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 <email@example.com>
This movie proved to be a major influence on the style and ambiance of the popular television series, Mission: Impossible (1966). Television producer and director Bernard L. Kowalski had seen this film, and was so impressed, he requested that a similar mood and urgency be emulated for the show. See more »
When Harry Palmer returns to his apartment to find the dead CIA agent sprawled on his living room floor, the dead man's mouth is open. When the camera cuts from Palmer back to the dead man, the dead man's mouth is now closed. See more »
[Inside a modern grocery store, picking up a can of mushrooms out of Palmer's shopping cart]
"Champignons"... You're paying ten pence more for a fancy French label. If you want mushrooms, you'd get better value on the next shelf.
It's not just the label. These *do* have a better flavor.
Of course... You're quite the gourmet, aren't you?
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I got the rare chance to see this film recently on Turner Classic Movies one afternoon and I was completely blown away by what I saw. This was the first of three films to depicted the normal activities and dangerous and extreme situations of British intelligence agent Harry Palmer(played by Michael Caine who became an international star with his portrayal of the working stiff/British spy). This was an espionage thriller that went straight by the book and then some which is based on Len Deighton's best selling novel. This was in no way compare to the James Bond spy flicks that came out the same time as this one,but this was totally different and for a very good reason. Palmer was a 9 to 5 stiff who was going by a measly paycheck,meeting in drab locations and of course has to sign for everything he gets including getting an issued gun and also getting transportation to get to and from his assignments and so forth as the story proceeds. You don't know whether not to like or dislike the character as he is in constant danger at every turn as his closest friends he meets at the office becomes his deadliest enemies out to kill him at any cost with an unglamourous death in the wings as you the viewer be grabbing your seat and hoping the outcome will end up with. Caine's performance as the drab agent is a must see and it also concludes toward the end of who the villain is and who is trying to frame him as well as kill him. Cliffhanging suspense! This was one of the most tense and stylish thriller of all time which in one point makes it so "realistic" that makes it distinctive from all the others in its genre. While British agent 007 was fantasy,Palmer was real and down to earth and it shows. A working class Joe. Caine goes on to make two more Palmer films that were not as successful as the first one;"Funeral in Berlin"(1966),and the last one " The Billion Dollar Brain"(1969),but in all this one was a gem of a good spy flick.
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