THE KARATE KILLERS (1967)
Article #1165 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-23-2004
Posting Date: 10-20-2004
Directed by Barry Shear
Featuring Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Joan Crawford
Napolean Solo and Illya Kuryakin try to track down the formula for extracting gold from sea-water. Unfortunately, the scientist who discovered it scattered the secret by leaving it in the hands of his four stepdaughters, who live in far flung reaches of the globe.
I’m stretching things a little bit here, but I think I’m still in acceptable bounds. THE KARATE KILLERS is the name of one of those movies that were made by editing together two episodes of a TV series (in this case, both halfs of “The Five Daughters Affair” from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”). I was unable to get a hold of the actual feature, but I did manage to acquire the two episodes which were used; since it was a two part story, I’m assuming that all they really did was edit the opening and ending credits and tie the two episodes together. Since the two episodes were designed to tell a single story, there probably wasn’t the bizarre story-flow problem that usual accompanies this sort of thing.
Despite the fact that I’ve never been a fan of the James Bond movies, I have a somewhat greater affection for its derivatives, and that includes TV shows like this one that appeared in its wake. Maybe it’s because they didn’t try to overwhelm you with the violence, stunts and sex, and actually tried to tell a coherent story with a certain amount of wit. This one has a surprising amount of star power; along with the series regulars Robert Vaughn, David McCallum and Leo G. Carroll, we have Herbert Lom, Kim Darby, Jill Ireland, Telly Savalas, Terry-Thomas and (of all things) Joan Crawford, who has one scene. Fans of serials may recognize Philip Ahn as the Japanese wise man; he played Prince Tallen in the BUCK ROGERS serial.