John Preston is a British Agent with the task of preventing the Russians detonating a nuclear explosion next to an American base in the UK. The Russians are hoping this will shatter the "special relationship" between the two countries.
A number of leading Western scientists have been kidnapped only to reappear a fews days later. Unfortunately, each scientist has been brainwashed and is now completely useless. The British send their agent, Harry Palmer, to investigate. Palmer is surprised to be selected for such a mission (considering his past) and believes he has been chosen because he is expendable.Written by
Dave Jenkins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Two large Victorian terrace houses, at 28 and 30 Grosvenor Gardens, London, were used as studios. The two houses were converted into one huge house containing forty rooms. These were enlarged, or divided, according to requirements. Fourteen rooms were used as studios. Other rooms were turned into dressing rooms, wardrobe department, hairdressing, make-up, production offices, a property department, and a self-contained restaurant, capable of feeding and seating 120 people. This all was kept secret, to keep away sight-seers and autograph hunters. Even Michael Caine was driven to work in an inconspicuous car, and had to sneak in the back way. As a front, a large sign was painted at the entrance to the film studios. The sign read "The Dalby Employment Agency". See more »
Palmer scratches marks on the wall next to his bed to keep a record of how long he has been there, but these marks are not seen on the wall when the doctor or the guards enter the cell. See more »
The best thing about this film is the fascinating period atmosphere. When this film was made, 1965, Britain, and British filmmaking, was exactly on the cusp between the old, class ridden, Imperial culture of films like 'Zulu', and the gritty, modern, realist school that began with films like 'Get Carter'.
In '65 Britain had a Labour government after a long period of Conservative rule, and sweeping changes were about to happen which would utterly change the face of British life. 'Ipcress' bridges the gap between these two eras.
On the one hand we have the upper-middle class army officers lunching at their clubs and strolling along in bowler hats with tightly furled umbrellas, and at the other extreme we have the way-out psychedelia of the interrogation chamber scene, and the grimy world of offices, warehouses, and men jumping out of vans that defined the TV and films of the 70s such as 'The Sweeney'.
In the middle somewhere is Harry Palmer, who rather than being working class, is classless. He has no discernable accent, dresses plainly, likes cooking and classical music and lives in nondescript surroundings. It is only his military rank, that of sergeant, that enables us to make any kind of judgement on his social status.
I think this is part of the enduring appeal of the film. Although the Dalbys of this world are long gone, Palmer would not be out of place in 2003, in fact the Palmers of this world are now the norm in many positions of British authority.
Overall a fascinating period piece but one which has worn well.
69 of 82 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this