Category Archives: Guy Hamilton

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!

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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

Dialogue Of The Day: Goldfinger (1964).

Q (Desmond Llewelyn): Now this one I’m particularly keen about. You see the gear lever here? Now, if you take the top off, you will find a little red button. Whatever you do, don’t touch it.

James Bond (Sean Connery): Yeah, why not?

Q: Because you’ll release this section of the roof, and engage and then fire the passenger ejector seat. Whish!

James Bond: Ejector seat? You’re joking!

Q: I never joke about my work, 007.

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Filed under 1964, Dialogue Of The Day, Guy Hamilton, James Bond, Sean Connery

The Harry Palmer File.

Funeral In Berlin paperback detail

Kino Lorber’s recent Blu-ray release of the third, and last, Harry Palmer film, Billion Dollar Brain (1967), got me thinking about the series as a whole.* They made a huge impression on me as a kid, and it’s about time to revisit them. 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.

So where are they on video? Here in the States, they’re kind of a mess. Ken Russell’s Billion Dollar Brain, of course, has this new Blu-ray. The second, Funeral In Berlin (1966) from Guy Hamilton, is available from Warner Archive in an exact copy of the old Paramount DVD. But the first one, Sidney J. Furie’s The Ipcress File (1965)? You can get it on Blu-ray all around the world, but it’s been missing in the US since the Anchor Bay DVD went out of print a decade ago (hard to believe DVDs have been with us that long).

Ipcress File US LC 1
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.

A post on The Ipcress File is in the works.

* I don’t count the two non-theatrical Palmer/Caine films of the 90s.

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Filed under 1965, 1966, 1967, DVD/Blu-ray News, Guy Hamilton, Harry Palmer, James Bond, Ken Russell, Michael Caine, Sidney J. Furie