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Colonel Stok, a Soviet intelligence officer responsible for security at the Berlin Wall, appears to want to defect but the evidence is contradictory. Stok wants the British to handle his defection and asks for one of their agents, Harry Palmer, to smuggle him out of East Germany. Written by
Dave Jenkins <email@example.com>
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[On his proposed defection]
And for you it is a propaganda victory - my name is worth a headline.
We get plenty of Russians. It's a pity you're not Chinese.
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Reluctant spy and disgraced army sergeant Harry Palmer gets sent to Berlin to encounter a Russian general that says he wants to defect - but does he?
The success (and continued success) of the Ipcress Files lead to this very solid and very good (if complicated) follow-up which seems Palmer (Michael Caine in his too-cool-for-school best form) back in a cheap raincoat and dowdy clothes on a mission that he seems sure he is going to regret. Indeed he makes clear that only being on probation (still?) causes him to go on it in the first place.
The use of the real Berlin and the performance of Caine and Oskar Homolka (as Colonel Stok) keeps this film going as the plot is rather too thick for my liking.
I am not someone that wants to do this much thinking with my fluff - but I caught most of it or at least the main parts. Couldn't be sure totally who the lesser characters were in bed with though or even if it was not each other.
When the series returned with The Billion Dollar Brain it had got past its sell-by date and seemed to almost parody what had gone before. Like all things it has hard to judge when you have gone too far before you actually have.
As a footnote Howard Hughes used to watch this film over-and-over again (as many as three times a day) when locked in his own self-made lunatic asylum. Did the film drive him mad or help drive him mad. We will never know.
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