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Tonia
Bill Cosby & Leslie Uggams







Buy "Tonia" and all the other episodes from  I Spy Season 2



Season 2 -  originally broadcast
January 4, 1967

French:  same as English
German:  "Das Mädchen Tonia" (The Girl Tonia)

Writer:  Michael Zagor
Director:  Alf Kjellin

Tonia is used as a pawn in a plot by Italian revolutionaries to turn Kelly and Scotty against each other.

Cast:

Leslie Uggams (Tonia), David Opatashu (Zugman), Ronald Feinberg (Cesare), Michael Gualon (Mortoni), Larry Anthony (Leon), Bob Lowell (tourist #1), Jan Lowell (tourist #2), Leopold Trieste (Creep), G.D. Spradlin (Blair), Frank Mechera (Speaker), Paris Pavrich (Waiter), Daniella Musulardi (tourist #3)

FROM THE NOTEBOOKS - Rating   

Synopsis:  Scotty falls for Italian communist.

Highlights/Comments:  “I want hazardous-duty pay if I have to meet that woman”   Scotty to Kelly “People think I'm your servant.” &  “I'll see you at the pass” …  Artistic scene as crowds pass away to envy Scotty and Tonia kissing in the street.  … The line “Those who can laugh can feel pain.”  Kelly's “I wouldn't call him one of your fun radicals.”

The “I Spy” Forum comments on TONIA

 July 6 2003 at 9:01 PM
from: SAM

THIS IS SO GREAT!!

AGAIN posting is now like going from San Francisco to LA via TOKYO but WORTH
IT!!

Similar to what a lot of you mentioned about Rome . . . I did not care much for this episode as a kid, but have a real fondness for it now. My favourite episodes remain the CULP SEVEN, the ORIENT and the MEXICAN episodes BUT this one is way up there.

Mr. Hagen does it again with his perfect rendition of the atmosphere of Italy - the light, and the ancient sun-splashed buildings.

Directed by the master, ALF Kjellin - this begins as one story, then splits into many other stories. A minor precursor to what CULP called 'the three-cushioned shot' - on one level its a love story, on another its a
revenge story, with others in between.

Here the racial issue, never mentioned much is brought to force when Leslie Uggams, the incomparable TONIA thrusts Scotty with the crack about 'carrying
the white man's tennis racket,' then goes even further by insisting that Kelly is Scotty's MASTER. Earle Hagen's music, very charming and light hearted instantly turns dark, underlining that there are serious issues that will be dealt with.

SO many great lines ' I don't feel pain', states this stalwart girl- 'Then how will you know if you're hurt?' - parries Scotty.

Culp and Cosby are wonderful in this episode, they are by turns, frustrated, then gentle with each other; When Scotty breaks the pool cue we realize the depth of his feelings for Tonia. Then when we see that he is aware that Kelly has been set up, his reaction is too cool, for someone who has had such a recent loss. BUT he is a professional, and his barriers break only for a second...

Culp especially shines, subtly as usual. Watch when he climbs the stairs to Tonia's apartment, pausing only for a moment to stare back at Cesare, which indicates to us, this man will have more significance later on. His betrayal of embarrassment and warmth when he says to Tonia 'Kelly, for family.'.  Extremely well done, as usual.

AND that delicate , but not overdone tag scene - a lovely ending for an intricate and satisfying story.

B+
SAM

July 16 2003 at 9:31 AM
From:  Colonel Benkovski
I've always liked this one because it gives us a chance to see how far Cosby's talent had progressed by this time. He gets to emote quite a bit, showing tenderness, love, sexual interest, and rage -- he loses his temper and breaks the pool cue in one scene, the only time he really completely loses his temper in the series.

This is another one with some excellent location filming, another beautifully placed cafe at the beginning, some good shots of the city as Scotty and Tonia are walking around and selling pies.

Tonia's character at first seems far too antagonistic to be believable, more
of a problem in the way the character was written, not the actresses fault.  Her anti-American sentiments are a bit too stereotyped, a bit too forced into the dialogue. But she becomes much more believable when she starts to fall for Scotty, and her human qualities come out. Miss Uggams was very good in the role.

Rudi Zugman, the main villain, is interesting because he is given a human face, he is much more than the cardboard bad guys that you usually see in tv spy shows. He is the enemy and he is ruthless, but he is proud of his  grandchild, and he is  motivated by revenge for losing his relationship with his daughter, for which he blames Kelly. We Americans tend to view our enemies as soulless and heartless, forgetting that even an enemy has a human side. It's good to see this fact illuminated in this episode.

Cesare is another interesting, if  underdeveloped character, he is naive, idealistic, devoted to "The truth, of course". And in spite of his huge size, he is a poor fighter, gentle by nature and has a soft spot for Tonia.

The only other character of any real importance is Mr. Blaine, the guys boss in this one. He's got a southern accent, which is usually attached to a character with low intelligence on tv, but this character is very efficient and likable.

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