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.
The Ipcress File was reasonably entertaining while I was watching it, but after it was over I felt I'd been had. I don't particularly mind pictures that are assembled rather than directed, and Sidney Furie seems somewhat abler as an assembler than Terence Young and Guy Hamilton of the Bond series. Michael Caine is a more attractive performer than Sean Connery; the blur-focusing glasses, the ratty laugh, the sojourns in supermarkets, and the attendant food fetishism all make Caine's character more comically accessible to audiences than Connery's. Caine's success with women is more plausible than that of his predecessor largely because Caine's banter sounds more knowing. Connery's conquests seem to reflect the triumph of wardrobe over wit, and his women…
Not quite anti-Bond from Harry Saltzman, though certainly nowhere near the fantastical globetrotting British spy, either. Consistently maintains an air of working class, what with meetings in parks and microfilms exchanged in grocery stores, but Caine injects Harry Palmer with a sexy, tweedy cattiness that marks him as more attractive than bookish George Smiley. Refreshingly low key, never putting the whole world in danger, but rather seeing secret agents executing duty and seeking missing scientists so that they can still have an agency to work for. Furie's direction matches the material with a workmanlike efficiency - never too flashy, though never less than jazzily competent, kinda like Palmer himself.
Caine is great, the direction and visuals are fantastic. The story is a little slow and very of the times, but it's a solid movie when put into context.
michael caine cooking the movie
For me a defining film of the 60's. Michael Caine is fantastic as the alternative British spy Harry Palmer. Sidney J Furie shoots the hell out of the film, finding odd angles & points of view that look spectacular. Ken Adam brings his genius to the project too which is always welcome.
John Barry completes the team with a startling score.
Very interesting British spy thriller that put Michael Caine on the map as a leading man. Adapted from the Len Deighton novel of the same name, THE IPCRESS FILE is a sort of a James Bond thriller with half the budget and quarter of the action, yet still quite good.
Produced by 007 producer Harry Saltzman, THE IPCRESS FILE contains several Bond-ian elements, including the work of Bond veterans Peter Hunt as editor, Ken Adam (with a subdued approach compared to his other work), John Barry (whose work is dangerously close to the James Bond scores he had previously written), as well as one Guy Doleman (as Colonel H.L. Ross), who would later in 1965 play Count Lippe in the…
If I ever make a movie I will steal all the framing from this movie.
What-ho spy flick, excellently composed.
Standard 60s spy fare. Caine is good as usual.
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