6.1/10
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19 user 10 critic

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 Moskow, and allows Dr. Percival to terminate the 'risk factor' by poisoning to avoid a scandal. In fact Davis's 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:

Anthropinos paragon 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

The name of the intelligence agency in this film was Mi6. 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".
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great, understated spy story
4 February 2014 | by RaymondSee all my reviews

I must confess that this was the first Otto Preminger movie I've seen, so I cannot comment it as an Otto Preminger movie, but rather just a movie among others.

I'm very much a fan of both cold war spy movies and 70/80s Great Britain, so the elements were in place for me to enjoy this. I had never heard of this (I'm yet to go through Preminger's movies) and I quite randomly picked it from the online service as it seemed pretty interesting.

And it was interesting. Very subtle and talkative, I have to say I really really liked it. The story itself wasn't too exciting, but interesting nonetheless. It's about the secret service and an apparent leak of information - possibility of double agents and so on. Very gripping, yet quite slow paced - no action. I just watched le Carre film "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and they are quite alike in style, altho I have to say I enjoyed this more. Even if it's not necessarily as well made, this wasn't quite as heavy-handed.

The acting is great for the most part. Nicol Williamson was a name I hadn't heard of before, but his presence really made this movie. Very understated and brilliant character, just like anyones neighbor or work colleague. There's a weak link too unfortunately and that's Iman, she's horribly wooden and unnatural in her acting most of the time.

I'm dropping one point because of sloppy cinematography too - lighting in particular and a few shots that look really staged. I'm not sure why some scenes were so horribly set up, the lights almost looked as if they just flipped a few spotlights over and pointed them at actors faces.

Despite these few flaws, it's a really enjoyable spy movie for anyone into cold war spy stories in style of le Carre etc. Grab a whisky and time machine yourself back into cold war era. This doesn't seem to be too well distributed tho so it may be a bit hard to find.


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