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Sebastian (1968)

Approved | | Drama, Romance | 29 January 1969 (France)
A British mathematician, working on code decryption, unexpectedly falls in love with another decrypter. This leads them to a complicated intrigue within the codebreakers.

Director:

David Greene

Writers:

Leo Marks (original screen story), Gerald Vaughan-Hughes (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dirk Bogarde ... Sebastian
Susannah York ... Rebecca Howard
Lilli Palmer ... Elsa Shahn
John Gielgud ... Head of Intelligence
Janet Munro ... Carol Fancy
Ronald Fraser ... Toby
Nigel Davenport ... Gen. Phillips
Margaret Johnston ... Miss Elliott
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ann Beach Ann Beach ... Pamela
James Belchamber ... Man with Dog
Veronica Clifford Veronica Clifford ... Ginny
Charles Farrell ... Taxi Driver
Alan Freeman Alan Freeman ... TV Disc Jockey
Charles Lloyd Pack Charles Lloyd Pack ... Chess Player
Portland Mason Portland Mason ... 'UG' Girl
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Storyline

A British mathematician, working on code decryption, unexpectedly falls in love with another decrypter. This leads them to a complicated intrigue within the codebreakers. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No secret is secret from Sebastian and his 100 gorgeous codebreakers See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 January 1969 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Sebastian See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Maccius See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Color:

Color (Prints by Technicolor)| Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director David Greene suggested Dame Helen Mirren for the role of Rebecca Howard. Michael Powell cast her in his next movie, Age of Consent (1969). See more »

Quotes

Sebastian: Generally speaking I consider my private life to be my own concern.
Head of Intelligence: Well, yes - of course it is. But then again of course it isn't.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Endeavour: Canticle (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Out of My Mind
Performed by Max Baer & The Chicago Setback
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A top 100 Consideration
12 January 2002 | by tichsuchSee all my reviews

Sebastian is one of those movies you see once and remember for a long time. I saw it back in the seventies, and didn't get to enjoy it again until I caught it on TV in the nineties. Still, I remembered its groovy sixties-London atmosphere, its intellectually stimulating plot about codebreaking, Susannah York's breezy, mini-skirted, somewhat flighty Rebecca who is actually quite smart, Bogarde's coldly academic Sebastian with passion seething underneath, and Jerry Goldsmith's right-on soundtrack.

Like a lighter LeCarre story, you get Cold War tension, but with a post-war British self-deprecating viewpoint. They may not be the Empire they once were, but they do have a bit of expertise in cryptography that the Yanks would be willing to compensate them for. Donald Sutherland plays an NSA type at Fylingdale Moor who turns Sebastian on (literally) to the latest intercepts from a Russian satellite. He's immediately impressed when Sebastian hears the embedded signal that carries classified data piggy-back with the normal Sputnik beeps. Mixed in with this main West versus East plot is the late-sixties go-go scene, with Sebastian's former paramour a pop singer a little past her prime, with his right-hand girl a bit of a leftist sympathizer, and with his new girlfriend, Rebecca, a pre-hippy free spirit determined to pry him out of his Oxford Don shell. Susannah York's Rebecca is fun-loving but has a flame-hot temper that reacts explosively to Sebastian's unemotional pomposity. Her true depth is shone later when she quietly removes herself to care for her baby, without the assistance of its father, Sebastian, who has dropped out of her life. I feel it's the best role of York's uneven career.

What really takes the movie a step above, is Jerry Goldsmith's score. His instrumental "First Day at Work" catches just the right combination of urban excitement and spritly spirit that accompanies Rebecca and a bevy of beautiful and brainy girls as they make their way in to begin their work as cryptanalysts working in Sebastian's high-tech sweatshop. While the rest of the soundtrack is not up to his Blue Max or Wind and the Lion standards, this one tune alone puts Goldsmith's soundtrack above most movie music.

I would put this one in my list of top 100 movies for its cast, its atmosphere, its music, and its re-watchability. I hope it comes out on DVD soon.


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