The Ipcress File Region-Free
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’Michael Caine cuts a cool dash as the sceptical, working-class secret service man Harry Palmer. The film is stylistically extravagant, slyly anti-American and pays homage to classic movies’--Philip French This espionage thriller represents a landmark in spy movies, jettisoning the excesses of 007 and introducing the sly, dry intelligence agent Harry Palmer, played by Michael Caine, relishing a role that marked him for stardom. The story, based on Len Deighton's novel, centres on Palmer’s investigation into British Intelligence security. He’s soon enmeshed in a world of double-dealing, kidnap and murder and finds a traitor is operating at the heart of the secret service. Will the mysterious ‘Ipcress File’ reveal who the traitor is? Produced by Harry Saltzman (the early Bond movies) and with an evocative score by Academy Award winning John Barry, The Ipcress File emerges as one of cinema’s wittiest and grittiest thrillers.
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The world of Palmer is down to earth; Spying is not depicted as fanastic as being a Double-O, most of your time is consumed by having to do mundane duties like filing out field reports. However nothing about this film is boring, it's colourful in the sense that you know danger and surprises every moment when Palmer is out the field and mistakes can be made like accidentally killing an American agent. The plot also has that down to earth atmosphere but still keeps one's interest, scientists have been kidnapped and returned but they seem not to function in their occupation because of brain washing. When Palmer is captured and attempted to be brain washed it's one of the films' great highlights, truly breaking down the hero always a good move because it means his vitcory would be all the greater.
Ironcially most of the Bond people are behind this film but not in the usual sense; Ken Adam's sets are in no way sci-fi or remotely fantastic in any sense, it's all very much contemporary 1960's. John Barry's score is still quite jazzy but it's a little more subtle, I can't articulate it but you know this is a Barry score for something in the vein of James Bond but not really Bond.
Micheal Caine has Harry Palmer is such a great anti-hero who has a light side to him. As I said before this isn't James Bond who dedicates himself to the secret service, he's only doing intelligence work because the alternative is two years behind bars in a military prison. He knows how to sweet talk the women and he's a bit of a dork, laughing at his own jokes for example. Also he's a great cook and I do believe that is a turn on for most females.
I haven't watched those two Palmer television films from the 90's but I think it's safe to say this is the best film out of the series. Anyone who loves James Bond and is looking for something fun and different should check this film out.
This is the story of Harry Palmer, lover of gourmet food and classical music, a former British soldier released from prison in exchange for serving his country in undercover operations. Transferred to a new department, he and his fellows must find out who is kidnapping British scientists and rendering them unable to do any further work. As he doggedly pursues the truth, tries to avoid getting caught in the conflict between his old and new boss, and wonders just who is working for whom, things become more and more confused and dangerous -- until the day when he finds out the very hard way just what the bad guys are doing to the scientists.
An excellent performance by Michael Caine, good supporting actors, fine black and white cinematography, and a good score rounds it all out. Don't let the fact that this is imported from Russia throw you. It plays fine on my Region 1 DVD player, and it has the original English soundtrack, as well as a soundtrack dubbed in Russian. So get it, and enjoy.