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UK 1965
Directed by
Sidney J. Furie
103 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

The Ipcress File

The Ipcress File was the first screen adaptation of Len Deighton's Harry Palmer spy novels and it provided the breakthrough role for Michael Caine.  Although it looks quite ordinary now it was quite hip by 60s British standards.

Palmer is an ex-military man whose army career was cut short by his black marketeering activities. Rather than being sent to prison, Palmer is recruited by the Secret Service. This leads him to being part of the team tasked with finding a missing scientist the only clue to whose whereabouts is  a bit of audio tape labeled "Ipcress".

The thriller aspects aren’t too thrilling but it is more the film’s low-key manner which gives it its appeal. Released at the height of Caine’s buddy, Sean Connery’s fame as James Bond (it was advertised as "The Thinking Man's Goldfinger) it is a kind of anti-Bond style statement with Caine an emblematic working class hero whose laddish manner is contrasted with that of tea-drinking, bowler-hatted, public school, civil service types.

Caine with his cockney accent and shabby digs, culinary skills and fondness for classical music is nciley fashioned anti-Bond, although he still gets the ladies but the film is more for retro buffs and Caine fans than anyone looking for a gripping spy thriller.

FYI:  The film  was produced by Harry Saltzman, who was one-half of the Bond producing team and the score was by John Barry who scored 11 of the Bond movies.




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