The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964)

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Released 18-Aug-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 447:27 (Case: 446)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Seung-wan Ryoo
Studio
Distributor
Turner
Warner Home Video
Starring Seung-beom Ryu
So-yi Yoon
Sung-kee Ahn
Doo-hong Jung
Ju-sang Yun
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Jae-kwon Han


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Arabic
Dutch
French
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Welcome to the wonderful world of U.N.C.L.E (United Network Command for Law & Enforcement)! Do you remember watching this TV show, reading the comic book, devouring the novels, playing the 'Illya Kuryakin Card Game', buying the annuals or begging your parents to take you to the movies? If you do, don't bother reading on, just go and buy this set - you'll love it.

    The Man From U.N.C.L.E. was a very popular mid to late 1960s television series from the US, based on an international spy organisation called U.N.C.L.E and its two best spies, Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughn) and his partner Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum). They are the good guys and they report to their no-nonsense boss, Mr Alexander Waverly (Leo G. Carroll). In every episode they are pitted against someone who wants to take over the world or conduct some fiendish plot, sometimes from the evil organisation, THRUSH. The meaning of THRUSH was not made clear in the series but one of the novels referred to it as the 'Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity'. Not all the villains were from THRUSH, however - some were just megalomaniacs who wanted to rule the world, such as Mr Alexander in One Spy Too Many. The stories are set all over the world, however, I am sure that the filming never left the US. Check out those Himalayas in How To Steal The World, which look remarkably like the area John Travolta and Christian Slater crashed in in Broken Arrow.

    The series debuted when the James Bond film series was just becoming popular and provided a television based alternative to waiting for the next James Bond movie to appear. In fact, Ian Fleming was involved in the development of the series. In case, you were wondering, this series started before shows like Get Smart and Mission: Impossible. In terms of level of seriousness, it probably comes somewhere between James Bond and Get Smart, although as you can see from this set, the series veered from one extreme to the other with the middle period being closest to Get Smart.

    Right, so that's the TV series which started it all, but this box set contains feature films, right? Well not exactly. It is true to say that this set contains 5 films which were released theatrically in Europe, however that is not how they started life. What these films actually are are episodes of the TV series edited together, with extra footage added to create a 'feature film'. Mostly they are a double episode from the TV series made into a film, however, the first one seems to be one episode from the series with a lot of extra footage added. Generally, they work reasonably well but the quality is a bit variable. In detail the films are:

    These are not great movies, as the show was not fantastic television, however, they are certainly a lot of fun and many people look back on this show with great fondness. I enjoyed watching these films and they quite often fell into the so bad, it's good category for me. They are full of double entendre, poor SFX and a complete lack of political correctness, which is perfect for the style of show that this is. It's not great art, it is just a bit of fun. Enjoy!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is surprisingly good for what is basically television from the mid to late 1960s. I recently saw one of these films on cable television and they look significantly better here.

    The features are presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. There was some grain throughout, worst in The Spy With My Face. The last film showed more softness than the others, which considering it is the newest material was slightly surprising. The shadow detail was fairly average in general, and worst in Helicopter Spies.

    The colour was generally good for television of this vintage and I did not notice any specific colour issues.

    There were lots of artefacts on show throughout all five films including reel change marking in all films, film jumps, minor aliasing (especially Solo's suit in One Spy Too Many) and associated jagged edges, some minor edge enhancement and a variety of black and white specks, lines and splodges. All things considered they were not too bad but were noticeable.

    There are subtitles in 3 languages NOT including English. As I do not understand the languages available, I cannot comment on their quality. This is unfortunate for people with hearing difficulties.

    There are no layer changes as two of the discs have the layer change between titles and the other was single-layered.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is reasonable, but this is 1960s television, so we can't expect too much.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. The cover incorrectly lists a second soundtrack being available in French. This is not the case. The last movie soundtrack is fairly quiet, and I had to set the amplifier at 10dB above my normal reference level for the dialogue to be clearly audible.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand and there were occasional instances where the audible words did not match those coming from the actor's lips. I noticed this specifically in How to Steal The World.

    The original theme tune is by Jerry Goldsmith and becomes annoying when you hear it too much. It plays over the menu. The scores of the films are by a variety of composers and are generally light, jazzy, tongue-in-cheek style music which suits the production.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are simple, including the ability to adjust subtitles or play the films either in one or scene by scene. The theme tune plays over the menu.

DVD-ROM extras

    The third disc in the set includes one film and a number of DVD-ROM extras. These take the form of Adobe Acrobat files in pdf format and are available in both French and English. They include text and pictures related to a number of topics as follows:

    These would be of great interest to fans of the series but of only mild interest to others.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This title is available in exactly the same format in Region 2, however has not been released in Region 1. The series is not currently available in Region 1 in any form, so this set is the best available globally.

Summary

    This set contains five feature films created from episodes of the television series, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is fair.

    The set has a small selection of DVD-ROM extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Shame it's incomplete - zooty