Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Ipcress File

What can I say about The Ipcress File that probably has not been said already?? I first saw this film when I was 12 years old. I have to admit, I was never a great fan of James Bond (apart from Live and Let Die, which I love, its the Voodoo) but I loved Author Len Deighton's Harry Palmer character, played by Michael Caine. Of course in Deighton's books Harry Palmer was not his name, in fact we are never told his name, he just has a string of aliases which he adopts depending on his assignment. In the book, when  the main character is approached by someone who says "Hello Harry" he later says "Now my name isn't Harry, but in this business it's hard to remember whether it ever had been." My affinity with Palmer was just that he was a sad loner, plodding about in the often very dull world of espionage and deceit. This is also the reason why in the 70s I liked the series Callan, who definitely had much more in common with Palmer than with the super spy Mr Bond. The book does differ quite a bit from the film, but all the main elements are there.
John Barry's haunting and very sombre soundtrack blends so well with the pace of the film, perhaps best shown and heard in the telphone box fight scene.
Sidney J. Furie's direction is superb. He shot scenes through pains of glass in phone boxes, over the shoulder, Point of View in fact he shot scenes at any odd angle he could (he did say later in life that he did that to liven the film up as the screenplay was just to slow and dull) But whatever the reason it worked for me. Unlike the follow up Funeral in Berlin. The 3rd film in this series The Billion Dollar Brain, which was Directed by Ken Russell is in my opinion a much underrated classic. With an amazing 60s intro. Have a quick look.

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