Several 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 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>
Harry Palmer is depicted as an accomplished cook, but when you see Palmer skillfully break a couple of eggs, the hands in the close-up belong to Len Deighton, author of the book on which this movie was based. Deighton was an accomplished cook and also wrote a comic strip about cooking for The Observer. The walls of Palmer's kitchen are full of these strips. See more »
When Dalby meets Ross in his club, Ross's right hand is in the air on the long shot but holding the newspaper in the close-up. The position of his left hand changes between shots as well, with the fingers changing from pointing down to being horizontal. 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.
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