6.1/10
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The Human Factor (1979)

When a leak of information in the African Section of British Intelligence is discovered, security man Daintry is brought in to investigate.

Director:

Otto Preminger

Writers:

Graham Greene (novel), Tom Stoppard (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Attenborough ... Colonel John Daintry
Joop Doderer Joop Doderer ... Cornelius Muller
John Gielgud ... Brigadier Tomlinson
Derek Jacobi ... Arthur Davis
Robert Morley ... Doctor Percival
Ann Todd ... Castle's Mother
Richard Vernon ... Sir John Hargreaves
Nicol Williamson ... Maurice Castle
Iman ... Sarah
Keith Marsh Keith Marsh ... Porter
Anthony Woodruff Anthony Woodruff ... Doctor Barker
Gary Forbes Gary Forbes ... Sam
Angela Thorne ... Lady Mary Hargreaves
Tony Haygarth ... Buffy
Paul Curran ... Halliday
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Storyline

When Arthur Davis, a junior bachelor in the British Secret Service's African section, is seen taking a file with him, to meet his girlfriend Cynthia, the brass fears he may be the leak to Moscow, and allows Dr. Percival to terminate the "risk factor" by poisoning to avoid a scandal. In fact, Davis' desk chief, Maurice Castle, is the double Agent, since the South African Communists helped him smuggle out his black lover Sarah M., meanwhile his wife and mother of schoolboy Sam, to force him to cooperate with the Apartheid government. When Cornelius Muller, the South African official who failed to get him in Pretoria's power, visits London for the anti-Communist operation Uncle Remus, he points out Castle still is the natural suspect. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every man in love is a potential traitor.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1980 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

El factor humano See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Theatrical movie debut of Iman (Sarah), who had been, at the time, working as a model. See more »

Goofs

In the South African scenes (filmed in Kenya), the cars have Kenyan registration plates. See more »

Quotes

Maurice Castle: Davis calls all children "little bastards".
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User Reviews

 
easy to underestimate
2 April 2007 | by bacoxSee all my reviews

This is an odd film. 'Low-key' is certainly an apt description, and though I don't agree, I can see why some have dismissed it as flat, tedious, etc.

It has stayed in my mind after each viewing - I've seen it twice now on television - more than many other more critically praised films. There's something about the deliberate underplaying, the bland, familiar suburbia of the leading character's house, the politeness, the dog.... The film shows us a non-dramatic world in which dramatic events are being played out in secret, under cover of banal normality. It recalls the hurried departures of Kim Philby and friends from their own domestic lives. It's unsettling: what else might be happening in our own quiet streets?

Personally, I think it's rather wonderful. Clearly it's an ancestor of the brilliant TV adaptations of Le Carre; indeed, it feels more like Le Carre than Greene, which may be why Greene reportedly didn't like it. But it needs to be viewed for what it is: an essay in tension, told in a deliberately chosen style. If you only like action films, it's not for you.


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