6.0/10
4,804
78 user 41 critic

Billion Dollar Brain (1967)

Not Rated | | Crime, Thriller | 14 January 1968 (UK)
A former British spy stumbles onto a plot to overthrow Communism with the help of a supercomputer. But who is working for whom?

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

Len Deighton (novel), John McGrath (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Harry Palmer
Karl Malden ... Leo Newbigen
Ed Begley ... Gen. Midwinter
Oskar Homolka ... Col. Stok (as Oscar Homolka)
Françoise Dorléac ... Anya (as Francoise Dorleac)
Guy Doleman ... Col. Ross
Vladek Sheybal ... Dr. Eiwort
Milo Sperber Milo Sperber ... Basil
Janos Kurutz Janos Kurutz ... Latvian Gangster
Alexei Jawdokimov Alexei Jawdokimov ... Latvian Gangster
Paul Tamarin Paul Tamarin ... Latvian Gangster
Izabella Telezynska ... Latvian Gangster (as Iza Teller)
Mark Elwes Mark Elwes ... Birkenshaw
Stanley Caine ... G.P.O. Special Delivery Boy
Gregg Palmer Gregg Palmer ... First Dutch Businessman
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Storyline

Harry Palmer has left the British Secret Service and become a private detective. One of his first assignments is to deliver an apparently innocent Thermos flask to an old friend in Helsinki, Palmer is suspicious of the flask contents and begins to doubt the motives of his friend and those of his boss, a Texan billionaire. Written by Dave Jenkins <david.jenkins@smallworld.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Pow . . . Power . . . Brainpower

Genres:

Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Sir Michael Caine's contract with producer Harry Saltzman, there were originally going to be five movies with the Harry Palmer character. As this movie was finishing production, there were tentative plans to begin work on the fourth one. However, Caine grew reluctant to reprise his role after this movie failed at the box office. As a result, Saltzman released him from his contract. See more »

Goofs

In the credits $1,000,000,000,000,000,000 is written. This is neither the American billion (a thousand million) nor the British billion of old (a million million) but is in fact a quintillion. See more »

Quotes

Col.Ross: Of course you realize I could draft you back any time I like, but I'm doing the decent thing and asking you to come back. You should be bloody grateful.
Harry Palmer: I'd be bloody grateful if you'd leave, Colonel.
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Crazy Credits

In the opening credits, crew names are written in all uppercase letters, with the exception of Production Manager Eva Monley whose name is written "eva monley". See more »

Alternate Versions

31 seconds of the original movie are missing on the MGM DVD release of 2004. The licensing rights of the Beatles song "A Hard Day's Night", which was heard in the scene where Harry meets Basil, were too expensive so they cut the whole scene. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stella Street: Get Chisholm (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

A Hard Day's Night
(uncredited)
Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Performed by The Beatles
Capitol Records
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User Reviews

 
Not great, but with some points of interest.
2 November 2003 | by KEVMCSee all my reviews

When ex-agent Harry Palmer recieves a mysterious request to deliver a flask to Finland in return for a fee, Col. Ross forcibly re-employs him with British Intelligence. Palmer is ordered to proceed to Finland with the flask (which contains deadly nerve gas), in an attempt to infiltrate the organisation of Texan oil billionaire Gen. Midwinter, who is believed to be behind an anti-Soviet plot of some kind.

The third and final of the Harry Palmer films (if you don't count the two woeful straight to cable efforts of the mid-nineties) is generally considered to be the weakest. The strength of both 'The Ipcress File' and 'Funeral In Berlin' was that they were the complete antithesis of the Bond films, portraying the spying game as mundane, shadowy and unglamorous. However, with 'Billion Dollar Brain' maverick director Ken Russell presents the audience with an outlandish plot and large futuristic sets, which seem at odds with the style of its predecessors. The result is that the film appears to be aping Bond, and as such the character of Palmer is less effective.

Despite these shortcomings there are pleasures to be had. Michael Caine once again displays wit and charm as Palmer, Guy Doleman is his usual droll self as Ross and Oskar Homolka makes a very welcome return as Col. Stok. Ed Begley gives his all as the lunatic Midwinter, Karl Malden provides reliable support as an old aquaintence of Palmer, and the tragic Francois Dorleac lends an exotic mystery to her character. The snowbound Finnish locations are beautifully filmed and the production design by Bond man Syd Cain is very stylish.

Ultimately the film is let down by rather wild and undisciplined direction and a cartoonish finale. It's a shame that 'Billion Dollar Brain' strayed so far from the template of the previous films, but its by no means all bad, and can be reasonably entertaining if you're in the right mood.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | Russian | Finnish

Release Date:

14 January 1968 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Billion Dollar Brain See more »

Filming Locations:

Senaatintori, Helsinki, Finland See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (as De Luxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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