Season 1 - originally broadcast
December 8, 1966
French: "La rançon" (The Ransom)
German: "Die 50000-Dollar-Nacht" (The 50,000 Dollar Night)
Writers: Mort Fine & David Friedkin
Director: Paul Wendkos
When an army counter-intelligence agent is relieved of some highly important microfilm in Japan, agents Kelly and Scotty enter a thieves' world to recover the film.
Julie London (Phyllis), Sheldon Leonard (Sorge), James Shigeta (Tommy), Simon Scott (Mr. Starrett), Key Shimatsu (Lieutenant), Kai Pat Li (Madame One Ten), Frank Kumagai (pawnbroker), Virginia Lee (Ahnu), Moko Mokusho (maid)
FROM THE NOTEBOOKS - Rating
Synopsis: They search for microfilm & deal in diamonds.
Highlights/Comments: Sheldon moving from place to place. Sadly, the talented Julie London brought down the quality.
The “I Spy” Forum comments on "THREE HOURS ON A SUNDAY NIGHT."
Date: 8/27/01 2:54:29 AM
Well I have to say I saw this one as a kid and except for the pailful of water in the face- it was entirely forgotten. I thought it of little merit.
It begins with Earle Hagen's wonderful Asian intro - against the Ginza skyline - BUT then it has a similar beginning to " No Exchange . . .! " The shrieking girl fallen off the bike and the hero about to help her - unfortunately the viewer might find that scene so soon, too familiar.
Maybe I am too sophisticated but the SECOND time the cute little maid came into the room I smelled a rat. I did find the bath scene with Scotty very funny - and the direction was brilliant - focusing on Kelly's face while he reacted to Cos off camera. The storyline felt slow to me - yes the locales were stunning - particularly as I have been to that statue at Kamakura and the music accompanying the paintings was reminiscent of Time of the Knife - very lovely. I also felt it was a good way to introduce the recurrent `bad guy,` Sorgi.
However, it felt too light for us to really feel that Kelly was sweating for his friend. It seemed so at first, with his forays to the embassy and James Shigeta`s home, but with Phyllis, he was too playful - it did not work for me. Julie London was wasted in her sultry role, he did not seem to really consider her as a person, he made a disparaging comment about her in the first act.
But when someone is the essence of `cool,` is that how they would react? As I have mentioned before, when it is personal danger, it is alright to joke, but when it is someone else, especially your brother, your partner, then it is not.
But I can give it a better mark than usual - five minutes with Kelly in that ruffled shirt is worth it.
6 out of 10 - SAM
Author: Colonel Boris Benkovski
Date: 8/27/01 11:29:14 AM
I'm glad I chose the correct episode to watch last night! I didn't waste my 52 minutes on a Sunday night.... (not that I would consider any 52 minutes watching I Spy a waste....)
Well, SAM and I are going to disagree again, it looks like it is becoming a habit! :-) Seriously, though, 3 Hours is and always has been a particular favorite of mine. I would say I like it almost as much as No Exchange, and would say it is one of my 5 favorite episodes from the first season.
It starts out, as SAM pointed out, very similar to No Exchange, with the bicycle wreck and the knocked out US soldier. Then after the credits there is the scene with Kelly sneaking into the hotel room to "kill" Scotty. Only his lower legs and feet are shown, and we are not supposed to know it is Kelly because this is the very first time in the series he is shown wearing the white jeans and canvas shoes that eventually become his "uniform" later in the series. We`ve mentioned this before, but it is not until the Mexican episodes of the first season that the guys start "dressing down" and we see them more often in the white jeans and sport shirts instead of suit and tie. So anyway you are not supposed to recognize the feet as Kelly's in the opening scene of 3 Hours. The banter in the hotel scene is among the most enjoyable in the series, especially the part when Scotty is off screen "I am a living teabag!" and the part where Scotty is writing to his mother and Kelly comes in after having stole the watch.
I have mentioned it before, but I always enjoy sequences where they search for someone or something in a city, and the rounds they make in Tokyo trying to get Sorgi`s attention by stopping in the pawn shops and contacting the local fences showcases Tokyo very well. The woman in the first pawn shop, Madame Won Ten, has an enjoyable interchange with the guys.
Sorgi himself is a joy to watch. Sheldon Leonard played him with a kind of philosophical joie de vivre mixed with when ruthlessness doing business. He is suave and intellectual, and really a very interesting character. Unfortunately his second appearance two years later did not live up to the first. He even smiles at some of Kelly and Scott's jokes, like the one about his "stolen stamps". He even has a certain sense of honor, when he says "A bargain is a bargain" and hand over the film upon payment. He also makes a great tour guide, and the scenery in the garden where he finally does business is one of the most beautiful places in the series. The background music with the Japanese motif as beautiful, as is the music of the shakuhachi player who takes them to Sorgi. The act that Kelly and Scott put on for Sorgi is interesting, watching them improvise a whole new cover on the spot. Of course it doesn`t work because Kelly will not kill Scotty to prove it.
When the actual tension begins when Sorgi agrees to the bargain, but with the stipulation that Scotty is a hostage. I;ve always wondered about the motivation here, but I suppose Sorgi would do that in order to prevent Kelly and Scott from simply coming back with the police or with troops. Kelly's plea for Scotty in the embassy is appealing, and his scene with his "friend" Tommy is also revealing, showing that even though the tennis bum is wined and dined by the rich and famous, they really are not people he can turn to when he really needs help.