The Human Factor (1979)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  January 1980 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 772 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 12 critic

When a leak of information in the African Section of British Intelligence is discovered security man Daintry is brought in to investigate.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Colonel John Daintry
Joop Doderer ...
Cornelius Muller
Brigadier Tomlinson
Arthur Davis
Doctor Percival
Ann Todd ...
Castle's Mother
Richard Vernon ...
Sir John Hargreaves
Maurice Castle
Keith Marsh ...
Anthony Woodruff ...
Doctor Barker
Gary Forbes ...
Angela Thorne ...
Lady Mary Hargreaves
Paul Curran ...


When Arthur Davis, a junior bachelor in the British secret service's African section, is seen taking a file with him -to meet his girlfriend Cynthia- the brass fears he may be the leak to Moskow, and allows Dr. Percival to terminate the 'risk factor' by poisoning to avoid a scandal. In fact Davis's desk chief, Maurice Castle, is the double agent since the South African communists helped him smuggle out his black lover Sarah M., meanwhile his wife and mother of schoolboy Sam, to force him to cooperate with the Apartheid government. When Cornelius Muller, the South African official who failed to get him in Pretoria's power, visits London for the anti-communist operation Uncle Remus, he points out Castle still is the natural suspect... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Every man in love is a potential traitor.


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

January 1980 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anthropinos paragon  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Last cinema film of Ann Todd. See more »


In the South African scenes (filmed in Kenya), the cars have Kenyan registration plates. See more »


Maurice Castle: Davis calls all children "little bastards".
See more »

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User Reviews

Too much deference to the author?
8 October 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

'Sr Moreno' dismisses the Preminger film adaptation of 'The human factor' very intemperately: The clincher of his argument - which consists largely in being rude to Iman (she was perfectly adequate in her role, and certainly believably a beauty whom a career diplomat might have risked his career for) - is Graham Greene's own declared dislike of Preminger's version.

While obviously his own direct collaboration with Carol Reed made 'The Third Man' into the definitive Greene adaptation for the screen, and a classic sans pareil, there is still no need to be unduly respectful of his impatience with this version of his 'The human factor.'

After all, Greene had a well-known falling-out with Mankiewicz during the filming of the 1959 version of 'The quiet American,' but no-one else thinks that was a bad movie!

Few filmed adaptations are entirely successful - probably without the original author's close collaboration they will inevitably be more-or-less diminished versions of the literary form. And while Grahame Greene was perfectly entitled, with the status of 'onelie true begetter' to be hyper-critical of any lesser recensions, that is not a sensible reason for the rest of us not to enjoy and appreciate what is a perfectly intelligent and involving film in its own right.

There are few enough thrillers around on the TV today which do not involve various forms of adolescent excitability and excess that I should have thought the BBC were perfectly justified in giving it an airing recently on their 'thoughtful' channel.

This is no 'The third man' to be sure - but then, what is? This remains a film with, clearly, much in it to admire.

Surely, if every film has to achieve the status of 'masterpiece' before it can be accepted at all - as 'Moreno' appears to believe - then would there not be a certain danger of an unbridgeable culture-gap developing between the extremes of 'art-house film' and 'teen-flick'? Fortunately, audiences - and film-makers - are still quite willing to 'give it a go,' even if the results are 'merely' intelligent, rather than the absolutely brilliant - and still quite rare - product of genius!

Really, I feel most strongly that 'Moreno''s strictures represent exactly the kind of intellectual snobbery which can only tend to alienate cinema audiences even further from any more sober and challenging films.

There really are enough points of worthwhile discussion raised by this film of 'The human factor' for it to be impossible to dismiss in a single paragraph of supercilious contempt: 'Terrible' does not amount to a review, but only to intemperate spleen, I'm afraid.

17 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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