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.
Colonel Stok, a Soviet intelligence officer responsible for security at the Berlin Wall, appears to want to defect but the evidence is contradictory. Stok wants the British to handle his defection and asks for one of their agents, Harry Palmer, to smuggle him out of East Germany.Written by
Dave Jenkins <email@example.com>
Average Shot Length = ~5.8 seconds. Median Shot Length = ~5.4 seconds. See more »
During the funeral there is a cut to the taxi-driver who now appears to be driving from the right hand seat of a car previously established as left hand drive. This shows the film was reversed during processing so as to match the direction of flow of surrounding shots. See more »
Present DVD version starts with a short montage of people having a good time at Kurfürstendamm, enyoing the sun, having a coffee or beer, window shopping etc. The film then segues into the main credits set against the devastated Berlin Wall area. This short - some 15 seconds - sequence was not on previous Swedish VHS versions. See more »
As some other reviewers have opined, this is the best of the three Harry Palmer movies set in the '60s. Michael Caine's cavalier attitude coupled with his witty, sarcastic banter is most refreshing. All the stodgy bureaucratic types get bum-rushed by Harry Palmer's rapier tongue. His self deprecating humor, especially in some of the scenes with Samantha Steele (Eva Renzi), is refreshing, since she has the pertness and sense of humor to complement those scenes deftly. Similarly, the scenes with Col. Stock show great flashes of sarcastic wit, juxtaposed with attending to the serious Cold War business at hand.
But the more serious fun is the wonderfully executed plot development, interweaving the various characters such as Johnny Vulcan, Col. Stock, Hallam, Ross (the boss), Kreutsmann, Steele, etc. into a menagerie of complicated intrigue. I'll let others offer a plot synopsis: I'll just say the film keeps you guessing and wondering throughout its hour and forty-five minutes. The overall style of mixing mordant anti-establishment humor and complicated intrigue reminds me of a later film, "The Russia House", with Sean Connery, an equally satisfying Cold War drama.
The only knock I have on this film is the sometimes obtrusive sound track, where the trumpets blare much too loudly to proclaim a given dramatic occurrence. Could have been done a little more tastefully.
All in all, a "must see" for Cold War movie fans!
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