HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Ipcress File, The Reel To ReelingBuy this film here.
Year: 1965
Director: Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Aubrey Richards, Frank Gatliff, Thomas Baptiste, Oliver MacGreevy, Freda Bamford, Pauline Winter, Anthony Blackshaw, Barry Raymond, David Glover, Stanley Meadows, Glynn Edwards
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 3 votes)
Review: A top British scientist, Dr Radcliffe (Aubrey Richards), is being escorted to the railway station by one of the Secret Service, because there has been a spate of these men either giving up their work here and moving abroad to continue it, or simply rejecting their past findings in a curious example of selective amnesia. There doesn't appear to be any danger that Radcliffe will do the same, but the authorities think that he's better safe than sorry, and once he is in his compartment the agent bids him farewell. On returning to the car, he discovers a camera left behind, so rushes back to the carriage - and sees the scientist has gone...

The Ipcress File was the first in a series of three spy movies based on the novels of Len Deighton, and generally considered the best of the bunch, although they all have elements to recommend them. Back in the sixties, it seemed everyone in action or suspense movies wanted to be James Bond, and the Harry Palmer character (never named as such on the page) was intended to be a reaction to those glossy adventures. Yet as the same personnel behind that franchise produced this, it was actually as much in the thrall of 007's glamour as any of the other imitators, being less The Spy Who Came in from the the Cold than an espionage thriller stuck in dreary London.

Michael Caine, who had recently found fame in Zulu, was the man of the moment and cemented his reputation as a face of the era with hits like this. Much was made of Palmer, as depicted by Caine, being a very unlikely hero in comparison to his contemporaries with his glasses and love of cookery (Deighton wrote books and columns on cooking as well), but with his insolence and personality of a man on the up and up in a society used to keeping his sort down, he was more typical of what was to come than many would admit. You can tell that the establishment were not entirely ready to accept his sort by the way Palmer is punished for not knowing his place.

This naturally is as much a source of the film's tension as the whole East versus West shenanigans that forms the basis of the plot, and it's a pleasure to see the proudly working class Caine cross verbal swords with his bosses on the other side of the class divide, first Ross (Guy Doleman), and then the Major he is assigned to, Dalby (Nigel Green). The storyline is deliberately obscure, and could have been dryly handled, but although they would not agree, the producers had a stroke of luck when they hired Sidney J. Furie. He hated the script (he burned his on the first day of shooting to make a point, then, er, had to borrow Caine's!), but his contempt for the material had an unforeseen effect.

This was that to jazz it all up, Furie took to shooting everything in an exceedingly eccentric (for 1965) style, with an action scene filmed from afar inside a telephone box, or with the camera placed just behind the actors who loom into the frame, or even through the backs of chairs and the cracks between doors. There was a time that this stopped looking flashy and modern and ended up appearing quaintly dated, but now it has gone back to looking arresting and splendidly of its time, if no less unconventional. It certainly helps to generate interest in the labyrinth that is the puzzle of who is doing what to whom, and by the time we are aware there is a double agent in the British ranks, the only thing we're sure of is that it's not Palmer. Poor Palmer: he had something to prove, but ended up in the role of the pawn he resisted for so long. If The Ipcress File has lost a measure of its suspense in the years since, it remains well worth seeing. Marvellous music by Bond's John Barry.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2960 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: