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The Ipcress File (Widescreen)

Michael Caine , Nigel Green , Sidney J. Furie    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 105.66
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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

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, well-acted spy thriller Aug. 13 2002
"The Ipcress File" is a gripping spy thriller that was a big hit back in 1966. This was the time when Michael Caine was a rising young star, and this movie was an excellent showcase for his talent. Visually, the movie is dated in spots, especially in its use of psychedelic colors and images in the brainwashing sequences. These images, along with Caine's character's wearing of thick-lensed, horn-rimmed eye glasses, were later parodied in spy spoofs, most notably in the Austin Powers series. Fortunately, the story is as engrossing as ever, and Caine's Harry Palmer remains one of the most indelible movie characters ever.
Harry Palmer is a shrewd, cocky, amoral Army sergeant who was busted in Germany for some illegal trading. Sensing his abilities, the British army has offered to keep him out of prison in exchange for his becoming a spy. It's the threat of prison that keeps the freedom-loving Harry in line. [This plot device has been used countless times since "The Ipcress File" was released, most recently in "XXX".] When a prominent British scientist is kidnapped, Harry's boss loans him out to another department. What our confident hero doesn't realize is that he's being used as bait. By whom and for what purpose is what keeps the suspense going right up to the movie's tense climax.
"The Ipcress File" is in the category of spy movies which, unlike James Bond films, portray the characters as participants in a dark, sinister and deadly serious game. In this game, only the hero can be trusted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Anti-Bond, If You Will... Dec 2 2002
Michael Caine's Harry Palmer -- the character is nameless in the Len Deighton novels; as he is also the first-person narrator, this works, but for this film, (third-person all the way) it was felt that he needed a name -- is just as escapist a fantasy as Connery's Bond, but in a different manner. Deliberately deglamorised and *presented* as just a relatively ordinary man, if of a somewhat dubious moral character, doing his best to keep out of trouble, Palmer nonetheless is, underneath, a bit more.
Blackmailed into espionage with the threat of well-earned prison time, Palmer is a useful foot-soldier in the sordid, quiet war of espionage and counter-espionage, set to unmask a traitor -- but who *is* the traitor -- is there anyone at all that he can trust?
Michael Caine (this was the first film in which i had seen him) inhabits the role of Harry Palmer and makes it totally his, a man of contradictions -- a working class man, but one who genuinely loves and appreciates the finer things, unlike Fleming's (and, to some extent, the Bond movies') Bond, an amoral thug who apes the manners and tastes of his betters.
The apparently-realistic dreary grey London streets and settings add to this film's apparently-realistic approach, all the better to persuade the viewer to suspend his disbelief and accept the rather complex plot, especially when we get to the brainwashing parts...
First of three films, this was a series that *could* have rivalled Bond but fizzled out in the end.
All three, however, are well worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The IPCRESS File - Michael Caine Nov. 22 2002
Format:VHS Tape
The Ipcress File is without a doubt the best of the Hollywood action spy thrillers of the 60's. It is what the James Bond series started out to be and never quite became. Michael Cane in neither a tough guy nor a slick CIA/KGB type. He is a foot soldier, literally in this case, in the cold war. His opinions are neither sought nor listened too. He is only sent in when the situation becomes too clouded for the professional intelligence officers to unravel. An army sergeant convicted of shady dealings and condemned to one prison or the other, Harry Palmer (Michael Cane) chooses the one without walls, but great danger. The problem for Harry isn't to solve the mystery; it is to figure out just what the mystery is. Everyone about him is so stiff upper lipped and bowler-hated that it is difficult to see any movement, and as a good foot soldier, Harry Palmer knows that you can't shoot until someone moves and gives away their position. Finally the story plays out in a London back-alley where the street savvy, uneducated but intelligent Palmer is called upon to make the right choice. With a plot that is slightly too fanciful and a hero slightly too suave for reality, this is none the less a very believable film, beautifully photographed and edited. Watch The IPCRESS File in a triple bill with the much grittier and more realistic 1965 B/W film, The Spy Who Came In Form The Cold starring Richard Burton and the 1962 B/W film The Manchurian Candidate starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey if you want to know what Hollywood's view of the Cold War was at the dawn of the Viet Man War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best '60s spy film March 30 2002
This is the spy game at its core: Nasty, dull footwork with the occasional killing or double-cross, where life is cheap and wages are low. Michael Caine takes the character from Len Deighton's novels -- a middle-class [wise-guy] who uses his wits more times than his gun -- and nails it perfectly. It also keeps you guessing until the end, which is better than 95% of the stuff now running at local theatres. The DVD is great in showing the wide-screen version; the shot composition by director Sidney J. Furie is absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, Furie's problems with the producer (Furie was fired after finishing the film shoot) must still cloud his thinking, because his commentary track banks heavily on negative comments. Film editor Peter Hunt's comments, meanwhile, provide plenty of good inside tales about the film. (He also manages to prod Furie into some of his better moments.)
Purists may argue that "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" is a bit more-realistic. "The Ipcress File," though, is entertaining -- and an excellent example of transferring a film to DVD.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ipcress File [1965] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
The Ipcress File [1965] [Blu-ray] [UK Release] Featuring a quintessential performance from double-Oscar winner Sir Michael Caine and an iconic score from the legendary John Barry,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Andrew C. Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars ipcress flie
it's a spy movie but not like james bond ,but the real thing .It shows not the g;amour but the reality of the job .I am very happy that this title been released in blue ray .
Published 12 months ago by Eric Woodall
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Ipcress File (1965) ... Michael Caine ... Sidney J. Furie...
Universal Pictures presents "THE IPCRESS FILE" (1965 103 min/Color) -- Starring: Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson & Aubrey Richards... Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2011 by J. Lovins
3.0 out of 5 stars A LIttle Contrasting POV
I got this film with memories of the tight plot and the cataclysmic twist at the end. Thirty years has dulled considerably the enjoyment I once felt. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2003 by J. C Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Caine at his best!!!!!
I have always been a fan of Michael Caine since his intoduction in ZULU, and his brings Len Deighton's thinking man's James Bond to the screen with panache!! Read more
Published on June 23 2002 by Deborah MacGillivray
5.0 out of 5 stars well put together movie
I thought it was a pretty good movie. Part of the plot involved hynosis and was a little contrived, but I liked the characters, the dialouge, and how the odd plot was handled. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars The making of an icon
This is the film which established Caine as an icon. He is good looking, yet wears glasses, he is young and trendy, yet listens to classical music, he is a cockney, yet he has... Read more
Published on Dec 13 2001 by D. M. Farmbrough
5.0 out of 5 stars great spy thriller
Magnificently directed by Sidney Furie, this terrific thriller has one of Michael Caine's most memorable performances, and a sensational score by John Barry. Read more
Published on May 31 2001 by Alejandra Vernon
4.0 out of 5 stars BOND meets BULLITT
THE IPCRESS FILE does for espionage films what BULLITT did for police films; it provides what seems to be a realistic depiction of the trade as opposed to Hollywood... Read more
Published on Aug. 6 2000 by Gogmagog
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