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The Ipcress File
The Ipcress File
Actors: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
NR     1999     1hr 49min

In the spy-crazed film world of the 1960s, Len Deighton's antihero Harry Palmer burst onto the scene as an antidote to the James Bond films. Here was a British spy who had a working-class accent and horn-rimmed glasses and...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Military & War
Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 10/12/1999
Original Release Date: 08/02/1965
Theatrical Release Date: 08/02/1965
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 49min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 24
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Great spy thriller
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 06/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Magnificently directed by Sidney Furie, this terrific thriller has one of Michael Caine's most memorable performances, and a sensational score by John Barry.Caine's Harry Palmer is a marvelous anti-Bond...a guy in a dull job who suddenly finds himself in extraordinary circumstances. He has his quirks...he goes against authority, has his sharp wit, his gourmet food, and "that look" behind the horn rimmed glasses.The plot revolves around a "brain drain" of scientists in England, and has spies, the CIA, and all the usual suspects...which in this case are a little harder to predict.With brilliant writing (Bill Canaway/James Doran), superb cinematography (Otto Heller), and some good character actors (I love Alice the office anti-Ms. Moneypenny !) this is a film that will keep you interested for many viewings...suspenseful, amusing, and you'll just be wild about Harry."
Len Deighton's Spy with No Name = Harry Palmer
John Dziadecki | Louisville, CO USA | 09/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Len Deighton's first novel presents the micro-detail workings of a nameless espionage agent's workaday world. The protagonist is as far removed from the glamour world of James Bond as you can get -- in fact, it's the polar opposite. The film IS a departure from Deighton's novel but what is here works well.

The entire cast is very good. The story moves along at a leisurely but good pace. The cinematography takes on a persona of its own that bears well under repeated viewing. John Barry's score is one of his best and quite different in tone from his Bond scores. Production values are top notch. And it's quite surprizing when you realize this film's producer is Harry Saltzman -- one of the co-producers of the Bond series! In fact, Saltzman brought along some of the Bond crew to work on "The Ipcress File".

This is Michael Caine's first starring role in film. Saltzman tapped Caine after seeing his excellent perfomance in "Zulu". Caine does a yeoman job of portraying the novel's spy with no name as Harry Palmer, complete with deadpan, wry humor.

On DVD, the film is presented in its intended original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The image looks quite good. The sound is the original clear mono. There is commentary by director Sidney J. Furie and editor Peter Hunt. Anchor Bay is to be congratulated for making this film available on disc. Which brings us to a sore subject

"The Ipcress File" is currently out of print in the US. The film is lated to be screened in Washington, DC. Maybe there's some renewed interest in the film which might lead to a remastered edition on DVD? Who knows who owns the copyright? ITM, try vising your local library or rental outlet to see this film.

IMHO, it's an excellent film -- filled with believable characters and situations and enough plot twists to keep you wondering what the heck's going on. A keeper."
M. Nichols | West Chester, OH United States | 08/06/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"THE IPCRESS FILE does for espionage films what BULLITT did for police films; it provides what seems to be a realistic depiction of the trade as opposed to Hollywood glamourization. And it succeeds marvelously.

Caine turns in an excellent performance as Harry Palmer, a secret agent investigating the "brain drain" of leading government physicists who have been kidnapped only to reappear with their scientific knowledge erased. In additon to providing the audience with an alternative to James Bond, dealing daily with paperwork and beaurocracy and completely devoid of gadgets, the film gives the viewer real insight into counter-espionage techniques, portraying Plamer as more of a detective than a playboy (did James Bond ever take time away from the casino to locate Blofeld by tracking down the location of his most frequently issued parking tickets?).

I very much enjoy the direction of this film, which made impressive use of the widescreen format. Low, angled shots add to the drama immensely. My one complaint is that, while performances are all top-notch, the plot fizzles upon resolution and it seems as if apprehension of the key villain is as unimportant as reversing the "brain drain." The entire experience of THE IPCRESS FILE is good enough, however, that this does little to hamper the viewer's enjoyment of this film."
One Of The Best Espionage Films. And It's No Spoof.
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 05/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Let's see," says Major Dalby, head of the Counter-Intelligence Bureau, as he reads Sergeant Harry Palmer's personnel file. "'Insubordinate. Insolent. A trickster. Perhaps with criminal tendencies.' Well, that last one may just be put to good use."

Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) has been sent to Dalby (Nigel Green) by Col. H. L. Ross (Guy Doleman) of Britain's Ministry of Defense. Scientists have gone missing, and the few who have shown up later seem to have been brain washed. They are no longer useful. Dalby's unit is charged with finding out what's going on. And Harry Palmer, like it or not, who loves to cook and loves the birds, who wears glasses, who is not impressed with authority, who can be a bit unreliable when he chooses to be, and who actually is a pretty good spy, is assigned to help break the case. Eventually he does, but not without a lot of pain and a fair amount of violence. Palmer can take it, but he can dish it out as well. He also has a shrewd, analytical mind. He's willing to gamble and sometimes he's off the mark. And all the while he has to deal with the bullying, condescending Dalby, "a passed-over major," as well as Col. Ross, who drips condescension like an ice cube on a hot day. Harry Palmer doesn't have it easy.

I think this is one of the better espionage movies made. It's not a spoof, like the Bond movies. Harry Palmer, based on the Len Deighton character (to whom Deighton never gave a name), as played by Caine is immensely likable because he takes the measure of the stuffed shirts and is amused by their pretensions. The character also works because as the story proceeds you realize that Palmer knows his job. The two secondary actors, Green and Doleman, bring a lot of depth to their roles and a lot of interest to the movie. Their attitudes are so imperviously superior it would be amusing except that they both wield quite a bit of power.

This is a movie that I can watch many times and still enjoy for its style and story-telling prowess. Furie throws in some directorial flourishes common then that now seem a bit dated, but that's a minor quibble for a well made and well acted movie. The DVD transfer is just fine."