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The Human Factor (1979)

R  |   |  Drama, Thriller  |  1979 (UK)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 712 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 10 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 »
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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  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Do not confound this Human Factor, directed by Otto Preminger, with another film with the very same title, even the french one, and directed by Edward Dmytryk. Both made six years apart and both last great director's films. 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

 
Great, understated spy story
4 February 2014 | by (Finland) – See all my reviews

I must confess that this was the first Otto Preminger movie I've seen, so I cannot comment it as an Otto Preminger movie, but rather just a movie among others.

I'm very much a fan of both cold war spy movies and 70/80s Great Britain, so the elements were in place for me to enjoy this. I had never heard of this (I'm yet to go through Preminger's movies) and I quite randomly picked it from the online service as it seemed pretty interesting.

And it was interesting. Very subtle and talkative, I have to say I really really liked it. The story itself wasn't too exciting, but interesting nonetheless. It's about the secret service and an apparent leak of information - possibility of double agents and so on. Very gripping, yet quite slow paced - no action. I just watched le Carre film "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and they are quite alike in style, altho I have to say I enjoyed this more. Even if it's not necessarily as well made, this wasn't quite as heavy-handed.

The acting is great for the most part. Nicol Williamson was a name I hadn't heard of before, but his presence really made this movie. Very understated and brilliant character, just like anyones neighbor or work colleague. There's a weak link too unfortunately and that's Iman, she's horribly wooden and unnatural in her acting most of the time.

I'm dropping one point because of sloppy cinematography too - lighting in particular and a few shots that look really staged. I'm not sure why some scenes were so horribly set up, the lights almost looked as if they just flipped a few spotlights over and pointed them at actors faces.

Despite these few flaws, it's a really enjoyable spy movie for anyone into cold war spy stories in style of le Carre etc. Grab a whisky and time machine yourself back into cold war era. This doesn't seem to be too well distributed tho so it may be a bit hard to find.


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