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The Human Factor (1979)

 -  Drama | Thriller  -  1979 (UK)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 677 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

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

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

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
...
Sarah
Keith Marsh ...
Porter
Anthony Woodruff ...
Doctor Barker
Gary Forbes ...
Sam
Angela Thorne ...
Lady Mary Hargreaves
...
Buffy
Paul Curran ...
Halliday
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Every man in love is a potential traitor.

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Anthropinos paragon  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

At the time that this espionage movie was made, actor Derek Jacobi (playing Arthur Davis) had only recently appeared as Guy Burgess in the Cambridge spies tele-movie, Philby, Burgess and Maclean (1977). The suspicion of treason in both the Graham Greene novel 'The Human Factor' and this filmed adaption was based on Cambridge spy Kim Philby who was a friend of Greene's. Greene has said though that the central character of Maurice Castle (which is played in this film by Nicol Williamson) was not based on his former boss Kim Philby. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

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

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User Reviews

Unjustly forgotten
24 November 2006 | by (Europe) – See all my reviews

After I had read this late Graham Greene novel years ago, I was immediately fascinated by its le Carré-like plot with very much Greene-like characters. I immediately thought that this should have been made into a movie.

Shortly afterwards, I learnt that Preminger had already made it into a film back in 1979, so I was of course very eager to see this movie. Yet

  • this film has fallen into oblivion, it is not commercially available


and it is hardly ever on TV.

Very strange if you consider that it features a cast bristling with splendid British character actors (Nicol Williamson, Derek Jacobi, Robert Morley, Richard Attenborough, to name but a few) and has a screenplay by Tom Stoppard (which IMHO was a straightforward, enjoyable transfer of Greene's novel to the screen).

So, only yesterday did I have the opportunity to watch it on TV. Certainly, it is no cinematographic highlight: it is very low-key, very unfussily directed by Otto Preminger in a more than plain style, and has basically no "action" (but then - what would you expect of a Greene novel?). It might as well have been made for TV, but this impression may also be due to the serious budget problems while filming.

However, it has some splendid performances by actors whom I could watch all day long. The mere cast turns this film into a success and makes it worthwhile watching.


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