Ipcress File [1965]

Director: Len Deighton, Sidney J. Furie
Stars: Michael Caine, Gordon Jackson, David Glover, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: Unrated
Runtime: 103 minutes

In the spy-crazed film world of the 1960s, Len Deighton's antihero Harry Palmer burst onto the scene as an antidote to the James Bond films. Here was a British spy who had a working-class accent and horn-rimmed glasses and above all really didn't want to be a spy in the first place. As portrayed by Michael Caine, Palmer was the perfect antithesis to Sean Connery's 007. Unlike that of his globetrotting spy cousin, Palmer's beat is cold, rainy, dreary London, where he spends his days and nights in unheated flats spying on subversives. He does charm one lady, but she's no Pussy Galore, just a civil servant he works with, sent to keep an eye on him. Eventually he's assigned to get to the bottom of the kidnapping and subsequent "brain draining" of a nuclear physicist, all the while being reminded by his superiors that it's this or prison. Things begin to get pretty hairy for Harry. Produced by Harry Saltzman in his spare time between Bond movies, the film also features a haunting score by another Bond veteran, composer John Barry. --Kristian St. Clair

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