singer from New York who used to date both Max and Josef, to Paris to perform at his
club, in the hopes of winning her back.
There’s a listening device attached to the suitcase’s luggage
tag. From a hotel room somewhere in Paris, Illya eavesdrops on Max and Josef.
Back in New York, Napoleon kidnaps Mary Pilgrim from her
apartment in the Bronx, hustles her into a cab, and takes her to U.N.C.L.E.
headquarters, where a quartet of stylists ignore her loud protests and give her
a head-to-toe makeover, transforming h…
This is the backdoor pilot for the short-lived spinoff series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., and man oh man, it is terrible.
Illya, dressed in a fancy ruffled tuxedo, poses as an advertising executive and loiters around a swanky party for Caresse Cosmetics, which is in the process of choosing Miss Moonglow, the new face of the company. The party is teeming with pretty ladies; Caresse’s cofounder, Jean Caresse (Mary Carver, the mom from Simon & Simon), asks Illya for his opinion as to which one should represent her company. “Personally, I would prefer a woman of accomplishment,” Illya says. This bit of straightforward common sense alarms Jean, who is a seasoned THRUSH agent. Jumping into action, she grabs a henchwoman and alerts her to her suspicions that a cute blond U.N.C.L.E. agent has crashed their party. Illya snoops around and ends up captured by Jean’s evil brother, Arthur (Kevin McCarthy).
We open in Paris, where President Tunick (Kurt Kasznar), ruler of a struggling north African country, is visiting with his trusted advisor, Malanez (Joseph Sirola). A noted Francophile, Tunick worships Napoleon Bonaparte. He’s eager to tour the country, but Malanez cautions him to moderate his expectations: Their country was once under French rule, and Malanez suspects they’ll be regarded with disdain.
At his fancy Parisian hotel, where Illya is posing as a very fetching bellhop, Tunick is greeted respectfully by the staff. All goes well, until an elderly French rabble-rouser starts hurling pointed Gallic insults at him (“You shatter the eardrums of everyone present with your vulgar bellowing!”); the word “nincompoop” is frequently invoked. Tunick shouts insults back at him, and fisticuffs ensue. While trying to protect Tunick, Illya gets accidentally punched in the face, whereupon Napoleon pops out of nowhere to come to his aid, whereupon Napol…