Blu-Ray News #354: The Harry Palmer Collection (1965-1967).

Here in the States, the Harry Palmer films are available on Blu-Ray from two different companies (Kino Lorber has two, Warner Archive has one) — each film was originally released through a different studio. The folks at Imprint out of Australia have managed to scoop ’em all up and put them in a single package. But however you pack these things, they’re essential.

The Ipcress File (1965)
Directed by Sidney J. Furie
Starring Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson, Stanley Meadows

Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman gave us an anti-Bond with Harry Palmer, based on Len Deighton’s novels. Michael Caine was perfectly cast as the sarcastic spy — caught up in a scheme to kidnap and brainwash noted scientists.

I was 10 and had just gotten my first pair of eyeglasses when I came across The Ipcress File, and a smartass secret agent with glasses and a machine gun (and Sue Lloyd) gave me hope. Maybe it was going to be OK after all. I love this film. But don’t take it from me, the BFI named it one of the 100 best British films of the 20th century.

Funeral In Berlin (1966)
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Starring Michael Caine, Paul Hubschmid, Oskar Homolka, Eva Renzi, Guy Doleman

Palmer is sent to Germany to arrange the defection of a Russian intelligence officer. Things get weird. This one was directed by Guy Hamilton, who’d just done Goldfinger (1964). Given the different tones of the two films, you’d never know. 

Billion Dollar Brain (1967)
Directed by Ken Russell
Starring Michael Caine, Karl Malden, Ed Begley, Oskar Homolka, Françoise Dorléac, Guy Doleman 

A half-dozen eggs containing a deadly virus are stolen from a British research facility. Palmer, no longer part of MI5, is hired to bring them back. Before long, he’s back in MI5 and trying to bring down a supercomputer while recovering the eggs. The great Andre de Toth worked on this one as an executive producer; he’d later direct Caine in the underrated Play Dirty (1968).

Of course, Imprint is giving these their usual wealth of extras, from commentaries and interviews to trailers, stills and more. Even isolated tracks for the scores. Have all three together, and with all this extra stuff, is a really big deal. Coming in September. Can’t wait!

2 Comments

Filed under 1965, 1966, 1967, Andre de Toth, DVD/Blu-ray News, Guy Hamilton, Harry Palmer, Imprint Films, Ken Russell, Michael Caine, Sidney J. Furie

2 responses to “Blu-Ray News #354: The Harry Palmer Collection (1965-1967).

  1. Walter

    Toby, I agree with you very much that these three so-called anti-James Bond spy thrillers are essential viewing, especially if you are a fan of 1960’s “Cold War” spy thrillers. I first recall viewing THE IPCRESS FILE(filmed 1964, released 1965) on the NBC TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1970 and again on the NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES in 1971.

    I was entertained and educated by this eye and ear catching joy of a movie. The photography of Czech Otto Heller is amazing in its variety of shots that director Sidney J. Furie had Heller setup. The musical score by John Barry is so memorable by using a cimbalom, which is a hammered dulcimer string instrument used historically by Hungarian Gypsies. I think John Barry owned 1960’s spy thriller music.

    Michael Caine gives a star making performance as the low-keyed everyman spy wearing his dark brown rimmed glasses. Caine is cool as a cucumber in his role has Harry Palmer, and he does make it look like that there could be hope for the rest of us. Sue Lloyd the glamorous long eye-lashed dark-haired beauty played her part as a fellow agent thwarter to the hilt. Nigel Green is always a commanding presence on the screen, who could play a stiff-upper lipped type in his sleep.

    I could go on and on about these movies, because they are really a treat. The following is Michael Caine’s first interview for USA television conducted by Merv Griffin in 1965.
    https://cinephiliabeyond.org/spies-like-us-harry-palmer-everyday-hero-ipcress-file/

    Like

    • Walter

      Sorry, but I gave the wrong link in the above. Although, I hope you enjoy the well written article, because I did. Below is the interview link.

      Like

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