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man from uncle question


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thanks all for the info,

 

Time Life is putting the complete tv series onto dvd via their own website, its an expensive buy, but all the episodes are available at once in stead of season by season release which in some cases not all seasons get onto dvd if they dont sell

 

its a bit too expensive for me to order this dvd collection until the box set is released thru most online retailers a year from now, as it stands i think they want over $200 for it, im sure it will come down in price once its exclusivity is gone

 

so TCM is providing me with just a sample taste of the compiled tv show

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I think these "U.N.C.L.E." movies were theatrically released only in foreign markets. I understand this used to be done pretty often in countries where there were not yet very many television sets. American TV shows were edited together, maybe padded with some extra footage to extend the length, and BAM! you've got yourself a cheap movie for theatrical release. The foreign audiences only paid pennies per ticket, but since the studio was using existing film there was very little overhead; so anything the picture earned was almost 100% profit.

 

Hmmm, I wonder if that's got anything to do with why we've been treated to these, uh, fine films all day long? Acquiring so many diverse movies for the Guest Programmer feature may have totally shot the TCM budget for November! ;-)

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We saw a couple of them at the drive-in during the summer of 1968, I think. The publicity was that some extra scenes were shot and that we were seeing THE MAN FROM UNCLE on the big screen, but it wasn't much and as I recall, not very successful stateside.

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I did some research on IMDB and found that various U.N.C.L.E. movies were released in Finland, Sweden, Portugal, West Germany, Japan, Australia, and the U.K., and at least two of them were released theatrically in the U.S. So it may have less to do with a low budget "third world" release than I previously thought, and more to do with capitalizing on markets that, at the time, might have considered American spy movies to be "cool." Still doesn't explain why there was a whole day of them on TCM. I love my badfilm, but this stuff was just... well, bad.

 

Close Channel D! (before any more of these movies leak out!)

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No, they were shown theatrically in domestic venues (I remember seeing a couple as a kid), but generally as the second feature in a double-bill.

 

It's also somewhat of an exagerration to say that they were culled entirely from episodes of the TV series. The production values in these films -- fairly expansive sets, and locations; the average U.N.C.L.E. installment was shot entirely on the MGM lot -- are far higher than the typical episode of the TV series, and the guest stars, including Jack Palance and Janet Leigh, far too prominent to have been signed on an episodic budget.

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Actually, in a sense, you are all correct.

 

The executive producer of the series, Norman Felton, had considered the possibility of "UNCLE" movies from the beginning in order to generate extra revenue.

 

Two first season episodes, "The Vulcan Affair" and "The Double Affair", although stand-alone episodes, were expanded with some additional footage being shot, and released theatrically both in the U.S. and abroad, the first as TO TRAP A SPY and the second as THE SPY WITH MY FACE.

 

These proved successful enough that Felton realized that it would be profitable to continue releasing "UNCLE" movies. Up to this time, the procedure had been to expand one-hour episodes, but it was realized then that it would be simpler to re-edit two-part episodes into features for release, so that's what was done from that point on. Thus, these episodes were essentially designed as movies that would be shown first on TV.

 

Knowing that they were going to be doing this enabled the show's creators to push for a bigger budget for guest stars, such as Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

 

The first three features were released both in the U.S. and overseas. Due to complaints that audiences were being charged to see something they had already seen on TV for free, the remaining five features were released only overseas, where most of the TV versions had not yet been seen.

 

According to VARIETY, in just the first three years of this practice, the "UNCLE" movies grossed over $12 million. In other words, episodes that had cost about $150,000 to make were grossing $2.5 million each in theaters.

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