A list of Edgar Wright's favorite 1000 Movies per his list on Mubi on July 27th, 2016.
The Ipcress File
The spy story of the century.
This espionage thriller represents a landmark in spy movies introducing the sly, dry intelligence agent Harry Palmer. The story, centers on Palmer's investigation into British Intelligence security. He's soon enmeshed in a world of double-dealing, kidnap and murder and finds a traitor is operating at the heart of the secret service. Will the mysterious 'Ipcress File' reveal who the traitor is?
"Don’t slouch into my office like a pregnant camel!"
State power as brainwashing biopolitics, not just for the populace but for its own agents.
The Ipcress File is the Brazil of spy movies. Secret agent Harry Palmer spends the majority of his time filling out paperwork, being told to fill out paperwork, or devising ways to avoid filling out paperwork. There are T-104’s, B-104’s, B-107’s, T-108’s, L-101’s, and, most importantly, TX-832’s. Espionage isn’t all fancy cars and big explosions. This focus on the tedium and the pure, unadulterated mundanity of everyday espionage work deglamorizes the profession, but it also interrogates the bureaucracy of these overstuffed government agencies and the way they take advantage of their agents and the countries they…
An intentional deconstruction of the Bond franchise that takes obvious delight in contrasting agent Harry Palmer's dreary world of grinding bureaucracy, neverending paperwork, and working-class spydom with the glamour and pretense of 007's alternate-espionage universe. There's nary a jetpack, Aston Martin, or baccarat table to be found in Palmer's parallel dimension, just the oppressive drabness of unswinging London, although he does treat himself to the occasional tin of fancy mushrooms and a little Mozart.
Michael Caine's Palmer is a lovably insubordinate wiseass who take shortcuts whenever he can find them, chafes at authority, and relies entirely too much on his intuition, often without regards for the consequences. Where Bond is a fount of terrible puns and ridiculous innuendo, Palmer passive-agressively…
From the producer of James Bond, the editor of James Bond, the composer of James Bond and the production designer of James Bond comes a spy thriller... totally different to James Bond.
Len Deighton's character (here portrayed by the superb Michael Caine) has more in common with John Le Carre's George Smiley than Ian Fleming's creation. Less superhero spy, more Cold War everyman. Modern, stylish and irreverent, Harry Palmer exudes poise and control from the minute you first see him on screen making a cup of coffee.
A thinking man's Cold War spy thriller that has aged very well indeed. Why the hell has it taken me so long to see this?!
There aren't many films in existence where absolutely every element works perfectly.
The Ipcress File however, is firmly on that list.
This was released in 1965 as "the thinking mans Goldfinger". Im not so sure about that, but i am sure on one thing. It is better than Goldfinger.
Harry Palmer is a character that has all the best points of James Bond, and is played by a Caine living out his Bond fantasies. Palmer is a brilliant character. Comic, hard, cool, a ladies man, and a damn fine spy to boot. This is a perfromance of a man who was destined to become a star. Pure vintage.
As a film too though, The Ipcress File is top notch. It's plot is sharp and intelligent, it's direction is flashy, and its score simply stunning. The tension is built with rather unnerving ease at times.
A stunning film.
Palmer: You know, it's funny... If Radcliffe had been here, I'd have been... a hero.
Major Dalby: He wasn't. And you're not.
Though the (excellent) cinematography veers towards Mad Magazine parody at times, and the psychedelic brainwashing sequence is a tad underdone, The Ipcress File still adds up to a top-notch espionage thriller.
I do wonder why Harry Palmer seems so insistent that he likes women…
So cool and slick, the music evokes James Bond but the film is much subtler and drearier and for me much more satisfying. The Ipcress File made it clear for me why Michael Caine became such an icon, much more so than The Italian Job. He manages to be totally different from everyone else in the film whilst always remaining understated. Really enjoyable.
Quite of it's time but still fun.
The label of "the thinking man's GOLDFINGER" is a little much and a bit unfair, but this did meet a desire for a more intricately plotted (or at least more plotted), slower paced, mystery-drenched spy drama with a dryer, less glamorous hero at the center at a time when the Bond film series was leaning into the spectacle and the tongue-in-cheek humor. I expected Michael Caine to be great, I expected to vibe with the mood, but I didn't know it'd be as beautifully shot/composed as it is, or have production design by Ken Adam, or have a wonderfully jazzy score by John Barry.
Came home half an hour into a Palmer triple-bill. This one's still very good.
Taut, believable spy thriller has a great performance by Michael Caine as Harry Palmer a wise cracking British agent assigned to track down a missing scientist. Set during the Cold War this film is a real counterpoint to the Bond series. It's much more authentic, feeling like a true representation of spy craft. Bond fans, however, will find a lot to admire here as the film has many veterans of he Bond series among the crew including John Barry as composer, Ken Adams as art designer, Peter Hunt as editor, and Harry Saltzman as producer. All bring something unique to the table here, something that is very different than what they contributed to Bond which makes this fascinating viewin for fans of that series.
one of a bunch of weird titles spy/espionage pic
Michael Caine as a myopic spy, in Sidney J. Furie's overwrought (and rather silly) version of a Len Deighton novel. This film was a big box-office hit; Caine must have been the chief reason. With Nigel Green.
Definitely the finest non-James Bond 007 'serious' espionage film before the likes of the 'Bourne' films this millennium. It works because of crackerjack pacing, an outstanding actor at his prime, in Sir Michael Caine (who took the role only after Christopher Plummer and Sir Richard Harris turned it down, and became the first action hero to wear glasses), and an incredible script, based on spy novel icon Len Deighton's book. Though fellow-Canadian director Sidney J. Furie tends to have the reputation nowadays as being a hack, this is his finest moment, and he does great work here. I hope to find and watch the two sequels for it, soon. Definitely worth a purchase and re-watches, for any fans of great spy movies: It's one of the best ever made.
Visually stunning '60s British spy film with a young Michael Caine as the anti-Bond. Watching this it's easy to see why Caine became a star, he completely owns the part and the film with a completely different and unique take on the typical spy character. But honestly, the cinematography and production design are the real stars of this. Some truly memorable stuff by Otto Heller and the great Ken Adam. I can't say that I've ever seen a film that looks the way this one does. A shame that everyone has seen the Bond flicks while this film has been forgotten to time.
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